WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Eight accidents total in 2013 gun-deer season
The DNR The Wisconsin DNR reports eight gun-related accidents during the nine-day deer hunting season that ended yesterday.
Two mishaps occurred during Thanksgiving week, on top of the six mishaps reported in the season's opening weekend. No hunters were reported shot-to-death, but a hunter shot on Thanksgiving Day was seriously hurt. The DNR's Jon King said it happened in Dunn County in northwest Wisconsin, where the victim was shot in the stomach during a drive by a member of his hunting party. Two other gun incidents occurred during deer drives. Four were self-inflicted. A resident in Monroe County was hurt by a bullet that was shot into his home during the opening weekend. King says hunting accidents continue to decline because hunters are thinking more about safety. Over one-point-million hunters have completed hunter education courses. King said a greater number of mishaps typically happen during small-game seasons. Three hunters died from non-bullet wounds in the gun season. They included actor and Tomahawk native Jay Leggett who collapsed while returning to a hunting cabin. A second hunter collapsed from natural causes, apparently falling from a tree-stand near Wausau. The third died after being hit by a car last Friday while standing along a roadway near Gilman.
Wisconsin shoppers are bypassing the long lines and crowded stores for mouse clicks and web surfing. According to the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday is expected to generate one-point-eight billion dollars in sales this year. A spokesperson for the Federation says online retailers are offering great incentives to lure in customers, like free shipping and deep discounts. About 80-percent of Wisconsin shoppers will be scoping the internet for good deals, with roughly 15-percent of them actually buying something. The survey also shows over half of shopping and browsing done this year is from smartphones and tablets.
The state has fined a petroleum company for violating state laws. Attorney J.B. Van Hollen says Bulk Petroleum Corporation will pay a court ordered $51,000 fine for allegedly failing to maintain three tanks at a closed gas station in Milwaukee. He adds that state regulators ordered the company to either renew the expired permits on the tanks or close them. Bulk did neither, leading to the fine. Regulators say underground tanks can contaminate ground water and soil if they are not properly maintained.
Wisconsin military veterans can now use their driver's licenses or a state ID to show they’re eligible for certain benefits. Officials say it will make it easier for men and women who served in the military to access an array of programs and services, even restaurant discounts, without having to carry additional documentation. Before going to the Division of Motor Vehicles, veterans should first verify their eligibility by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-WIS-VETS. About 30,000 veterans in the Badger State are automatically eligible because they have applied for certain state and federal benefits. Nearly 400-thousand Wisconsin veterans can get the new identifiers by verifying their status. Standard driver license and ID card fees still apply.
A federal appeals panel in Chicago will hear arguments tomorrow in a challenge to the new Wisconsin law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Federal Judge William Conley of Madison blocked the law from taking effect in August. The state Justice Department appealed, backing majority Republicans who say it's needed to ensure proper care. However, Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services said the law would force its clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close. That's because none of their doctors at those sites have the power to admit patients at nearby hospitals. The law was supposed to take effect in July, as part of a law that also requires abortion candidates to see their unborn babies in ultrasounds before their procedures. That part of the law remains in effect.
A Fox Valley truck driver was put on two years of federal probation today, for helping a group hack into Koch Industries' Web site in 2011. A federal judge in Wichita Kansas also ordered 38-year-old Eric Rosol of Black Creek to pay the entire $183,000 that Koch Industries spent to protect its Web sites, and ward off the attack. Koch, the politically-connected energy firm based in Kansas, learned in advance that the group Anonymous was scheming the cyber-attack. As a result, Koch's Web sites were down for only 15 minutes -- and the firm spent only five-thousand dollars fixing the actual site shutdown. Rosol successfully stayed out of prison, after he struck a plea deal for a sentence that was smaller than the federal guidelines. He pleaded guilty a misdemeanor charge of accessing an protected computer.
Health care advocates asked state lawmakers today not to delay an expansion of Badger-Care to cover the poorest childless adults. The Joint Finance Committee heard testimony late this morning on Governor Scott Walker's plan to delay the Badger Care expansion for three months. That's the same amount of time the Republican Walker wants to delay for a cut-off of Badger Care coverage for those above the poverty line. The ending of the state's high risk health insurance pool would also be delayed for the same three months, until March 31st. The finance panel was expected to vote on the measure today before it goes to the full Assembly on Wednesday. Health care advocates praised a delay for the ending of Badger-Care to almost 100,000 people -- but they criticized the delay of starting Badger-Care for the 83,000 others. Bobby Peterson of ABC-for-Health in Madison said it's wrong for the Legislature not to accept federal Medicaid money under Obama-care to cover the new recipients -- even if it's just for three months. Assembly Republican Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield said the federal government botched the start of Obamacare -- and he said groups like Peterson's that supported the Obama law have lost credibility because of it. Those losing Badger-Care will move into the federal health purchasing exchange. Walker says he wants to wait until the troubled Web site for Obamacare is clear of problems and delays.
A private equity firm in Los Angeles has bought a southeast Wisconsin business that produces enclosures made from sheet metal. Maysteel of Allenton was sold to the Revolution Capital Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Maysteel began 77 years ago. Its previous owner was the Everett Smith Group, an investment firm from Milwaukee which also has a couple other large industries. Maysteel has about 300 union employees in Allenton, along with a smaller plant in Monterrey Mexico. The metal enclosures are for items ranging from soda machines to medical equipment.
Madison is the eighth smartest city in the nation, according to Lumosity.com. The Web site reviewed scores of Lumosity's Internet games in 478 U-S cities -- and all of Wisconsin's 18 cities and metro areas surveyed easily made the top-50-percent for brain power, among the 478 U.S. cities compared. Kym Buchanan of UW-Stevens Point says it's no small feat. She says Lumosity games are challenging, and they require intense concentration and attention to details. Most of the top cities are college towns. Appleton, where Lawrence University is located, is 12th. Milwaukee is 26th. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro including far western Wisconsin is 33rd, and La Crosse 36th. Stevens Point is the 40th smartest city, Oshkosh-Neenah 51st, Duluth-Superior 69th, Marshfield-Wisconsin Rapids 83rd, and Eau Claire 92nd. Janesville-Beloit is 101st in the Lumosity brain power survey. Sheboygan is 102nd, Wausau 104th, Green Bay 117th, Racine 118th, Whitewater-Elkhorn 178th, the Chicago metro including Kenosha 188th, and Marinette 218th.
Officials in South Dakota said a serial killer from Milwaukee had an "advanced disease" when he died yesterday. Michael Winder of the state's Corrections' Department refused to say what Walter Ellis's disease was. He was hospitalized since last Tuesday. An autopsy was planned as of yesterday, but there's no word on any results yet. A prison official said the 53-year-old Ellis died from natural causes. He was serving seven consecutive life terms for strangling seven female prostitutes in Milwaukee from 1986-through-2007. One woman was also stabbed. He never said why he did it, simply pleading no contest before he was locked away. Ellis was held in a South Dakota prison under an interstate agreement. Winder said inmates could be held in other states for security reasons, or to be closer to relatives. He did not say why Ellis was imprisoned in South Dakota. Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal from Ellis. Police found Ellis' D-N-A on six of his murder victims, and a blood sample near the other murder scene. He was then arrested in 2009.
The "foreclosure crisis" continues go to away -- at least in southeast Wisconsin. New cases filed in October were at their lowest since 2006. The Journal Sentinel counted 472 new foreclosure filings last month in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties. That's down 31-percent from the same month a year ago, when 684 cases were filed. With all but December in the books, there were 6,458 new cases against those hopelessly behind on their mortgages so far this year. That's down 35-percent from last year's January-through-November total of 9,870 cases.
Wisconsin wildlife officials want to know what people think about a proposed new way to manage conifer plantations at state recreational areas. DNR staffers want to make a variance to the properties' master plans. The goals are to remove hazardous trees, control tree diseases and pests, and improve the scenery. The proposal affects seven state parks -- Devil's Lake, Pattison, Blue Mound, Big Foot Beach, Kinnickinnic, Mill Bluff and Governor Dodge. The Havenswood State Forest, the Bearskin State Trail, and the Browntown-Cadiz Spring recreational area are also included -- plus the Ice Age Trail lands in Dane, Washington, Waushara, Waupaca, Marathon, Lincoln, and Polk counties. More information on the conifer change is available at the DNR's Web site, accessible at Wisconsin.gov. You'll also find ways to make comments.
A $100,000 bond has been set for a Milwaukee man accused of killing his girlfriend's five-year-old son. 25-year-old Darrell Rogers is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of young Damion Davis. According to authorities, Rogers first claimed that Damion fell in a shower and banged his head while he was baby-sitting the youngster last Wednesday. She found him dead the next day. An autopsy uncovered severe injuries to the child's head-and-abdomen, plus cuts-and-bruises to his body. The Milwaukee County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Rogers is due back in court a week from tomorrow, when it could be determined whether there's enough evidence to order a trial.
Wisconsin's nude beach was closed on weekdays this summer, but there was still lots of illegal sex on the weekends. The DNR issued 13 sexual conduct citations from June through early October at the state's beach near Mazomanie on the Wisconsin River. It's a sandbar that has attracted nudists throughout the nation in recent years, mainly because Dane County prosecutors won't enforce the state's exposure law unless one-or-more naked people cause a disturbance. Citations are down from 2012, but the DNR's Nathan Kroeplin says there's more activity than what the numbers showed. He said wardens conducted surveillance for seven days -- and some who were caught having sex ran off before they could be cited. Around 70,000 visitors show up at the nude beach each year, and DNR officials say more want sexual adventures or drugs. In the 1990's, the DNR tried closing the beach at night, banned camping, and blocked vehicles. Eight years later, some of the nearby woods were closed and brush was cut. In 2011, 42 people were arrested in nine days of surveillance, prompting even more closures. Kroeplin tells the AP the agency may seek to close the beach on weekdays again this summer. Personally, he says he's against cutting off all access to the beach. Kroeplin says it's a big step, and he's not sure the DNR is ready for it.