WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Report says Navy ships made in Marinette too heavy
A new federal audit shows that four-out-of-six Navy littoral combat ships built in Wisconsin and Alabama are too heavy -- and it might affect the ships' performance.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office said the USS Freedom, made at Marinette Marine, did not meet its distance and speed requirements for a range of 3,500 nautical miles at 14-knots. The Green Bay Press-Gazette said two other boats built in Marinette met their weight requirements. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin said the Freedom class of littoral ships met its weight standards upon delivery -- and the firm submitted all of its weight reports to the Navy as its contract required. The Freedom and similar ships are being built in Marinette for Lockheed Martin. Another design is being constructed at the Austal USA plant in Mobile, Alabama. The audit said three ships at Mobile were also too heavy. The boats are supposed to carry out missions like mine-sweeping, and anti-submarine warfare. The littoral combat ships have come under scrutiny before. President Obama has proposed reducing the Navy's orders for it. Next year's shipments would be cut from four to three.
Wisconsin's Chippewa Indians will try again next month to convince the federal courts to let them hunt deer at night. The northern Wisconsin tribes have appealed Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's rejection of their latest request for night-time deer hunting. The DNR says it's not safe, while the Chippewa said the state allowed wolf hunters to shoot at night during their inaugural season in 2013. A federal appellate panel in Chicago plans to hear arguments in the case on September 16th.
A 16-year-old Beloit boy who died in a weekend shooting incident was identified by police today as Jose Carruthers-Paramo. Beloit officials said they were still not sure what led to the series of shootings at a city park on Saturday night. As of today, investigators said they could not talk to another male who was shot, because of his medical condition. A 14-year-old Beloit girl was also hit by gunfire, but she did not arrive at a hospital until later that evening. A fourth victim, a 20-year-old Madison, was treated for his injuries and was later sent home.
A motorcyclist who died after hitting a bear in northern Wisconsin has been identified as 50-year-old Gary Stevens of Bowler. Langlade County authorities said the mishap occurred yesterday afternoon near Antigo on Highway 64. Stevens was alone on the motorcycle at the time. He was taken to a local hospital before being flown a unit in Wausau, where he later died.
Sauk County sheriff's deputies are still investigating the death of a man who was struck by a vehicle while he was walking on a highway. Officials said the 31-year-old victim was in a traffic lane early yesterday on County Trunk "B-D" between the Baraboo-Wisconsin Dells Airport and the Ho-Chunk Casino. The pedestrian died at the scene. Investigators said alcohol did not appear to be a factor for the vehicle driver.
Steven Zelich is due in court tomorrow in Kenosha, where he's suspected of killing one of two women whose remains were found in suitcases in June. The Kenosha County district attorney's office confirms that the 52-year-old Zelich will appear tomorrow afternoon -- but they're not saying what the charges will be yet. Zelich has a new lawyer. A judge allowed Jonathan Smith to replace Travis Schwantes last week. Zelich, a former West Allis police officer, is charged in Walworth County with two counts of hiding a corpse. Prosecutors said he killed Jenny Gamez during a sexual encounter in 2012 at a hotel in Kenosha, and Laura Simonson in Rochester Minnesota last November. Officials said homicide counts would be filed in the counties where the deaths took place. That hasn't happened yet.
Eight days before the primary, the three Democrats running for Wisconsin attorney general after to have one big disagreement -- whether first-time drunk driving should be a criminal offense. State Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne both say first-time OWI should be a criminal misdemeanor. Right now, Wisconsin is the only state in which first-time drunk driving gives a non-criminal ticket. And the third Democrat in the rave, Jefferson County DA Susan Happ, wants to keep it that way. She says most people's driving habits change for better once they get an OWI rap. Happ says the state should instead crack down some more on repeat drunk driving offenders. The winner of next Tuesday's primary will face Republican DA Brad Schimel of Waukesha County in November, for the right to replace J.B. Van Hollen. Schimel has said he's skeptical about making one-time OWI a crime -- but he's not fully opposed to the idea, either.
Governor Scott Walker's re-election campaign had about seven-million dollars on hand as August was about to begin. According to a report filed with the state today, the Republican Walker raised $1.2 million dollars from July first-through-28th -- and he spent $1.6 million. So far this year, the governor has raised around nine-and-a-half million dollars in the hopes of shaking off a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke. The two were in a dead heat in the most recent Marquette University poll. Burke and fellow Democrat Brett Hulsey had not filed updated reports as of mid-morning. Burke's latest report showed that she had around two-and-a-half million dollars in the bank going into July, while Hulsey had $946 on hand.
The Dairy Goat Products Co-op in southwest Wisconsin is recalling its Raw Milk Mild Cheddar cheese. A notice from the U.S. Food-and-Drug Administration says the product might be contaminated with E-coli bacteria. The cheese was sold under the Mount Sterling Co-op Creamery band. The affected product was sold in eight-ounce containers with a code-sticker of 103-114. Shoppers are being asked to return it to the stores where they purchased it. The FDA said the recall was ordered after a case of the cheese was found to have E-coli. The Raw Milk Mild Cheddar was distributed from plants in Wisconsin and Georgia to stores throughout the Midwest and southwestern U.S.. At last word, no illnesses had been reported from eating the cheese. The Dairy Goat Co-op is based at Mount Sterling in Crawford County.
The Great Recession forced local taxpayers to eat growing numbers of unpaid loans that Wisconsin communities gave to local businesses. Gannett Wisconsin Media checked business loans award by over 40 municipal governments during the decade ending in 2013. Only a handful of business loans had to be written off before 2008, when the financial markets nearly collapsed. After that, however, the numbers of write-offs averaged around a dozen each year throughout the 40-plus communities. Gannett -- which puts out ten daily newspapers in Wisconsin's mid-section -- said the local development panels averaged a total of 67 loans each year. In Green Bay, a start-up firm called Plastic Composites was given a $125,000 loan to convert milk jugs into plastic lumber. Gannett said the recession forced most of that loan to be written off, due to a reduced demand for building materials.
Wisconsin state troopers will spend one more day on saturation patrols along Interstates 90-and-94. It's part of a coast-to-coast challenge to make it through four straight days -- including an entire weekend -- without a death on two of the nation's longest Interstates. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, no deaths were reported anywhere along the 56-hundred miles of I-90-and-94 from Massachusetts to Washington State. The safe driving campaign wraps up tonight in 15 states, including Wisconsin -- where more patrol cars were added on Friday along with an aircraft to check for speeders. Wisconsin officials say the campaign is taking place on what's normally the deadliest month of the year on the state's highways. Over the past five years, an average of 62 Wisconsin motorists have been killed during crashes in August.