WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Tornado touchdown in Marquette County
ENDEAVOR - A tornado touched down early last evening in parts of Marquette County in south-central Wisconsin. The county's emergency management department reports a three-mile stretch of damage in the Endeavor and Packwaukee areas.
The National Weather Service said a roof partially collapsed. Siding was ripped off a building. A tree fell on a car and a house. And farm buildings were leaning. Officials said there was debris on roadways close to Interstate-39 near the exits at Highways 23-and-82. There were no reports of injuries. Other parts of Wisconsin got heavy rains during the final day of a massive October storm in the nation's mid-section. Western Wisconsin had the most rain by far yesterday -- up to four-point-one inches at Galesville. Kenosha had one-and-three quarter inches. Winchester in far north central Wisconsin had an inch-and-a-half. Waukesha was among the places with street flooding. Three waves of thunderstorms went through the Badger State yesterday and last night. Lingering showers are in the forecast on-and-off for today, with cooler highs in the 50's. Skies are expected to clear up tomorrow, with dry weather expected all week. It's supposed to warm up around mid-week, with 70-degree weather returning on Wednesday.
U.S. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville now says the ending of the federal government shutdown will hinge on a settlement over the national debt limit. Congress must either raise the debt ceiling or slash appropriations by mid-October in order to avoid an unprecedented default of the U.S. government. The shutdown began last Tuesday, as the Republican-controlled House insisted that key parts of the Obama health law be delayed -- something the Democratic Senate and White House refused to do. Now, Obamacare appears to be fading from the spotlight as the deadline on the debt ceiling gets closer. Ryan says the timing of the events, plus the lack of a continuing spending resolution, has created even more pressure to strike an agreement. He says the shutdown could drag on for a couple more weeks, as long as Democrats don't bring negotiators to the table.
State officials are about to update their ambulance inspection requirements for the first time since 1996. The Wausau Daily Herald says it's not clear what changes will be made. The inspection requirements involve everything from how often they take place, to the numbers of bandages that must be on an ambulance. In February, Gannett Wisconsin Media said 23-percent of the state's rescue vehicles violated at least one inspection rule in 2011-and-2012. Oshkosh fire official Jim Austad of the state EMS Advisory Board said it was like buying a car today with 1996 safety regulations. State officials defended the 17-year-old standards, saying they continued to work well, and ambulance crashes remained a rarity in the Badger State -- around 15 a year. In April, lawmakers stepped up and asked for updated requirements. Right now, the state only has one inspector who checks out 12-hundred ambulances at least once every two years. State records said only one ambulance was ordered off the road in the past two years, because it failed to make repairs after an inspection.
A new book reveals that top police officials in the State Capitol sometimes gave opposing orders, as they struggled with thousands of protestors in 2011. UW-Madison Police Chief Susan Riseling described her view of what happened in a book "A View from the Interior" that's due out next Sunday. She was brought in during the early parts of the protests, which happened as the Legislature acted on the law which virtually eliminated collective bargaining by most public employee unions. Riseling said at one point, she resisted an order from former Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs to clear the building during a tense moment early on. She said Tubbs later overturned her own order to carry out uncooperative demonstrators who were blocking lawmakers' access to the Assembly chamber. Riseling said it could have opened the building to thousands of people who would follow police instructions. She said Tubbs -- who left state government soon after the protests -- was occasionally hard to find during the tensions, and he sometimes did not communicate well with other police agencies. But she also noted that Tubbs avoided trouble by conferring with union leaders during the protests. Riseling's book raises questions of what police should do when politics get ultra-divisive -- and she's still considering that.
A man who was murdered in Madison on Friday has been identified as 43-year-old Jason Wilcox. Three people have been arrested in the slaying -- two 26-year-old men and a 21-year-old man. The Dane County medical examiner's office has yet to determine the cause of Wilcox's death. Police said he was killed in an apartment around four o'clock Friday morning, after getting into a fight with acquaintances the previous evening. Police continue to investigate.