WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Despite the warm weather, communities are still asking residents to run their water 24-7
With highs approaching 70 today, it seems impossible to believe that Wisconsinites still face the risk of having their water pipes freeze. But there's a lot of frost underground that's putting pressure on those pipes. Because of that, dozens of communities continue to order residents to keep a tiny stream of water going 24-7 from one of their faucets. Those orders have ended in some places like Mosinee and Thorp. But the Web site for W-L-U-K T-V in Green Bay still lists 20 communities which have orders to run water -- including Green Bay, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac. Most communities have said they'll pick up the tab for the extra water that's used -- and in some places, those who don't follow the orders will get billed if their pipes freeze. Folks in Clintonville have let an extra one-point-four million gallons a week drip from their faucets. The water-running orders were first imposed in January, after the wind-chills got down to 55-below in the far north. Now, the temperatures are more spring-like -- at least above the surface. Highs today are expected in the mid-50's in the north to the upper-60's in west central and southern areas under sunny to partly cloudy skies.
A federal judge has refused to drop a legal challenge to the John Doe probe into alleged illegal campaign activities from Wisconsin's recall elections. Yesterday, Judge Rudolph Randa said he would not approve a request by state prosecutors to throw out a lawsuit from the Wisconsin Club for Growth which seeks to halt the secret John Doe probe. The Milwaukee County D-A's office is looking into alleged illegal campaign coordination between conservative outfits, and Governor Scott Walker and other recall candidates from 2011-and-'12. The Club for Growth said the probe violates its rights to free speech, free assembly, and equal protections granted under the U-S Constitution. Prosecutors said federal courts are generally barred from being involved in state cases. Randa said the ban applies when states make prosecutions -- and the case is not at that stage yet. State courts are considering several other challenges to the current John Doe. Most seek to drop the probe, in which the state secretly gathers testimony and evidence to help decide whether charges should be filed.
A Merrill man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that she went missing on her own, because their marriage was falling apart. However, one of Anita Bucki's friends said she was determined to reconcile -- and she was planning to move back into her husband Mark's house despite knowing that he had a new lover. Jurors heard those competing claims yesterday, in the opening day of testimony at Mark Bucki's trial. The 50-year-old man is accused of stabbing and strangling Anita last April, and then dumping her body in a swamp in Taylor County where it was found two weeks after the slaying. Also testifying was the purported lover, Angela Matheson. She denied being Bucki's girlfriend. The trial is scheduled to run through next Thursday in Lincoln County.
Here's something that may never happen again. A complete aircraft crew from World War Two will make a flight on Monday in Oshkosh. The Experimental Aircraft Association has brought together veterans from Wisconsin to represent each of the ten bomber-crew positions in a B-17. That in itself is a real accomplishment, since most 1940's war veterans have died and the remaining ones are getting into their 90s. The E-A-A crew includes the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer, bombardier, radio operator, and gunners -- all from World War Two. They'll fly an aircraft that the E-A-A will take on a national tour of over 40 cities starting April 18th. The plane is the Aluminum Overcast. It was built as the war was ending, so it never made a combat mission. The E-A-A has owned the plane since 1981. It's among the last remaining B-17's that are air-worthy.
Milwaukee Police were called to five shooting incidents in a two-hour period last night. One victim was killed, and five others were wounded. Police said a 48-year-old man died after he was shot about 11:10 p-m in a north side Milwaukee neighborhood. He died at the scene. Police have not disclosed a motive. Milwaukee officials also said that two men, ages 51 and 55, were shot were sitting in their homes. A 19-year-old man drove himself to a hospital after he was shot while getting into his vehicle. And two teens, 17-and-18, were wounded in an apparent drug-related dispute. As of early today, no one was in custody for any of the shootings. They occurred between 9:15 and 11:10 p-m.
Authorities in the Northwoods avoided a potential shooting incident yesterday, when they took a Rhinelander man into custody. Oneida County sheriff's deputies said they approached a 51-year-old man in a motel parking lot for questioning about some recent burglaries. But the man drove away and led the officers on a chase through Rhinelander which ended when his car got stuck in the snow in the nearby town of Pelican. Officials said the man then held a weapon to his head, and police negotiators were able to take him into custody without incident. Sheriff Grady Hartman said a potentially dangerous situation was prevented with the help of Oneida County emergency personnel, the State Patrol, and police officers from Rhinelander and Three Lakes.
Almost 600 people gathered in Milwaukee last night to insist that the government treat kids the same as pro-and-college athletes. Members of the group Common Ground overwhelmingly agreed to support public funding for a proposed new arena for the Bucks and Marquette -- but only if up to a quarter-billion dollars are budgeted for improved parks and play facilities in Milwaukee County. If the park money is not set aside, the group says it will oppose the new arena to replace the B-M-O Harris Bradley Center. A task force is looking at funding options. Bucks' owner Herb Kohl says he'll give a substantial but undetermined amount toward the new arena. Jennifer O'Hear of Common Ground's Fair Play campaign says kids also deserve better -- and they should have more of a say in how tax money is spent. Common Ground is a coalition of churches, charities, and small businesses. It was formed a year ago after a survey showed that two-thirds of Milwaukee's athletic and recreation facilities were in fair-to-poor condition.
Wisconsin milk is in short supply at food banks for the hungry -- and there's a new effort to change that. The Midwest Dairy Council is working with farmers, milk companies, and the Feeding America food program on what they call "The Great American Milk Drive." Council dietitian Stephanie Cundith says milk is one of the least-donated food items, and it's the most requested by food banks and their users. She tells the Brownfield Ag News Service says that Feeding America gets less than a gallon of milk donations each year for each needy person that's served. Of course, the perishable milk itself is not donated. Instead, money donations are turned into vouchers which recipients can redeem at stores. Officials say the donations stay in the areas where they're given. For more information, log onto Milklife-Dot-Com-slash-Give.