WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Five thousand electric customers in the dark this morning throughout Wisconsin
Parts of eight rivers in Wisconsin remain under flood warnings, after heavy rains and thunderstorms pounded the southern half of the state this weekend. The Wisconsin River at Portage and the Chippewa River at Durand are both expected to stay above their banks until Thursday. Minor flooding has been reported. The Fox River in Kenosha County will rise above its flood stage by early afternoon. Parts of the Kickapoo, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Root rivers are all projected to go above their banks today and tonight with minor-to-moderate floods possible. The Mississippi River also has flood warnings in a couple spots. It was one to three-and-a-half feet below its banks overnight at Wabasha and Prairie du Chien.
Flash flood watches were in effect throughout southern Wisconsin, where another inch or two was possible on top of 2-to-4 inches of rain from earlier in the weekend. The Weather Service also issued an urban-and-small-stream flood advisory overnight for Winnebago and Calumet counties. Oshkosh had one-and-a-quarter inches from late yesterday through 11 p-m. Nearby Chilton had almost four-and-a-quarter inches of rain for both Saturday and Sunday. Southwest Wisconsin had several mudslides in Richland and Crawford counties last night. Madison and Milwaukee both set 138-year-old rainfall records for yesterday -- Madison with two-point-six inches, and Milwaukee with around an inch-and-a-half.
Meanwhile, the problem in northern Wisconsin is snow. Rhinelander had almost four-inches as of three o'clock this morning. A region bounded by Park Falls, Wausau, Marinette, and the Upper Michigan border is under winter weather advisories until later today, with 2-to-5 inches of snow predicted.
The Cleveland Elementary School in Manitowoc County will re-open today, after high winds and heavy rain damaged a roof and two classrooms. The National Weather Service said straight-line winds of up to 75-miles-an-hour caused Saturday's damage in the area. Officials said a tree also fell onto the roof of a home in Cleveland. Trees and power lines went down, and a garage reportedly blew off its foundation. Cleveland Elementary has 166 students, and is part of the Sheboygan School District. The winds ripped up a canopy which covered the front of the school. Superintendent Joe Sheehan says it's fortunate that only two classrooms were damaged -- one that houses four-year-old kindergarten, and the other for the Northeast Wisconsin Montessori Charter School.
A fire is being investigated at a museum in Portage where Pulitzer Prize-winning author Zona Gale once lived. Lightning may have struck the brick building early yesterday, but officials were not certain. Damage was confined to the northeast corner of "The Museum at the Portage." Board member Ted Rebholz tells the Portage Daily Register that Gale's old bedroom was damaged -- and historic photos on the walls were charred. It was the home of William and Zona Gale Breese, and was donated to the city of Portage in 1942. ______________________
If you want a pit bull at home, it's getting cheaper to find one. The Wisconsin Humane Society of Milwaukee is offering discounts to those wanting to adopt pit bulls or pit-bull mixes. Officials say they've had an influx of pit bulls lately, in part because space was needed for animals recently seized in a dog-fighting ring. Media reports say the dogs that were seized are not being given out for adoption -- but it still leaves a lot of pit bulls available. They're normally harder to place because of insurance requirements, or restrictions by landlords. The Humane Society hopes to make it easier to find homes for those pit bulls, by offering discounts of up to 100-dollars for puppies at its facilities in Milwaukee, Racine, and Ozaukee counties. _______________________
Thousands of trivia players in central Wisconsin are finally getting some sleep today. The 45th annual edition of the World's Largest Trivia Contest ended at midnight at U-W Stevens Point. More than 370 teams with well over eleven-thousand players took part in the 54-hour contest, with a new question coming after two songs are played on the campus radio station, W-W-S-P F-M. The team of "Dad's Computers, Never Say Die" won its second straight title, scoring 21-thousand-655 points. Teams also got points by finding "Trivia Stones" around Stevens Point. That encourages teams to actually be there, instead of trying to play online. Still, many teams say it's the friendship and camaraderie that bring them back year after year. Seven teams managed to make it through the entire 54 hours without scoring a single point. Three others scored 50 or less.
Ten people were rescued in northeast Wisconsin last night, after four small fishing boats got stranded in the rising Menominee River at Marinette. Three children and two dogs were among those pulled in. None were hurt. Rescuers were called about 6:30 p-m. Marinette fire lieutenant Steve Campbell said the boats got caught in swift currents and rapidly-rising waters, caused when ice broke apart up the river and came downward. Campbell says it's not safe to go on the river until all the ice is broken up.
Two new high-speed trains that were supposed to be used in Wisconsin could be heading to Michigan instead. Michigan's D-O-T is looking to buy two ready-to-use trains by August for a new 110-mile-an-hour passenger rail service from Detroit to Chicago. Talgo of Milwaukee built the trains. Nobody's saying yet whether the company put in a bid with Michigan, but a high-speed rail advocate tells the Journal Sentinel that the Talgo trains are the only modern units available right now. Rick Harnish of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Association said the Talgo trains are in excellent shape, and they would provide the quality needed for what will be a curvy rail line across lower Michigan. Talgo built the units after former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle arranged for a federal grant for new train service from Milwaukee to Madison. Republican Governor Scott Walker scrapped the new line, and rejected the federal funding, after he was elected in 2010. Talgo went to court, and its case is still pending.
Over a third of Wisconsin motorcycle deaths involve bikers who are not supposed to be on the road. D-O-T records show that 36-percent of motorcyclists who died in crashes over the last 10 years did not have the valid state cycle license. That means they never passed the required skills test or received proper training to ride a motorcycle safely. The state and the ABATE biker group are trying to change that, with an education campaign that encourages bikers to be licensed before hitting the road. The D-O-T's Greg Patzer tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that thousands of people have been riding for years without a license. Five years ago, the state sent letters to the owners of 31-thousand registered motorcycles who did not have licenses. Last year, the state prosecuted over 850 people for riding without the necessary motorcycle endorsement. The normal fine is 200-dollars, plus three demerit points on a regular driver's license.