WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: No photo ID needed to vote in tomorrow's primaries
You will not need a photo I-D to vote in tomorrow's Wisconsin fall primaries. But A-C-L-U attorney Larry Dupuis is concerned about possible confusion by voters, because of the July 31st State Supreme Court ruling which upheld the I-D requirement. That ruling cannot take effect because a federal judge had earlier ruled the photo I-D mandate as unconstitutional. The state's appealing that, and is trying to put the federal judge's ruling on hold so I-D's would be required in November. Dupuis said one of the A-C-L-U's own clients is confused about the status of the I-D law. However, the League of Women Voters has joined local and state election officials in sending out information to make it clear that voters won't need to show photo I-D's tomorrow. State Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy says most voters bring their I-D's with them anyway. Only a 15-percent turnout is expected, and Kennedy says primary voters are generally those who pay lots of attention to the process. The biggest items on the ballot is a three-way Democratic primary for attorney general, and a four-way G-O-P primary for the Sixth District U-S House seat.
It's not often that a county sheriff's election attracts big outside money, but that's what Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke is facing tomorrow. The left-leaning Greater Wisconsin Committee and groups funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have put up around 600-thousand dollars for T-V and radio ads to try and get Clarke defeated. The third-term sheriff got into hot water by his critics when he said on radio shows that residents should arm themselves and learn self-defense. Despite his staunch conservative views, Clarke runs with the predominant party in heavily-Democratic Milwaukee. And because primary voters can only choose one party, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson has urged his fellow Republicans to cross over and vote for Clarke. Clarke is running against Milwaukee Police lieutenant Chris Moews. The winner will take the seat, since there's no G-O-P opposition on the ballot in November. According to the Journal Sentinel, Thompson has told supporters that tomorrow is a "defining moment" for the state's most-populated county. Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader Chris Larson of Milwaukee says Clarke has made a "mockery" of the sheriff's office, and he's in a "fight for his political life" because of it. Clarke has also gotten support from less-funded groups like the Citizens for Responsible Government.
At least some drivers believe the state put in speed bumps on the ten-mile stretch between Marshfield and Stratford on Highway 97. State officials say that's not it at all. The D-O-T's Brent Matthews says old concrete pavement has pushed up into the newer asphalt over the past couple weeks. He said the weather was the culprit, as temperatures got warmer and rose into the 80's every day. The speed limit there is 55, but some drivers say the bumps have forced them down to 20-miles-an-hour. Matthews says there's not much that can be done until it gets cooler. Crews will then grind down the bumps and smooth them out -- and that should take care of things. The National Weather Service says it will be awhile before we see a noticeable cool-down. Highs are projected to be in the 70's-and-80's statewide all week. There's a chance of rain today and tonight, but clear skies are predicted for the rest of the week.
A 44-year-old church pig-wrestling tradition near Appleton went off with few hitches yesterday, after it caught the eyes of animal rights protesters for the first time. The Appleton Post-Crescent said around 20 activists showed up at Stephensville to condemn the popular "Pig Rassle" during the annual Round-up Days at Saint Patrick's Parish. W-L-U-K T-V of Green Bay said the protesters were in the "dozens," but the station's Web site did not list a specific number. Two protesters were escorted away after disrupting a Mass at the church. Most simply held signs saying "Animal Abuse is Evil," and "Rassle Each Other, Not Pigs." Still, most of the mudslinging occurred in the pig pens, where organizers said no animal was ever hurt in the event despite claims from the Global Conservation Group of Watertown. It attracted 62-thousand people who signed Internet petitions condemning the event.
Today is 8/11. Eight-One-One is also the number to call for Diggers' Hotline. The Wisconsin Public Service utility is using the date to remind people to "call before they dig," to make sure their projects don't run into underground utility lines. Todd Steffen of Public Service says lots of people assume that the statewide Digger's Hotline is for larger projects. Actually, many utility lines are cut by folks doing smaller projects at home. Steffen says they can cause injuries, major expenses, and other problems for both residents and their neighbors by not calling.
The E-P-A's regional leader says the Bay of Green Bay could develop the same type of algae that caused Toledo Ohio's water to be undrinkable for several days. During a visit to Milwaukee, E-P-A Midwest administrator Susan Hedman said Green Bay has significant blooms which are ripe for the development of blue-green algae and other types. Phosphorus run-off from farms appeared to feeding blue-green algae that's related to a toxin in the Toledo area's water supplies for 400-thousand people. Hedman said federal funds are being spent on the problem in a number of places, including the Bay of Green Bay. The Alliance for the Great Lakes praises the E-P-A's efforts there -- as well as the D-N-R's effort to keep phosphorus in check elsewhere in Wisconsin. However, Lyman Welch of the Alliance tells Wisconsin Public Radio that voluntary measures may no longer be enough -- and it's time to address the entire watershed and address all phosphorus pollution sources. The state approved standards to reduce phosphorus levels in 2010. In the last legislative session, Republicans gave businesses and communities up to 20 years to comply, after some said it cost them too much to do so now.