WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Prescott had nearly seven inches of snow Thursday
Most of Wisconsin got a fresh coating of snow yesterday, as temperatures warmed up to near the freezing mark. East Farmington in Polk County had the most, with seven-and-a-half inches. Prescott in Pierce County had six-point-seven inches. The northern half of the state generally picked up 3-to-6 inches. Rhinelander set a new record for the date with five-point-one. Many folks will soon wonder where they're going to put all the snow. Winchester in Vilas County reports a very high average snow cover of 37-inches. If you didn't shovel yesterday, the job could be a lot harder this morning after the skies cleared and arctic air returned. It was 21-below in Hayward at six o'clock. Much of northern Wisconsin was at least in the minus-teens. It was generally above zero in the south, including Madison and Milwaukee. Winds were light to non-existent, putting wind chill factors generally in the minus-teens-and-20's at six a-m. The National Weather Service says a high-pressure system will bring us sunny skies today with temperatures in the single-digits above. Another storm system is due in tomorrow. Southern Wisconsin could get several inches of snow, with lesser amounts in the north.
Low-income Wisconsinites who use propane to heat their homes will get an extra 14-million dollars under the federal fuel assistance program. U-S Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin announced the allocation yesterday, as state residents continue to struggle with a propane shortage that has raised prices beyond five-dollars a gallon. Governor Scott Walker made a similar request to President Obama this week, and he reinforced the urgency of the matter when Obama flew into Milwaukee yesterday for a speech in Waukesha. Baldwin said rural homeowners are facing quote, "crisis conditions." U-S propane supplies fell to their lowest levels on record during the second week in January -- a week after Wisconsin suffered the first of two massive cold waves that dropped wind-chills down to 55-below. U-S Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says his agency is looking for ways to mitigate the propane shortages. He noted that farmers used a lot more fuel than normal last week to dry their crops before they could be harvested. Moniz did not cite higher U-S exports of propane. Those exports have doubled in the past two years, rising to 410-thousand barrels a day as of last November.
The next C-E-O of Microsoft could be a U-W Milwaukee graduate. Various media reports say Satya Nadella is one of the top contenders to replace Steve Ballmer -- who's expected to retire later this year. Nadella earned a master's degree in computer science from U-W-M in 1990, and he received the Chancellor's Innovator Award from the Milwaukee school in 2013. He's currently the executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud-and-enterprise division. It's in charge of Microsoft computing platforms, cloud services, and developers' tools. The tech site ReCode-Dot-Net first reported yesterday that Nedella is a possible candidate as the new Microsoft C-E-O. Bloomberg News and Reuters confirmed it later. Nadella is originally from Hyderabad India. The new C-E-O would be only the third in Microsoft's 38-year history, joining Ballmer and Bill Gates.
You may not realize it, but Super Bowl Sunday can be a deadly time on Wisconsin roads. The state D-O-T said three people were killed in traffic crashes on the day of the Big Game a year ago. On Sunday, as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks suit up, Wisconsin law enforcement will call their own audible and line up in their anti-drunk driving mode. That means officers will watch for drivers who've had one-too-many drinks at bars and house parties before, during, and after the game. The D-O-T says the ideal thing is to hand the keys off to a designated driver who will stay sober -- or else arrange an alternative ride. Wisconsinites will have a big rooting interest in Sunday's Super Bowl, even though the Packers are not in it. Both teams have several former Badgers and ex-Green Bay players. The most prominent are ex-Wisconsin running back Montee Ball of the Broncos and former Badgers' quarterback Russell Wilson of Seattle. Kick-off is at 5:30 Sunday evening.
A committee vote might come within two weeks on a controversial bill to let Wisconsin retail-and-factory employees work seven days a week if they choose. A public hearing on the measure was held yesterday on the measure, which would drop the mandatory requirement that stores-and-factories give all workers at least 24 hours off each week. Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend said it would have to be voluntary on the workers' part -- and it would give them extra money while boosting production for their companies. Senate Democrat Fred Risser of Madison said it looks nice on paper -- but in the real world, it would let employers intimidate their people into working longer. Unions pointed out that employers can already get state waivers so their people can work seven days if they want. The state received almost 170 such waiver requests last year -- and they were all approved. Grothman chairs the Senate's labor committee, which held yesterday's hearing -- and he promises to have his panel vote on the bill next month. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has not said if his house would take it up. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he'll wait for the committee vote, and then discuss it with his fellow Republicans before any possible action.
Former congressman and governor's candidate Mark Green almost became a finalist for the next University of Wisconsin System president. Records released yesterday showed that Green was among the top-five candidates -- but he did not get enough votes from a search committee as one of the three finalists. The U-W Board of Regents eventually chose an internal candidate, Extension-and-Colleges chancellor Ray Cross, to replace the departed Kevin Reilly. Cross will take over next month. Former Extension-and-Colleges chancellor David Wilson also made the top-five for the president's post. He ended up withdrawing. Green served eight years in the U-S House as a Republican from Green Bay, before he ran and lost for governor in 2006. After that, he served 17 months as the U-S ambassador to Tanzania -- and he directed a non-profit group that fights malaria. In 2010, Green was named to the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a foreign aid group that seeks to end worldwide poverty.
The state D-N-R is asking people to report any dead deer they find. The cold-and-snowy winter is expected to take its toll on the deer herd, just like it did a year ago when winter conditions dragged into May. It resulted in lower deer populations, and hunters were given their fewest permits for antlerless deer since the 1990's. Now, the D-N-R is hoping people will report dead animals, so they can get better estimate of the deer population. They'll use those numbers to determine hunter permits for does this fall. The D-N-R says it anticipates either no antlerless permits -- or extremely-limited permits -- in northern Wisconsin where doe populations have been small for some time.