WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Today and tomorrow will be warm and humid throughout state
It cooled down over the weekend, but another one-day heat wave is in the offing today for much of Wisconsin. The National Weather Service has posted heat advisories from noon-to-8 p-m for 18 counties in southwest and west central Wisconsin, from Polk County southward to the Illinois border. The Weather Service says the heat index could hit 105 in the advisory area, with actual temperatures in the upper-90's in some places. A high pressure slid throughout the Great Lakes during the weekend, which is why most of Wisconsin didn't get out of the 70's yesterday. A new low pressure system is chugging through the region today. Showers and thunderstorms are expected on-and-off through tomorrow night in most of the state, with temperatures staying well above seasonal norms into tomorrow. Cooler-and-drier weather is forecast from Wednesday through the end of the week.
Cleaning up the Great Lakes, and restoring habitat, will be the priorities discussed by U-S and Canadian officials in Milwaukee this week. "Great Lakes Week" begins today, and runs through Thursday. Numerous leaders will be on hand from state-and-local governments, environmental groups, industries, and Indian tribes. The International Joint Commission, the U-S and Canadian group that oversees the Great Lakes, is scheduled to meet in Milwaukee this week. The Council of Great Lakes Industries will join the commission, and the U-S Areas of Concern. State D-N-R Secretary Cathy Stepp is scheduled to speak tomorrow at a meeting of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
The Wisconsin Legislature is off to a slow start with its fall session. The full Assembly does not plan to meet at all this month. Its Republican leadership is re-grouping, after Majority Leader Scott Suder took a job with the state Public Service Commission. The Senate, meanwhile, only has one session scheduled for the month -- that being a week from tomorrow. They're expected to act on a couple of lingering measures -- plus reducing public access to recreational land at Gogebic Taconite's iron ore mine. Also, leaders of both houses are working behind-the-scenes to find common ground on tougher drunk driving penalties, and making private voucher schools follow the same standards as public schools. An Assembly committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on tougher drunk driving penalties which opponents say would cost millions more for prison facilities. Speaker Robin Vos has told members to focus on something that can pass. Vos also says there's no chance that lawmakers will pass Republican Andre Jacque's second effort to pass a "personhood amendment" -- giving unborn children the same rights as those who've been born. Not even the state's largest pro-life group favors it -- and Vos says it's not going anywhere. A Senate hearing is planned Wednesday on legalizing raw milk. That might not go anywhere, either, as Republican Governor Scott Walker says he wants to focus on job creation and worker training.
It appears uncertain at best whether Governor Scott Walker will get the campaign money he needs to win the presidency in 2016. The Associated Press says Walker is among a group of Republican hopefuls courting major donors to Romney's failed 2012 White House bid. And according to a report this morning, many Romney donors want to shy away from Walker because of the governor's criticisms of the way Romney ran his campaign a year ago. That, of course, could change with 38 months to go until the next presidential contest. The A-P notes that it's not too early for all the possible Republican hopefuls to start courting large donations -- even though some, like Walker and Janesville House Republican Paul Ryan, are busy with re-election bids for their current offices in 2014. Walker and Ryan are both expected to attend a September 23rd fund-raising event at the home of senior Romney donor Woody Johnson, who owns the N-F-L's New York Jets. Romney himself recently said that only one-or-two Republicans have a legitimate shot to win the White House in 2016. He did not name names. At a recent New Hampshire G-O-P fund-raiser, Romney urged Republicans to quote, "stay smart" by backing candidates who have the best chance of winning.
Harvest time is coming soon -- and large farm vehicles face a larger risk of getting into crashes with a growing number of non-farmers. The state D-O-T said there were 14-hundred collisions which involved farm machinery in the eight years ending in 2012. Twenty-five died in those mishaps, and over 700 were injured. Washington County dairy farmer Ross Bishop must drive up to 13 miles to get to his crops -- and he says it's a risky proposition sometimes. He said some drivers get upset as they try to pass his slow-moving farm vehicle on a two-lane road. Bishop says he smiles and waves when motorists give what he calls the "one finger salute." Brown County dairy farmer Mike Gerrits says that when tracks backs up behind him on Highway 57, he'll pull off to another road and let people pass. He says farmers do not try to cause bottle-necks. State deputy agriculture secretary Jeff Lyon says a lot more people are living in the country -- thus creating more potential for farm-and-non-farm driving conflicts. Jim Ostrom of the Rosendale Dairy says it's a world economy these days, and many farmers are working nights and Sundays when they didn't have to do so in the past. These are some of the issues being discussed as a state study group recommends changes in traffic laws involving farm machinery. The package is getting public hearings before it goes to the full Legislature.
A couple hundred people saw an exact replica of the National World War Two Memorial when it came to Racine County. The 8-by-8-vote traveling exhibit appeared yesterday at the State Veterans' Home near Union Grove. During a program, the group heard stories of World War Two heroism from retired Army Colonel Jill Morgenthaler. As the numbers of World War Two veterans dwindle, many Wisconsinites have taken donated Honor Flights to Washington to see the nine-year-old memorial and rekindle their service memories. Steven Schafer of the Pillars-of-Honor says lots of World War Two veterans are in no condition to fly -- so that's why his group has spent the last three years touring the country with a mini-memorial. It was in Kenosha County in 2012. Just like the one in D-C, the mini-version has 56 stone pillars representing the various states and territories, and over four-thousand stars -- each representing 100 Americans who died in World War Two. Because of the fine construction, Schafer says the replica can only be shown inside. That's unlike the mini-Wall -- the small version of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial which has traveled the country for almost two decades.
The Powerball jackpot is at 245-million-dollars for Wednesday night. Nobody won the top prize on Saturday, but Wisconsin did have three big winners. One ticket won 40-thousand-dollars by having the Power Play, and matching four regular numbers plus the Powerball. Two other Wisconsin players won 10-thousand each by matching four numbers plus the Powerball. Almost 19-thousand players in the Badger State won something. Saturday's numbers were 2, 19, 22, 26, and 45. The Powerball was 24. Wednesday night's cash option is at 136-million. The current jackpot has been building since August 7th, and it has rolled over nine times. In Mega Millions, the jackpot is at 106-million dollars for tomorrow night.