WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: UW-La Crosse will keep its Army officer training program
U-W La Crosse will keep its Army officer training program, after it was almost dropped. The Army said last October it would halt the La Crosse R-O-T-C program and a dozen others by mid-2015 due to what it called a "reduction of resources." School officials and politicians sprung into action, and they convinced the military to give La Crosse a two-year probationary period last November. At the same time, the Army created a new metric scale to help evaluate its Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. Under that scale, La Crosse was required to commission at least 15 officers into the Army each year. They actually produced 15-point-three officers over the past three years, thus giving La Crosse a reprieve at least until 2015 -- when the Army will evaluate the program again. La Crosse military science professor James Hill said the "STEM" program has had a huge impact on his program's ability to stay around. "STEM" stands for science, technology, engineering, and math training.
After winning Wisconsin's closest U-S House primary in 44 years, Glenn Grothman says he wishes the candidate he beat by only one-third of one-percent would not seek a recount. Unofficial returns showed that Grothman edged Joe Leibham by just 214 votes. That's out of 64-thousand cast in Tuesday's Republican primary for the Sixth District House seat in east central Wisconsin. Leibham is waiting for the ballots to be canvassed next week before saying whether he'll seek a recount. Leibham's home county of Sheboygan encountered delays in counting its ballots, after computer problems forced workers to manually type each ward's vote totals onto a spread-sheet which was then posted to the county's Web site. That wasn't finished until 1:15 a-m yesterday, after the A-P had declared Grothman the winner. That declaration has been pulled for now. Grothman's winning margin is the closest for a House primary in Wisconsin since 1970, when Les Aspin won the Democratic nomination for the First District House seat by just 20 votes. Meanwhile, with 82 days until the November election, Grothman says he'd like to get his campaign going against Democrat Mark Harris. Grothman said he's confident his lead will "hold strong." The winner in November will replace 36-year incumbent Tom Petri, who's retiring.
A 12-year-old girl from Minneapolis is getting rabies shots, after she was attacked by an otter in northwest Wisconsin. Media reports said 12-year-old Rory Kliewer was swimming with friends in Bone Lake near Luck, when she climbed onto a dock and the otter bit her in the rear. The otter also struck Rory's head and scratched her face. It then chased her onto dry land, where a friend's mother and a dog distracted the otter. A family friend yelled at the otter until it retreated. The family said the rabies shots were meant to be a precaution. Rory tells the Saint Paul Pioneer Press she's not sure if she'll ever swim in a lake again.
Today is the last of Wisconsin's annual Farm Technology Days. The state's largest farm show began on Tuesday at a pair of farms east of Plover in Portage County. Potatoes are king in that region. And the state's Potato and Vegetable Growers Association unveiled a new promotional vehicle at the show called the "Wisconsin Spudmobile." It's a bus built ona converted motor-home chassis, which features the illusion of being in a potato field. It also has interactive displays that describe the varieties, uses, and sustainability of Wisconsin potatoes. Nick Somers says the Spudmobile will go around the state to educate folks about the value of the Wisconsin potato. Around 80-thousand people were expected to attend the three-day Farm Technology show, which features the latest in farm equipment plus numerous demonstrations and exhibits. It's been blessed with great weather so far. Another sunny day is in the forecast statewide, with comfortable highs in the 70's.
Governor Scott Walker is defending Wisconsin's environmental policies, as Chippewa Indians try to get the federal E-P-A to intervene in Gogebic Taconite's mining plans. Leaders of six Chippewa tribes in northern Wisconsin will meet Saturday with E-P-A officials in Traverse City Michigan. They filed a petition in May to have the federal government invoke part of the Clean Water Act, and consider federal vetoes of state decisions on things like dredging and digging close to waterways. The tribes say Wisconsin's mining laws don't do enough to protect water, wild rice, and fish downstream -- all of which are federally-protected in agreements on and around reservations. Lac du Flambeau tribal chairman Tom Maulson says he's seen no evidence which proves that a mine could be environmentally safe. Governor Walker said in Rhinelander this week that the state takes a science-based and consistent approach to protecting natural resources. A few weeks ago, the Republican Walker said he hoped the E-P-A would use science instead of politics to base its decisions involving the proposed Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine.
The Wisconsin-based Kohl's Department store chain reported a flat net income for its latest quarter, while earnings were slightly higher than projected. The Menomonee Falls company reports a net income of 232-million dollars for the second quarter of its fiscal year. That's one-million more than a year ago. Earnings for stockholders rose 1.04-a-share to 1.13. That's six cents higher than what outside analysts projected. Kohl's revenues were one-percent lower than the previous year, topping out at almost four-and-a-quarter billion dollars.
What happened to summer? That's what folks in far northern Wisconsin want to know. The mercury got to within one degree of freezing overnight in Land O'Lakes, along the state's border with Upper Michigan in Vilas County. It was 33 there at five o'clock, and just four degrees warmer two hours later. Overnight lows dropped into the 40's in most of the northern half of the Badger State, but it was still in the relatively comfortable 50's in the south. It continues our relatively cool summer, where only a few places have seen 90 degrees in the aftermath of long hot spells in each of the last two years. The National Weather Service says a high pressure system will move across the Badger State today -- bringing sunny weather and highs a bit below normal in the 70's. It's supposed to get warmer and more humid going into the weekend, with a chance for thunderstorms on Saturday.