WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Winter returns to the northern half of Wisconsin
Winter returns today to the northern half of Wisconsin. Up to 15-inches of snow are predicted for the far north by the time it clears out early Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings north of a line from Hudson to Florence. Ten-to-15 inches of snow are predicted north of Eagle River. Eight-to-12 inches are possible for most of the northwest -- 4-to-8 inches in the Eau Claire region -- 4-to-7 inches east of Rhinelander -- 3-to-6 north of Wausau -- and an inch-or-two from Wausau as far south as Wisconsin Rapids. Freezing rain is possible in some of those areas. West central Wisconsin expects at least a quarter-inch of ice but no snow. A storm watch was canceled in the Fox Valley and Manitowoc regions. Forecasters say roads could get slippery later today with sleet. In southern Wisconsin, rain and thunderstorms are possible tonight, continuing tomorrow. Parts of the southeast might get snow showers just before the storm system leaves tomorrow night. Expect some of the new snow to melt on Saturday, when sunny skies are in the forecast statewide with highs in the upper-30's and 40's. More precipitation is possible Sunday, with highs rising to the 50's.
Wisconsin's congressional candidates might get millions more in donations, under a U-S Supreme Court ruling yesterday. The justices voted 5-to-4 to strike down aggregate limits on how much donors can give to multiple federal candidates. State officials are reviewing the decision to see how it might affect Wisconsin's campaign finance system. Good-government groups decried the court's ruling. Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said it would benefit 12-hundred donors nationally while quote, "everybody else loses." Jay Heck of Common Cause said the amount one person could give would jump from 123-thousand dollars to three-point-six million in an election cycle. Heck said small contributions would mean "almost nothing anymore," and would be used by the candidates as quote, "window dressing." The head of the Republican National Committee, Wisconsin's Reince Priebus, says people should have the right to free speech by giving to as many candidates and special interest committees as they want. Madison campaign finance attorney Mike Wittenwyler said the court ruling would give us a better idea of who's putting up that money. He said the donors affected by yesterday's ruling must be disclosed, unlike certain special interest groups which don't have to say where their money comes from.
Wisconsin soldiers appear to have escaped the wrath of yesterday's shooting spree at Fort Hood. The state's National Guard said 30 members of the 32nd Infantry combat team are all safe, after an Iraq War veteran with a mental illness opened fire in a building at the Texas base. The Guard soldiers are from throughout Wisconsin. They've been training since February for a mission in Afghanistan. Officials said the gunman killed three people and wounded 16 others before turning the gun on himself. Fort Hood is the same place where 13 soldiers were killed and 32 were wounded in a 2009 shooting spree. Wisconsin figured heavily in that tragedy, as two members of a Madison unit were killed and six other state residents survived. One of those wounded, Dorothy Carskadon of Madison, tells W-K-O-W T-V she has a "sad heart" after yesterday's shootings -- and she hopes the injured survivors are taken care of quickly. Carskadon is now a team leader at the Vet Center in Madison. She said she has fully recovered from the injuries she suffered in the 2009 attack, in which shooter Nidal Hasan was convicted and ordered to get the death penalty.
Election officials in Kaukauna have a mess on their hands, after 130 people received the wrong ballots for a county board contest on Tuesday. Those voters were supposed to get ballots for the 13th District seat on the Outagamie County Board. Instead, they were given ballots for the 10th District race. Leroy Van Asten defeated Jason Fischer 188-to-140 for the 13th District post. Kevin Behnke won by 100 votes for the other seat. Kaukauna City Clerk Sue Duda tells W-L-U-K T-V in Green Bay that she's still trying to figure out what happened and why. Things could be sorted out in the next week, when all the ballots are canvassed and the results are verified. Fischer was the first to notice the mistake. He told the T-V station that might have to seek a recount and then possibly go to court to have the results overturned, and a new election ordered.
Governor Scott Walker says he will most likely approve a bill legalizing a marijuana extract that treats childhood seizures. The Republican Walker told reporters in Janesville yesterday that his office is still reviewing the measure, but he expects to sign it. The governor said the measure that legalizes C-B-D oil is more limited in scope than legalizing medical marijuana -- which has been rejected for years by lawmakers from both parties. Walker also said he expects to sign a bill requiring outside investigators for death incidents involving police officers. He talked about the measures after he signed a bill at Janesville's Chamber of Commerce for new economic development tax credits.
There's a report that a federal agent impersonated the owner of a Milwaukee building, in speaking to We Energies after the power was cut off. The A-T-F rented Dave Salkin's building in 2012 to run a fake storefront operation that tried to catch illegal gun buyers. The Journal Sentinel has obtained an A-T-F report on an internal probe into the bungled sting operation. It said the landlord's utility account information was improperly taken by agents -- and they used it to impersonate Salkin in a conversation with the state's largest electric utility. Salkin didn't know at the time that the tenants were federal agents. The report said he warned them several times to stop exceeding their electric usage allotment of 800-dollars a month. The bill grew to 14-hundred, and the power was cut off when Salkin couldn't pay it. It's just the latest in a series of foul-ups in the A-T-F's "Operation Fearless." The Journal Sentinel said the agency would not comment about the agents' activities, or if anyone was disciplined. Yesterday, A-T-F director Todd Jones appeared before a House committee to answer questions about problems with several storefront sting operations. In the Milwaukee operation, the building was burglarized and numerous items were stolen -- including an agent's machine gun.
A New York hedge fund has scored another victory in its effort to change the course of the Wausau Paper Corporation. The Mosinee-based company has announced a major executive shake-up, apparently linked to ongoing pressure from the Starboard Value fund. Henry "Hank" Newell stepped down yesterday as the C-E-O, and he plans to leave the board of directors after a short transition. Michael Burandt -- who was named to the board in 2012 after being nominated by Starboard -- became the interim C-E-O. He'll also become the company's new board chairman replacing Thomas Howatt, who plans to retire. For the last three years, Starboard has used its minority ownership to criticize Wausau Paper's management plan. During that time, the 115-year-old company has shut down its long-running paper mills in Brokaw and Brainerd Minnesota -- and it sold paper mills in Rhinelander and Mosinee. Starboard has been publicly trying to convince Wausau Paper to sell its timber-lands in the state, and to move its only remaining building -- its headquarters -- out of Wisconsin.