Afternoon State News Briefs: Students escape injury from bus accident in Green BayWisconsin News
-- Forty-eight students escaped injury this morning when a school bus collided with an SUV near Green Bay.
GREEN BAY - Forty-eight students escaped injury this morning when a school bus collided with an SUV near Green Bay.
According to Brown County sheriff’s deputies, the 68-year-old bus driver turned left and was hit by an oncoming SUV driven by a 27-year-old Ledgeview woman. It happened at a corner with four-way stop signs. The students were heading to Heritage Elementary School, and several students from De Pere High School were on the bus.
A second rally will be held in Milwaukee tonight to try and get Governor-elect Scott Walker to drop his opposition to the controversial high-speed train. Like the first one, union members and rail advocates will explain the jobs that could be lost if the Milwaukee-to-Madison train is scrapped. The state AFL-CIO, the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, and Wisconsin Citizen Action are sponsoring the rally – which will be a candlelight vigil starting at five o’clock at the Talgo train manufacturing plant.
The National Weather Service was still trying to determine this morning if it was a tornado that hit Union Grove in Racine County yesterday. The Grove Gear plant lost its roof in the storm. Officials said up to 90 of the plant’s 208 employees were in the building when a tornado alarm was sounded. No one was hurt. If a tornado is confirmed, it would be the second in the area. The Weather Service confirmed a twister near Fontana in Walworth County. It was only the fourth tornado ever recorded in Wisconsin in the month of November.
The Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese cannot use insurance money to pay over a dozen victims of sexual abuse by priests. That’s what the state’s First District Appeals Court ruled this morning. The judges refused to accept the church’s reasoning that the priest abuse was intended or expected. And therefore, the archdiocese said it should be considered an “accident” that should be covered by insurance. But the court sided with the abuse victims. It said the cause of their injuries cannot be considered accidental – and it did not occur by chance. The appellate judges said the abuse and the allegations that the church hid them might have been prompted by negligence – but it was quote, “devoid of any suggestion of accident.” Observers say today’s ruling could speed up settlements of the abuse victims’ lawsuits against the church. That’s because the archdiocese could face millions in payments if juries in civil trials find the church negligent.
University of Wisconsin president Kevin Reilly and the chancellors around the state are calling for civil behavior on campus. That’s after a number of incidents this fall that included the death of a UW-Stout student, allegedly by two hockey players – and three incidents at Whitewater that targeted blacks and gay people. Reilly and about 15 other top university leaders issued an open letter calling for a re-commitment to quote, “a shared sense of civility.” And they announced a special conference called “Civility in Everyday Life,” to be held next February 22nd-through-24th at UW-Oshkosh. The president, chancellors, and deans who signed the letter said everyone has the right to express an opinion, but with respect – and not with abusive behavior. And they said everyone has an obligation to challenge abusive conduct on both the campuses and their surrounding communities.
An apparent trial balloon for a higher Wisconsin sales tax is getting a non-committal from Scott Walker’s office, while Democrats slam the idea. Rick Chandler, a member of the Governor-elect’s transition team, says a higher sales tax would let the state reduce the taxes that keep business away – namely, the local property tax and the state income tax. Chandler, a former state budget director, told the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute the state sales tax should be hiked to seven-and-a-half percent from the current five-percent. And he said he was speaking on his own, and not as a member of the Walker team. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie did not rule out the idea. He said the new governor is committed to cutting taxes, but did not say if Walker is willing to raise one tax with the idea of lowering another. State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate called the Chandler tax idea quote, “a burden to working families as a payoff to their corporate cronies.” Other critics said a higher sales tax would hurt low-and-middle income people the most – but Chandler says that’s not true, because necessities like food are tax-free.
A circuit judge says “no” to a new trial for an 18-year-old Neenah man who got life in prison for strangling his father. Zach Reid now claims he was quote, “trashed” on marijuana, vodka, and prescription drugs just before he killed his 53-year-old father at their apartment in October of 2008. The defense said during his trial that Reid was completely sober when strangled his father during an argument about his being grounded. He claimed self-defense at the time, saying his father was coming at him with a knife when he responded. He said he panicked, and that was why he dumped his father’s body in a car and left it outside a school in Neenah. Winnebago County Circuit Judge Scott Woldt said Reid has quote, “absolutely zero credibility.”
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was named today as a distinguished lecturer at Marquette University. The former Milwaukee Brewers’ owner has spent the last year lecturing several law school classes on professional sports laws. Today’s announcement makes the arrangement formal. The 76-year-old Selig has been the Major League’s CEO since 1992, and he’s currently under contract through 2012. Selig is a Milwaukee native and a UW-Madison graduate, and has had a number of ties to Marquette. Among other things, he’s been on the board of the law school’s National Sports Law Institute since it began 21 years ago.