Overnight State News Briefs: Waukesha County to have until May 26 to complete recountWisconsin News
-- Waukesha County will have until May 26th to finish a recount of its State Supreme Court ballots from last month. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess granted an extension this morning. He’ll hold another hearing on Friday to see how things are going.
MADISON - Waukesha County will have until May 26th to finish a recount of its State Supreme Court ballots from last month. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess granted an extension this morning. He’ll hold another hearing on Friday to see how things are going.
All counties were required to finish their recounts by five p.m. today – and state officials expect everybody but Waukesha to beat the deadline. The county only had 30-percent of its ballots counted as of this past weekend. The judge said he would not order that the process be sped up, but the county’s doing it on its own. Corporation Counsel Thomas Farley said they started using a larger room at the courthouse this morning, and two voting wards instead of one are being tabulated at once.
As of the weekend, Supreme Court Justice David Prosser had a 27,000-vote lead over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg with four counties till out. Prosser won the initial county canvasses by 7,316 votes – and because the margin was less than a half-percent, Kloppenburg asked for the statewide recount. This morning, Kloppenburg’s camp said it supported the later deadline to make sure an accurate count is taken in Waukesha County.
A Kenosha priest who’s accused of having a sexually-explicit phone chat with a young girl is not talking to the police about it. Officials said the Reverend Michael Nowak hired a lawyer, and his case was referred today to the police department’s sensitive crimes unit. Nowak is the pastor at Saint Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Kenosha, where parishioners were told during the weekend that he’s on administrative leave pending investigations. Both the police and the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese are looking into the matter independently. Archbishop Jerome Listecki said the church received a report of an inappropriate phone conversation involving Nowak and the minor female – and there was no report of physical contact between the two.
Wisconsin will not get federal stimulus money to improve its Amtrak high-speed train from Milwaukee-to-Chicago. The U.S. Transportation Department has rejected the Badger State’s request for a share of two-billion-dollars in high-speed rail funding that was turned down by Florida. Federal DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said he got almost 100 applicants for the money – and it’s evidence that America is hungry for better rail service. The Wisconsin funding would have provided more train vehicles, locomotives, and maintenance facilities for the Milwaukee-to-Chicago line. Eyebrows were raised when GOP Governor Scott Walker asked for $150-million-dollars for those projects, after he gave back $810-million to extend the same line from Milwaukee-to-Madison. Walker has said he supports the high-speed service to Chicago, saying it beats the Windy City’s traffic congestion. On the other hand, he said it’s much easier-and-cheaper to drive from Milwaukee-to-Madison – and at over $30-dollars a ticket, he took issue with those who said the poor would ride it. The Northeast U.S. is getting the lion’s share of the new stimulus money. It will be used to speed up trains from 135-miles-an-hour to 160 in certain places. The Milwaukee-to-Chicago route goes up to 79-miles-an-hour.
A 78-year-old man killed in Waukesha County was identified today as Ronald Siepmann, a semi-retired real estate developer. Authorities said a relative killed him at a Mother’s Day celebration at Siepmann’s home yesterday – and a 17-year-old boy from Fox Point is expected to make his first court appearance tomorrow. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the house late yesterday morning, and they found Siepmann’s body near a shed on his land. His brother Jim told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Siepmann joined his family’s home development business over a half-century ago – and after another brother died, Ronald Siepmann became the company’s president in 1957. In recent years, he lived in Arizona during the winter, and worked with the family of realty business when he was in Waukesha County for the summers. Siepmann had just returned to Wisconsin on Saturday.
A driver who struck the rear of a school bus in south-central Wisconsin last week has died from his injuries. 19-year-old Cory Adams of Poynette died over the weekend at UW Hospital in Madison. The crash happened Friday near Arlington on Highway 51. Columbia County authorities said a bus with two students slowed down to make a turn when a vehicle driven by Adams rear-ended the bus. The bus driver and the only two students on board escaped injuries. The crash remains under investigation by Columbia County sheriff’s deputies and the State Patrol.
It isn’t unusual for the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to hold a meeting and see several empty seats. Some are using that as an argument to reduce the number of seats on the board. It could save the county significant money. Over the last three years at least six board members have been absent a dozen times, or more, at major committee and board meetings. The absentee rate is at least 10 percent. Some board members argue all the seats are necessary for adequate representation of the city’s neighborhoods.
It’s called one of Wisconsin’s dirtiest power plants. Milwaukee’s Valley Power Plant will transition to natural gas, although no timetable has been announced. That plant isn’t one of the biggest in the state, but it has always been the source of a lot of pollution. The transition process will have to go through the Public Service Commission and will require a lot of public input. A Sierra Club spokesperson says her group would want to see plant owner WE Energies most as quickly on the project as is possible.
The Waukesha County Historical Society is honoring the Navy SEAL team that took out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. The group has designed a “thank you” banner as apart of its “Support Your Troops Day” exhibit. The banner will reportedly stay up all week so people can put their signatures on its. Then, the historical society will send the banner to the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which performed the burial of bin Laden at sea after he was killed.
Fish farmers and hatchery employees can learn more about cold-water fish at a workshop next month. The Wisconsin Aqua-culture Association is joining UW-Madison and Stevens Point in sponsoring a two-day program at Bayfield and nearby Red Cliff on June eighth-and-ninth. Experts from throughout the nation will speak about a variety of research on species like rainbow trout, Coho-and-Atlantic salmon, and arctic char. Water quality and pond management techniques will also be explored.