Saturday State News Briefs: Horses found sick with EEE in six countiesWisconsin News
-- More than two dozen horses in six Wisconsin counties have been diagnosed with the deadly eastern equine encephalitis since the middle of last month.
More than two dozen horses in six Wisconsin counties have been diagnosed with the deadly eastern equine encephalitis since the middle of last month.
Mosquitoes carry the disease which can kill horses by striking their central nervous system. It has a mortality rate reported at 90 percent. State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt says horse owners need to call a vet if their horses show any of the symptoms of EEE.
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee Presidential Trust. That means the Janesville Republican will head the party's fundraising effort to win back the White House. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is a close friend of Ryan's. He says the Trust will raise money and act as a partner with the Republican nominee for president. Ryan says raising the money needed to win the election will be the deciding factor in 2012. At one time Ryan was considered a potential candidate, but he announced earlier this year that he wasn't running.
As Milwaukee scrambles to find places to save money, it is being told changing rules to end eligibility for early retirements could save up to 60 million dollars. A consultant told county supervisors yesterday that a lot of money could be saved by blocking access to the county's "Rule of 75" retirement provision. Under that rule, workers whose age and years of service total 75 can retire with a full pension.
Frontier Airlines has notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development it plans to cut 213 jobs at Mitchell International Airport. The positions will be eliminated between November 14th and 23rd. Frontier has about 12 hundred people working in Milwaukee right now. Frontier announced last week its plans to cut nearly one-third of its 67 flights from Milwaukee to eliminate routes that are losing money. Flights to Green Bay, Madison, Dayton, Cleveland, Des Moines and Minneapolis will be cut in November.
A national medical group is attacking Wisconsinites’ love affair with cheese. The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine has rented a billboard just south of Green Bay on the Highway 41 expressway. It shows the Grim Reaper wearing a Cheese-head. And it says “Warning – Cheese Can Sack Your Health – Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium.” Northbound drivers on 41 will start seeing the billboard Monday. And Packer fans will see it a week from Sunday as they head to the Green Bay-Denver football game at Lambeau Field. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board disputes both the message and the messenger. Board senior vice president Patrick Geoghegan says the Physicians’ Committee has backing from animal rights’ groups. And he says the American Medical Association is among those who’ve said the group’s practices are quote, “irresponsible and potentially dangerous” to people’s health. The Marketing Board said all of its nutrition information is scientifically-based – and his organization takes that very seriously, and not everybody else does.
Six arrests are made in connection with a drug investigation on the Menominee reservation. The suspects range in age from 25 to 38. They were arrested today on suspicion they were selling cocaine. A seventh suspect is said to still be at large. Officers and agents from more than a half-dozen agencies took part in the effort. An FBI spokesman says the suspects knew each other and were working together to sell drugs.
Wisconsin state Representative Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) says child porn offenders rarely wind up serving any jail time in the state. Speaking at yesterday’s Assembly Criminal Justice Committee hearing, Honadel said only three people arrested for child pornography were jail in Wisconsin. Honadel is backing new legislation which would require automatic sentences for anyone convicted on child porn charges.
Madison police say they are searching for a teenager who pulled a gun on people near LaFollette High School. The suspect was reportedly walking near Linda Vista Road and Spaanem Avenue when he yelled at a couple in a car and showed them his gun. After a verbal exchange, the suspect walked toward the high school and it was placed on lockdown. No shots were fired and no one was injured.
State school superintendent Tony Evers says Wisconsin will seek waivers as soon as possible from basic parts of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That’s after President Obama announced that he would let states seek the waivers. He said states can scrap the requirement that all children must be proficient in math-and-reading by 2014, if the states can show that they’ve done better to prepare students. Evers is working with Governor Scott Walker and a task force of education leaders on developing a new system of testing and standards. Evers said today’s White House announcement would let Wisconsin be innovative, and design a system of accountability that’s more meaningful. Evers and school officials throughout Wisconsin have long criticized the former Bush education act, saying it only encourages kids to pass tests. States also took offense to being called “failures” for not meeting certain parts of the law. Evers said the Wisconsin plan would still address ways to improve low-performing schools – something Obama insists upon before Washington grants waivers.
The new president of Marquette University says he wants to provide greater student access to the Milwaukee Jesuit school – while maintaining its high quality. Scott Pilarz made the remark at his inaugural ceremony today. Over 100 officials attended from schools throughout the country. The inaugural was held almost two months after he started replacing former Marquette president Robert Wild on August first. The 52-year-old Pilarz said access-and-quality cannot be an “either-or proposition.” And both goals must be met quote, “for Marquette to remain authentically Marquette.”
A Mequon man is due back in court next Thursday, on charges that his van struck-and-injured a Milwaukee police officer who was on a bicycle. A Milwaukee County circuit judge is expected to decide if there’s enough evidence to put 47-year-old Vladimir Krivoshein on trial on two counts of causing injury by drunk driving, and injury by hit-and-run. Prosecutors quoted Krivoshein as saying he had “several swigs of vodka” before his van struck officer Allan Tenhaken and kept going. Officers arrested the van driver a few minutes later – and they said he did not perform well on his sobriety tests. Authorities said Tenhaken was conducting a field interview with a colleague when the van struck him at a high rate of speed on the night of September 15th. Prosecutors said the side mirror hit the officer and sent him sprawling.
Wisconsin’s Revenue Department is getting a heap of praise today from anti-smoking groups. That’s after the agency warned tobacco shops that they must pay two sets of state taxes if they let customers roll their own cigarettes. About 50-to-100 stores have roll-your-own machines – and the state says they must register and pay taxes for being both a distributor and a manufacturer of smokes. The group Smoke-Free Wisconsin contended that some shops were breaking the law by not paying the required taxes. Alison Miller of the American Cancer Society said the machines are out-in-the-open, where underage customers could buy cigarettes illegally at a cheaper price that teens can afford. The Revenue Department says they’ll check on those places. The agency sent out a letter today reminding retailers of their tax obligations. Over the last 10 years, Wisconsin’s consumer cigarette tax has jumped from 59-cents a pack to just over two-and-a-half dollars.
A former Milwaukee police officer was sentenced today to two years in a federal prison, for his involvement in a drug deal that was staged as part of a sting operation. Royce Lockett was arrested after an informant told Milwaukee Police that several officers had been dealing with drug traffickers. As part of the sting operation, Lockett was given a thousand dollars to give the informant a ride to a certain location – and then the officer delivered over four-pounds of fake cocaine to somebody else. Lockett apparently believed he was transporting almost 20-thousand-dollars worth of cocaine. The activities were all videotaped as evidence. Lockett arranged a plea deal – but it’s sealed along with several other documents in the case. He resigned from the Milwaukee police force in early February, after serving for 14 years.
East Troy Police continue to investigate the deaths of two babies who were apparently left un-attended in a bathtub. Officers were called to an apartment yesterday afternoon, where they found the infants to be unresponsive. The officers attempted C-P-R, but the children died later at a hospital in Waukesha. Police have not said how old the infants were. But the Lake Country Reporter said they were 11-month-old twins, a boy and a girl. The paper also said the mother was the only other person home at the time. That conflicts with a Milwaukee T-V report which quoted a neighbor as saying the mother was also watching her two other kids, ages 2-and-5. Walworth County sheriff’s deputies are helping East Troy Police with their probe.