Afternoon News Briefs - Eight men rescued from iceWisconsin News
-- Eight men were rescued in De Pere this morning as they floated down the Fox River on a large piece of ice where they were fishing and they were stranded for about an hour.
DE PERE - Eight men were rescued in De Pere this morning as they floated down the Fox River on a large piece of ice where they were fishing and they were stranded for about an hour.
The men were connected to the shore at the start. But one of them called 911 around 7:15, after he noticed that the ice had floated away close to Voyageur Park. Winds were gusting up to 35 miles an hour at the time and De Pere Fire Chief Robert Kiser said the winds and the colder temperatures made the rescue effort difficult. The floating ice was about 80 feet long and 40 feet wide. Some of the men reportedly didn’t know the ice was floating until they saw currents in the hole where they were fishing. They were in a shelter at the time. A De Pere fire boat and Brown County’s airport were used in the rescues. The men were told to leave without taking anything with them. Kiser says it might be tomorrow before they get their belongings and whatever fish they caught.
Alliant Energy of Madison reports a 21 percent increase in its quarterly profits. But the company also said it would sell its renewable energy division due to a problem with a solar project. Among other things, Alliant operates Wisconsin Power and Light in south central Wisconsin. Its net income rose from $47 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $57 million in the final quarter last year. Alliant said its electric and natural gas businesses did well, thanks to higher rates that were approved by state regulators, and lower costs to secure electricity. But the RMT renewable energy division lost $0.19 a share, $0.17 more than the year before due mainly to problems at a solar facility in New Jersey. Alliant said a subcontractor abandoned the project, and it led to delays and additional costs. The firm says it’s suing the subcontractor and RMT’s wind energy projects also had slightly fewer returns. Alliant’s board decided this month to sell the renewable operation.
A Democratic organizer says four Republican state senators will not be able to escape recall elections by convincing the state to invalidate thousands of petition signatures. Zac Kramer told the AP he made a cursory review of the challenges filed yesterday by the four senators and he doesn’t believe the Government Accountability Board will uphold all those challenges. According to preliminary numbers, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is challenging 1100 more signatures than he needs to have stricken in order to avoid a recall vote. And Chippewa Falls Senator Terry Moulton is challenging about a hundred more signatures than he might need to ward off his recall. Kramer said Fitzgerald made a number of frivolous challenges that won’t stand, like counting some of his challenges twice, and wrongly claiming that some of the petitions did not have required information. Pam Galloway of Wausau and Van Wanggaard of Racine apparently fell short of challenging enough signatures to avoid their recall elections. But they still hope to invalidate more signatures, by asking that the GOP’s new handmade Senate districts be used for the elections instead of the old ones drawn up by a federal court a decade ago. The new boundaries are not scheduled to take effect until this fall, pending legal efforts by Democrats and Hispanics to strike them down. Also, Fitzgerald said petitioners were improperly given 61 days to circulate petitions instead of the required 60, due to the King Day holiday last month.