Morning State News Briefs: New Berlin man to make recovery from accidentWisconsin News
-- The most seriously-injured survivor in a traffic crash that killed three people is expected to make a full recovery. That's what his mother said on Facebook about 52-year-old William Wagner of New Berlin. Wagner remains hospitalized in Milwaukee.
NEW BERLIN - The most seriously-injured survivor in a traffic crash that killed three people is expected to make a full recovery. That's what his mother said on Facebook about 52-year-old William Wagner of New Berlin. Wagner remains hospitalized in Milwaukee.
His 49-year-old brother Thomas was killed in the two-vehicle crash on Sunday, along with Thomas's wife Catherine and his sister Patricia White. Police said their SUV was stopped at a stop-sign when it was hit by a car from the left that veered out of control. Officials said the car driver, a 36-year-old New Berlin man, might have suffered a medical condition just before the mishap. That driver and a passenger were taken to a Waukesha hospital for treatment of their injuries. The Wagner family was heading to a birthday party hosted by their mother at the Fireside Dinner Theater in Fort Atkinson.
Republican state lawmakers have asked three federal judges not to release 84 documents about the way the GOP drew up new legislative districts last year. Most of the documents are e-mails, and Republicans say they should be subject to attorney-client privilege. A group of Democrats and the Milwaukee Hispanic group Voces de la Frontera have argued that the e-mails should be released. They're suing the GOP to try and strike down the new district maps, and a trial in that case is scheduled to begin a week from today in federal court in Milwaukee. The Hispanic group says previous orders from the three-judge panel make it clear that the Republican documents must be released. Lawmakers tried several times to withhold records and avoid depositions about the maps they drew, claiming the whole process was subject to attorney-client privilege. But the court didn't buy that, and most of the documents wound up being released.
President Obama will start a three-day trip tomorrow that includes fund-raising concerts for his re-election campaign -- plus a message of hope for Milwaukee's impoverished inner-city. Obama will make his first visit to Wisconsin tomorrow in more than a year. And his only stop will be at Milwaukee's Master Lock factory. The White House says the Democrat Obama will quote, "discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last, based on American manufacturing and the importance of companies in-sourcing and investing in America." The president has hailed Master Lock several times as an industrial success story -- one that included the return of 100 jobs from China just over a year ago. But while Master Lock succeeds, most of its industrial neighbors on Milwaukee's north side sit empty-and-bare. Marc Levine of UWM calls it the "epicenter of Milwaukee's economic decline over the past generation." Gloria Stearns, head of the 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corporation, is grateful for the president's help, creating an image boost that money can't buy. And she hopes new industries will quote, "look at us twice."
A Wisconsin technical college leader says his school fits in perfectly with President Obama's new initiative to train employees in high-growth industries. Yesterday, the president said he would ask Congress for eight-billion dollars to help community colleges train people in growing fields like advanced manufacturing and health care. Chris Matheny of Fox Valley Technical College near Appleton says the Obama plan fits the school's mission, scope, and expertise. The funding is part of the federal budget the Democrat Obama proposed for fiscal 2013. Schools would get financial incentives for training people who find permanent jobs in the targeted fields. Matheny says Fox Valley Tech teaches those who need more advanced skills in manufacturing -- and it's looking to train new workers to replace Baby Boomers who will soon leave a host of industries. Fox Valley Tech is asking its voters this spring to approve almost 12-million dollars for new training center for health care workers, with an eye toward addressing a nursing shortage. The referendum also includes over six-million for a new transportation center to train skilled workers in short supply -- jobs that include diesel mechanics and truck drivers.
It would be easier to transport goods on the Great Lakes under the proposed federal budget for next year. President Obama's spending package for 2013 includes $31-million to dredge commercial harbors and navigation channels in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest. The budget includes 15 projects along the Great Lakes in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. Shippers have requested the dredging projects to improve the safety or harbors and navigation channels -- and to prevent low water levels which force shippers to reduce their loads on occasion. Lieutenat Colonel Mike Derosier of the Army Corps of Engineer says the proposed improvements would create a better environment, a safer infra-structure, and a stronger economy.
A million-dollar bond has been set for a Madison man accused of killing another man he was living with. 24-year-old Edgar Salinas-Leal was charged with first-degree intentional homicide soon after he allegedly shot-and-killed 38-year-old Darrell Ballweg on February third. Additional charges were filed yesterday in Dane County -- including reckless endangerment, vehicle theft, criminal damage, and intimidating a victim. Salinas-Leal is due back in court a week from today. Prosecutors said an argument over food escalated into a fight between Salinas-Leal and Ballweg -- and after he shot Ballweg, Salinas-Leal broke a TV and a cellphone before taking the keys to a vehicle owned by Ballweg's wife. Prosecutors said the defendant's uncle bought a van, and was planning to take the family to Texas a couple days after the shooting. In court yesterday, defense laywer Jessa Nicholson said Ballweg armed himself with a knife and made threats before the shooting incident.
Fourteen people have been murdered in Milwaukee this year -- the most before Valentine's Day in the past nine years. Seven homicides took place since last Wednesday. Police said most appeared to be drug-related, and none of them were random acts. The latest reported victim was 19-year-old Raheem Johnson, who was shot-to-death early Sunday outside a tavern on Milwaukee's northwest side. Police did not have information on suspects for any of the past week's killings. The 14 murders this year are nine more than at this time in 2011.
Wisconsin senators have a packed agenda today. Almost 40 bills are scheduled for action, including one to lift the enrollment limits for Family-Care -- the program that keeps low-income seniors and disabled residents out of nursing homes. Governor Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans capped the enrollment at 43,000 last summer due to rising costs. But the federal government, which picks up 60-percent of the tab, ordered Wisconsin to lift the cap and find new people who are eligible. Walker said state officials found about $80-million in savings which makes the move possible.
The state Senate will consider two bills today to relax air pollution rules. One would prohibit the DNR from requiring permits for parking lots and other sources that indirectly attract pollution from motor vehicles. The other bill would stop the DNR from setting standards that exceed future federal limits for cow manure. Washington has not set manure standards yet. But state officials were considering mandatory farm practices to control emissions before the EPA could adopt national standards. Senators today will also take up the bill that would make it easier to build on wetlands. Developers would have to draft mitigation plans to either create new wetlands, or pay to help the DNR with its wetland protection efforts.
Wisconsin state senators are scheduled to vote today on a bill to let those who make homemade beers and wines serve it in small quantities outside their homes. Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah proposed the bill, after a brewers' club in nearby Appleton complained it could get together to sample each other's wares. The state Revenue Department ruled last year that home brews could not leave the premises where they were made. That forced Racine officials to cancel a sampling-and-tasting contest that was planned last year to raise money for a drum-and-bugle corps. Ellis called the Revenue Department's ruling "ridiculous." But his bill got opposition from the state's Tavern League -- which said servers of home-brews should be treated just like bars, complete with licensing requirements and closing times.