Afternoon State News Briefs: UW prof's research on bird flu under wrapsWisconsin News
-- A UW-Madison scientist will not have his controversial research paper on the bird flu published any time soon.
MADISON - A UW-Madison scientist will not have his controversial research paper on the bird flu published any time soon.
Today, an international group of flu experts in Geneva said bio-security concerns should be addressed first. And then the work of two scientists, including Yoshihiro Kawaoka of UW-Madison, should then be published without deleting sensitive details. The Science and Nature journals responded by saying they would not go ahead with plans to publish edited versions of the research in mid-March. Kawaoka and a professor from the Netherlands generated controversy when they created mutant bird flu viruses as part of their studies. They said the research could eventually help prevent a global outbreak of the fatal bird flu. But in December, the National Science Advisory Board for Bio-Security feared that terrorists could use the information – and the group said the researchers’ work should not be published in full. Kawaoka was among the flu experts attending the Geneva meeting – but he did not comment on the new delay in publishing his work.
A Dane County judge has rejected a request to give Governor Scott Walker’s people two more weeks to review signatures on recall petitions. The extension was denied earlier today. Walker’s campaign had argued the possible recall election would not be significantly delayed by its request. The judge said no good cause for a delay was shown by the governor. He had already given the Walker campaign 30 days to review those petitions. It takes a little over 540,000 signatures to bring on a recall election. Walker’s opponents say they collected more than a million.
A Catholic food bank in Green Bay is reporting it got harassing phone calls and e-mails since is turned away a food donation from Planned Parenthood. Paul’s Pantry is affiliated with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Officials there say they received a call from Planned Parenthood earlier this month, asking for someone from the pantry to send a truck to pick up a food donation. A worker at the pantry declined the donation, but gave a list of other pantries which might have accepted it. Since the news spread, the liberal blog the Daily Kos encouraged its readers to call Paul’s Pantry and voice their dissatisfaction.
Former Fond du Lac Police Chief Tony Barthuly is in good condition at Appleton Medical Center after accidentally shooting himself in the hand. Police Captain Steve Klein says they got a call to St. Agnes Hospital Wednesday night for a report about a 54-year-old Fond du Lac man who had accidentally shot himself while trying to unload and clean a handgun. A thorough investigation is being done. However because of Barthuly’s relationship with the Fond du Lac Police Department, Chief Bill Lamb requested the assistance of an outside agency to conduct the investigation. The Sheboygan Police Department was contacted and agreed to be the investigative agency. Klein says the prognosis for former Chief Barthuly’s recovery looks good. After retiring from the Fond du Lac Police Department last summer Barthuly took a job with the State Justice Department as Director of the Training and Standards Bureau.
A liberal group blasted state legislative Republicans today, after it was learned that they shared their redistricting maps with former state Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen before the maps were made public. But Jensen said he was not asked to give opinions about the maps themselves. Jensen is now a senior adviser for the American Federation for Children – which spends large amounts to try-and-elect Republicans, as well as those Democrats who support private school vouchers. Republican E-mails released by a federal court yesterday confirmed that Jensen received the new state legislative district maps three days before Democrats and the general public got to see them. Mike Browne of One Wisconsin Now said Republicans showed “stunning” audacity by involving the head of an outside issue campaign group in the re-drawing of legislative districts. In a deposition, Senate aide Tad Ottman said he contacted Jensen simply to identify people in the Hispanic community who could see how the maps would affect them – and how they’re represented in the Legislature. Jensen confirmed that intention today. He told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quote, “They weren’t interested in my opinion of the map.” A Milwaukee Hispanic group has filed suit to try-and-strike down the maps, saying they under-represent Latinos. A group of Democrats is also trying to toss out the new districts, which are required to reflect population changes in the Census every 10 years. A three-judge federal panel is scheduled to begin a trial Tuesday on the GOP’s maps – which critics say were designed to keep the current Republican majority in power for as long as possible in the next decade.
If you have a receipt from the Transportation Department for a driver’s license or a state ID, you can use them to vote on Tuesday if you don’t have the actual cards yet. The DOT said today the receipts now have the photos of the applicants, so they’ll meet the terms of the photo ID requirement passed by the governor and Legislature last year. It takes about two weeks for a central processing location to give out new licenses and ID’s – and the receipts are intended to be official documents until then. The DOT said all new license and I-D holders have been given photo receipts for about the last four years. And they’ve been used as official documents to help people provide the I-D’s they need to board airplanes. The DOT says the receipts are quote, “legally-recognized documents under Wisconsin law.” Tuesday’s local primaries will be the first elections in which voters will be required to show ID’s.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, both of Congress voted today to give President Obama the economic reform package he wanted. The House voted 293-132, and the Senate voted 60-36 to pass an extension of the current Social Security payroll tax cut until the end of the year. The bill also includes an extension of jobless benefits for people out of work more than six months – plus higher reimbursements for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Without today’s action, all three measures would have expired at the end of February. Wisconsin Senate Republican Ron Johnson of Oshkosh voted against the package, while Senate Democrat Herb Kohl of Milwaukee voted for it. In the House, GOP budget chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville voted no along with Republicans Tom Petri of Fond du Lac and Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls and Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse. Wisconsin Democrats Tammy Baldwin of Madison and Gwen Moore of Milwaukee voted yes, as did Republicans Reid Ribble of Appleton and Sean Duffy of Ashland. President Obama said the measures will help the economy continue to recover. What workers get from the tax holiday represents around two-percent of their paychecks. Johnson said the last thing he wanted to do was raise taxes on Americans – but he said the package reduces revenues for Social Security, and he thought that was a bad idea. Also, Johnson said he agrees with the Federal Reserve chairman that the bill would add $100-billion this year to the national debt.
Five years ago, Green Bay joined a number of Wisconsin communities in passing local ordinances that greatly restricted where sex offenders could live. But now, a city committee wants to look for other ways to protect the public, after learning that both sex offenders and the state government are ignoring the city ordinance. It bars sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of schools, parks, and other places where kids gather. That covers virtually the entire city of Green Bay, and Police Chief Jim Arts says the law is not working. He says growing numbers of offenders are simply living where they want without asking for permission. And the city’s been told that state probation agents are placing offenders without local approval. State corrections’ officials did not attend last night’s city meeting to explain themselves. There’s an appeal process for sex offenders who are told they cannot live in a certain place – and Alderman Andy Nicholson said offenders should be banned from the entire city with no appeals until the state agrees to cooperate and follow the local ordinance. Last year, the state said some offenders had to stay in jail after their sentences ended, because they could not find a place to live in Green Bay. Aldermen mentioned a number of possible changes like tougher enforcement, better notifications to neighborhoods when sex offenders move in, eliminating appeals, and adjusting the two-thousand-foot limit.
A former public works supervisor in Beloit will be sentenced May 9th after he pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing city property and making unauthorized purchases. Tim Kosier, who used to be a supervisor in Beloit’s Water Resource Department, admitted charging up to a-million-dollars on city credit lines for unauthorized items like furnaces, water heaters, and lawn-mowers. Kosier had a Hawaiian vacation cut short last August 24th, when federal agents arrested him in Maui. Authorities said he rented a vacation home there. Kosier entered his plea yesterday in federal court in Madison.