Saturday State News Briefs: Prosser denounces complaint filed against himWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser says a complaint filed against him yesterday is politically motivated.
MADISON - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser says a complaint filed against him yesterday is politically motivated.
The Wisconsin Judicial Commission is asking for sanctions against Prosser in connection with an incident last June where he placed his hands on the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. The commission is asking the court to send the case on to a panel of three appeals court judges to decide if Prosser violated ethics rules. Prosser and Bradley would be expected to recuse themselves from the high court’s involvement. If it was found he did violate the rules, he could be reprimanded, censured, suspended without pay or removed from office. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident last year, sending its findings to a special prosecutor. Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett found no basis for criminal charges.
Saying she has to deal with multiple serious health issues in her family, Republican state Senator Pam Galloway of Wausau turned in her resignation yesterday, effective last midnight. The legislative session has ended, but her departure costs the Republican Party its one-vote margin until she is replaced, affecting the membership of some committees which are still active after lawmakers go home. She was one of the Senate members facing a recall election, but leadership said that wasn’t why she was leaving the post. Representatives Jerry Petrowski of Marathon and Mary Williams of Medford may be recruited by Republican leaders to run in Galloway’s place. The outgoing senator is expected to hold a news conference in her district tomorrow.
People working in the Capitol office of state Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) say they could smell it from 25 feet away. A padded envelope full of feces was received in the mail. The package was addressed to Taylor’s room number at the Capitol, but it didn’t include her name on the front. The return address was reportedly “Milwaukee trade union want the iron mine.” That’s reference to a bill aimed at streamlining mining regulations which failed last week. Taylor was among lawmakers opposing the measure. The mailroom told Taylor’s office about the suspicious package, then alerted the Capitol police.
A pediatrician who specializes in child abuse says a 15 year girl who allegedly had been locked in her family’s basement would have died. Dr. Barbara Knox is the medical director for the University of Wisconsin Child Protection Program. She says the emaciated girl was the victim of child torture and was exposed to chronic starvation. Knox told the court the victim weighed 68 pounds when she was examined last month. She had weighed 82 pounds five years ago. The testimony from Knox came in a preliminary hearing for the girl’s parents who face charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, intentional child abuse and child neglect. Based on evidence submitted yesterday, the judge ordered the couple to stand trial. The girl was found near her home last February in her pajamas and not wearing shoes. Her stepbrother also faces charges of raping her. He returns to court next week.
As he steps down as head of motorcycle styling, 78 year old Willie G. Davidson says he will continue his involvement with the Harley-Davidson Company. Davidson says he will be an ambassador for the company his grandfather founded with another man. His vision shaped the motorcycles built for nearly 50 years. He had joined the company as its first head of styling in 1963. He’s given credit for the look of models like the Super Glide, Low Rider, Heritage Softail Classic, the Fat Boy, the V-Rod and Street Glide. He was one of 13 Harley-Davidson executives who joined to buy the company in 1981.
The first of three joint appearances by the candidates for Milwaukee mayor comes at a forum starting this morning at the Northside YMCA. Incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett and University of Wisconsin Extension faculty member Edward McDonald are expected to be there.There’s some confusion about the actual time the public event will begin. McDonald’s campaign says it starts at 10:30 this morning, but a spokesman for Barrett says the mayor is supposed to make an appearance at 11:15 a.m. The other two appearances for the candidates are net Wednesday at a forum with the League of Young Voters at the Bradley center and a week from today at a forum sponsored by the Community Brainstorming Conference at Saint Matthews C.M.E. Church.
Police near Wisconsin Rapids say there’s no evidence of a crime being committed in the death of a man whose body was pulled from a lake this week. Grand Rapids Town Police Chief Dave Lewandowski said 29-year-old Greg Senn appears to have died from hypothermia or drowning. He said preliminary autopsy results showed no signs of significant injuries. Final lab reports are expected in 2-to-3 weeks. Senn was missing for almost two months when his body was discovered Tuesday on Lake Wazeecha, just east of Wisconsin Rapids. Lewandowski said a bicyclist on a nearby path saw a baseball cap floating in the water, and called authorities.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will visit Wisconsin a week from tomorrow. The conservative former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is scheduled to speak at the Defending the American Dream Summit. That gathering is sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation of Wisconsin. It will be held at the Wyndham Milwaukee Airport and Convention Center March 24th.
You don’t have to go to Napa Valley’s California wineries to find quality vino. Wisconsin’s Wollersheim Winery has been named 2012 Winery of the Year. The Prairie du Chien winery was awarded the honor at the San Diego International Wine Competition. Wollhersheim was honored for its nine-dollar Riesling and its $10- Seyval wines.
The controversy over the elimination of most public union bargaining sparked a large increase in requests for public records from the governor’s office. The Appleton Post-Crescent said Republican Scott Walker’s office got 214 written requests for various records last year – over three times as many as former Governor Jim Doyle received in his final year in office in 2010. About one-of-every-five people got what they asked for within 30 days of their requests – but some people waited up to three months. Governor’s spokesman Cullen Werwie said a large number of requests came from workers looking for campaign material connected with Walker’s impending recall election – in addition to various requests from news reporters and other citizens. Werwie said the governor’s office has a full-time staffer who deals only with public record requests, and others in the office also handle them – as does Walker himself. But Walker’s office is a lot of slower than Doyle was in responding to records requests. In 2008, Doyle’s people handled 90-percent of requests within a month – compared to just 19-percent under Walker. But Werwie said the job has become “massive,” considering the public’s response to Walker’s budget reforms.
It’s apparently safer to drive in Madison than in most other large U.S. cities. That’s according to the April issue of Men’s Health magazine. It ranks Madison as the ninth-safest U.S. city for drivers. That’s based on the rate of fatal accidents and alcohol-related crashes – plus things like seat-belt usage, laws on cell-phone use, speeding records, and the average amount of time that drivers have between accidents. Saint Paul, Minnesota ranks as the safest U.S. city for drivers among 100 listed in the Men’s Health survey. Saint Louis and Dallas were listed as the worst.
Metro Milwaukee has become the first place in Wisconsin where the average gas price has surpassed four-dollars-a-gallon this spring. That’s according to the Triple-“A,” which said the statewide average for unleaded regular was at $3.89 today. That’s about two-cents more than yesterday, and 48-cents more than a month ago. USA Today says about the country’s population is paying over four-dollars for gas. Analyst Dan Dicker told the paper that gas prices should be falling, because the total U.S. consumption is the lowest in 12 years. But he said the possibility of an armed conflict with Iran is keeping crude oil prices high – along with what we’re paying at the pump. The Triple-“A” said fuel prices in the Badger State ranged from $3.76 in La Crosse to one-tenth-of-a-cent over four-dollars in the Milwaukee-Waukesha region. Milwaukee Gas Prices-Dot-Com says the average price in that area is just over $4.01 today – and that’s down four-cents from yesterday.
Republican Sean Duffy spent more tax money than any other Wisconsin House member on mailings to his constituents last year. The Wausau area Republican spent just over $225,000 dollars on mass mailings about his work in Washington. $152,000 of that came in the final quarter of the year – and that was the ninth-biggest total among the 435 total House members. Budget chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville spent the second highest among Wisconsin’s eight House members on mass mailings – almost 190-thousand dollars for all of 2011. Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner was third. Duffy’s chief-of-staff, Brandon Moody, denied that his boss is taking advantage of tax-funded mailings while he can. They’re normally cut off during the campaign season, and the first-term Duffy expects a tough re-election challenge this fall from Democrat Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls. Moody said Duffy’s district is the largest in Wisconsin by land area – and he needs the mailings because he cannot personally get to all 20 counties in his district within a year.
A former Wisconsin First Lady has passed away. Joyce Dreyfus, the widow of former Governor Lee Dreyfus, died yesterday at a Waukesha hospital. She was 84. Her son, Lee junior, said Joyce apparently suffered a stroke and never woke up from brain surgery. The operation was meant to relieve bleeding in the brain, after she fell at an assisted living center in Pewaukee. Joyce Dreyfus became well known while campaigning for her husband before he served one term as governor from 1979-through-’82. She also performed in a number of theater groups over the years. Lee and Joyce Dreyfus grew up just a few blocks from each other in Milwaukee. They were married in 1947. Lee Dreyfus died in January of 2008 at age 81.