Monday News Update - Current gas prices less then experts expectedWisconsin News
-- You’re paying a lot less for gasoline than what some experts thought you’d be paying about now.
You’re paying a lot less for gasoline than what some experts thought you’d be paying about now. The normal high oint for spring gas prices is around two weeks before Memorial Day. But this year, they’ve been going down for awhile. The Wisconsin AAA statewide average today is $3.74 for a gallon of unleaded regular and that’s $0.29 less than on this date a year ago. It’s also six cents lower than last Monday, and a dime cheaper than a month ago. Gregg Laskoski of Gas Buddy.com says high supplies are partially the reason for the lower prices, both for gasoline and crude oil. Also, he says consumer demand has been lower than normal.
How would you like to buy a trolley car? The city of Racine will auction off two of them on Wednesday. City transit manager Al Stanek said the trolleys are getting older, and no one has come forward to keep them going. Stanek said he has no idea what kind of demand there might be for the trolleys – if there is a demand. The city paid about $290,000 dollars for both vehicles. Stanek said similar trolleys have been going for $50,000 to $70,000 dollars each. Jay Price Ruff said it’s sad the trolleys never stirred up as much public interest as officials hoped. She helped the Racine visitors’ bureau raise $58,000 ollars so it could qualify for a federal grant to cover part of the cost.
When Wisconsin’s monthly job data comes out this week, Governor Scott Walker says it will include a quote, “brighter” jobs summary for 2011. The Republican Walker told a news conference in Oconomowoc this morning that the state’s year end job creation numbers are being revised. And he says they’ll show more growth than what was previously reported, although he didn’t get specific. Job creation has become a major issue in the recall election against Walker, who faces a rematch with Democrat Tom Barrett in 22 days. Previous figures from the federal government said Wisconsin lost 9700 private sector jobs in 2011. The trend has more than turned itself around so far this year. But only 5900 private sector jobs have been created since Walker took office after the governor had promised 250,000 new private sector jobs during his current scheduled four year term. For the last few weeks, Walker’s been saying that employers are holding off on creating jobs until after the June fifth recall so they’ll know the political climate. After that, he says we’ll see a quote, “tremendous take off” in new jobs if he wins. But Walker says employment will slide if Barrett wins. The governor also hammered away again at Barrett’s taxing record as Milwaukee’s mayor. He said property taxes jumped 25% in Barrett’s eight plus years at City Hall and unemployment has risen 28%in that time.
There are fewer flights going in and out of Milwaukee but at least more of them are on time. The US Transportation Department said this morning that 87% of departures and 85% of arrivals at Mitchell International Airport were on time from January through March. Technically, it means those flights were less than 15 minutes late. That’s a big improvement from a year ago. Only 72% of Milwaukee’s arriving planes were on time in the first three months of 2011, and just 78% of departures left ontime. Air-Tran has become the largest carrier at Mitchell, now that Frontier has vastly scaled back its operations. Air Tran has 90% of flights going in and out on time. Only Hawaiian Airlines has a3% better than the national figure of 84%. And that’s the best for a January through March period since at least 1995, when the data started being kept.
A Waterloo man has been cited for disorderly conduct, after he allegedly threw a hammer at another driver for chatting away on a cell phone. Dodge County sheriff’s deputies said the incident happened last Thursday in the town of Astico. According to Sheriff Todd Nehls, the 44 year old suspect said the pick up truck in front of him was drifting to the opposite lane while its driver, a 31-year-old Waterloo man, was talking on his phone. So the suspect passed the pick up truck and then slammed on the brakes. Once the truck stopped, the other driver reportedly got out, waved his hammer, yelled at the pick up driver to get off the phone, and threw the hammer at him. The hammer’s owner then retrieved it and drove off. The victim called 911, and officers soon caught up with both drivers. Nehls said the suspect admitted that the cell chatter was quote, “upsetting him.” The chatter was not cited. Nehls said it’s better to let law enforcement settle disputes like this because quote, “These types of conflicts can easily go bad.”
A jury in Milwaukee convicted a 21 year old man today of a lesser charge in the brutal slaying of a 57 year old man in 2006. Jurors refused to order a mandatory life prison sentence for Corey Kleser. They found him guilty instead of second degree intentional homicide. Kleser could face up to 40 years behind bars when he’s sentenced on June 15th for the death of Ronald Adams at the victim’s apartment on Milwaukee’s northwest side. Kleser testified that he posed nude for Adams a half dozen times in 2006, when he was 15. But Adams did not make any sexual advances toward him until late October of that year. Officials said Adams lunged at Kleser, nd Kleser responded by beating with a hammer and stabbing him 35 times with a pair of scissors. Kleser said he acted in self defense, but prosecutors said the crime was still way too brutal to be considered legitimate self defense.
An investment firm upgraded its outlook today on three of Wisconsin’s ajor investor owned utilities. Robert W. Baird Company of Milwaukee announced upgrades for Wisconsin Energy of Milwaukee, Alliant Energy of Madison, and Xcel Energy of the Twin Cities which serves much of northwest Wisconsin. Utilities have mostly been considered safe investments in the past. And in the wake of the Great Recession, Baird research analyst David Parker said “boring should be good again.” According to Baird, the owner of We Energies predicts a 5 to 6 percent growth in earnings this year, and an expected boost in the company’s dividends of at least 10 percent a year through 2014. Baird praised Alliant Energy’s growth, which is connected to environmental controls at its coal fired power plants. And Parker’s report said X-cel has attractive opportunities to increase its rate base.
The annual Republican state convention in Green Bay was held at a place that did not allow concealed weapons and at least one delegate tried to change that. Annette Olson of Saint Croix County says tells the Madison Capital Times the party is betraying its principles by banning concealed carry at its annual signature event. Olson said the GOP should practice what it preaches, and let licensed gun holders carry their hidden weapons in the convention hall. Olson sponsored a non binding resolution to have future conventions held in places that respect the Second Amendment rights of those attending. The resolution passed narrowly. This year’s convention was held at ShopKo Hall close to Lambeau Field, six and a half months after concealed weapons became legal in Wisconsin.