State News Briefs: Public employees no longer worried their nest eggs will be pulledWisconsin News
-- Many public employees are apparently no longer worried that Governor Scott Walker will pull their retirement nest eggs out from under them.
Many public employees are apparently no longer worried that Governor Scott Walker will pull their retirement nest eggs out from under them. Wisconsin did not have the big wave of public sector retirements this spring that it had a year ago – although the numbers are still up slightly from 2010. The Department of Employee Trust Funds said about 45-hundred state-and-local public employees asked for retirement applications from January through April. That’s down from almost 79-hundred applications a year ago, but it was still almost 500 more than in 2010. Older teachers and other public workers expressed fears a year ago that Walker and Republican lawmakers would reduce the pensions they accumulated if they stayed around. State law prohibits it and Walker denied it, but fears still existed after he proposed cutting off virtually all collective bargaining for most public employee unions. The numbers of public workers asking about their estimated benefits has dropped by about half – but it’s still up seven-percent from two years ago. Matt Stohr, who heads the Employee Trust Funds agency, says more Baby Boomers are starting to call it a career – and that trend is expected to continue for the next 10-to-15 years.
Over 67-hundred electric customers in north central Wisconsin were still without power this morning, after heavy thunderstorms in the region last night. The Wisconsin Public Service utility said almost 28-hundred customers were without power in Rhinelander at 6:45, after 55-hundred customers were affected late last night. In the Wausau area, around two-thousand customers were still in the dark this morning. Neillsville had one-and-half-inches of rain last evening, and trees and power lines fell in parts of Clark and Marathon counties. Earlier yesterday, there was flash flooding in Sawyer, Washburn, and Barron counties in northwest Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said up to five inches of rain fell in parts of Barron County. More thunderstorms are in the forecast on-and-off today and into the weekend. It’s supposed to get hot again as well, with highs today in the 80’s in northern Wisconsin and the low-90’s in the far south.
A 37-year-old man was killed in Madison yesterday, after an 800-pound piece of equipment crushed him while he was working. According to police, the man was working near a hydraulic press that was being removed from a truck. He was hit on the head by the press, and was taken to U-W Hospital where he died. The man was not breathing when rescuers arrived. The incident occurred on Madison’s west side. Police say the U-S Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration has been notified, and will investigate.
A prosecutor says two deputy U-S Marshals were justified in shooting an armed fugitive a month ago on Milwaukee’s south side. 26-year-old Mario Lopez is recovering. And District Attorney John Chisholm – who reviewed the shooting incident – says Lopez will be indicted for federal felony weapons’ violations. Lopez was being sought for violating the terms of his release on a previous weapons conviction when deputy Marshals tried to pull over his vehicle on May 16th. Chisholm said the officers were chasing Lopez on foot when the suspect looked back and lifted a pistol. And he had just stumbled when one of the deputy Marshals shot him. The D-A said Lopez then reached for his weapon when the other deputy shot him.