Afternoon State News Briefs: Appleton police looking for car thief who tied up womanWisconsin News
-- Authorities near Appleton are trying to find a person who tied up an employee at the Fox Cities’ Convention Center, and got away with her purse and her car.
Wisconsin home sales kept growing at a strong pace in June. The state’s Realtors Association said this morning that its members sold just over 68-hundred existing homes throughout Wisconsin last month. That’s 19-point-three-percent more than in the same month of 2011. The median purchase price grew by one-point-four percent to 142-thousand dollars. It was the fourth month in a row the median price went up. Rob Keefe, who heads the Realtors’ Board of Directors, said it’s encouraging to see such strong home sales, at a time when the national economic recovery has not grown as much as in other recoveries. And Keefe said it’s a good time for home sales – since over 42-percent of Realtors’ sales take place from May through August, and June is normally the busiest month. Keefe said the biggest increases were in south central and northeast Wisconsin, where sales grew by 21-percent from the year before. But he said all parts of the state had healthy sales hikes of no less than 16-point-nine percent from the previous year.
APPLETON - Authorities near Appleton are trying to find a person who tied up an employee at the Fox Cities’ Convention Center, and got away with her purse and her car.
It happened yesterday morning in the town of Grand Chute, just west of Appleton. The female employee was not physically hurt. Police said a man came in and asked for a tour of the center. The employee said no – and officers said the man then pulled out a gun, tied her hands tie scraps, and covered her mouth and legs with duct tape. The robber then cut the center’s phone line, and got away in the woman’s car – a white 2001 Honda Odyssey.
A man who drowned in a pond in Sheboygan County was identified this morning as 48-year-old Timothy Sebeck of New Holstein. Sheriff’s deputies said he was found floating in the pond around three yesterday afternoon on a farm a few miles from Plymouth in the town of Russel. A relative of the pond’s owner found the body. Other details were not released.
Road crews in Ozaukee County should have a damaged lane of Interstate 43 opened again, though that hasn’t been confirmed. The left lane of the freeway near Highway 33 in Saukville was shut down just before the noon hour when the pavement was reported to have buckled. No accidents were reported. Officials had estimated repair work would take about two hours. Excessive heat often forces expanding pavement to buckle, but no official determination of the cause has been made.
Wisconsin Congressman F. Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls has offered a strong defense of an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. City the First Amendment, Sensenbrenner rejected suspicions first voiced by fellow Republican Michele Bachman last week. The Minnesota congresswoman said she had suspicions Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a Muslim, had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Sensenbrenner said the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from making a distinction between what is a “good religion” and what is a “bad religion.” Sensenbrenner was reacting to comments from a constituent at a town hall meet held yesterday.
Even though the current drought has been compared to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, industry leaders in farm states like Wisconsin say sales of farm equipment are holding steady. National Association of Equipment Manufacturers president Dennis Slater says one difference is, farmers were in a good financial position generally when this drought hit. He says they still need for Congress to pass a 2012 Farm Bill, which expires at the end of September. Slater says farmers need the safety net of federal support for crop insurance. Members of Congress reportedly have only 18 working days to get the Farm Bill approved and sent to the President.
The Associated Press said today that it found records showing that a Stevens Point company accepted tax breaks that hinged on the approval a state contract. That’s despite earlier claims by the Walker administration that a firm commitment had not been made to Skyward. The AP said the company’s CEO signed a document accepting almost $12-million dollars in tax breaks from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The agreement made it clear that it was not binding, until Skyward could win a competitive contract to provide a statewide computer system for information about school students. Tom Thieding of the Economic Development Corporation told the AP the document was quote, “an agreement to agree.” And even if the deal had been made, Thieding said the company would not have received any tax credits until it met certain job-creating goals. Corporation director Paul Jadin said his firm did nothing illegal because of his group’s public-private arrangement. But the state Administration Department canceled the bidding process, saying the tax credit deal violated the spirit of that process. And Governor Scott Walker said no such offers will be made in the future. The AP says it’s still possible that Skyward will get the contract for the school computer system. The firm said it would move out of Wisconsin if it didn’t.
The only Wisconsin survivor of the Colorado movie theater shootings may not fully recover for up to a year. 27-year-old Casey Rottman of Mequon is expected to have a second round of surgery tomorrow or Wednesday. That’s what his father Dale told WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee. The father said Casey Rottman had just finished recovering from a torn leg ligament suffered a year ago while playing basketball. He was shot in the other leg. Rottman was one of 58 survivors injured in the mass shooting early Friday in an Aurora Colorado theater during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Twelve people were killed, including UW-Whitewater graduate John Larimer of suburban Chicago and Macayla Melek, who has relatives in Milwaukee. Carey Rottman was among the patients getting visits yesterday from about six players on the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Rottman played football at Winona State University in Minnesota – and he went up against Broncos’ lineman Chris Kuper when Winona played North Dakota.
The National Weather Service has extended a heat advisory to the north, as hot air is expected to cover more of Wisconsin than originally expected. At first, the Weather Service issued a heat advisory until eight tonight for about the southern third of the Badger State. Now, an official heat advisory is in place until six this evening along a line from La Crosse through central Wisconsin to the Green Bay area. It was 90 degrees at 11 o’clock this morning as far north as Eau Claire and Medford. Milwaukee and Sheboygan both had 92. Camp Douglas, Watertown, and Sheboygan all had heat index readings of 100 already. Rain is expected this evening in about southern half of the state, as a cold front moves in. But the Weather Service says there’s only a small chance of any severe storms. Forecasters expect cooler weather for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow. For the most part, highs are expected in the 70’s-and-‘80’s throughout the state.
The district attorney in Oshkosh and his top assistant will try again to get blanket permission to carry concealed weapons in their courtrooms. Winnebago County DA Christian Gossett and his deputy Scott Ceman have asked the state’s Court of Appeals to overturn a general ban set by his county’s circuit judges. Like most counties, the only ones allowed to carry hidden weapons in court are law enforcement officers on-duty – unless a judge or court commissioner grants a written exception in advance. Gossett and Ceman claim that the state’s concealed carry law allows them to automatically carry hidden weapons. They said they need the protection in unsecured areas, because their offices are in different buildings from the courtrooms. Both Gossett and Ceman have state concealed carry permits. They asked the State Supreme Court to take up the matter directly, but they said no in late June without explanation. The justices rarely take original jurisdiction in a case – and they normally make plaintiffs go through the lower courts first.
Controversial rock star Ted Nugent will hold a rally for U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson on Thursday in Racine County. The musical event will be held in Sturtevant, just 19 days before Thompson squares off against three other Republicans in a primary for the Senate seat to be given up by the retiring Herb Kohl. Nugent made waves in April in a speech to the National Rifle Association. He was called to meet with the Secret Service after he called President Obama’s administration as “evil” and “America-hating.” And Nugent urged voters to quote, “chop their heads off in November.” Nugent endorsed Thompson in March, saying he favored the former governor’s pro-gun policies dating back to the mid-90’s. Thompson, Eric Hovde, Mark Neumann, and Jeff Fitzgerald are running the August 14th Senate primary – and the winner will go up against Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November.