Tuesday State News Briefs: Page fired from trucking job for impaired drivingWisconsin News
-- Wade Michael Page was fired as a commercial truck driver in 2010, because he broke the company’s policy on impaired driving. That’s what Barr-Nunn Transportation of Granger, Iowa said today about the gunman in the Oak Creek temple shootings.
OAK CREEK - Wade Michael Page was fired as a commercial truck driver in 2010, because he broke the company’s policy on impaired driving. That’s what Barr-Nunn Transportation of Granger, Iowa said today about the gunman in the Oak Creek temple shootings.
Page was a solo driver for the company for four years. That was before he got a citation two years ago tomorrow for impaired driving in North Carolina – and he refused to submit to alcohol-and-drug tests after he got picked up. Page was driving his own vehicle on his own time, but Barr-Nunn trucking said he still violated the firm’s conduct-and-disciplinary policy. Apparently, it was not the first time that alcohol got Page in trouble. The AP said he was demoted in 1998 as an Army psychological operations specialist, because he was drinking on duty and going AWOL. The 40-year-old Page was killed by an Oak Creek police officer soon after Sunday’s shootings which killed six Sikh Temple members, and wounded two others and an Oak Creek police lieutenant.
So how do you pronounce the name of the temple where the Oak Creek shootings occurred? Is it “seek,” or “sick?” The Sikh Coalition of New York says the proper way to say it is “sick” with a slightly pronounced “H” at the end. But here in America, members generally pronounce it “seek,” so they don’t have to explain that their religion is somehow connected with some kind of illness. The coalition’s Amardeen Singh says “seek” is not correct – but it’s pronounced that way in the Fourth Edition of the Webster New World College Dictionary. So the Associated Press urges broadcasters to pronounce it “seek” on their newscasts. Most of the world’s 27-million Sikhs live in India. There are an estimated 200,000 to a half-million Sikhs living in the U.S.
Law enforcement officers from throughout Wisconsin helped say goodbye today to a Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line-of-duty. A memorial service was held late this morning at a Milwaukee church for 49-year-old Sergio Aleman. He was killed last Tuesday after his Sheriff’s Department service truck rear-ended a flatbed tow truck on Interstate-43 in downtown Milwaukee. After the service, a burial ceremony was planned at a south side Milwaukee cemetery. Fellow deputy Joseph Quiles said Aleman gained everyone’s respect, especially because of the way he helped people during his 18 years on the sheriff’s force. Milwaukee County will honor Aleman by adding his name to its “Call to Duty” memorial. He was the first Milwaukee County officer to die in the line of duty in a dozen years.
Raccoons are said to be causing more trouble in Wisconsin this summer. The state DNR says it’s getting more complaints from landowners with damage. Specialist Brad Koele says the raccoons appear to be destroying bird feeders, and causing more significant crop damage. Under state law, you can trap the raccoons. But you cannot poison them due to the possible dangers to other wildlife. Once they’re trapped, you can let them loose on private land with the owner’s permission – but they cannot be released on state-owned lands. But getting rid of the bad raccoons might not solve the whole problem. Koele says food attracts animals the most – so it should be a top priority to remove that food if possible. And if they get into a barn or an attic, Koele says it’s a good idea to seal those areas. But he warns that raccoons are known to overcome the obstacles to get where they want to go. Wisconsin does not track the raccoon population, but Koele says more complaints probably signal an increase in the animals this year.
Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney resumed his campaigning today, after he spent the last two days at home out of respect for those killed in Sunday’s Oak Creek temple shootings. At a stop in suburban Chicago, Romney called for a moment-of-silence. He called the Sikh Temple shootings “tragic,” and he asked people to pray for the six worshippers killed and those mourning the losses of loved ones. Romney said the shooter, Wade Michael Page, appeared to be quote, “motivated by hate.” He said the Sikhs are a peaceful and loving people. Meanwhile, a music label that distributed white supremist songs by Page’s band has taken the music off its Web site. Label-56 said it does not seek attention through quote, “shock value,” and it’s trying to encourage people to seek positive paths. Label-56 also asked people not to consider what Page did as respectable or honorable – or to assume, quote, “We are all like that.” The 40-year-old Page played in at least two heavy metal white supremist bands. And he described himself as a skinhead member of the group “Hammer-skins Nation.”
New foreclosure cases in southeast Wisconsin jumped by 24-percent in July, compared to the same time a year ago. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel counted 896 new court cases in seven area counties against those who didn’t keep up with their mortgages. Real estate agents said they expected more foreclosures this year, because large banks ended previous moratoriums after they worked out a settlement over a consumer fraud lawsuit. Wisconsin and other states had accused over two dozen big banks of illegal practices in their foreclosures. And many of last month’s new cases were sought by some of the biggest banks in the lawsuit – like Bank-of-America and Wells Fargo. Milwaukee County had 466 new foreclosure cases last month – almost 100 more than in July of last year. Increases were also recorded in Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties.
Award-winning musician Marvin Hamlisch has died. His family said the 68-year-old composer died yesterday, after he collapsed following a brief illness. Hamlisch spent the last five years as the principal pops conductor for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – and he continued his compositions during that time. In fact, he was working on a new musical called “Gotta Dance” at the time of his death. And he was hired to write the score for a new movie about West Milwaukee native Liberace called “Beyond the Candelabra.” Hamlisch replaced Doc Severinsen as the Milwaukee pops conductor. The Symphony says it will dedicate the opening weekend of its Pops season to Hamlisch October 12th through 14th. He composed the music for the Broadway mega-hit “A Chorus Line,” which netted him both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 1975. Hamlisch won Grammy awards in 1974 for “The Way We Were” as the best new artist and the song-of-the-year. In all, Hamlisch won three Oscars, four Emmys, four Grammys, three Golden Globe awards, and a Tony. He wrote over 40 film scores, and his latest was for “The Informant.” Besides Milwaukee, Hamlisch was the pops conductor for symphony orchestras in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Seattle, Pasadena, and San Diego – and he was about to add Philadelphia to that list.
A Fox Valley home has been declared unfit for humans, after authorities found a family and 28 animals living in filth. Humane workers removed 12 parakeets from a home on Doty Island near Menasha – along with six dogs, five chickens, three rabbits, and two pigeons. Winnebago County officials said they removed four kids from the home and placed them with other family members. The kids ranged in age from 5-to-12. Police said an officer and a city sanitarian were both almost overcome by the smell of ammonia from animal excrement when they entered the home’s basement. And they could only stand the smell for less than a minute before leaving. The 31-year-old father is being referred to prosecutors on possible charges of mistreating animals and child neglect. It’s the second time in four years the same house was deemed uninhabitable.
The Red Cross is helping a dozen Green Bay apartment dwellers who were displaced when their building started on fire late last night. The blaze started around 10 p.m., and officials most of the damage was in the upper units. Everybody got out safely, and no injuries were reported. The cause remains under investigation.
If somebody named Rachel e-mails you and says you’ve won a-thousand-dollar Visa gift card, you might want to make sure she didn’t plant malicious software on your computer. State consumer protection officials say it’s just another online scam. Earlier this year, some Wisconsinites got robo-calls from Rachel, claiming she was from “Credit Card Services” and telling people that a local business or charity is giving them a-thousand dollar gift card. She instructs people to go to a Web site to activate it – and when they do, state officials say people are asked for a slew of personal information. And by clicking a link, the scammers might have placed malware on the computer, which allows them to track everything the user does. State officials say Rachel now claims she’s with “Customer Service, Employee Benefits Center.” They warn folks not to open the e-mails or the links inside – and never to respond to any prompts from automated phone calls. The consumer agency says it allows scammers to confirm that you have a working number – and they can sell it to other scammers.
Enbridge Energy says it will re-open its repaired crude oil pipeline today between Superior and Chicago. The company signed a consent agreement with federal officials, in the wake of a rupture on July 27th that spilled over 50-thousand gallons of crude oil at a farm near Grand Marsh in Adams County. Under the consent agreement, the pipeline can only run at 80-percent of its power-and-capacity until the cause of the rupture is determined. Enbridge also agreed to make aerial patrols of the line both during-and-after the re-start, to check for other possible leaks. It’s one of four Enbridge oil pipelines that run along the same route across Wisconsin. The other three were shut down as the result of the spill – but they were quickly fired up again, after it was decided that they had nothing to do with the rupture.
Fox Valley Metro Police have yet to decide whether to seek charges against a motor vehicle driver who struck-and-killed a bicyclist. 46-year-old James Weiss of Kimberly died Saturday, a week after the mishap. A 19-year-old driver collided with Weiss’s bicycle at an intersection in Kimberly at 12:15 a-m on July 28th. Police say they’re still waiting for the results of a re-construction of the crash by the State Patrol, plus other reports, before deciding whether to ask prosecutors to file charges. Weiss managed a banquet hall and conference center in Kimberly.
Outside groups have spent at least three-point-eight million dollars on Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senate primary that takes place a week from today. Democrats only have a four-vote majority in the chamber. And conservative groups are banking on a GOP victory over Democrat Tammy Baldwin to try-and-get Republicans to win control of the Senate in November. So far, the Club-for-Growth has spent the most among the outside groups – one-point-two-million dollars in support of former Congressman Mark Neumann. Other special interest spending includes $846,000 dollars by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in opposing Baldwin – and $649,000 by the Americans for Job Security, a self-proclaimed free-market group that opposes Republican Eric Hovde. Federal officials say the candidates have spent $12-million dollars so far, in their effort to replace the retiring Herb Kohl in November. Hovde has spent the most – just under five-million dollars, about 80-percent of which has come from his own pocket. Neumann, who’s running third in recent GOP polls, tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he’s starting to spend more of his own money. He said the final total would be less than a million dollars. Neumann, a home-builder from Waukesha County, spent four-million of his own dollars on a failed run for governor in 2010.
A 14-year-old Madison boy faces a disorderly conduct charge, for threatening a 14-year-old neighbor with a sword. Police quoted the victim as saying he ran into the suspect’s yard to chase a ball last Friday – and the suspect drew a 41-inch sword and pointed the tip at his neck. The young victim told officers he feared for his life – and he broke away and told an adult. But the suspect apparently claimed that he was the one threatened – and he grabbed the sword in self-defense. Police said the suspect was taken to a juvenile detention center on a tentative charge of disorderly conduct.
An investigation continues into the death of a Wisconsin Veterans’ Home resident in Waupaca County. According to sheriff’s officials, 79-year-old William Senn was unresponsive while floating face-down in Rainbow Lake along a retaining wall at the grounds of the veterans’ home in King. Deputies were called around 11:15 yesterday morning. Senn died at the scene.