Afternoon State News Briefs: New polling gives Baldwin lead in Senate raceWisconsin News
Democrat Tammy Baldwin has opened up a big lead in the Wisconsin U-S Senate race. That’s according to the latest Marquette Law School poll released this afternoon.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin has opened up a big lead in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race. That’s according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll released this afternoon.
Just over 600 likely voters gave Baldwin a nine-point lead at 50-41 percent, after the last poll in late August had Republican Tommy Thompson in front by nine points. Pollster Charles Franklin said Baldwin’s campaign was helped by heavy advertising over the last couple weeks – while Thompson and his supporters had far fewer commercials. This week, the governor blamed it on a lack of campaign money after his four-way Republican primary victory on August 14th. Thompson said he spent much of the last three weeks raising money. The Marquette poll said Baldwin’s big gains came from independent voters, who gave Baldwin a 50-38-percent edge over Thompson. Earlier today, a poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News, and the New York Times had Thompson and Baldwin dead even at 47-percent each. That same poll also gave President Obama a six-point lead in Wisconsin, 51-45 over Mitt Romney. The Marquette poll showed Obama with a much larger lead, at 54-40 percent. Franklin said his poll and others showed that the president enjoyed a very large bounce after the Democratic National Convention two weeks ago.
Municipal employees will no longer be required to live inside the city limits of Green Bay. The city council has voted to get rid of the residence requirement. The step was taken despite support from Mayor Jim Schmitt. Department heads will still have to live in the city. Schmitt has said he won’t veto the change, partially because man exceptions have been granted in the past. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, many people couldn’t sell their homes because they were worth less than was owed on the mortgages. Green Bay’s human resources director says about two-thirds of the 890 people who work for the city actually live inside the city limits.
Despite an outage in Milwaukee County’s 911 emergency call system, officials say they were still able to receive 911 calls and transfer them to deputies using landlines. The problem was in the county’s IT system. The county’s e-mail, phone system and Internet access were all affected. The system went offline at 7 p.m. Tuesday and was back up and running eight hours later. Emergency calls from Milwaukee County were re-routed to the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, with Milwaukee County sending two deputies to that office to help with the call load.
Wisconsin’s fourth Scenic Byway was designated today. It covers about 70 miles of Highway 13 from near Superior through Washburn. Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb announced the designation, and he praised the local governments and groups which sought it. The DOT said the road provides stunning views of Lake Superior, plus a number of forest areas. It also provides access to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the Northwest Wildlife Refuge, and Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Gottlieb says the Scenic Byway designation will help promote what he calls a “treasure.” The seven-year-old byway program seeks to promote and enhance some of Wisconsin’s most scenic and historic roadways. Gottlieb says the far northern stretch of Highway 13 is now eligible for a similar national designation. Wisconsin’s other Scenic Byways are located on Highways 42 and 57 in Door County, Highway 35 along the Mississippi River, and Highway 60 near the Lower Wisconsin River.
A former manager of a Marshfield convenience store has been sentenced to a year in jail, for embezzling over one-point-three million dollars to support a gambling habit. 42-year-old Bonnie Hartle of Auburndale struck a plea deal in Wood County Circuit Court. She pleaded no contest to 25 felony embezzlement charges, and agreed to repay all of what she stole. Her jail term includes work release privileges, with an order that she apply for work and use all of her wages for restitution outside of jail fees. After her jail term, she must serve 30 years on probation. Officials said Hartle used part of her husband’s 401-“K” retirement account to pay $50,000. Investigators said she started taking an average of a-thousand-dollars a week from a Weiler Enterprises convenience store in Marshfield in 2001. The thefts continued until last November, when the owner suspected the embezzlement and went to police.
A Fond du Lac County man is free on a $50,000 after being charged with killing two people in a drunk driving crash. Prosecutors said 24-year-old Daniel Shea of Campbellsport had seven drinks and two shots of whiskey at five taverns, in the hours before his car crossed a center line and hit an oncoming auto. 73-year-old Paul Grahl and 59-year-old Joanna Grahl, both of Eden, were killed in that second vehicle. Their 13-year-old daughter Esther was seriously injured. The crash happened last Thursday on Highway 45 near the Fond du Lac-Washington County line. After his tavern runs, authorities said Shea went home, and was then heading to a baseball game when the crash occurred. Authorities said Shea’s blood alcohol level was point-20 – two-and-a-half times the legal limit of point-zero-eight. Shea is charged with two counts of homicide by drunk driving, and one count of causing injury by OWI. He was wearing a neck brace and an arm sling when he appeared in court through a video conference. His next court date is October 19th, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.
Milwaukee’s downtown convention center is about to get a new name for the second time since 2009. Delta Air Lines bought the naming rights to the Frontier Airlines Center, after the old Midwest Express Airlines was acquired by Frontier over three years ago. Frontier had a contract for the naming rights through next June – but the firm got into financial trouble and has scaled back its Milwaukee operations. Delta will pick up the final portion of Frontier’s $500,000. The convention center’s operator hopes to negotiate a new naming rights’ contract with Delta beyond next summer. Delta’s Kristen Manion says her company always looks for marketing opportunities which are aligned with its customers – and the naming rights for Milwaukee’s convention center are a good fit. The place will soon be known as The Delta Center.
A Lake Geneva area couple pleaded innocent today to severely abusing their six adopted children – three of whom came from Russia. Martin and Kathleen O’Brien, both 49, are charged in Walworth County with a total of 23 counts of felony child abuse and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The couple has four children of their own, plus the six they adopted. The adopted children told authorities that the O’Briens made them kneel on sharp rocks, stand barefoot in snow, and not read or go to school – while the biological children were treated much better. The case drew media attention in Russia, after the country tightened its adoption rules for U-S citizens after 19 Russian children had died in American homes over the last decade. Also, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had said Walworth County had not filed a required report with the state about the case until the paper asked state officials about it. Meanwhile, the O’Briens remain free on signature bonds. They’re due back in court November 21st, when a judge will consider pre-trial requests.
It got windy this afternoon in southern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said gusts hit 47-miles-an-hour in Fond du Lac and 45 in Monroe, as a strong cold front swept through the Upper Midwest and created breezy southwest winds. As the front moves east tonight, forecasters say Wisconsin will feel the back-side of it, in the form of thunderstorms that could produce small hail and more strong winds. Skies are expected to clear up by late evening. A dry but cloudy day is predicted for tomorrow, with highs in the mid-to-upper-60s. More rain is due in for the weekend, with cooler temperatures. You can expect highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s both Saturday and Sunday.
A 29-year-old Janesville man has died after his motorcycle slammed into a stationary piece of construction equipment. It happened around nine last night on a street just west of an overpass at Interstate 39-90. Police said the biker was driving west when he collided with the construction equipment that was parked along the curb in his lane. The State Patrol is investigating – and authorities say it’s not known whether speed-or-alcohol was involved. The victim was not wearing a helmet. His name was not immediately released.