Afternoon State News Briefs: Three million estimated to vote in WisconsinWisconsin News
- At least three-million Wisconsinites will vote in November. That prediction came today from Kevin Kennedy, head of the state elections’ agency.
MADISON - At least three-million Wisconsinites will vote in November. That prediction came today from Kevin Kennedy, head of the state elections’ agency.
In 2008, about 2.98 million Wisconsin residents helped Democrat Barack Obama get elected. If three-million vote, the turnout would be around 70-percent of the state’s eligible voters. Kennedy, the director of the Government Accountability Board, said turnouts are very high when voters believe they have a stake in the elections – and he notes that the stagnant economy has touched almost everybody. Kennedy gave his projection at a news conference in which he promoted a new Web site that sends ballots online to military and overseas voters. He says the new system will help Wisconsinites abroad get their ballots home in time to be counted. Around 6,500 overseas Wisconsinites voted in the 2008 presidential contest.
Authorities are seeking charges against two men, after a quarter-million dollars’ worth of marijuana was seized at a home in central Wisconsin. Wood County sheriff’s deputies said they discovered an outdoor pot-growing operation 11 days ago at the home of a 56-year-old Babcock man. He was arrested, along with a 51-year-old man suspected of growing marijuana at a home nearby. Officers said they found almost 500 marijuana plants, drug paraphernalia, and weapons at the first man’s house – and harvested plants were drying in bedrooms in the second man’s home. State and local officers helped with the investigation.
The Madison Board of Estimates has delayed a plan by Mayor Paul Soglin to dedicate an additional five million dollars to tax incentives. Those incentives would be aimed at supporting development projects. The board voted to move the five million the mayor sought to the 2014 capital budget. Members also decided it wouldn’t be available until the Madison City Council approves a written policy on its funding priorities, policies and procedures concerning tax increment finances.
Green Bay has held the first several training sessions for snowplow drivers getting ready for the season. Snowplow drivers say the refresher course helps them mentally prepare for the inevitable first major snowstorm of the season. Drivers are learning about new machinery and plans for using saltwater treatment on roads more often in northeastern Wisconsin. In addition to instruction during the training sessions, the drivers also have to take written and hands-on tests to make sure they are ready. It’s an experienced crew, with only one new driver on the roster for the 2012-13 snow season.
Wisconsin’s electrical code will keep fire safety requirements as they are. Governor Scott Walker has scrapped a plan to remove those mandates from the code. The Wisconsin Builders Association wanted the change, saying the code requires devices which have “reliability problems.” The code forces builders to put in tamper-resistant electrical outlets in new homes, along with ground-fault and arc-fault circuit interrupter protections. Fire officials and local electrical inspectors had criticized the governor’s plans to change the code – and they praised his decision to scrap the change.
Three central Wisconsin residents are charged with cashing the Social Security checks of a relative who’s apparently been missing for 30 years. Portage County authorities said they believe that Marie Jost died three decades ago – and that their son, daughter, and son-in-law were still cashing her government checks. 66-year-old Charles Jost and 69-year-old Delores Disher, both of Amherst, and 71-year-old Ronald Disher of Almond are charged in state court with mail fraud, forgery, theft by fraud, and the unauthorized use of another person’s documents. The Dishers are due back in court on Friday, when a Portage County circuit judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order trials. Jost was ordered yesterday to undergo a mental exam to determine if he’s competent to stand trial. Meanwhile, sheriff’s investigators say Marie Jost might be buried on her property at Amherst – and they’re using heavy machinery to see if they can dig up her remains. Jost and another son had been missing since 1982. The three defendants were arrested on September fifth. Authorities said Ronald Disher allegedly attacked a deputy with a large file when they came to search his home. He faces additional charges of reckless endangerment, battery by a prisoner, and disorderly conduct.
A Wisconsin man has pleaded innocent to drug charges in Nebraska. Brian Womack Senior is scheduled to go on trial February 20th in York County, Nebraska on charges that could send him to prison for life if he’s guilty. Media reports did not say where Womack is from in Wisconsin. Officers said they stopped Womack’s car for a traffic violation near Bradshaw Nebraska on Interstate-80 – and they found one-point-six pounds of marijuana, over a pound of cocaine, and a chocolate bar laced with an active drug in marijuana. Womack’s bond was lowered to $100,000 last week, but he remains in a jail in York, Nebraska.
A car ferry that crosses Lake Michigan from Manitowoc will extend its sailing season, so it can help transport wind energy turbines. The Lake Michigan Car Ferry company, which operates the S.S. Badger, has reached an agreement with General Electric to run the ferry until November second. It will allow 60 more wind towers to be transported, in addition to 300 over-sized wind tower loads that have been carried on the ferry so far this year. Officials say it’s another way that the wind power industry in the Midwest has helped many sectors of the economy – including transportation. The S.S. Badger has daily runs during the warmer months between Manitowoc and Ludington, Michigan. The Badger plans to encourage passenger travel during the extension, by offering a 40-percent discount on passenger-and-vehicle fares from October 15th through November second.
Authorities said a Racine woman was drunk when her vehicle collided with a sheriff’s squad car late last night. It happened around 11 o’clock at a Racine intersection. The State Patrol arrested the woman on a possible charge of causing injury by drunk driving. A five-thousand-dollar bond has been ordered. Sheriff’s deputies and the State Patrol continue to investigate. Reports said the woman had two previous drunk driving arrests.