Evening State News Briefs: Madison police look for shooter on the BeltlineWisconsin News
-- Madison police try to figure out who might have been shooting at people early this morning. Police say the two incidents appear to be random acts and nobody was hit.
MADISON - Madison police try to figure out who might have been shooting at people early this morning. Police say the two incidents appear to be random acts and nobody was hit.
A 24-year old Madison man told police he was exiting from the Beltline to Verona Road at a little after midnight when he heard what he thought was a stone hitting his vehicle. When he checked for damage, he found a bullet hole in the rear door on the driver’s side. Just 10 minutes later, police were called by a man saying he had heard a noise. When he checked it out, he found a gunshot hole in the wall and front window of his living room. Police say they think the shot was fired from the street, but they don’t know if it was fired from a vehicle or by a pedestrian. Madison police say they don’t think the victim was the target.
Both parties get behind a proposal from the governor to increase funding for workforce training and creating a database to improve efforts to match job seekers to open positions. The Wisconsin Senate passed the measure on a unanimous vote today. The Assembly passed it yesterday, 94-4. The governor’s idea would budget $15 million for job training grants over the next two years. The Department of Workforce Development would oversee the granting process, while also creating the new database to help find candidates for job openings in high-demand areas. Since it was his idea, Governor Walker is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Milwaukee’s mayor wondered out loud today whether his city could get a fair shake from Republicans, as they get to set to adopt a new state budget. Tom Barrett said it’s “very easy” to take political shots at Milwaukee. He said it’s a good way to use quote, “a divide-and-conquer mentality to isolate the largest city in the state.” Republican Governor Scott Walker recently said Milwaukee should focus more on growing its economy. Yesterday, GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Barrett let a lot of things go while he spent most of the last three years running for governor as a Democrat against Walker. And Vos said the city should become more efficient and reach out to suburban conservatives who are concerned about Milwaukee taxing itself “into oblivion.” Barrett retorted today that it’s not leadership to tear down the state’s largest city – and he questions whether Walker and Barrett really want to know what Milwaukee’s unique issues are. Milwaukee’s Public Policy Forum has refused to blame local officials for the city’s fiscal problems. Forum president Rob Henken wrote on his blog today that Milwaukee quote, “remains in a revenue strait-jacket caused by strict property tax levy caps, and stagnant state aid.”
Even if it’s not snowing very much where you are, flying from there can still be a hassle. All flights from Milwaukee which stop at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport have been cancelled for this afternoon through late tonight. As of late this morning, well over a-thousand flights have been canceled at O’Hare and Midway airports in the Windy City. Today’s weather is also affecting business at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, where about 80 flights were called off by late morning – most to the Chicago and Ohio regions. Parts of the Chicago metro were expecting their biggest snowfall in two years, around 10-inches. If you’re flying today, airport officials encourage you to double-check your flights – preferably online before you leave for the terminals. Metro Milwaukee had around two inches of snow just before the noon hour, and Madison was getting 2-to-4 inches. But western Wisconsin got hit first, as expected. Arcadia had over seven-inches by 11 a.m. and La Crosse had five.
Local election clerks and Democrats are fighting a new effort to limit the days-and-hours that Wisconsinites can cast absentee ballots in-person. Assembly Republican Duey Strobel of Saukville wants to limit the early voting to 40-hours-a-week in the three weeks before an election, 7:30-to-5 Mondays-through-Fridays only. Strobel’s office says the bill seeks to give folks in smaller communities the same access to absentee voting as those in larger cities which can afford to be open nights-and-weekends. Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha calls it another GOP anti-democracy measure. Diane Hermann-Brown, head of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, says it might force clerks to turn away voters while accepting dog license applications at certain hours. The Wisconsin Towns Association says some small-town clerks open their offices on nights-and-weekends. And clerks say it would force more people to vote absentee by mail, thus increasing costs and inconvenience. Strobel’s office says it will consider flexibility for smaller communities. Assembly Democrat Sandy Pasch of Shorewood has drafted an opposing bill to allow clerks to set up locations outside city-and-village halls to give voters more convenience. Early voting is indeed popular. The state Government Accountability Board said over a half-million voters cast absentee ballots in last November’s presidential contest.
A central Wisconsin K-9 officer missing for two nights was found alive this morning. Toro, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department’s drug-sniffing German shepherd, was discovered during an extensive search. Other details were not immediately available. Toro was loaned to the State Patrol on Sunday night to sniff out a suspect’s car for possible illegal drugs – and he ran off into a wooded area southwest of Plover in Portage County. Rescuers used helicopters and snowmobiles to search the area yesterday. Officials said Toro is a highly-trained law enforcement that’s been part of the Wood County sheriff’s force for just over two years.