Morning State News Roundup: Rhinelander man dies in 19th snowmobile death of winterWisconsin News
-- Authorities are investigating what appears to be Wisconsin’s 19th snowmobile death of the winter.
ANTIGO - Authorities are investigating what appears to be Wisconsin’s 19th snowmobile death of the winter. 55-year-old Robert Ottman of Rhinelander died Saturday.
Langlade County investigators said Ottman apparently drove his snowmobile onto private property to try and get onto Otter Lake – but he got stuck before he could reach the icy lake. Sheriff’s deputies want to know what Ottman was doing on Friday night, and they’ve asked the public for information. Wisconsin has recorded its largest number of snowmobile deaths in three years. Counting Ottman’s death, the state is two below its total from 2010.
Wisconsin’s second-largest industry is in the spotlight in Madison. Over a-thousand people are attending the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which began yesterday at Monona Terrace a couple blocks from the State Capitol. Today, movie director David Zucker and actor Robert Hays will unveil a new Wisconsin tourism ad. Zucker – a UW-Madison graduate – directed the ad last summer on Plum Lake in northern Wisconsin. Hays plays a confused fisherman. The ad will start running in May in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and eastern Iowa. Governor Scott Walker will address the tourism conference today. Normally, the highlight is the annual release of data showing the economic impact of Wisconsin tourism. But state tourism officials say the numbers for 2012 won’t be ready until May. The year before, tourist spending in Wisconsin totaled $9.8 billion dollars, with an estimated total economic impact of $16-billion.
You might want to pay closer attention when a tornado warning is issued. Starting this year, the National Weather Service will issue more detailed warnings in Wisconsin. Meteorologist Jeff Last says they’ll let people know how strong an approaching tornado might be – and whether it’s like to cause minor tree damage, or have the potential to kill lots of people. Last tells WHBY Radio in Appleton that the detailed warnings were created after people ignored the general warnings prior to the Joplin tornado twister in Missouri in 2011 – part of a band of tornadoes that stretched as far east as La Crosse and Sparta. The new system was tested last year in Missouri and Kansas. It takes effect in Wisconsin on April first – in time for the state’s Tornado Awareness Week drill planned for April 18th.
The state DNR is looking for ideas, as it creates a new master plan for a number of facilities in northeast Wisconsin. An open house will take place on March 27th at the Oconto City Hall. The DNR is updating its plans for the Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area, and about 750 acres of gift lands next to the wildlife area. Plans are also being updated for the Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area, an upland along the Peshtigo River – and a number of wildlife and fishery locations in the northeast. At the open house, DNR officials will describe its planning process, provide reviews of the affected properties, and take public comments.
The Canadian National Railroad is still trying to figure out how one of its freight trains derailed in west central Wisconsin over the weekend. Nineteen cars jumped the tracks near Hatfield in Jackson County. The railroad said the train was going east from Taylor to Wisconsin Rapids. It was carrying an undisclosed amount of sand. No one was injured, and officials said nothing hazardous was spilled. The derailment occurred late Saturday afternoon. County Trunk “K” near Hatfield was still closed yesterday, and officials could not immediately say when the tracks could be repaired.