State News Roundup: High praise for new UW-Madison chancellorWisconsin News
-- Officials from President Obama on down have high praise for the nation’s commerce leader who was picked yesterday to be the new chancellor at U-W Madison.
Officials from President Obama on down have high praise for the nation’s commerce leader who was picked yesterday to be the new chancellor at U-W Madison. Rebecca Blank was chosen by U-W President Kevin Reilly and a special Regents’ committee to replace Biddy Martin, who left two years ago to become the president of Amherst College. Blank, the acting U-S commerce secretary since 2009, was one of four finalists to run Wisconsin’s flagship public campus. Obama called Blank a tireless advocate for American businesses – and he said the U-W would have an “outstanding chancellor for years to come.” Governor Scott Walker said Blank has excellent academic credentials, strong leadership experience, and quote, “a keen knowledge of economic issues that can help the U-W promote great prosperity in the state.” Reilly said Blank has a strong track record of educational innovation. Among other things, she created a new under-graduate major in public policy during a decade-long tenure at the University of Michigan. Blank is currently out of the country, co-chairing a meeting of the U-S-Brazil C-E-O Forum. She said she’s honored to be appointed at the U-W, calling it one of the nation’s foremost public universities. The Board of Regents is expected to confirm her appointment April fifth. She’ll replace acting chancellor David Ward in July.
Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin say they’ll take a near-record number of walleye in their annual spring spearing harvest. Six tribes said they would spear just over 59-thousand fish as part of their long-standing treaty rights. And that would leave a lot fewer walleye for sport anglers once their season begins in May. D-N-R Secretary Cathy Stepp says the Indians are acting within their treaty rights. But she said the increase in the spearing declarations is quote, “significant, unprecedented, and a challenge to long-standing partnerships.” The D-N-R said the largest of the six tribes, the Lac du Flambeau, effectively ended a 1997 agreement to limit its harvests, in exchange for the ability to sell state recreational licenses. The Lac du Flambeau will lose 84-thousand dollars from the state, plus revenue from license sales. Tribal officials have not commented on that. The D-N-R said the bag limits for sport fishing would be cut to one-per-day on 197 lakes, two-per-day on 331 lakes, and three on seven lakes. The state’s normal daily limit is five. Most years, the tribes don’t take all the fish they declare – and the state ends up increasing the daily bag limits for sport anglers. Last year, the Chippewa speared 32-thousand walleye after declaring 54-thousand.
Most of Wisconsin remains under severe weather advisories until late this morning, due to a wicked combination of snow, freezing rain, and strong winds. The snow-storm is pretty much gone, but strong gusts continue in the 30-mile-an-hour range – and that’s causing some difficult drifts, especially in west central Wisconsin. Schools are closed today in Medford, Bayfield, and Wabeno. Many other schools are running two hours late, especially in the western half of the Badger State. Only a handful of delays are reported in the east, although Green Bay had the most snow – almost six inches. The National Weather Service said Green Bay broke a 30-year-old snow record for the date yesterday, with four-point-eight inches. Parts of southwest, north central, and northeast Wisconsin had 4-to-5 inches. But in other places, the big problem was the freezing rain. Clark County authorities reported numerous slide-offs. And white-out conditions occurred on the Highway 41 expressway in the Appleton area. Clearing skies and diminishing winds are in the forecast for this afternoon. It’s also supposed to get colder again, with lows dropping down from 2-to-10 above statewide. More snow showers are possible tomorrow, with highs around 20.
Wisconsin’s honey bees were much busier in 2012. The U-S-D-A said producers with five-or-more colonies made over four-point-three million pounds of honey last year. That’s a whopping 21-percent more than the previous year, while similar production nationally went down by one-percent. The Badger State is the nation’s eighth-largest honey producer. The state’s larger bee-keepers had 63-thousand colonies in 2012, six-thousand more than previous year. The state’s yield-per-colony was 69 pounds, 13 pounds higher than the national average. And Wisconsin’s honey brought a premium price of two-dollars-and-four cents a pound last year. That’s up from 1.89 in 2011. And it’s nine-cents higher than the national price of 1.95, which was a record. North Dakota is the largest honey state by far. Almost a half-million colonies made 34-million pounds of honey in 2012. South Dakota was a distant second.