WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Temperatures predicted in the 60's and 70's for the weekend
It's supposed to be cooler today in southern Wisconsin, but it will still be well above normal for early September. In Milwaukee, yesterday's low of 78 was four-degrees warmer than the normal high for the date of 74. It got up to 95 in Milwaukee yesterday afternoon, 21-degrees above the norm. Meanwhile, parts of northwest Wisconsin never got out of the 70's, as a cold front moved into that region. The front moved slowly across southeast Wisconsin overnight, bringing some much-needed rain to many areas. Scattered showers are expected to continue this morning in far southern Wisconsin -- and there's a slight chance for rain this afternoon in the north. Folks near Lake Superior should see another mild day in the 70's. Eighty-and-higher is predicted for the rest of the Badger State -- but no 90's are in the forecast for a change. Once the front passes, a major cooling trend is in the offing, with highs expected in the 60's-and-70's through the weekend.
U-S Senate Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says President Obama's latest strategy for Syria is "practical." The president told the nation last night that diplomacy now holds the potential to remove chemical weapons from Syria without the use of military force. If that fails, Obama said the U-S would be ready to make what he called a "targeted strike" against Syrian President Assad. Wisconsin Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin came out yesterday against any military action. She said the use of chemical weapons is a "global atrocity," and it demands a more global response. Obama promised not to put Americans into another open-ended war. He said the clear objective is to deter the further use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, and to reduce Assad's capabilities. Obama also asked Congress to delay votes he's been seeking to authorize the use of force in Syria. Johnson said the president can use force without congressional approval. He said that if Syria hands over its weapons to Russia for destruction -- which both countries have reportedly agreed to -- the door would open to replace Assad with a coalition government. Johnson voted against military action in a committee last week -- but he said he wanted to see a real strategy to avoid a quote, "failed state in Syria."
Politicians of both parties demand a crackdown, after learning that Wisconsin is getting millions-of-dollars in federal incentives to recruit people for public benefits. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says state-and-local workers are pressured by their bosses to sign up people in jail, and those getting benefits in other states. That prompted Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend to draft a bill to bring back asset limits to qualify for food stamps -- and reduce benefits to the lowest amount set by federal guidelines. In 2004, Wisconsin was among nine states raising income eligibility for aid. It allowed families making 46-thousand-dollars a year to get food benefits. Grothman said it created quote, "a moral crisis as people believe they have a right to live off the government." U-S House Democrat Gwen Moore of Milwaukee said supervisors who order workers to sign up prisoners and dead people for public benefits should be fired and criminally charged. In 2011, Wisconsin got the largest federal bonus in the country, 33-million dollars, by making it easier to enroll children in medical assistance programs. Wisconsin also got four-million for the numbers of people it recruited for food stamps the past couple years. Senate Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills says she's working on a number of measures -- including one to make it easier to collect improper benefits from those who received them. Governor Scott Walker has not commented on the fraud reports. Darling says she's working with the Republican governor on it -- and they'll be ready to roll out something more definite this fall.
Environmental experts say the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative should be revamped, to make sure it's doing what it's intended to do. The Obama White House has spent one-point-three billion dollars on the program since 2009. Most funding has gone to shovel-ready projects like removing dams, improving sewage plants, restoring wetlands, and cleaning toxic problems. At this week's annual conference of Great Lakes organizations in Milwaukee, university researchers say the program's focus for the next five years should be to target larger cleanups -- like the western part of Lake Erie, where algae has caused a host of environmental problems. Don Scavia of the University of Michigan suggests that Washington use a more competitive process for rewarding grants. He says applicants should demonstrate how their results would be measured. Scavia says he's seen very little evidence of federal monitoring, to make sure the funded projects are paying off. Cameron Davis of the E-P-A disagrees, saying the Great Lakes Initiative spends a lot of money on monitoring and assessments. Davis admits there's a need for more strategic monitoring, but he says the White House will not take the focus away from practical projects which can show immediate results.
Almost a-thousand low-income families in Wisconsin will soon get free car seats for their young children. The State Patrol will distribute them next week, to help observe National Child Passenger Safety Week. Federal funding provided the infant safety seats and booster seats. They'll be given to about two-dozen hospitals, clinics, and other groups which will hand them out to needy families. The State Patrol and the D-O-T will use the safety week to remind parents about the proper use of child safety restraints. A state law was adopted six-and-a-half years ago that requires children three-and-under to be restrained in child safety seats when traveling. All but the largest four-to-seven-year-olds must sit in booster seats while buckled up.
A Jersey dairy cow from southwest Wisconsin will be honored as the Cow-of-the-Year at next month's World Dairy Expo. Ambition Hercules Jordan is the name of the animal, owned by Derek Orth of Lancaster and bred by Amber Elliott of Marshall. Jordan has produced over 130-thousand pounds of milk. She's also the matriarch, if you will, of a large family that includes 18 daughters and six maternal grand-daughters by both natural births and embryo transfers. More transfers are expected this month, and Jordan is due for natural off-spring in October. The Cow-of-the-Year program honors all seven major dairy breeds. State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel and Alice-in-Dairyland Kristin Olson will present the honor to Jordan during the International Jersey Show at World Dairy Expo -- which is set for October first-through-fifth in Madison.