WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: ATV rider killed in accident near Edgar
EDGAR - An ATV driver was killed after colliding with two passenger vehicles on the Highway 29 expressway near Edgar in central Wisconsin.
It happened about 9:40 last night in the Marathon County town of Rib Falls. Sheriff's deputies said the ATV was going north when it was crossing the four-lane expressway. The all-terrain unit collided with two westbound vehicles on 29. The ATV rider died at the scene. One of the other drivers was taken to a Wausau hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The name of the person killed was not immediately released.
A big political attack has been launched in the campaign for Wisconsin attorney general. The conservative Media Trackers said Democratic candidate Susan Happ gave a deferred prosecution agreement for child sexual assault to a man who bought property from Happ and her husband. Happ's campaign manager said it wasn't like that at all. The salvo comes at a time when most voters are still trying to figure out what Happ and her Republican attorney general opponent Brad Schimel stand for. Last week's Marquette University Law School poll said around three-quarters of voters didn't know enough about either one yet to form an opinion. Media Trackers said Happ, the Jefferson County DA, agreed earlier this year to reduce felony charges against Daniel Reynolds to a disorderly conduct violation if he stayed clean for a year. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Happ and her husband sold property to Reynolds in 2009 under a $180,000 land contract which was paid off three years later. Schimel's camp accused Happ of "cutting deals for an alleged child rapist who has financial ties to her family." But Happ campaign manager Joshua Lease said there's more to the story. He said Reynolds was renting a house owned by Happ's husband before he got married -- and the decision to file charges in the sex case was made by the assistant DA and not Happ. Lease also said the assistant made the decision on the deferred prosecution deal.
Janesville House Republican Paul Ryan said today that the reported beheading of a second U-S journalist reflects a weak foreign policy by the Obama administration. The House budget chairman heard the news while answering questions at a Rotary Club luncheon in Milwaukee. An organizer mentioned an Internet video that was posted at mid-day, purportedly showing the beheading of Steven Sotloff. That was after the Islamic State put out a video last month showing Marquette University graduate James Foley being beheaded. Ryan called for a moment of silence, and then said the Obama administration caused a "power vacuum" that allowed the Islamic State to become prominent so quickly. Ryan said the U.S. needs a strong and decisive campaign to "finish off" the terrorist group.
Governor Scott Walker says it's not part of his agenda to make Wisconsin a "right to work" state. But Walker has never said he would veto the concept if lawmakers approve it -- and he took that same stance today. A right-to-work law would not require private sector employees to join company unions -- or to pay dues -- as a condition of employment. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has said he would not push the matter in the lower house next year.
Governor Walker says he does not regret promising Wisconsin would get 250,000 additional private sector jobs over his four-year term. However, the Republican Walker says he won't make a similar pledge as he seeks re-election in two months. The governor said he would unveil a new and detailed plan in the next few weeks for growing the state's economy. However, it will contain a prediction of job numbers. Walker was courting the state's voters for the first time in 2010 when he promised a quarter-million new jobs. Only about 103,000 were added, and Democrat Mary Burke is slamming the governor constantly over that. Walker said he wanted to aim high, after the state lost 133,000 jobs during the Great Recession.
A former police captain from Madison was named today as the new police chief in Pittsburgh. Fifty-six year old Cameron McLay replaces Nate Harper -- who was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison for diverting 32-thousand dollars of city fee revenues to a slush fund for himself. Harper resigned in early 2013, a month before he was charged. Regina McDonald has been the acting police chief in Pittsburgh since then. McLay will become the permanent chief on September 15th. He spent most of his 35-year law enforcement career in Madison, where he rose to captain before leaving earlier this year. McLay spent the past year as a contract consultant for the International Association of Chiefs-of-Police. The Pittsburgh City Council still needs to approve his hiring.
It's prime-time for gamblers in Wisconsin, as the football season begins and the Major League Baseball playoffs arrive in a month. The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling urges folks to keep an eye on their friends and relatives who gamble a lot. That's especially true as NFL teams march toward the February Super Bowl, when calls for help to the group's gambling hotline are at their peak. Rose Gruber of the Problem Gambling Council says about half the call to the help-line as from family members noticing issues with loved ones. Family finances often bring those issues to light. Gruber says there are a few things to remember in playing responsibly -- consider it a cost of entertainment, expect to lose more than you win, stick to a dollar limit, never gamble with credit, don't chase after lost money, and don't use gambling as a crutch to deal with pain or let it take over your life. The state gambling helpline number is toll-free at 1-800-GAMBLE-5.
Environmentalists say they want to work with the forest products industry to develop a collaborative solution to a dispute over the Northwoods' timber management. Paul Strong, a supervisor at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, said a previous collaboration is a great example. He cited the success of an agreement between Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark on the use of a material from forests in Canada. Strong tells the Appleton Post-Crescent that "a collaborative agreement is much better than controversy." Strong is part of a forestry collaborative that seeks a compromise on one-and-a-half million acres of national forest land that will please both loggers and environmental interests. It seeks to attract private investment funds, promote the benefits of forest management, and coordinate restoration projects. The state's two U.S. senators -- Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Madison and Republican Ron Johnson of Oshkosh -- made separate visits to northern Wisconsin last month, and they vow to work together on the matter until a solution is reached.
A 120-year-old chocolate business in Milwaukee is about to get its third owner in the last two decades. The Cargill food conglomerate said today it would purchase the global chocolate operations of another agricultural giant, Archer Daniels Midland. The sale includes the Ambrosia cocoa processing plant on Milwaukee's far northwest side. Cargill is also buying ADM chocolate operations in Pennsylvania, Canada, Germany, England, and Belgium for a total price of $440-million. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of next year, and then the Hampton Pennsylvania plant will close. About 700 current ADM employees will transfer over to Cargill. Ambrosia Chocolate was founded in 1894 by Otto Schoenleber. W.R. Grace and Company bought the firm in 1964. Its distinctive chocolate aroma was enjoyed by folks throughout downtown Milwaukee for years -- until it moved to the northwest side in 1992 and started a new cocoa processing unit. Archer Daniels Midland bought Grace Cocoa in 1997.
The first day of school is always hard for youngsters and their parents. But most families got off easy compared to the Beffel family of Brookfield. Nine brothers and sisters in that family started classes today, ranging from four-year-old kindergarten to the senior year of high school. Their mother, Marisa Beffel, tells WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee that she dropped off supplies at the kids' respective schools so there was no confusion on Day-One. She also said she'd be lost without her calendar -- the one that lists school activities and schedules for all nine children. High school junior Lexi Beffel says it gets hectic at her house in the mornings, but it's like a party every day. If the enrollments are like last year, about 880,000 Wisconsin kids are attending public schools in 424 districts this fall. Most of those districts began classes today.