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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Marquette names its first layman president in its history

MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University has tabbed its first layman president in the Jesuit school's 132-year history. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell is expected to be named the next president at Marquette as early as today. Lovell will replace Father Scott R. Pilarz, who unexpectedly announced his resignation in September after two years on the job. Interim President Father Robert Wild will remain in the role until Lovell assumes the new position. A 2011 change in school bylaws made it possible for a layperson to be selected as long as the person was Catholic.


Seeking to unseat incumbent GOP Governor Scott Walker, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has released a five-part jobs plan Tuesday that involves investing in entrepreneurs and focusing on higher education. Burke says the state should invest in entire industries, rather than individual companies. She says doing so helps promote the common interests of firms and provide more benefit. She also wants to lower college tuition costs and provide more investment capital for entrepreneurs.


Edgewood College in Madison has chosen its next president from among its own ranks. Forty-three-year-old Scott Flanagan was named Edgewood's new president on Tuesday. Flanagan currently is executive vice president at Edgewood and has had other roles during his 16 years with the college. The school's executive board considered four finalists for the job, which opened with the retirement of Daniel Carey after a decade. Flanagan was the only internal candidate. Flanagan officially takes over from Carey this summer.

Edgewood is a private Catholic college with about 3,000 students. ___________________ According to the latest government estimates released Tuesday, Wisconsin's personal net earnings have rebounded — but at an average annual rate that lags that of the nation and most of its Great Lakes peers. Personal net income in the Badger State rose at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent starting from a base in 2009, the year that national wages bottomed out after the financial crisis on Wall Street threw the global economy into a tailspin, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Wisconsin's income growth ranked the state at No. 35 out of 50. ____________________

Some shipping ports along the Mississippi River shipping ports remain closed because of a record amount of lingering ice. The La Crosse Tribune reports that ice on Lake Pepin in western Wisconsin is the last major obstacle for ships headed to Minneapolis. The lake is still coated with more than 2 feet of ice, That's nearly double the average and the most since the Army Corps of Engineers began measuring the ice in 1998. Ships can generally break through a foot or so of ice.

A report from the Tax Foundation finds Wisconsin is the country's fifth-largest importer of smuggled cigarettes. The Kenosha News reports that the independent tax policy research organization found 34.6 percent of cigarettes sold in the state have been brought in from other states and haven't been taxed, have been improperly taxed or were counterfeited. New York led all states with a smuggled cigarette rate of 56.9 percent. 

 ______________________  The Great Lakes shipping season has begun with the opening of the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the locks started operating for the 2014 season on Tuesday. The locks are part of the St. Mary's River system that links Lakes Superior and Lake Huron. The locks closed for the winter on Jan. 15, and the Corps says they've undergone repairs during the shutdown. It says the Poe Lock now is operating, while the MacArthur Lock alongside it will continue undergoing maintenance for several weeks.