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30 Nov

View out my window
Sometimes friends ask me why I'm not down in West Chicago, at the computer in the basement, unable to tell if it's raining outside... so I turned to the right and shot this picture of the sunset. - Bob
Midgets look for Indianhead three-peat
"The Hurley football team finished up its run to the WIAA Division 6 state semifinal on Nov. 13. That was a special season and the basketball season could be special, as well. But the start could be slow as the long playoff run took its toll, a negative tempered by the fact Hurley has a lot of seniors. "
Deer Hunting Overview
""The deer ain't there." Tom Schmidt has been hunting for 40 years. This year, he says he didn't have any luck. "I shot a 12-pointer up here once, you know, about 6 years ago. It's kind of bad when you don't see no deer at all."  But that's not the case for the Lake Tomahawk Meat Market, which processes venison. "It's been coming in on a regular basis.""
Callers Jam No-Call List Hotline 
"Callers anxious to get their phone numbers on the state's no-call list are overwhelming state lines set up to take their information.  Today is deadline for callers to have their phone numbers added to the no-call list on Jan. 1."
No-call phone lines overwhelmed
"Monday was the deadline for callers to have their phone numbers added to the no-call list on Jan. 1. Missing Monday's deadline means numbers couldn't be added to the list barring telemarketer contact until April 1.  State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection spokeswoman Donna Gilson says callers were complaining they couldn't get through on the phone to register their numbers."
Area industrial economy showed growth in November
"The Milwaukee-area industrial economy improved in November, according to a report released Monday from the Milwaukee chapter of the Institute for Supply Management.  The institute's November manufacturing index rose seven points from the previous month to a reading of 57, putting it in what economists call a growth stage. A reading above 50 means growth; below 50 means contraction."
Layoffs in state government coming
"Since the summer, 211 state workers have been given notice that they are at risk of being laid off -- a number that will rise in the coming months, state officials said.  "We are headed toward some layoffs in state government. How far and how deep they'll go, I really can't predict," said Jennifer Donnelly, director of the Office of State Employment Relations. "That number is going to continue to rise.""
Legislation pushes for funding to treat gambling addicts
"More than 70 percent of adults in the United States have gambled at least once in the past year, 15 percent at least once in the past week, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.  According to the council, 3 percent, or 127,319 adults, in Wisconsin struggled with problem or pathological gambling as of 2006. For those ages 12 to 17, it was 6 percent of the population, or 19,325 people."
UW Hospital heart care ranked in top 100 in U.S.
"The 2009 list of the best heart care hospitals came out last week. This is the sixth time UW Hospital has been included in the 11-year history of the list.  "I think this is really a case of the best getting better, setting the standards for the rest of the nation's hospitals," said Donna Katen-Bahensky, CEO of UW Hospital and Clinics."
UW entrepreneurship program going strong
"Among the projects being developed this year by the 64 members of ERLC inhabiting the second floor of Sellery Hall’s A tower are Studytools — a study aid software application — and an IT company focused on hardware network installation."
Feingold favored over Thompson for U.S. Senate
"Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. beat out former governor Tommy Thompson in the results of a mock 2010 U.S. Senate race poll released last week, which also resulted in a tie between likely Democrat candidate Tom Barrett and Republican candidate Scott Walker for governor."
Schism looms for Lutherans over gay issue - The Columbus Dispatch
"Last week, the steering committee of a conservative coalition of Lutherans known as the Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) took another step toward creating a new synod, or denomination, of Lutherans.  The conservative group opposes changes made by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its Churchwide Assembly in August. The denomination voted to allow gay people in same-sex relationships to serve as clergy members and professional lay workers. Gays already were permitted to minister but had to be celibate because they were unmarried."
The Cost of ‘No’ and Other Health Care Perspectives - AFL-CIO
  • "The National Farmers Union has come out in support of health care reform, saying rural families need lower costs, more choices and better access to care. Senators from heavily rural states like Arkansas, Maine and Nebraska should pay attention.
  • According to a new poll, 71 percent of the public agrees that reform needs to include an investment in preventive care."
Friends With Low Wages - AmericansRightsAtWork.org
"Please note that the "Friends With Low Wages" cartoon is a parody, designed as satire and criticism and intended for non-commercial purposes only. The cartoon and its message are not sponsored or endorsed by or affiliated with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. or Garth Brooks."

Palin Tricked By Comedian Again, Says Canada Should Drop Public Health Care - Huffington Post
"When Palin left the signing, Walsh caught up with her in the parking lot, where Palin suggested that Canada should get rid of its public health care system. "Keep the faith" Palin said, "because common sense conservatism can be plugged in there in Canada too. In fact, Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed.""



27 Nov

Bio-Diversity - NY Times
[Reliable sources in the Iron County Forestry Department (on condition of anonymity) have revealed that the Department is almost entirely unaware of this tree identification resource sent to MyHurley by Editth Makra, Urban Forester at the Morton Arboretum in suburban Chicago.  - Bob]
Deer Donation Program
"Under the Department of Natural Resources' Venison Donation Program, hunters drop off deer at participating meat processors.  Volunteers then distribute the meat to food pantries.  The DNR says the program has distributed more than 3.1 million pounds of venison from nearly 70,000 deer over the last decade."
Farmers Have One More Month to Transport Heavy Harvest Loads 
"Gov. Jim Doyle has issued an executive order giving farmers another month to transport heavy harvest loads.  State law exempts vehicles carrying crops from road weight limits from September through November."
In Wisconsin, there is no tax relief as home values fall
"To some, that's like saying an assessment is nothing more than the luck of the draw; to others, few recent comparable sales are indicative of a declining market in which one might expect a lower assessment, yet, ironically, as the number of more recent comparable sales dwindles, the time frame stretches further into the distance when values were higher."
Balanced Attack Leads Lady Pointers
"Five Pointers scored in double figures to lead UW-Stevens Point (4-0) to a 93-66 victory over the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors (0-3) Tuesday night at Berg Gym...Cassie Bandow (Plover) added 12 points and Ashley Windt (Hurley) contributed 10 for the Pointers."
State warns milk products may not be properly pasteurized
"The state has issued a consumer alert about Blue Marble Family Farm milk products because it may not be properly pasteurized.  The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection issued a consumer alert Wednesday evening after lab tests confirmed the pasteurization of the products may have been inadequate. Food safety officials are unaware of any resulting illnesses.  The state is telling anyone with the products from the Barneveld-based farm to discard them."
County freezes admissions to drug and alcohol outpatient program
""It's a crisis because addiction is a disease and these people can't get help when you're turning them away," said Rob Cherry, of the Milwaukee Addiction Treatment Initiative.  However, John Chianelli, administrator of the county's Behavioral Health Division, said he hoped one large federal grant would be renewed late next year and four separate, smaller federal drug and alcohol treatment grants could provide stopgap funding for 2010."
Latest no-call sign-up deadline is Monday
"If your New Year's resolution is to avoid calls from pesky telemarketers on your home or cell phone, Monday is the last day to sign up for the state's no-call list that goes into effect Jan. 1.  Anyone who signs up after Nov. 30 won't be on the list until April 1, the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said in a news release."
Oregon may allow teachers to wear religious clothing - Associated Press
"The law, which was aimed at keeping Catholics out of public schools, has not been tested in court since the Eugene School District won a 1986 Oregon Supreme Court case that upheld its firing of a Sikh teacher for wearing a turban.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which has long supported the ban, said the Legislature should not end it without enacting additional protections for Oregon students. The Oregon Education Association has not taken a position on the issue, a spokeswoman said.
Spread the word to holiday shoppers: hold Walmart accountable for store safety on Black Friday. - WakeUpWalMart
"Black Friday is likely to be bigger than ever in 2009. Polls suggest the possibility of a near 25% increase in participation this year over last. This, in concert with Walmart's aggressive promotion of holiday sales, will almost assuredly generate massive crowds this Friday.  If Walmart couldn't anticipate the Long Island tragedy, we can't rely on it to handle record crowds this year."
Purloined E-Mails Don’t Change the Facts - TruthDig
"Scientists should welcome contrarian views from respected colleagues, not try to squelch them. They should admit what they don’t know.  It would be great if this were all a big misunderstanding. But we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know the planet is hotter than it was a century ago. The skeptics might have convinced each other, but so far they haven’t gotten through to the vanishing polar ice."
The Biggest Dem Scandal You've Never Heard Of - TPM
"So why, at this point, nine months after the FBI raid appeared in the news, aren't we hearing more about this? Why hasn't it stuck?  It's probably a combination of factors: the infrequent media leaks from the Feds; the complexity and diffuseness of the case; and the lack of a single high-profile figure who is the focus of investigators.  It's not for lack of color that the story hasn't taken off. Like many Washington influence peddlers, Magliocchetti was a boisterous figure known for wooing lawmakers with fancy meals and booze."
Lobbyists pushed off advisory panels - Washington Post
"The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don't have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.  Under the policy, which is being phased in over the coming months, none of the more than 13,000 lobbyists in Washington would be able to hold seats on the committees, which advise agencies on trade rules, troop levels, environmental regulations, consumer protections and thousands of other government policies."

26 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving!
25 Nov  
Midgettes to start regional title defense
"The Hurley Midgettes will start their WIAA Division 3 regional title defense at Indianhead Conference foe Drummond on Tuesday"
Deer harvest up slightly in Chequamegon Bay region
"While overall deer harvest numbers were down about 25 percent from the 2008 opening weekend, Ashland and Bayfield counties, ahem, bucked the trend and came in higher."
Hurley places six, Guards two on All-GWC squad
"Named to the first-team offense for the Midgets were end Dylan Laurin (6-5, 190, sr), quarterback Josh Thiede (5-9, 150, sr), running back Daulton Levra (5-8, 160, sr) and running back Justin Rhenlund (6-1, 180, jr).  Hurley had two players on the first-team defense - lineman Ty Patritto (6-3, 215, jr) and linebacker Jeff Aspinwall (5-11, 172, jr)."
Local Tribal President Resigns
"Carl Edwards, Former Lac du Flambeau Tribal President, says, "It's been an honor to serve as your Tribal President over the past year. Please accept this letter as my official notice of my resignation as President of the Lac du Flambeau Band. Myself and the current Tribal Council haven't been able to overcome our differences. I must put the best interests of our tribe first, and with that in mind, I am tendering my resignation. Thanks for your support.""
Unemployment eases in 10 of 12 state metro areas
"The unadjusted unemployment rate in the four-county region that includes Milwaukee and Waukesha counties dipped to 8.2% from 8.5% in September and 4.7% in October of last year.  In Milwaukee county alone, the unadjusted unemployment rate slipped to 9.0% from 9.3% a month earlier; in Waukesha County, the figure slipped to 6.9% from 7.3%."
New York authorities confiscate Wisconsin beer
"New York State Liquor Authority says its investigators confiscated 50 cases of Spotted Cow from the Mad River Bar & Grille in Manhattan Nov. 6.  The beer is brewed by New Glarus Brewing Co. in Green County. Brewmaster Dan Carey said the beer is not licensed for sale outside Wisconsin."
BioSystem Development completes investment round
"Two strategic manufacturing partners, All Metal Stamping, Abbotsford; and Orbital Biosciences, Topsfield, Mass., contributed tooling and manufacturing equipment valued at $350,000.  BioSystem Development makes tools for biotech and life sciences companies to use for their research and development projects."
Operation Migration hangar, aircraft vandalized
"Four wings for the ultra-light aircraft, used to escort the birds, were slashed, something that will cost $20,000 to replace. The group does not have insurance. A full-sized sculpture of a whooping crane, made by one of the ultralight pilots, was smashed and spray-painted. One of the ultralights used in the past to lead geese, swans, sandhill cranes and whooping cranes was damaged."
UHS receives 2,000 swine flue vaccines for students; flu cases decrease
"Despite the availability of the vaccine, Van Orman encouraged students not to worry about coming in before Thanksgiving break because there will be more than enough doses.  “Students should not panic and rush in the next two days,” Van Orman said. “If they have time, come get [the vaccine], but we’re still going to keep getting it.”"
Activist's health protest fails to draw a crowd - The News-Sentinel, Indiana
"Conservative political and religious activist Randall Terry ran into a wall in Fort Wayne, the first stop of his 13-city, seven-state protest tour to denounce proposed health care reform. No one showed.  A few reporters and photographers, Terry and two passersby were the whole rally. Terry's target, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and Bayh's entire staff inside the E. Ross Adair Federal Building, were no-shows."
Ohio Unions Help Give Needy Families Christmas Care
"St. Stephen’s Community House has joined forces once again with the Central Ohio Labor Council in the 2009 Christmas Care/One New Toy Campaign at St. Stephen’s Community House in Columbus, Ohio. Community leaders, labor officials and public officers gathered Friday, Nov. 20, to highlight the partnership and address the urgent needs of central Ohio families."
Perino: No Terrorists Attacked America On Bush's Watch - TPM
"Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino made a rather odd claim on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last night. Talking about how we ought to label the deadly shooting at Fort Hood -- and implying that the Obama administration was shying away from calling it a terrorist attack out of political concerns -- Perino said no terrorists attacked the U.S. while President Bush was in office... Perino's claim went unchallenged -- no one on screen mentioned the 9/11 attacks."

N.C. lawmakers ask for probe of Blue Cross advocacy against public option- Institute for Southern Studies
"Further, given BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina's status as a not-for-profit with a share of 96.8% in our individual insurance market built on over 60 years of preferred tax exemptions, we are concerned as a matter of public policy and ethical business practices that they have inappropriately engaged in political advocacy. As a corporation that claims to deliver innovative health care products and services to its members, BlueCross BlueShield appears to be engaging in a blatant political campaign utilizing the premiums paid by their customers. Even if there is no apparent violation of existing statutes, we think this is bad public policy that deserves further scrutiny."


24 Nov

Health Insurance Reform and Wisconsin: The Case for Change - HealthReform.gov
"Under reform in Wisconsin:
  • 541,000 residents who do not currently have insurance and 320,000 residents who have nongroup insurance could get affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange.
  • 358,000 residents could qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health coverage.
  • 871,000 seniors would receive free preventive services.
  • 155,000 seniors would have their brand-name drug costs in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” halved.
  • 77,400 small businesses could be helped by a small business tax credit to make premiums more affordable."
Young blood
"Eleven-year-old Troy Erspamer displays the seven-point, 175-pound buck he shot while hunting for the first time under Wisconsin’s new mentored youth hunting program. He bagged the buck at his grandfather’s “Flying Bucks” camp in Medford, Wis. Troy is the son of Sam and Melanie Erspamer of Hurley. (Submitted photo)"
Mercer gets update on curriculum review process
"Teresa de Venecia, curriculum coordinator for CESA 12 at Ashland, said the EURO project is in its second year.  EURO -- Educationally United Regional Objectives -- brings together teachers from 10 CESA districts in a given subject area to set benchmarks that align curriculum with state standards."
Research showing a warmer, windier Lake Superior
"Researchers from UW-Madison and University of Minnesota-Duluth have found that less ice cover on the world's largest body of fresh water is heating up Lake Superior, which in turn is creating more turbulent conditions."
Counties working toward understanding on biomass research plots
"In cooperation with the Agriculture and Energy Resource Center, UW-Extension is seeking to establish approximately 15.5 acres at the former UW experimental farm to research woody biomass feasibility in the northland."
(Pressemitteilung) -Germany
Health - Security Health Plan of Wisconsin Ranked among Nation's Best Health Plans
"Security Health Plan (www.securityhealth.org) is a physician-led health maintenance organization, sponsored by Marshfield Clinic, and serves more than 177,000 residents in a 32-county service area of Wisconsin ?covering northern Wisconsin from Superior to Hurley, and south to Juneau and Adams counties,..."
Supreme Court to decide status of public employees' emails
"In a case that could have far-reaching consequences for the state's open records laws, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to potentially decide whether the personal emails of public employees - written on government computers - are exempt from the state's open records' laws."
Opening Weekend 2009 Deer Harvest
"DNR Public Affairs Manager Jim Bishop says there were fewer permits for does this year. As for bucks...that depended on the area. Douglas County was up 30% this year. Oneida County was different. "Right now it's looking like we're about 20 percent down on the buck harvest from last year.""
One in four state banks lost money in the third quarter
""The numbers clearly reflect the stressed financial conditions of bank customers throughout the state," said Kurt Bauer, chief executive of the Wisconsin Bankers Association. "You've got high unemployment, you've got largely poor economic conditions, and that's going to contribute to the decline in bank earnings. I guess it's no real surprise. Despite the strong headwinds against us, most Wisconsin banks did make a profit.""
Wal-Mart Wisconsin pricing will be same as national on Black Friday
"The retail giant for several years has printed a different version of its Black Friday flier and other sale fliers for Wisconsin, in an effort to abide by the state's Unfair Sales Act. The law, which dates back to the 1930s, forbids selling below cost. Retailers can, however, cut prices below cost to meet competition.  It's unclear whether this is a change in Wal-Mart's policy on the Wisconsin law or if the company is not selling anything below cost this week."
Odd Wisconsin: Profanities considered worse than artillery in Appleton's past
"They paid special attention to morality in the 1877 and 1887 codes, which required that anyone "committing any offense against common decency, use of any lewd, vulgar, or indecent language" should be fined up to $100 and sentenced to up to two months in prison.  In comparison, the punishment for setting off a "cannon, gun, pistol or fire-arms... anywhere within the city without permission" was only to be fined no more than $10."
Soybean harvest almost done, corn still drying in fields
"Corn is 59 percent harvested, up dramatically from a week before but still way behind the 5-year average of 87 percent through Nov. 22... "At this point, many just want to get the corn off the field, regardless of the moisture in it," said a farmer from Kewaunee County. "The drying costs for storing corn will be higher, but with winter coming soon, the fall tillage has to be completed.""

Rep. David Obey Warns President Obama of Afghanistan War Surtax - ABC News
""There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan," House Appropriations Chairman David Obey told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "If they ask for an increased troop commitment in Afghanistan, I am going to ask them to pay for it.""

Americans More Likely to Credit Obama for Verse on Justice than Bible - Christian Post
"Only 13 percent of Americans surveyed by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Bible Society was able to correctly credit the Bible as the source of Proverbs 31:8-9, the Contemporary English Version of which states: “You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”  Fifty-four percent, meanwhile, credited the passage to other sources, with President Obama cited as the most likely author by Americans (16 percent). "
[Sounds to me like they should be hearing this kind of Bible passage in church more often. - Bob]
Students Protest UC Tuition Hike—and More Bargaining News - AFL-CIO
"Students, faculty and staff at the University of California staged walkouts and other actions to protest Thursday’s vote by the Board of Regents to increase tuition fees by 32 percent. The University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE-CWA), with support from the Coalition of University Employees and students, began a three-day strike Wednesday morning at UCLA and UC Berkeley."

[This is more like "balloon boy" than the "scandal of the century."  One blogger finding half a dozen poorly chosen phrases in a site that has now been removed... we need more links to credible original sources to get excited.  However, if any of this is proven true, it will make the warming advocates as suspect as the oil industry flacks. - Bob]

SPIN METER: Legislation inflation grips GOP - TPM
"By now, the full draft of Reid's bill that had circulated in the corridors and landed so prominently on Republican desks has been published in the Congressional Record in the official and conventional manner.  The type is small and tight. No hernias will be caused by moving this rendering of the bill around. Unfurling it on the Capitol steps would not be much of a spectacle.  It's 209 pages."

23 Nov

Things it is not smart to say during Deer Season:
"That's a really great deer blind you have.  I got three does from it during mid-October."
Mellen is named as national blue ribbon school
"It is a common misconception that only big, well-funded suburban schools can provide good things for their students, that only in an environment where funds aren't an issue that students can excel.  Like many small, rural northern Wisconsin districts, the Mellen School District has to pinch every penny. But that doesn't mean that their students can't be among the best and brightest in the nation."
Wis. DMV Offices Will Close Again for Furloughs
"State Division of Motor Vehicle Offices will close Friday so employees can take their fourth furlough day this year.  The state budget Gov. Jim Doyle signed this past summer orders all state employees to take 16 unpaid furlough days over the next two years to help balance the state's finances."
Mentored Hunt Helps Area Hunter
"Some youth hunters took to this opening weekend for their first ever hunt.  But they couldn't have done it without the new DNR mentored hunt."
Hunters hustle to avoid deer spoilage
"The opening of gun deer season this weekend may have seemed ideal to some. With temperatures hovering around 50 degrees, hunters could sit in their tree stands for hours without risk of frostbitten fingers. They could tromp through the woods unfettered by icy winds.  But the warm weather brought with it a pretty big drawback -- the risk of spoiled meat. More than a few hunters who registered their deer at Club 10 on Saturday cut their hunting day short, choosing to hurry home and process their deer."
Harley sales slow, inventories rising
"Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycle sales are soft, but the company is focused on a turnaround in the economy, according to a new analysis from Robert W. Baird & Co.  Harley's U.S. dealers are on track to sell about 21,500 bikes in the current fiscal quarter, slightly below Baird's estimates, the report notes.  About 30% of the 70 dealers that Baird interviewed said motorcycle inventories were too high."
State expands H1N1 vaccine group
"The state Department of Health Services is expanding the scope of who can be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus, adding healthy school age children and young adults into the mix with more vaccine coming into the state.  Based upon the H1N1 vaccine supply and feedback from providers, Wisconsin is returning to the original target group recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Tech: New California regs could cut LCD TV power use in half by 2013, group says
"A study by TV display market research firm iSuppli said the new power regulations adopted this month by the California Energy Commission (CEC) could cut aggregate annual power consumption of LCD TVs worldwide in half by the year 2013, if the standards are adopted universally, Twice.com reported."
City widens H1N1 groups
"“As more vaccine becomes available, we are certainly planning opportunities to make sure the vaccine gets out,” Golden said. “The last thing we want to do is have it sit on the shelf.”  Sarah Van Orman, director of University Health Services, said UHS was planning on making the H1N1 vaccine available to all students under 24 at no cost. Van Orman also said UHS would be having a large clinic the first weekend after Thanksgiving break."
Hunters to hit the Northwoods for deer gun season
"Anyone wanting to hunt after the season opens but who hasn't already purchased a license will be pleased with a new 2009 rule.  A change in the law allows hunters to purchase a license after the season has opened. In prior years, those planning to hunt the nine-day gun hunt were required to buy a license before the season opened."
Atheist student groups flower on college campuses - Associated Press
"Should student atheist groups go it alone or build bridges with Christian groups? Organize political protests or quiet discussion groups? Adopt the militant posture of the new atheists? Or wave and smile?"
Putting its mission before its treasure - Boston Globe
"Officials at the Gothic brick-and-granite church on Main Street say they have little choice. The church’s bank account has dwindled to $8,000 as contributions have fallen during the economic downturn and membership has diminished. The church has an endowment of about $100,000, but much of that is bequests with conditions that would not be met if the money were used for operating the homeless shelter."
Working America, Union Members Deliver for Health Care Reform - AFL-CIO
"On Tuesday in Louisiana, Wednesday in Arkansas and yesterday in four other states, these activists brought more than 15,000 letters to their senators in support of health care reform that expands coverage, doesn’t raise costs for middle-class families because it doesn’t tax their benefits and includes a public health insurance option to help hold insurance companies accountable."
Bipartisan Report Shows U.S. Must Move Aggressively on China’s Illegal Acts - AFL-CIO
"Bartholomew, who chairs the USCC, said the commission found that China employs a wide range of subsidies that include land, loans, energy, water and tax incentives to attract foreign manufacturers for the production and export of higher technology products. State-owned banks also provide massive loans to industries producing over capacity. Click here to read the report."
Stupak Fires Back At GWU Study, Says Abortion Amendment No Big Thang - TPM
"The GWU study concluded that insurance companies would respond to the abortion restrictions in the Stupak amendment by whittling down abortion coverage over time until they stop offering it altogether--a business decision not strictly mandated by the legislation itself, but the impact would be the same."
Top 14 Health Care Reform Provisions That Take Effect Immediately on January 1, 2010 - TPM
"Amid all the negative rumors and misleading assumptions that are floating around here about what the Affordable Health Care For America Act will or will not do for/to Americans, I thought I'd share some actual facts about what positive changes HCR will enact as of January 1, 2010 should the bill now being debated in the Senate be signed into law by President Obama by the end of the year:"

20 Nov

“For the last year, as we’ve struggled to pass healthcare reform, we’ve been told that we have to pay for the bill – and the cost over the next decade will be about a trillion dollars. Now the President is being asked to consider an enlarged counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will take at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars. But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for. We believe that’s wrong,” said Obey. “Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for.”
Work on bridge continues
"Construction of the $739,568 Poplar Street bridge over the Montreal River from Ironwood to Hurley is in full swing. The abutments are in place and workers from Edward Kraemer and Sons Inc., Plain, Wis., general contractor for the project, are preparing for the bridge deck. The deck was scheduled to arrive today, weather permitting, said Iron County Highway commissioner John Nelson."
Paving cut from 3 miles to 2
""We're hoping to save $160,000 by cutting one mile of resurfacing in 2010. We'll only be paving two miles of Highway H in Mercer. One mile of paving on Highway G in Oma was cut," Nelson said.  The highway department usually paves three miles of road each season, Nelson said. Cuts had to be made so that Iron County could balance its 2010 budget."
Lioness support foundation
"The Mercer Lioness Club has donated $1,000 to the Lions Foundation's Pride Endowment Fund.  Geri Schlender accepted the donation for the foundation on Nov. 17."
Co-op patronage to benefit Ashland Schools youth programs
""They can just say they want to donate it to the school. The clerks typically ask for an account number, and a lot of people say, 'No, I don't have one,' so the clerk can ask them if they would like to donate their patronage to the school district. We think most people will say 'Why not?'" he explained. "It's an opportunity for members and non-members who are customers to donate their share.""
Area Snowmobile Trails Now Linked Together
"The Tomahawk and Rhinelander trails now connect near the intersection of Hwy 8 and 47. Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns says he's been working on this for the last 4 years and is happy it finally happened."
Cranberry Harvest Meets Expectations
"Cranberry harvests in Wisconsin and elsewhere are meeting expectations, meaning your cranberry sauce will cost about the same this Thanksgiving as it did last year."
Wisconsin 4th in filings from mass layoffs
"Wisconsin ranked fourth in initial unemployment claims filed from mass layoffs and plant closings last month, the Labor Department reported Friday.  Just shy of 11,500 Wisconsin workers applied for jobless benefits as a result of employers dismissing 50 or more of their employees, a 17.5% increase from the year before."
Asian carp may have breached barrier
"That research backed the federal government into a desperate situation because the barrier must be turned off within a couple of weeks for regular maintenance. The plan is to spend some $1.5 million to temporarily poison the canal so the maintenance work can be done.  But even as those plans are being finalized the news everyone dreaded came: It might be too late."
Doyle says give thanks to farmers, ranchers today
"The governor's proclamation notes Wisconsin is the No. 1 producer of cheese and cranberries in America and the No. 3 producer of potatoes, and hundreds of thousands of people are employed in agriculture.  The governor also noted that Wisconsin's 14,800 beef producers are part of a $12.3 billion meat industry in the Badger State."
Elder abuse continues to climb in state, Dane County
"Increases are likely due to a growing senior population, better awareness and the bad economy, advocates and officials said.  "Every referral is troubling," said Fran Genter, administrator for the county's Adult Community Services Division. "We've always known we're only at the tip of the iceberg.""
Microbes and motorcycles gain Legislature's attention
"One bill, introduced last week, aims to celebrate Lactococcus lactis, a tiny organism that makes the state's estimated $18 billion per year cheese industry possible, by naming it the official state microbe. The other, introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, would designate Harley-Davidson the Wisconsin state motorcycle."
Hunters to hit the Northwoods for deer gun season
"While the Department of Natural Resources hasn't minced words about the availability of deer in the Northwoods in 2009 - wildlife biologists anticipate that even the statewide deer harvest will be lower than last year - it won't stop most hunters from making the annual pilgrimage to the almighty deer camp."
Federal judge dismisses Driver's Privacy Protection lawsuit
"In dismissing the case, Barbara Crabb, the judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, did not determine whether the state's policy went further than permitted by the federal statute and thus violated the DPPA, but instead found that the federal statute does not allow claims "against state officials individually, or a claim of civil rights violation.""
Muslim countries seek blasphemy ban - Associated Press
"Four years after cartoons of the prophet Muhammad set off violent protests across the Muslim world, Islamic nations are mounting a campaign for an international treaty to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery — essentially a ban on blasphemy that would put them on a collision course with free speech laws in the West."
Without Jobs, the Nation’s Future Circles the Drain - AFL-CIO
"... the recession is flushing their earning power and their futures down the drain:
  • More than one in three young workers say they are currently living at home with their parents.
  • 31 percent of young workers reports being uninsured, up from 24 percent without health insurance coverage 10 years ago.
  • One-third of young workers cannot pay the bills and seven in 10 do not have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses.
Poll: Majority Of Republicans Think Obama Didn't Actually Win 2008 Election -- ACORN Stole It! - TPM
"Among Republicans, however, only 27% say Obama actually won the race, with 52% -- an outright majority -- saying that ACORN stole it, and 21% are undecided. Among McCain voters, the breakdown is 31%-49%-20%. By comparison, independents weigh in at 72%-18%-10%, and Democrats are 86%-9%-4%."
Fox News' year in apologies: fake videos, false info, cutting and pasting from GOP - Media Matters
"On November 19, co-host Jane Skinner apologized for Happening Now "mistakenly" airing a fake video of Sarah Palin's book tour "crowds." This was not the first time Fox News has apologized for airing fake videos and false information."

19 Nov

New Ballast Permit Protects Great Lakes and Shipping
"Senator Jauch (D-Poplar) and Representative Milroy (D-Superior) jointly praised the Department of Natural Resources final ballast water permit that creates new rules to reduce the spread of invasive species. The two Lake Superior lawmakers have been working with the DNR since March to set higher ballast water standards that will protect Great Lakes waters while enabling Wisconsin harbors to compete for commercial shipping."
Mellen social hub
"The Senior Center opened its doors on September 26, and volunteers continue to work on putting the finishing touches on the library portion of the building. They hope to have operations transferred over from the current site at the Mellen City Hall by some time in December."
Tobacco Sales to Minors Are Down
"Governor Jim Doyle says tobacco sales to Wisconsin minors have decreased significantly this year.  According to an announcement from the Governor the number of Wisconsin retailers selling tobacco to minors has dropped from 7.2% to 5.7%. That's a 20% decrease."
Hunting Season Preparations
"Hunters across the area are getting their guns ready for this weekend's opening of the gun-deer hunt.  Many of them are here at the Hodag Sports Club in Rhinelander getting their scopes ready."
UW-Madison receives $9.5 million to plan for flu pandemic
""Early intervention is critical to the control of influenza virus outbreaks. But in order to intervene, we rely on early recognition of the pandemic potential of newly emerging influenza viruses," Kawaoka said.  Kawaoka and his team will work to identify virus mutations that might serve as early warnings of pandemic flu viruses, the release said."
Wisconsin logs another record employment loss
"The state Department of Workforce Development is scheduled report on job losses and unemployment midday Thursday. But preliminary estimates from a state database and historical figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest Wisconsin’s employment picture continues to get bleaker.  The 4.5% decline in payroll jobs in the last 12 months is the state's biggest since 1958.  Unadjusted for seasonal fluctuations, Wisconsin had fewer jobs last month than for any October since 1998."
Mortgage loan delinquency rate rises to 7.66%
"The percentage of loans in Wisconsin on which foreclosure was started during the quarter rose 3 basis points to 1.06%, while the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the quarter increased 8 basis points to 3.65%.  The rates were not seasonally adjusted. Mortgage delinquency rates normally rise between the second and third quarter of the year due to a variety of seasonal factors, according to the association."
Tech: Feds say top e-tailers profit from billion-dollar web 'scam'
"Senate investigators launched their six-month inquiry by examining complaints from people who discovered mysterious charges on their credit card bill. For years, web shoppers have complained that they were signed up to some web loyalty program without their knowledge and were charged fees until they discovered the problem and complained. Some paid fees for years."
‘Going Rogue’: Is Sarah Palin a creationist? - Christian Science Monitor
"There’s no precise definition of “creationism,” but the term generally encompasses those who oppose all or part of the theory – held almost universally by biologists and supported by overwhelming amounts of empirical evidence – that all known species are descended from a common ancestor or gene pool and that complex life arises as a result of random mutation and natural selection."
New Polls Show Public Demands a Public Option, and More Health Care News
  • "In a new AP poll: 52 percent support a public health insurance option compared with only 35 percent opposed.
  • In a new Washington Post/ABC poll: 53 percent support a public option compared with 43 percent opposed.
  • And in a new CBS poll, 61 percent of people said they wanted the choice of a public health insurance option."
International Justice Group Takes Aim at Bush Officials - The Washington Independent
"“Investigations and prosecutions should focus on the engineers of official policies that were the basis of illegal abuses, to send a clear signal that the absolute prohibition of torture and the ban on cruel and inhuman treatment will be respected by the United States,” the report said, adding that if the U.S. government fails to initiate prosecutions, then other countries will take up the cause. Italy, for example, recently convicted 23 Americans for their involvement in “extraordinary renditions.”"

18 Nov

Hurley works on spending Microsoft money
"Most of the Hurley School District's requests for computer-related items from a $180,000 lawsuit settlement with Microsoft have been approved, district administrator Chris Patritto told the school board Monday.  All but $7,000 of the items that were requested have been approved, Patritto said."
Get some holiday treasure
"Workers at the thrift shop operated by the Iron County Food Pantry in the upper level of the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Montreal have filled the former altar with holiday decorations.  There are artificial trees, some fully decorated; stuffed holiday bears and snowmen and penguins, crocheted Santas, small creche sets, wreaths, and floral arrangements of poinsettias and greens."
Ashland Council drops residency requirement
"Councilors were faced with a choice of either attempting to override Mayor Ed Monroe's veto of the council's previous Committee of the Whole decision, or approve an amended version in which current city employees would be entirely exempt from any residency requirements."
Officials Ask Hunters To Be On the Lookout For Drugs
"State wildlife officials are asking hunters to keep an eye out for any drug-growing operations hidden in remote areas across Wisconsin.  The call comes after two sophisticated marijuana operations were found in the last two years."
About 7,000 Poor Adults on Insurance Waiting List
"Enrollment in the Medicaid-funded BadgerCare Plus Core Plan was suspended last month because demand exceeded funding.  State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson told a joint meeting of legislative health committees on Tuesday that a new basic insurance plan for those on the waiting list may not be ready until March."
Doyle Signs Agreement Between WI and Israel 
"Doyle said Tuesday the agreement creates a framework for Wisconsin's and Israel's scientists, engineers and researchers to work together in many fields, especially water technology, advanced agriculture and biotechnology."
State firms pay 22% more for health insurance than U.S., survey shows
"Wisconsin companies and their employees paid an average of $10,888 per worker for health insurance in 2009 - nearly 22% above the national average of $8,945, Mercer found.  And the cost gap between Wisconsin and the rest of the country widened."
State offers free care to uninsured residents with flu symptoms
"Uninsured Wisconsin residents who are experiencing flu-like symptoms can still get health care, the state Department of Health Services announced Tuesday.  In a news release, state officials said that uninsured people can receive an outpatient visit for evaluation and treatment. There is no cost if they use an established provider network."
Tech: Smartphone hacking
"According to the report by SMobile Systems, smartphone users connecting to unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspots can be easily compromised by knowledgeable attackers using an array of existing tools. The authors of the study used those tools to intercept username/password combinations sent from several different smartphones"
DNR wants hunters to squeal on pot growers
"The theory is that 600,000 extra pairs of eyes in the woods can be an effective tool in efforts to find evidence of pot growing operations well hidden from normally visited environs.  "Hunters should be alert, and if they see something that doesn't look right, leave the area, record their observations and report it to local authorities," said Randy Stark, chief conservation warden for the DNR."
School's past comes to light - Chicago Tribune
"So strong was public sentiment that runaway slaves were perfectly safe in the College building, even when no attempt was made to conceal their presence, which was well known to the United States Marshal stationed there. With hundreds of others, I have seen and talked with such fugitives in the college chapel. Of course they soon took a night train well-guarded to the next station on the U.G.R.R."
Paid Leave Key to Slowing Spread of H1N1
"Today, family advocates and heath care professionals told the House Education and Labor Committee that along with vaccinations, and good hygiene practices, the best way to protect workers and slow the spread of the H1N1 virus is through guaranteed paid sick leave legislation, such as the Healthy Families Act.  The CDC’s guidelines to employers and workers to slow the spread of the virus says workers who suspect they have the swine flu or another influenza-like illness should stay home and employers should allow workers to stay home “without fear of reprisals or…losing their jobs.”"
C Street House No Longer Tax Exempt TPM
"Previously, the house -- despite being home to numerous lawmakers -- had been tax exempt, because it was classified as a church... According to online records, the total taxable assessment is $1,834,500. The building's owner last month paid taxes of $1714.70 on the property... The C Street house has lately been the subject of unwanted attention thanks to its role in three GOP sex scandals."
[This is Rep Bart Stupak's place of residence when he is in DC. - Bob]

17 Nov

Governor Signs Bills that Help Ashland Taxpayers and Support Iron River Business
"Governor Doyle signed two bills today authored by Senator Jauch (D-Poplar) and Representative Sherman (D-Port Wing) that will protect Ashland taxpayers and support a local Iron River business. The Legislation will establish a surcharge to recover cost of after hours ferry transport of arrested individuals and the second will allow a local golf course to be issued a liquor license to enable it to grow its business."
Surveys key to updating of Hurley strategic plan
"School board members on Monday approved strategic plan updates in four different areas.  "We're in the last year of our five-year strategic plan. We're reaching the end of it and going back and seeing what we accomplished," said district administrator Chris Patritto."
Mellen fundraisers garner notice by state lawmaker
"Steve and Tim Polencheck walked a marathon to raise money for their community, according to a recent news release. Tim Polencheck is coach of the Mellen High School baseball team.  State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said he will use his Web site to highlight their dedication to their community."
Job Creation Agenda
"The agenda includes proposals for tax incentives for companies that use energy efficient, biofuel equipment... In all, Meyer says this legislation focuses on tax relief, transportation infrastructure and renewable energy to begin creating new jobs throughout Wisconsin."
Doyle signs trade agreement with Israel
""This agreement creates an important framework for Israel's and Wisconsin's scientists, engineers and researchers to embark on ground-breaking research and development in many promising fields, especially water technology," Doyle said during a state trade mission to Israel that centers almost exclusively on water technology."
Candidates put area back on political map
"Bob Jauch, a Democratic state senator whose northern district sprawls across the state's Lake Superior region, says that in a prospective Barrett-Walker race, the candidates will have to talk about issues beyond Milwaukee.  "Having both of them from the Milwaukee area makes this a statewide race more than at any other time," Jauch says. "In order to win this race they have to demonstrate they can govern for all the citizens of this state, not just the region from which they come.""
On Campus: UW-Madison ranks 6th in national study abroad ranking
"A total of 2,216 UW-Madison studied abroad in 74 countries, according to the Open Doors report, released Monday by the Institute of International Education. That is a 20 percent increase from the previous year.  Nationally, the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent."
Dueling bills take aim at religious exemption in state child abuse law
""Christian Science practitioners kept telling us that our fear was making him sick, that our false sense of parental responsibility was holding back his healing," Swan says. "We stuck with our faith for twelve days. Then I couldn't take it anymore."  Now, Swan crisscrosses the country advocating for the rights of children as the executive director of Iowa-based Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty, or CHILD."
Bill would legalize medical marijuana
"At a press conference Monday, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, introduced the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, which would allow people suffering from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS to use cannabis as relief for pain associated with the diseases.  The bill also lists post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy as conditions that could allow patients to receive prescriptions for cannabis."
Pew Center study shows Wisconsin in fiscal peril
"While the fiscal crisis in Wisconsin has not captured the same kind of national headlines that California's has, the recession has nonetheless battered its state government more so than most others, the report asserted, especially in tax collections and the size of its budget gap.  In addition, the state's sputtering manufacturing economy is causing unemployment to climb ever higher.  "Wisconsin's history of budget shortfalls and pattern of borrowing frequently to cover operating expenses, among other measures, made it poorly positioned to weather the most recent severe economic downturn," the report stated."
DNR abandons attempt to regulate within 1,000 feet of lakes
"The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has jettisoned its attempt to regulate impervious surfaces within 1,000 feet of the ordinary high water mark of lakes, limiting in a new revision proposed impervious surface caps to properties within 300 feet of lakes, rivers, streams and ponds."
Humanist Chaplains - Inside Higher Ed
"The Tufts Freethought Society -- a group of about 150 students who identify as atheistic, agnostic, or otherwise non-religious -- wants the university to establish a “humanist” chaplaincy to serve as a resource for students who are interested in exploring how to live “ethical and meaningful lives” without subscribing to any religion."
Employers Pressure Doctors, Workers to Stay Mum on Workplace Injuries
"The GAO surveyed more than 1,000 occupational health practitioners and found:
  •  More than two-thirds observed worker fear for reporting an injury or illness.
  •  A third said they were pressured by employers to provide insufficient treatments to workers to hide or downplay work-related injuries or illnesses.
  • More than half of practitioners said they were pressured by an employer to downplay an injury or illness so it wouldn’t be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s official log that tracks workplace injuries and illnesses."

Scuffle Ensues when Neo-Nazis Unfurl Hitler Flag at Tea Party Rally - Huffington Post
"American Citizens United, who organized the Phoenix Tea Party rally, told the Neo-Nazi group that racist messages were not welcome at the demonstration. The Neo-Nazis left, but two returned, standing defiantly on the sidewalk that borders the designated protest area."

Lies, Ex-Cons, And 'Nasty' Bathrooms: Behind The Scenes At A Top GOP Outreach Firm - TPM
"A top Republican political fund-raising and outreach firm gives convicted felons access to political donors' credit-card information, according to three former employees.  Minnesota-based FLS Connect uses low-wage workers to make fund-raising calls for a bevy of prominent GOP clients. And many of those workers -- including those responsible for processing credit-card transactions -- have felony convictions, the former employees said."

16 Nov

It's HERE...the 2009 Deer Hunters Roundup!
"The Original (and still the best) Deer Hunters Roundup (DHR) is aired nightly November 14th through the 30th. A Rangeland tradition brought to you by Stormy Kromer - the genuine article, and Miller High Life. The DHR is heard on WIMI and WJMS at 5:30pm nightly during the Michigan and Wisconsin gun deer seasons. Call in your deer kill information or messages to (906) 932-2411 Mon.-Sun. 9am - 4pm, email them to wjmswimi@chartermi.net or fax to (906) 932-2485."
  • End of a Great Playoff Run
    "Hurley senior Daulton Levra (21) displays the WIAA Level 4 runner-up plaque after the Midgets lost to Edgar 25-0 in the state Division 6 semifinal at Dorias Field in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Friday night."
  • Edgar ends Hurley's playoff run
    "Hurley played well on defense and made a game of it, but the top-ranked Wildcats were just too good. They won 25-0 in the WIAA Division 6, Level 4 semifinal to end Hurley's special season."
Off-trail snowmobile use OK in Iron County forests
"The opening date for snowmobiling in Iron County has not yet been set by the Iron County Recreation Council. Snowmobilers generally can take to the trails the first Monday in December, after Wisconsin's gun-deer season ends -- that's Dec. 7.  This year marks the first season of off-trail snowmobiling on the Iron County forest, on logging roads and trails that are not gated, signed or bermed."
Avanti opening Minocqua facility on Wednesday
"Under the direction of president Lawrence Kutz of Hurley, Avanti Health and Rehabilitation Center of Minocqua joins a long list of medical services provided by the Hurley-based health service."
Fire forces apartment building evacuation
"Residents were evacuated from a five-unit apartment building in Lincoln Township Saturday night, according to a Vilas County Sheriff's Department press release. The release reported no injuries."
Local bills passed to support local business, save taxpayer dollars
"Prior to the legislation, there was no way to recover the cost of transporting individuals who were arrested on Madeline Island after hours. According to State Assembly member Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, the legislation to make the offender pay the ferry bill came to his attention, it was a no-brainer.
Gov. Doyle vetoes DNR secretary bill
"The bill’s supporters immediately called on state lawmakers to override the veto. A successful override takes a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and Senate, a high bar to reach. The Legislature hasn’t overridden a veto since 1981."
DNR Reviewing Comments on Longer Deer Season
"Warnke says hunters generally do not like starting the season a week earlier but there's more support for a longer season if a week is tacked onto the traditional nine-day hunt, which begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving."
Some Wisconsin Democrats Support Medical Marijuana
"Two Democratic state lawmakers announced on Monday that a bill they are co-sponsoring to legalize medical marijuana will be the subject of a public hearing on Dec. 15. Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee says he thinks there is enough support to get it passed."
State group launches program to assess health care quality, costs
"Eventually the database will be rolled out to consumers and include information that lets users evaluate individual hospitals and physicians, Bartels said.  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Humana, ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, Wisconsin Hospital Association Inc. and other members of Wisconsin Health Information Organization have access to the database. Others pay a subscription fee, which must be negotiated, Bartels said."
Supporters of conservation spending, social services slam proposed Dane County budget
"“For the first time in years, with the recession, we have both some reduction in land values and the situation where you have more land owners likely interested in selling land,” environmental advocate Gary Werner said. “The county should be ramping up the program rather than cutting back the program.”"
UW group votes to notify Nike of labor code breach
"LLCP members and Martin fiercely debated the necessity of immediate termination of the university’s contract with Nike at the LLPC meeting.  Two factories in Honduras —Vision Tex and Hugger de Honduras — that manufactured Nike products bearing the UW logo, shut down in January without paying $2.1 million in severances owed to its workers."
Palin's Noxious Ghostwriter - The Daily Beast
"Vincent’s commentaries for World are punctuated by inflammatory characterizations of gays, minorities and liberals that have already provided fodder for Palin’s critics. Among Vincent’s most strident statements were her description of homosexuality as a “deviant” mental disorder and labeling of President Barack Obama as the “face of the minority survivor” of abortion, which she dubbed the “Black Genocide.”"
Let's Have a Real Senate Debate on Health Care - AFL-CIO
"That’s right: Despite huge wins for pro-working family, pro-health care reform candidates in the House and Senate and the election of a pro-health care reform president, a few senators can do the bidding of insurance companies and prevent a bill from getting to the floor or getting a vote."
Abortion Coverage Matters: The High-Stakes in the Fight Over the Stupak Amendment - Womaenstake.org
"The Gutmmacher Institute also found that in 2002, 87 percent of typical employer-based insurance policies covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions. Notably, “the 87 percent of plans that covered abortions did not include those plans that offered abortion coverage only in very limited circumstances, such as rape and incest, or to protect the woman’s life.”"

13 Nov

Sweeping Reforms will Protect Children and Taxpayers
"“Sweeping reforms in child welfare and child care signed into law today by Governor Doyle will enable Wisconsin to better serve children and help root out fraud," State Senator Bob Jauch (D.Poplar) said. Jauch, the Senate author of the bills, called the occasion the "culmination of a year's work to shine a light on needed changes to programs that serve families.""
Midgets face unbeaten Edgar
"Hurley is well aware of how good top-ranked Edgar is.  The Wildcats (12-0) have outscored opponents 580-13 in 12 games. The starting offense doesn't play in the second half, and sometimes the backups are in by the second quarter."
Hurley ready for potent Edgar
"Even the stiffer competition presented by WIAA playoffs hasn't done much to slow down Edgar, which comes in after back-to-back 50-0 wins over Coleman and Pacelli. And after pouring over film of the Wildcats, Hurley coach Scott Erickson said they were everything they were made out to be.  "We got some film on them and watched it," he said. "And as (former NFL coach) Denny Green said, 'They are who we thought they are.'"
DNR: Hunters seeing deer but harvest is down
"Hunters report seeing between one to three deer per hunting trip during the early hunting seasons.  The data come from a preliminary count of deer registration stubs and new Department of Natural Resources online hunter observation reports through Oct. 28."
Early Hunters Observe One To Three Less Deer Per Outing
"The Department of Natural Resources used a preliminary count of deer registration stubs and hunter observation reports on the agency's Web site to reach those conclusions.  Bow hunters took about 22,000 deer through Nov. 5, down from about 31,000 last year."
Doyle Signs Bill to Strengthen Child Care Subsidies
"The bill Doyle signed Friday in Milwaukee is designed to crack down on fraud and abuse within the $350 million Wisconsin Shares program.  The program pays child care costs for 60,000 poor families so the parents can work."
Officials Remind Hunters Of Firewood Moving Restrictions
"The Department of Agriculture says hardwood firewood cannot be moved from Brown, Crawford, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Vernon, Washington and Waukesha counties unless it was purchased from a certified dealer."
Electric rates to amp up on Jan. 1
"The three-member state Public Service Commission approved a $90 million price increase that will raise bills for the typical customer by about $6 a month.  That customer, using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, now pays $74.39 a month. Under the utility's proposal, residential customers would have seen price increases of at least $8.41 a month, We Energies said."
State wins $9 million grant to study smoking cessation
""We know that most smokers want to quit, but so many struggle with this addiction," Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, said in a statement. "This new federal study is designed to meet smokers where they are in terms of their willingness to try quitting.""
Doyle signs law to limit phosphorus in dishwasher soap
"More than a dozen states have passed similar laws at the urging of environmentalists, and the July date has become the national benchmark for the switch to essentially phosphorus-free dishwasher detergent for home use. Commercial and industrial detergents are not included in the bans."
Patient information database could help reduce waste, provide best care
""We'll be able to find out who is performing most efficiently," said Julie Bartels, executive director of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, or WHIO, which announced the first version of its massive database Thursday.  The project, under development for four years, will allow employers and eventually consumers to choose doctors with the best scores, Bartels said. It should also help Wisconsin prepare for federal health-care reform legislation, expected to include incentives for physicians who follow certain measures."
Kagen, Obey help pass groundbreaking health care bill
"The vote was 220-215 in favor of the bill, the most sweeping renovation of the nation's medical system since Medicare. Others voting for the legislation were Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind, and Gwen Moore, all Democrats; GOP Reps. Paul Ryan, James Sensenbrenner, and Tom Petri opposed it."
'Three parent babies' take a step closer to reality - The Telegraph
"Researchers used eggs from young donors to repair damaged eggs of older women in order to increase their chances of fertilisation.  They have not yet used the eggs to produce babies, but they have injected them with sperm to produce an early stage embryo in the laboratory. While the move breathes new life into "old eggs" and could also remove genetic illnesses, it is likely to provoke an ethical storm as critics believe it could lead to hybrid or genetically modified children."
16 Deaths Per Day’ Highlights Weak Penalties for Worker Fatalities - AFL-CIO
"The maximum penalty for a serious violation that injures or even kills a worker is $7,000, and $70,000 for willful and repeated violations. But those are rarely assessed. The average penalty for a serious OSHA violation is less than $1,000, and the average penalty when a worker is killed is $11,300, Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO director of health and safety, told a House hearing this spring."
[See the video, 16 Deaths Per Day, from Brave New Films." - Bob
16 Deaths Per Day - Brave New Films
"Sixteen workers are killed a day in the United States because of reckless negligence on the part of their employers. Under existing laws, these employers get a slap on the wrist, or walk away scot-free. Meanwhile, workers who blow the whistle face threats and retaliation at the workplace."
Did Doug Hoffman Actually Win the NY-23 Special Election?  - BradBlog
"On Election Night, Owens was reported to be the "winner" by just over 5,000 votes, with 93 percent of the votes tallied, leading to Hoffman's concession. Since then, various errors have been discovered in at least two different counties, resulting in a gain of some 2,000 votes for the Conservative Party's Hoffman, bringing the latest tally to 66,698 to 63,672. Closer, now a 3,000 vote margin, but still favoring Rep. Owens... Nonetheless, the Republicans were successful in shutting down any and all state challenges and contests to that election --- simply through a speedy swearing-in ceremony."

12 Nov

Veterans honored
"There were unashamed tears and hugs across the generations.  Master of ceremonies John Nurmi, commander of VFW Post 9536, asked World War II veterans to stand. There were six."
Saxon man dies from injuries after ladder fall
"A 75-year-old Saxon, Wis., man died Tuesday from injuries he suffered in a Monday morning fall from a ladder in downtown Ironwood.  Ned Elsemore, 75, was working at fixing a sign at the River Valley Bank at 200 S. Suffolk St. when he fell around 11:15 a.m."
Bayfield schools Impact Aid Hearing held at Red Cliff
"Bayfield School District Superintendent Linda Kunelius told the audience attending the Impact Aid Hearing in Red Cliff Monday that the U. S. Department of Education has approved the district’s application for Impact Aid for the 2009-2010 school year."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Visit Oshkosh Corp.
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be visiting Oshkosh Corp., where he's expected to thank the workers who make the latest generation of military trucks.  The new vehicles began arriving in Afghanistan last month.  They're more maneuverable than heavier trucks, and they also protect occupants better than smaller Humvees do."
Governor's Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit
"Fath is one of about 200 people who came to the Governor's Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit at Nicolet College to listen to concerns about the economy on Wednesday.  Governor Jim Doyle, (D) Wisconsin, says, "These Northland Summits have been extremely helpful, because they bring together government leaders.""
Journal Sentinel debuts on Amazon's Kindle reader
"The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel debuted on Amazon's Kindle electronic reading device on Wednesday evening, the company said Thursday.  The Kindle edition contains all articles that appear in the print edition of the Journal Sentinel. At this time, ads do not appear in the Kindle edition. The Journal Sentinel is one of 38 U.S. newspapers available via the Kindle, the most widely used hand-held electronic reader."
Virtual charter school enrollment 1,615 students under cap, state says
"In the end, only 3,635 students enrolled in virtual charter schools for the 2009-'10 by using the state's public school choice system, the DPI says. That's 3,000 fewer than initially applied and 1,615 under the cap enacted as part of a legislation in response to a court ruling that threatened the schools' existence."
Doyle to head trade mission to Israel
"According to the state Department of Commerce, the weeklong trade mission is designed to promote Wisconsin's water and environmental technologies, life sciences, agribusiness and other industries.  Doyle is scheduled to address the International Water Technologies and Environmental Control Conference and Exhibition in Tel Aviv."
Tax credit fuels 34% home sale spike
"It was the fifth consecutive month that home sales have risen from the same month in 2008, a trend area real estate professionals said may be an early sign of recovery in a market that has struggled amid a nationwide housing slump."
Panel recommends dismissal of Gableman ethics complaint
"The Wisconsin Judicial Commission charged that Gableman violated a rule that bars judicial candidates from knowingly misrepresenting "the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent."  However, judges Harry Snyder, Ralph Adam Fine and David Deininger found that each of the statements in the commercial was true, even if the words, taken together, left a false or misleading impression."
State could get up to $250 million in federal education funding
"Wisconsin would be awarded up to $250 million in federal education stimulus funds if it is one of the winners in the federal government's "Race to the Top" contest, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday."
Porchlight opens center to aid homeless veterans
"The opening of the facility is one part of a wider program from Porchlight and Veterans Administration aiming to provide transitional shelter to homeless veterans as they attempt to work toward homeless solutions... Schooler said the facility provides three meals a day and also provides outpatient services, vocational training and health services."
Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum on same-sex marriage issue - Washington Post
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
TVA employees join the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) union
"By a nearly 10-to-1 margin, members of the Tennessee Valley Authority Engineering Association (EA), employees at the nation’s largest public power supplier, voted to affiliate with the Professional and Technical Engineers union (IFPTE) today.  The EA includes more than 2,600 scientists, engineers, technicians and other professional TVA employees."
Jon Stewart continues to break stories the "real" media can't -- or won't
"And when they run misleading footage to make a conservative rally appear to be much, much better attended than it really was, that accomplishes several things. It fires up the right-wing base -- the people that GOP wants to get rowdy at town hall meetings or flood congressional phone lines. And the bogus report also pressures wavering lawmakers, especially those centrist Democrats looking for any excuse not to support health care reform."



11 Nov

The Eleventh Hour
of the Eleventh Day
of the Eleventh Month...
Veterans' Day
Study: 2,200 Vets Died Last Year Because They Lacked Health Insurance - Think Progress
"On the eve of Veterans Day, a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School has released a study finding that an estimated 2,266 veterans under the age of 65 died last year because they did not have health insurance. That “translates to six preventable deaths per day” and more than twice the number killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001."
Iron County sets maximum tax levy allowed
"Iron County's tax levy for 2010 shows a 4.92 percent increase from $3,810,033 in 2009 to $3,997,480.  That equates to property owners paying $3.92 per $1,000 valuation, according to county clerk Mike Saari. That number is up from last year's figure of $3.76 per $1,000 valuation."
Three Midgettes honored by Indianhead
"Three Hurley Midgette volleyball players made the Indianhead all-conference team.  Seniors Joanna Aijala, Judy Nevala and Tara Nelmark were named for th first time.  Mercer's Alicia Reichard was named honorable mention."
Officials Sell Thousands Of Mentored Hunting Licenses
"Wisconsin's mentored hunting program allows 10- and 11-year-olds to hunt with an adult within arm's reach.  The program began on September 1.  The Department of Natural Resources says it has sold a total of 10,016 mentored hunt licenses through Sunday."
Hunters With Small-Game License Invited To Shoot Feral Pigs
"The state Department of Natural Resources says feral pigs carry diseases and are highly destructive.  So the agency is allowing qualified hunters to shoot any feral pigs they see during the nine-day gun deer-hunting season."
New Report Says Economy Will Improve In 2010
"A new state Department of Revenue report projects that Wisconsin's economy will improve in 2010.  The report says that unemployment will peak at 9.3 percent in the first three months of the year, then slowly recover.  Total employment numbers aren't expected to reach pre-recession levels until 2012."
Wisconsin ranked in top 10 of most fiscally challenged states
"The rise in unemployment and steep drop in state revenues suggests a dire future for a state that struggled to fill perennial budget deficits, according to the Pew Center on the States and its report: "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril."  According to the report, Wisconsin has lost 140,000 jobs and one-eighth of its manufacturing work force in the current recession."
PSC to rule on We Energies price increase plan
"State regulators are poised to decide Thursday whether to authorize utility bill price increases for We Energies customers in 2010 and 2011.  The utility has 1.5 million customers across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula."
Oshkosh gets new order for all-terrain trucks
" Oshkosh Corp. (OSK) has received a $438 million order for an additional 1,000 military all-terrain trucks headed for the war in Afghanistan.  It is the fifth order the company has received under a Defense Department contract awarded in June."
Immigrants change face of Wisconsin dairy industry
"Despite the ever-present threat of deportation, José and his wife have a sort of job security they never found in Mexico: Their employment is all but ensured by the need for inexpensive labor at larger dairy farms that are increasingly common across Wisconsin’s rolling pasture lands.  The couple’s story is representative of roughly 5,000 immigrants who have become the labor backbone of Wisconsin’s signature industry"
UW-Eau Claire to raise tuition
"The influx of new resources would help to lower the faculty-student ratio, allow more students to engage in various educational experiences and ultimately help more students graduate in a timely manner.  He added the increase is a part of the commitment to an additional student-approved differential tuition, which has yet to be voted on."
US judge bans Christian car plate - BBC News
"And she hit out at Mr Bauer, saying: "Whether motivated by sincerely-held Christian beliefs or an effort to purchase political capital with religious coin, the result is the same.  "The statute is clearly unconstitutional and defence of its implementation has embroiled the state in unnecessary (and expensive) litigation.""
Economic Report: By 2020 Women Will Outnumber Men In Unions - Workers Independent News
"According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, sometime during the next ten years women will bypass men as the majority gender in organized labor. Currently, the union workforce is made up of 45 percent female workers. That’s an increase of 10 percent since 1983. In that same amount of time, the number of white men in organized labor has dropped from 51.7 percent to 38 percent."

Stewart mocks Hannity for inflating Bachman rally attendance, trying to pass 9-12 rally footage off as Bachmann rally footage
"From the November 10 edition of Commedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:"


10 Nov

Veterans' Day - A Time to Remember
"As we celebrate Veterans’ Day this year, it’s important to remember that while we may be divided on where we stand on the war, this nation must be united in seeing that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are welcomed home with all the compassion this grateful nation can muster. Supporting our troops is a mandate – not a slogan."
Hurley moved under revised WIAA football plan
"The WIAA's district plan for football hasn't been approved yet. And some teams, including Hurley, are already changing districts.  Hurley was originally in a Division 6 district with west-central Wisconsin teams. The Midgets would move to a district that runs south to Wisconsin 29, while remaining in Division 6."
Ashland mayor vetoes residency requirement
"Monroe vetoed the residency vote Oct. 31, within the five-day time period requirement, after the council on Oct. 27 approved 7-3 an ordinance that would require all new city employees to either be residents of the City of Ashland, or become residents within six months."
Census Bureau Looking to Hire Temporary Workers
"The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire 47,000 people for temporary jobs in Wisconsin next year.  Most of the jobs pay $11- $15 an hour and involve going door-to-door to interview residents who don't respond to a questionnaire that is mailed before Census Day on April 1, 2010."
Doyle signs education reform bills; awaits action on MPS measure
"The bill, along with others Doyle signed Monday, improves Wisconsin's chances of landing a share of $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top funds.  Doyle plans to call a special legislative session soon to try to push through two other bills to help land the state that money. One would give the Milwaukee mayor the ability to appoint the superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools; the other would give the state schools superintendent the power to intervene in chronically failing schools."
State school boards group against using test scores in teacher evaluations
"A bill, signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle Monday, would drop a state prohibition on using standardized tests scores as a part of evaluations but would still prevent schools from using them to discipline or fire teachers. That's left the Wisconsin Association of School Boards concerned that even including the information in a teacher's evaluation could make it more difficult to take action against that teacher later, lobbyist Sheri Krause said."
Governor signs education bills
"Doyle has already signed some education reform bills, including bills which would allow standardized test scores to be used on teacher evaluations, enable MPS to apply directly to the state for annual grants, track educational progress in various schools statewide and enhance standards for the state’s charter schools.  These bills bring the state closer to meeting requirements to apply for Race to the Top education grants, federal stimulus grants totaling $4 billion."
Wolf population rises, so do questions about endangered status
""There is such a dichotomy on how some people feel about wolves," Timber Wolf Alliance coordinator Anna Cellar said. "Some people feel they're a danger, or a threat ... to others they are a symbol of being wild. And some are just in the middle.""
Suspect in George Tiller murder confesses; experts doubt defense - The Wichita Eagle
"In a 20-minute phone call from the Sedgwick County Jail, Roeder told the Kansas City Star that he believed shooting Tiller saved lives.  "I've already been told that there's at least four women that have changed their minds and are going to have their babies," Roeder said. "Even if it was one woman, then who would have a regret for a motive of protecting pre-born children? That was the motive.""
Foreign Companies Cop 84 Percent of Stimulus Green Economy Funds
"Instead of creating thousands of new jobs for out-of-work Americans, the push for alternative energy is lining the pockets of foreign companies. A new study shows that of the $1.05 billion of stimulus funds spent on clean energy grants since Sept. 1, an astronomical 84 percent—or $849 million—has gone to foreign wind companies, with one firm collecting more than $500 million alone."
Employment Bill Called ‘Corporate Giveaway’ - Washington Independent
"Indeed, although the jobless benefits are the centerpiece of the Democrats’ bill, they represent a mere $2.4 billion of the spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office — or just 10 percent of the $24 billion proposal. Nearly half of the money — $10.4 billion — will go toward the so-called loss carry-back extension, which will allow businesses, both large and small, to apply any losses suffered in 2008 and 2009 to income made in the previous five years, three years longer than current law allows. The result will be tax refunds topping $33 billion next year, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation."



09 Nov

"This is a landmark day in the history of our country – this legislation can open the door to health coverage to over 35 million Americans and begin to make healthcare more affordable for virtually everyone. It’s been seventy years in coming."
Winter Awareness Week begins in Wisconsin
"Gov. Jim Doyle has declared Nov. 9-13 as Wisconsin's Winter Awareness Week.  The annual campaign sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management and NOAA's National Weather Service is to remind people to be prepared for winter conditions that could threaten their safety."
Midgets win thriller
""One of the best I've been a part of," Hurley coach Scott Erickson said. "We looked dead in the water there for a while. These guys; I cannot say enough, how much they gutted it out and just kept playing and hoped that good things would happen.""
Wis. Senate passes drunken driving bill
"A comprehensive toughening of Wisconsin’s notoriously weak drunken driving laws moved a step closer to becoming law Thursday with unanimous approval by the state Senate.  The Assembly was expected to pass it later Thursday and Gov. Jim Doyle has signaled he will sign it."
Hurley tips Glenwood City, 22-20
"In their WIAA Division 6 Level 3 football playoff game against Glenwood City, Hurley not only lost its top running back on its second possession but then saw the Hilltoppers set up a two-touchdown lead. However, the Midgets regrouped in impressive fashion, coming from behind to notch a 22-20 thriller over Glenwood City Saturday afternoon."
Favorites roll into Level 4 of WIAA football playoffs
"The best game of the day was in Division 6 between Hurley and Glenwood City. Trailing 21-20 with under three minutes left in the game and deep in Midgets territiory, the Hilltoppers fumbled and Hurley recovered to seal the game. Hurley will play Edgar for the right to go to Madison at Dorais Field in Chippewa Falls next weekend."
Wisconsin Lawmakers React to Healthcare Bill
"Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey from Wausau says quote "This is a landmark day in the history of our country – this legislation can open the door to health coverage to over 35 million Americans and begin to make healthcare more affordable for virtually everyone. It’s been seventy years in coming.""
WI Officials Say Deer Harvest Will Be Smaller This Year
"Keith Warnke is a big game ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.  He says no earn-a-buck restrictions and below average fawn production over the last two years will contribute to a lower antlerless deer harvest and a lower total harvest."
Relative of Fitzgerald sinking seeks to save rescue ship
"The Anderson and 12 other steamships are in danger of being forced into permanent shore duty by a proposed clear-air rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) is trying to push through an exemption, but John Soyring of Green Bay is worried it would just be a stay of execution."
Curiosities: How do squirrels find the food they squirrel away come spring?
"The gray squirrel that's common in the Madison area will "bury nuts seemingly willy-nilly across the landscape and then return by the sense of smell," Craven said, although they may also use other cues. In contrast, the territorial red squirrel, which lives further north in Wisconsin, stores large caches of food and seems to remember the location.  Gray squirrels are quite efficient at finding nuts, Craven said. When scientists built a cage to exclude gray squirrels and buried some nuts inside the cage, the gray squirrels that later entered the cage found 85 percent of the nuts."
[I apologize to all my squirrel readers.  All this time I thought you were just God's way of planting oak trees. - Bob]
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 6 Nov 09 Washington, DC
For Opponents of Abortion, a Victory in Health Care Vote - NY Times
"Abortion rights advocates charged Sunday that the provision threatened to deprive women of abortion coverage because insurers would drop the procedure from their plans in order to sell them in the newly expanded market of people receiving subsidies.... Women who received subsidies or public insurance could still pay out of pocket for the procedure. Or they could buy separate insurance riders to cover abortion, though some evidence suggests few would, in part because unwanted pregnancies are by their nature unexpected."
AFGE Member a Hero in Fort Hood Tragedy - AFL-CIO
"Today, AFGE released a statement honoring Munley’s “service, courage and commitment.” AFGE President John Gage said Munley “acted with great heroism.” ... Munley, 34, is a member of AFGE Local 1920 and the mother of a 3-year-old. She and her partner were the first to arrive at the Soldier Readiness Center, where Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly opened fire, killing 13 and injuring 31.  Munley shot the alleged assailant four times, despite being shot herself. She currently is recovering from her injuries and is in stable condition."
SNL on Fox
SNL spoofs the election coverage of Faux News.  Sorry, you have to wait thru a 30 second commercial to see the clip. - Bob

06 Nov

HURLEY CITY COUNCIL Tuesday, November 10, 2009
  • Board of Public Works – 6:00 P.M.
  • Police, Fire & License Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Budget Hearing – 6:30 P.M.
  • City Council Meeting
Major Child Care Reform Measure Approved by Legislature
"Today the State Legislature adopted major reform aimed at eliminating fraud and abuse and restoring integrity in the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program. State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee), authors of the legislation, praised their colleagues for approving strong and effective legislation aimed at targeting abuse and improving regulation of child care providers."
Benefit planned for Challis family
"A chili dinner and bake sale is planned for Saturday, from noon to 6:30 p.m., for Ken and Mary Challis at the Range Community Bible Church on U.S. 51 in Hurley. Ken has been out of work for more than 10 weeks following a 30-foot fall from a tree he was taking down. The church is hosting the benefit to help the family with expenses."
Hurley School receives $180,000 settlement
"A $180,000 windfall settlement from Microsoft may allow the Hurley School District to purchase laptop computers for all high school students next year.  District administrator Chris Patritto said Thursday school officials are in the process of developing a list of items that might be eligible for reimbursement through the court settlement.""
Midgets back in state quarterfinals
"Hurley missed two days of practice due to the school being closed thanks to the flu. It may have actually helped Hurley as it prepares to play at Glenwood City Saturday in a WIAA Division 6 Level 3 game at 3 p.m."
Wis. Senate passes drunken driving bill
"A comprehensive toughening of Wisconsin’s notoriously weak drunken driving laws moved a step closer to becoming law Thursday with unanimous approval by the state Senate.  The Assembly was expected to pass it later Thursday and Gov. Jim Doyle has signaled he will sign it."
Hurley aims to stay hot
"Timing, as the saying goes, is everything. As proof, all you have to do is check out the Hurley Midgets.  The 10-1 Midgets are playing their best football of the season and doing so when it matters most. That's powered Hurley on to a pair of impressive playoff wins in WIAA Division 6 action and lifted the team's win streak to nine straight."
Governor Doyle Declares Tuesday As Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day
"The proclamation urges everyone to take time to reflect on everything snowplow drivers do to keep the state's roads open.  The state Transportation Department says the winter of 2008-2009 saw 408 crashes involving snowplows."
Legislature passes education reforms aimed at winning stimulus dollars
"The end of the ban on using student test data to evaluate teachers is viewed as necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the state to be considered for a share of $4.35 billion in federal stimulus money. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan had called Wisconsin's law "ridiculous" and said any states with such a ban would be ineligible for Race to the Top funds."
Drunken driving overhaul OK’d by Senate makes 4th time a felony
"Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) said in a statement released late Thursday he wants to start within days working out differences between the Senate bill and a version unanimously passed by the Assembly in September."
Legislature passes tougher child-care reforms
"Lawmakers unanimously approved a wide-reaching bill Thursday aimed at curbing fraud and keeping criminals out of the state's troubled taxpayer-supported child-care program... Republicans from both houses unsuccessfully introduced more than a dozen amendments they said would strengthen the bill. Democrats called some of them unnecessary and offensive."
Bill allowing taxpayer money for state Supreme Court races passes
"Supreme Court candidates would get taxpayer money to run their campaigns, under a bill approved Thursday by the Legislature.  Democrats said the bill would improve the tone of the increasingly nasty Supreme Court races by limiting the role of special interests, even while some advocates for campaign finance reform said it didn't go far enough."
DNR projects lower deer harvest
"“Hunters told us they wished to return to a more historically traditional hunt,” said Keith Warnke, DNR big game ecologist. “They will see that traditional hunt in many management units in the north and central forest where deer populations are at or close to a healthy goal, and where there will be no Earn-A-Buck and few or no antlerless permits issued."
Doyle meets with officials in Washington during a whirlwind trip
"Health care legislation and high-speed rail funding were on the agenda for some of the meetings. But others listed no topic, including a 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama, a session with Pelosi and a meeting with White House political director Patrick Gaspard."
  • After four years of litigation, Times finally receives DNR pay records
    "This July, on a 6-1 vote, with chief justice Shirley Abrahamson dissenting, justices affirmed the decision of the circuit court, saying state agencies cannot withhold the names of union workers under the current open records law. In addition, the court found, the mere ratification of a contract by the Legislature cannot amend state law, even if it contains a provision effectively doing so, without accompanying companion legislation to that express effect."
  • DNR rule would reverse presumption of openness on public lands
    "Under the proposed rule, the DNR staff would make determinations about prohibiting various nature-based outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting and fishing, both on lands bought directly by the agency and on those purchased with Stewardship grants by local governments and private organizations, such as land trusts and conservancy groups. "
Area hospitals crowded with flu cases
"Iron County’s nearest emergency room is across the border in Ironwood, Michigan. Health Officer Zona Wick says the Grandview Hospital has had their hands full during the peak of the H1N1.  “Over the weekend the Grandview Hospital emergency room was crazy. They saw a lot of people and a lot of influenza like illness and I know the Grandview Clinic Hurley Center downstairs is very busy with sick kids.”"
Polygamist Sect Leader Convicted of Sexual Assault - New York Times
"Mr. Jessop is one of the most prominent members of a breakaway sect that has at least four other communities in Arizona and Utah. He is close to Warren S. Jeffs, the self-styled prophet and leader of the sect.  Mr. Jeffs has been convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape, a charge related to his role in ordering the “spiritual marriage” of an under-age girl to one of his followers. He is in jail in Arizona awaiting trial on similar charges and has been charged in Texas with sexual assault and bigamy."
Arcane Labor Law Counts the Votes of Non-Voters - AFL-CIO
"Imagine voting on a ballot initiative and knowing that everyone who didn’t show up at the polls still got to vote—because their votes would be counted as “No.”  That’s the process for airline and railway workers when they vote on whether to join a union. The election results are tallied not by how manypeople voted—but by the entire pool of workers in the bargaining unit, with all non-voters automatically “casting” a “No” vote."



05 Nov

Obey Supports speeding up regulations to stop abuse by credit card companies
“American families are struggling to pay their bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” Obey said. “Many have gone deeply into debt as a result and many credit card companies have seen that as an opportunity to rip people off by double billing, jacking up interest rates on existing balances, and increasing fees even on customers who are meeting their credit card payment requirements"
  • Hurley fan bus planned
    "An adult fan bus is planned for Saturday's 3 p.m. Hurley at Glenwood City quarterfinal high school playoff football game."
  • Hurley to play at Glenwood City Saturday
    "Hurley will play at Glenwood City Saturday at 3 p.m. in Level 3 of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs.  The No. 4 seed Midgets (10-1) will travel to the No. 3 seed's home field.  Glenwood City is south of Turtle Lake. It's just nine miles north of Interstate 94."
Wiggins wins Bad River tribal chairman post
"Michael Wiggins Jr. posted a landslide win in the Bad River Tribal Chairman's election held Tuesday.  Wiggins defeated incumbent chairman Eugene Bigboy Sr. by a total of 504 votes to 172.  Bernard Lemieux received one write-in vote and there were four blank ballots and six void ballots."
Deer Hunting Regulations Now Offered in Other Languages
"Wisconsin hunting officials have translated state deer hunting regulations into Spanish and Hmong for the first time.  The regulations are available in both languages on the hunting and trapping page of state Department of Natural Resources' Website.  The agency also has Spanish and Hmong speakers working their information line, 1-888-WDNR-INFO."
[Hmmm... how do you say "Don't shoot the cows." in Madisonian? - Bob]
Broadband Internet Grant Decision Delayed
"Kowieski says the broadband Internet grant application serves approximately 122,000 people in six counties.  A broadband Internet plan allows for Internet access in rural areas.  Kowieski adds the application has the support of the Wisconsin Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, State Senator Jim Holperin, Congressman Steve Kagen and Governor Jim Doyle."
Wind-energy plant plans expand in scope
"Energy Composites Corp. announced plans March 31 to build a 350,000-square-foot plant in the Rapids East Commerce Center, but now, those building plans have expanded to more than 500,000 square feet, CEO Sam Fairchild said this week."
  • Milwaukee County Board gives initial OK to domestic partner benefits
    "The Milwaukee County Board voted Thursday to lay the groundwork for extending domestic partner benefits to county employees, with questions about the potential cost stacked against assertions the benefit should be a civil right."
  • State Supreme Court won't take case on domestic partnerships
    "The law took effect in August, allowing gay couples to register with counties so they could get about 40 of the 150 rights afforded married couples, such as hospital visitation rights. Before the law took effect, Julaine Appling and others from Wisconsin Family Action asked the high court to strike down the law, saying it violated the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage and substantially similar arrangements... The order was issued Tuesday but not released until Wednesday. The order was made the same day the court heard arguments from a Door County resident who wants the court to throw out the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage."
Subprime mortgages no longer the culprit
"Now driven more by job loss than subprime mortgage defaults, foreclosures aren't likely to slow down until companies begin hiring again, experts on foreclosure said Wednesday. They also said higher-end properties, including condominiums, increasingly are ending up in foreclosure as more people lose their jobs."
Campus Connection: Enrollment figures solid at state's private colleges
"Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities -- 20 private, nonprofit institutions of higher learning in the state -- said estimated enrollment at his colleges is up about 1 percent, to 59,963, from a year ago. That figure marks the largest collective enrollment in the history of WAICU."
Supreme Court dismisses case
"The case in question, Appling v. Doyle, where Wisconsin Family Action CEO Julaine Appling filed a petition of original jurisdiction stating the domestic partner benefits set up in the 2009-11 biennium budget by Gov. Jim Doyle were in direct violation of a 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriages in the state.  Original jurisdiction brings the matter straight before the Supreme Court instead of having it work through the lower courts."
Swiss Referendum Stirs a Debate About Islam - Wall Street Journal
"According to a government poll in 2000, less than 15% of Swiss Muslims actively practice their faith. Indeed, only four of the roughly 150 mosques in Switzerland have minarets. Laws against sound pollution forbid mosques from using minarets to hold speakers for the call to prayer.
Here’s What Health Care Reform Means for Working Families - AFL-CIO
"Although some provisions of reform will require time to implement, here are key changes that will kick in immediately, providing direct and critical relief to millions of working families:
* An immediate insurance program for high-risk uninsured people to buy into.
* Ending “rescissions”—prohibiting insurers from nullifying coverage when patients file claims.
* Ending the lifetime caps on how much care insurers will cover.
* Allowing young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 27."
Coburn named as senator holding up vets bill - Marine Times
"Coburn has been identified by Senate aides as the lawmaker preventing consideration of S 1963, the Veterans’ Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act of 2009, by using an informal but legal practice of putting a hold on a bill.  Coburn’s staff did not respond to questions, but Senate aides said the first-term senator has expressed concern about creating new and unfunded benefits and wants the opportunity to amend the measure."
[So far during the Obama 9 months, the Republicans are filibustering 85 bills... this was just one of them.  After delaying passage for half a year, it passed 94-0, not one having the guts to vote against a bill they opposed.  Hence the "Hypo-can" logo above. - Bob]
The Public Option Fight Continues--But How Exactly Does Reform Work? - TPM
"The basic theme of health care reform is that insurance would be mandatory, subsidized and regulated. As is the case today, for the first many years after enactment, most people in the country would be insured by their employers--in fact, large and medium-sized businesses would be required to provide insurance for their employees. Uninsured people would either be roped into existing entitlement programs like Medicaid, or required to buy regulated insurance--typically through an "exchange," which, comprised of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of customers, would theoretically have the bargaining power needed to keep premiums down."

04 Nov

7th Annual Iron County Stormy Kromer Pursuit - January 2-3, 2010
"The snow is not far off and the 7th annual Stormy Kromer Pursuit is also right around the corner. We hope your making plans to attend the event on January 2nd and 3rd, it should be better than ever so feel free to check out our web site for all the information at www.ironcountywi.com/stormypursuit.aspx."
H1N1 flu shot clinics set in Hurley
"The Iron County Health Department has scheduled three clinics, beginning Friday, to give H1N1 flu vaccinations to target groups of county residents.  No appointment is needed for the clinics, which are set for 8 a.m. to noon Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. Clinics will be held at the health department."
Traffic circle on track for 2011
"Residents of the Town of Eileen and others interested in plans by the Department of Transportation to construct a traffic circle interchange at the intersection of State Highway 13 and U.S. Highway Two west of Ashland were told the project is on track to be built during the 2011 constriction season."
Nominations Are Being Accepted For Ethical Hunter Award
"The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is accepting nominations for the 13th annual ethical
hunter award.  The award, started in 1997 by the La Crosse Tribune and DNR, acknowledges positive contributions made by safe and responsible
Panel backs child-care reforms, public funding of Supreme Court races
"Lawmakers advanced additional reforms Tuesday to crack down on Wisconsin's publicly funded program for child care by requiring more frequent background checks of day care providers, barring workers guilty of serious crimes and creating new whistleblower protections."
Republicans block vote on birth control education
"Democrats who control the Assembly gave preliminary approval to the bill, but Republicans used a procedural maneuver to block final passage.  The Assembly will now take up the issue Thursday, the last day the house plans to meet this year."
Historic Mile is out of business
"Machi said Tuesday that his group, which includes local businessman Jim Beaudoin, could not reach agreement with NASCAR. NASCAR has scheduled two races next summer at the track, but wanted Machi's group, Historic Mile LLC, to pay sanction fees run from last summer's races as well as the fees for the two races next summer."
RNC runs ad today in Madison ripping Obama, stimulus package
"The ad says that in spite of the $787 billion stimulus bill the unemployment rate in the state is 8.3 percent and 70,000 jobs have been lost since the bill was passed in February."
Wisconsin Supreme Court hears lawsuit on civil unions
"He also said the 2006 referendum, which included an item that banned gay marriage and another that banned civil unions, was unconstitutional because it grouped together what should have been two separate amendments into one amendment.  “William McConkey … had a right to engage other voters and say, ‘OK, look, if you want to vote for the first question, I can’t persuade you not to do that, but I want you to vote no on the second question,” Pines said. “When those amendments were not submitted separately, his right to fully participate — which is really a speech right — was infringed.”"
Purdue study: H1N1 pandemic has probably peaked
"While H1N1 was rampaging, the flu vaccine was trickling out. The government has already contracted for 195 million doses from five manufacturers, but only a fraction of that has made it into circulation. As of Oct. 21, 14 million doses had been allocated, 12.5 million had been ordered, and 11.3 million had been shipped."
[Looks like another example of the government doing the right thing... and health care corps failing to live up to their contracts, in this case, providing the vaccine.  Next the corps will demand full payment and the Repubs will cite it as waste and fraud in government.  Go figure. - Bob]
Malaysia rejects call to release 10,000 Bibles - Associated Press
"The Malaysian government has refused to release 10,000 Bibles confiscated for using the word "Allah" to refer to God, a banned translation in Christian texts in this Muslim-majority country, an official said Wednesday.  An official from the Home Ministry's publications unit said the government rejected pleas by church officials to allow the Bibles, imported from Indonesia, into the country. Christians say the Muslim Malay-dominated government is violating their right to practice their religion freely."
Senate Clears the Way for Vote on Aid for Jobless Workers
"Since the U.S. House passed its version of the bill Sept. 23, some 7,000 unemployed workers a day have run out of benefits. The long-term jobless rate is at its highest level since 1981 and more than a million jobless workers will run out of benefits by year’s end without action... While workers anxiously wait for an average unemployment check of $292 a week, the same Republican lawmakers who have slowed the bill, are in no hurry to rein in bailed banks that are using billions of taxpayers’ dollars to give to their CEOs and other executives bonuses or to fight financial industry reforms."
The new faces of day labor - Las Vegas Sun
"It sounds like a George Lopez joke.  “Times are so bad that I saw an Anglo day laborer standing outside Home Depot the other day.”  Except it’s true.  In the latest sign of the Las Vegas Valley’s economic free fall, U.S. citizens are starting to show up in the early mornings outside home improvement stores and plant nurseries across the Las Vegas Valley, jostling with illegal immigrants for a shot at a few hours of work."
Italy Convicts 23 Americans for C.I.A. Renditions - NY Times
"Judge Oscar Magi handed an eight-year sentence to Robert Seldon Lady, a former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, and five-year sentences to the 22 other Americans. Three of the other high-ranking Americans were given diplomatic immunity, including Jeffrey Castelli, a former C.I.A. station chief in Rome."

03 Nov

Hurley to play at Glenwood City Saturday
"Hurley will play at Glenwood City Saturday at 3 p.m. in Level 3 of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs.  The No. 4 seed Midgets (10-1) will travel to the No. 3 seed's home field.  Glenwood City is south of Turtle Lake. It's just nine miles north of Interstate 94."
Apostle Island lighthouses get $2 million for restoration
"That word comes from Congressman Dave Obey, who secured the funding to stabilize and protect the lighthouses on Michigan, Outer, Devil's and Raspberry islands. The work is part of a $5 million overall project to protect the historic Apostle Islands lighthouses, often cited as one of the finest collections of 19th-century lighthouses in the country."
Xcel approved for biomass gasification conversion
"Unanimous approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) means Xcel will move ahead with the $58 million project to install technology to create synthetic gas from burning  wood at the third of the plant's three functioning boilers. The other two boilers already operate on biomass, and two other units have been retired."
Bill May Require Schools to Instruct Students on Birth Control
"Schools that decide to teach sex education
would have to instruct students on the use of birth control under a bill up for debate Tuesday in the state Assembly.  The measure is being opposed by anti-abortion groups and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference."
Wis. Assembly takes up birth control education
"Under the measure, if schools opt to teach sexual education, they would be required to address the health benefits, side effects and proper use of contraceptives and other methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases."
Colbert backs U.S. speedskaters
"Colbert said on his show, "The Colbert Report," last night that he would become the primary sponsor of the team and that the name, "Colbert Nation" will be emblazoned on the team uniforms.  Gold-medalist Dan Jansen, formerly of Greenfield, also was on the show.  The show itself will not donate money. Rather, Colbert is calling on his fans to donate to the team.  Last month, DSB Bank in the Netherlands, a major sponsor of the team, went bankrupt, leaving the team short $300,000."
[You can get to the donation page by clicking HERE. - Bob]
Ashland power plant to replace coal with biomass
"The project will convert a coal-fired boiler on Lake Superior in Ashland to burn wood waste left over in forests after loggers harvest timber. Xcel will also set up test plots for “energy plantations” that would grow fast-growing poplar trees that could be burned in the plant, said David Donovan, Xcel manager of regulatory policy."
Farmers still struggling to get crops in
""Many growers reported little to no fieldwork over the past week as they were waiting for warmer days and drier fields before continuing any harvesting," the report said.  Mold is also becoming an issue as many farmers reported mold growing on wet crops, which could result in high harvest losses.  Corn mature is 86 percent complete as of Nov. 1, while the 5-year average is 100 percent complete at this time."
Wisconsin failing to approve Medicaid and food stamps applications in timely manner
"Since June 15, more than two-thirds of childless applicants with virtually no income - the highest priority cases - haven't received food stamps within the federally required seven days, state figures show. Nearly two-thirds of all the childless adults seeking food stamps haven't received them within the required 30 days."
European court: No crucifixes in Italian schools - Assoc Press
"The ruling could force a review of the use of religious symbols in government-run schools across Europe. Saying the crucifix could be disturbing to non-Christian or atheist pupils, the court rejected arguments by Italy's government that it was a national symbol of culture, history, identity, tolerance and secularism."
Church's money giveaway: Alsip pastor's cash prizes fill pews - Chicago Tribune
"At each of the three Sunday services, the Rev. Dan Willis pulls a number of one seat from a bag and the worshiper in that seat wins a cash prize. Two of the churchgoers win $250 and the third gets $500. The church gives away $1,000 each Sunday, Willis said."
A new agreement between the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) and Catholic Healthcare West - AFL-CIO
"The task force will monitor system-wide preparedness and set uniform standards on full implementation of federal, state and local guidelines, availability of the property safety protective equipment, communication and training policies for all hospital personnel and other needed steps, such as consideration of off-site emergency triage and treatment."
Humana’s Profit Criticized by Senate Leader’s Aide - Bloomberg
"“It’s no wonder why Humana has been misleading seniors about health insurance reform,” Manley said in a statement. “They saw their profits rise 65 percent last quarter and want to make sure the gravy train doesn’t end.”"

02 Nov

H1N1 closes Hurley
"The Hurley K-12 School District will be closed today and Tuesday, according to a district press release.  School will resume Wednesday.  The closing is due to a "high incidence of influenza-like illness," the release said."
Snow showers don't stop Halloween revelry
"Families dressed as Draculas, Popeye and Olive Oil, and classic fairy tale characters lined up behind the Hurley VFW and marched down U.S. 51, onto Sliver Street, past costume judges Iron County Judge Patrick Madden, Hurley Mayor Joe Pinardi and Montreal resident Steve Schurtter, until they hit the parking lot next to Onedia Sales and Service Inc., where hot chocolate, apple cider and their costume contest fate awaited them."
Midgets spook Flambeau
"The Midgets (10-1) hung 40 points on the Falcons in the second quarter of a 56-34 win in the WIAA Division 6 playoffs. Hurley will play Glenwood City (9-2) either Friday or Saturday in a Level 3 game."
Whitecap preparing for ski season
"On Tuesday, the chairlifts went through a periodic dynamic load test, said David Lundberg, president of Whitecap. Each chair was loaded with two barrels filled with water, to simulate two 200-pound people sitting on the chair.  The lift was then put to the test, with fast-stopping speed and reversals. Three different brakes stop the lift from going backward down the hill, Lundberg said, and each had to be tested separately."
H1N1 virus closes Hurley schools
"The district has physician-confirmed cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza virus among students and teachers, increasing the district absence rate to over 28 percent. All co-curricular activities are canceled in conjunction with the school closure, including parent-teacher conferences, athletic practices and competitions both at home and away and academic activities -- play practice, forensics, science team and others."
Huge 2nd quarter powers Midgets
"Trailing 14-8 after one period, the Midgets put up a 40-point explosion in the second quarter and coasted to a 56-34 victory over the previously undefeated Falcons."
Bill Would Give Police Access to Drivers' License Photos
"The bill would require DOT to make digital versions of each photograph available to police agencies through the state Department of Justice's computer network.  Law enforcement agencies would submit electronic requests to view them."
Flu Absences Close Wisconsin School
"Patritto said the district has been working with the Iron County Health Department for weeks, and made the decision to close the building on Saturday night.  The K-12 school, which has roughly 630 students, will re-open Wednesday. During the period in which it's closed, Patritto says it will undergo a thorough sanitation."
State traffic fatalities down 11% so far this year
"The Department of Transportation reports that as of late last week, 441 people have died in accidents - or 57 fewer than at the same time a year ago. That's an 11% drop.  Last year, traffic crashes on Wisconsin roads and highways killed 587 people - 150 fewer than in 2007 and the lowest total in 64 years."
China's lifting of U.S. pork ban is good news for Wisconsin producers
"China banned importation of pork and swine from the United States when the H1N1 flu virus, first known as "swine" flu, was discovered last spring. China was one of 27 countries that banned American pork and pigs. It's the fastest-growing market for American pork, totaling almost $700 million worth in 2008."
Man pulls rifle from trench coat, gets cited for carrying concealed weapon
""Officers entered and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain. "He had a paintball gun inside his coat, but the gun had no markings on it that indicated it wasn't real."  Thurner also allegedly had a knife in his possession, which resulted in the concealed weapon citation."
Students sign Covenant plan
"The Wisconsin Covenant Pledge allows students who graduate from a Wisconsin high school, hold at least a B average, take classes to prepare for college and are a good citizen to receive financial aid based on their family’s needs.  They are also reserved a place at a University of Wisconsin campus or technical college, or private college connected with the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities."
Should prayers be covered? - Chicago Tribune
""I think when Congress mandates that health companies provide coverage for prayer, it has the effect of the government advancing religion," Chemerinsky said.  chemerinsky predicts that if the provision becomes law, it will immediately spark court challenges questioning its constitutionality. But other legal scholars, such as Michael McConnell, who heads the Stanford University Constitutional Law Center, say that's unlikely."
BP Hit with Largest-Ever OSHA Fine of $87 Million - AFL-CIO
"OSHA has issued 271 notifications to BP for failing to correct hazards at the Texas City refinery since the explosion. The agency also identified 439 “willful and egregious” violations of safety controls at the refinery.  Wayne Ranick, a spokesman for the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the BP workers, says the union has not yet read the citation, but “we have faith in OSHA.”"
California Divorce Ban Gets Approval for Signatures - San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
"A rally is planned at noon on November 14 at Cesar Chavez Plaza (J Street and 10th) in Sacramento, to launch the now official, state-sanctioned petition.  The group must get 700,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the 2010 ballot. The proposed act would amend the state’s constitution, to eliminate the ability of married couples to get divorced."