Local News - ... (Archives)

Source... Click on the title to read the article at its original source.
31 Dec Happy New Year!  Designate a Driver!!!!
Stay home or stay out late? Your choice on New Year's Eve
"The hustle and bustle of Christmas has left many people needing a vacation from their vacation. While the bay region definitely will not be rolling up the sidewalks at 8 p.m., those wishing to take it easy on New Year's Eve won't be missing out on too many happenings about town."
2008 Unclaimed Property
"Under state law, after one to five years of inactivity, businesses must turn unclaimed money, stock and safe deposit boxes to the state treasurer's office for safekeeping."
Adopting alternative energy a balancing act
"In addition to the financial obstacles, it takes research to find out which alternatives will work on a given property. Focus on Energy, an organization funded by major Wisconsin utility companies, provides energy audits, facilitates rebates and offers guidance, said Kelly Zagrzebski, a spokeswoman for Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and member of the Wausau Commission for a Greener Tomorrow."
More than 1.6 million register for do-not-call list
"Wisconsin's No Call telephone registry has more numbers on it now due to the new law allowing residents to sign up cell phone numbers in addition to land lines."
Doyle backs ignition interlocks for some drunken drivers
"In his most definitive comments on drunken-driving issues, Doyle said he would sign the bill on ignition interlocks - devices that prevent impaired drivers from starting their cars - if the Legislature approved it in the two-year session that begins Monday.  Doyle repeated his support for other measures, such as criminalizing first-offense drunken driving, making third offenses felonies and allowing police to conduct sobriety checkpoints."
Safe rides donor arrested for drunken driving
"Manders donated a minivan LIMOS uses to provide free rides in the Oconomowoc area after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  Manders says he considered calling the program for a ride but thought he was sober enough to drive. He says he made a mistake."
Local ski hills revel in big snows
"Despite the tumultuous economy, McKay and Cascade Mountain owner Rob Walz said they have not felt the effects of the recession... Walz said Cascade Mountain saw a 20 percent increase in ticket sales last season, and at this juncture, this year is on pace with last year."
Richard Cizik’s Resignation - Evangelicals for Social Action
"Cizik has not reversed himself and decided to support the redefinition of marriage as gay marriage advocates demand. But he does think (as I do and have argued in The Scandal of Evangelical Politics) that there are some rights that gay couples should be guaranteed–e.g., hospital visitation rights, inheritance of property, etc."
‘Will Rogers Today' - Macon County Times
""The bad part about the whole structure of paying [Senators and Congressmen] is that we name a sum and give them all the same, regardless of ability. No other business in the World has a fixed sum to pay all their employees that same salary... If some efficiency expert would work out a scheme where each one would be paid according to his ability, I think we would save a lot of money." WA #119, March 22, 1925"
At Plant in Coal Ash Spill, Toxic Deposits by the Ton  - NY Times
"The inventory, disclosed by the Tennessee Valley Authority on Monday at the request of The New York Times, showed that in just one year, the plant’s byproducts included 45,000 pounds of arsenic, 49,000 pounds of lead, 1.4 million pounds of barium, 91,000 pounds of chromium and 140,000 pounds of manganese. Those metals can cause cancer, liver damage and neurological complications, among other health problems."


30 Dec

Hurley hammers Wakefield, 81-23
"The Hurley Midgets blasted out the gates against Wakefield and never looked back Friday night, cruising to an 81-23 victory Friday night in first-round play at the 23rd annual Gogebic Range Holiday Tournament.  Hurley (4-2) set up a 23-0 lead after one quarter as was never threatened. The Midgets led 42-13 at the half and 70-17 through three quarters."
Forest Service cuts some slack on travel rules
"The plan, finalized in September, will close some 2,700 miles of roads throughout the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, while leaving open for use about 2,600 miles of road."
Doyle in 2010
"Gov. Jim Doyle says even though he's raising money for a re-election campaign for a third term, there's still time for him to decide not to run.  Doyle said Tuesday that he is doing everything he needs to do to mount a re-election bid."
22 of 29 state ethics investigations remain closed to public
"The year-old law that created the board prohibits it from disclosing details of the other 22 cases, said Jonathan Becker, the board's ethics division administrator. That is a flaw that needs to be changed, he said.  "It would enhance the public's confidence in the board and confidence in officials," he said. He is preparing a recommendation to allow for greater disclosure."
Rain, melting snow lead to 80-million-gallon sewage overflow
"Overflows started at 3:44 p.m. Saturday when district officials began closing gates in shafts connecting combined sanitary and storm sewers to the deep tunnel storage system, said Peter Topczewski, the district's water quality protection manager. Gates were gradually reopened beginning at 5:15 a.m. Sunday."
Amish farmer charged for not registering animals
"District Attorney Darwin Zwieg says Miller represents about 100 Amish farmers who believe registering their premises conflicts with their religion.  State agricultural officials discovered about 54 unregistered livestock farms while dealing with an outbreak of pseudorabies at a pig farm in March 2007. They believe at least 44 of those farms were Amish."
Cross Country: Christmas on the farm today not that different from year's past
"People didn't travel very far -- especially farm folks -- the livestock had to be taken care of and the cows had to be milked, even if an hour or more late. But farming was by and large a chosen way of life -- sometimes chosen by granddad and grandmom -- but still something families were proud of and something to be relished long after the farm had passed to the children."
New push expected for sobriety checkpoints
"This could change in 2009. Usually Mothers Against Drunk Driving are the leading proponents for roadblock legislation, but this year they received a boost from Gov. Jim Doyle, who declared his support for such a law, and from a series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ("Wasted in Wisconsin") and other newspapers highlighting alcohol problems in the state."
Soldier alleges military pattern of Christian bias - Associated Press
An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual."
NJ rules against church group in gay rights case - Associated Press
""What this case has always been about from my clients' perspective has been equality," said Larry Lustberg, the lawyer for the couple. He said they will seek an order that requires the pavilion to be "open to all on an equal basis."  Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group that represents the Methodist organization, Camp Meeting Association, said his clients would keep pushing back against being forced to allow civil unions on the property."
Starbucks to appeal ruling on labor practices... Nations Restaurant News
"Starbucks officials said they plan to appeal the ruling by Judge Mindy Landow, who found that the Seattle-based coffeehouse giant unfairly imposed work rules, interrogated employees and disciplined or fired workers who supported efforts by the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, to organize employees at several Manhattan locations."
A First Hand Account of the TVA Coal Ash Disaster in Kingston, TN
"If a dump truck can hold 20 cubic yards of dirt and ash, it will take 265,000 truck loads to haul away all the ash (they are taking it back to the power plant). If they fill one dump truck trip every 5 minutes and work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it will take about 2.5 years to clean up the spill. TVA has been telling the media it will be cleaned up in about 6 weeks - this is a ludicrous claim."
Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Misinformer of the Year - Media Matters
"Hannity's "Stop Obama Express" promoted and embellished a vast array of misleading attacks and false claims about Obama. Along the way, he uncritically adopted and promoted countless Republican talking points and played host to numerous credibility-challenged smear artists who painted Obama as a dangerous radical."

29 Dec

Ironwood be-Deviled by Midget 'D'
"Hurley used its best defensive effort of the year, shutting down Ironwood to win the 23rd annual Gogebic Range Holiday Tournament 59-33 Saturday.  How good was the defense? The Red Devils shot 9-of-57 from the field while suffering their first loss of the season."
Bargain hunters' paradise
"Nelson said the amount of post-Christmas shoppers rivaled the pre-Christmas crowds. That's a bonus for the store, since unlike a lot of electronics marketers, Omer Nelson's 2008 Christmas sales didn't experience a step decline.  "Actually, we were even a little up from last year," she said. "I don't know if it's because the economy hasn't affected everyone, or if people are going to Duluth less, but we've still been experiencing great business.""
Nuclear Training
"Wisconsin emergency officials want to spend nearly a million dollars to bolster training for nuclear accidents after responders made at least a half-dozen mistakes during training."
Midwest manufacturing fell in November
"Manufacturing activity in five Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, dropped in November from the previous month, led by declines in steel production and the machinery industry, according to data released this morning by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago."
Leinenkugel's rolls out new seasonal brew, 1888 Bock
"Chippewa Falls-based Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. is rolling out a new seasonal beer, Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock, which will be sold through March.  Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock replaces Big Butt Dopplebock, the brewery's former winter/early spring seasonal brew."
Poor economy has planners rethinking dairy school
"The school would still have a dairy farm where students could get hands-on experience in farming and management.  But organizers are discussing scaling back and having fewer cows and less land and equipment."
Child maids now being exported to U.S.; one prosecution in Wisconsin
"Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.
Wisconsin Legislature preview: Budget shortfall
"Republicans are taking a wait-and-see attitude on the budget.  "I don't have to solve that problem. Obviously that's the Democrats' problem," said incoming Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, a Republican from Horicon."
[This man's job is to solve problems... not just get re-elected.  This man is 'part of the problem.' - Bob]
More than 100 hacked to death in Ugandan church - Associated Press
"Attackers wielding machetes hacked to death dozens of people at a church in remote eastern Congo, witnesses said today, and the Ugandan army accused the Lord's Resistance Army rebels of the massacre.  A European aid worker said more than 100 people are reported to have been killed in the attack the day after Christmas and that the Congolese military put the number dead at 120 to 150."
Strings on auto loans risky for retirees... Sun Herald
"At issue is a condition of the federal loans that calls for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC to use company stock or the equivalent to pay half, or $10.5 billion, of the cash owed to a union retiree health-care trust.  "It's as if we, as a nation, learned nothing from Enron, essentially risking the health care of retired and active workers in such a cavalier fashion," said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in labor issues. "The great Enron lesson was: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. . . . Putting half your eggs in the trust-fund basket is still a high level of risk.""
CBS newsman's $70m lawsuit likely to deal Bush legacy a new blow - The Guardian
"Rather contends not only that his report was true - "What the documents stated has never been denied, by the president or anyone around him," he says - but that CBS succumbed to political pressure from conservatives to get the report discredited and to have him fired."

27&28 Dec

Stormy Kromer Pursuit attracts hundreds to area
""We have been really good at bringing snowmobilers into the area, but with our reliable snow conditions, we felt we could expand our visitor base by offering an event to another type of winter enthusiast."  The pursuit format requires the skier to use two different styles of skiing, with the striding technique on Saturday on the Montreal trails and the skating technique Sunday on the Mercer trails."
Mercer library decked out
""Some people have stopped over that have never been in the library," she said Monday. "When they walk in the library, they don't see it. They go into the reading room. When they come back to the main desk, all of a sudden, they spy it.""
  • Hurley tackles W-M; looks to repeat as tourney champs
    "The Hurley Midgets advanced to the championship game with an 81-23 victory over Wakefield-Marenisco in the first round of the 23rd annual Gogebic Range Holiday Tournament at the Hurley K-12 School Friday.  "I thought we played with a purpose tonight," Hurley coach Gary Giancola said.  The Midgets (4-2) advance to the championship game against Ironwood at 7:30 p.m. Saturday."
  • Panthers drop Midgets
    ""That score wasn't indicative of how hard fought that game was," Hurley coach Gary Giancola said. "It was a great game, very competitive game."  Hurley had a chance to take the lead after Mike Leinon hit a shot while being fouled to tie the game 40-40 with 11.4 seconds to go in the third quarter."
Victim's Name Released in Tuesday's Car Accident
"Police have now released the name of the person killed in a five-vehicle crash in Vilas County on Tuesday.  67-year-old John Aman of Butternut was killed in this accident on Highway 70 in the township of Lac du Flambeau.  The Wisconsin State Patrol says a Aman tried to pass a snowplow in Lac du Flambeau on Tuesday morning."
Lawmaker Raises
"A second state lawmaker has said he will
refuse a $2,500 pay raise scheduled to take effect in the upcoming legislative session.  Sen. Jon Erpenbach said Friday he never accepts midterm pay increases. The Middleton Democrat says he sends the money back to the Senate chief clerk."
Unemployment Claims
"The state has hired 83 more workers to deal
with a surge in unemployment claim ... Some are agency retirees and will start by January at hourly salaries of between $15 and $17 an hour."
Paper industry struggles change companies, lives
"Yet in 2008, the Montreal-based company shuttered its Port Edwards mill June 27, which had served as a staple employer in the village and had been producing paper since 1896.  With a nationwide recession contributing to a decline in paper sales across the industry and subsidized paper imports from China and other countries, Domtar workers weren't the only ones downsized."
Legislator won't accept pay raise
""In view of the current financial condition of our state, I will be returning my scheduled pay raise for this session," he said. Pay for the 132 legislators has been $47,413.  Ziegelbauer also said he will continue to try to force future pay raises to be voted on by the full Legislature, instead of set by a committee of legislative leaders."
MMSD begins releasing untreated sewage into rivers, lake
"The nearly 1 inch of rain that has fallen today, combined with water from melting snow, led the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District to begin the process of releasing untreated sewage into rivers and Lake Michigan about 3:40 p.m. today, MMSD spokesman Bill Graffin said."
Wis. hospitals see more charity cases
"The charity care caseload at Wisconsin hospitals has increased more than 19 percent this year, compared to a year ago... Rising unemployment rates translates to fewer people with health insurance.  WHA reports that charity care costs will increase on average about 20 percent this year when compared to last year."
Wis. motorists can dial 511 for road conditions
"The state Department of Transportation has launched the new service to provide timely traffic and road-condition information.  The 511 Traveler Information System also provides automated information on traffic incidents, transit services and roadside services."
Hundreds of Brazil's eco-warriors at risk of assassination - The Guardian, UK
"The list names Frei Henri des Rosiers, a French priest based in the Amazon town of Xinguara, as a particular target. Police are investigating claims he has a £14,000 price on his head because of his fight against slave labour. Also named are Maria José Dias da Costa, a union leader in the remote town of Rondon do Pará, and an Austrian bishop, Dom Erwin Krautler, who has been under 24-hour police guard for two years because of his battle against developers and child prostitution in his Amazonian diocese."
Over 50 additional foreign farm workers fired, evicted and deported during Christmas season  - UFCW
"The fired workers are in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, championed by the Harper government. As a result of the firings the workers will be evicted from the rental housing provided to them by Rol-Land Farms. The workers were contracted to work for a one- year period but are facing repatriation to Guatemala after only two to four months in the country."
Buying American-made Toys - Democratic Talk Radio
"One of the first things we can do, starting right after the beginning of the New Year, is to visit as many retail stores as possible and file written complaints about the non-availability of American-made toys this past Christmas. Every Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and toy store in America should be getting hundreds or thousands of complaints from patriotic Americans."
At This Casino, Only the Slots Light Up - New York Times
"Advocates for smoke-free casinos are paying close attention to what happens in Fernley. But Scott Tate, general manager of the Nugget, which with only 10,000 square feet, 174 slots and 2 poker tables is dwarfed by the cavernous palaces of Reno and Las Vegas, makes clear that the ban here is all about business, not necessarily public health.  Marketing research, he says, simply suggested an opening for smoke-free gambling."


26 Dec

Happy Boxing Day!

Iron County receives high safety score
"All employees should be credited "for having one of the best loss ratios in the state," Wiita said.  "Iron County has one of the best sheriff's department loss ratios. It hasn't had a lot of accidents, with just a few claims because the deputies are driving properly.""
Dinner continues tradition of giving
"The spirit of giving filled the room at the 27th annual community dinner at the Aging Unit of Iron County Christmas Day. Both volunteers and patrons went away satisfied after the free turkey dinner."
Accused kidnapper remains jailed on $25,000 bond
"Rantanan also faces a felony firearms charge in Gogebic County, according to prosecuting attorney Richard Adams.  Rantanen was arrested at a Hurley motel less than two hours after the alleged kidnapping incident on Thursday.Iron County charges stemming from the Thursday incident have not yet been filed, according to court officials."
Ohio resident fined for filling wetlands area
"A Cincinnati man who owns property on Long Lake in Iron County has been fined $10,000 for violating state wetlands protection laws.  Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the fine settled a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Van Hollen said Tyson allowed fill to be placed in a northern cedar swamp near the shore of his Long Lake property, in the Oma area."
Milk Production
"Milk production was up 1 percent across the 23 major milk-producing states.  But production dipped in California, which is the nation's leading milk producer."
Lawmaker Raises
"The state is facing a $5.4 billion state budget shortfall, but state legislators say they have no control over the $2,500 pay raises they're scheduled to receive next year.  The state Department of Administration says lawmakers' annual salaries will rise $2,530 to just under $50,000."
Quality of nursing home care varies, report finds
"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranked the quality of care at more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States, giving them one- to five-star rankings based on annual inspection reports, nursing home staffing levels and other measures, such as the percentage of residents who routinely were physically restrained"
Venison donations down 37%
"The Hunt for the Hungry organization says donations of venison are down 37% from last year.  The organization collected 1,350 deer as of last week, about 800 less than last year's total."
Most of Wisconsin delegation's bills didn't pass
"Sen. Russ Feingold's legislation paying for restoration efforts for the endangered whooping cranes that migrate from Wisconsin to Florida also went nowhere.  But that's not unusual. Only 3 percent of the more than 14,000 bills introduced in Congress during the past two years were signed into law."
Florida Woman Says Former Church Plans to Make Her Sins Public - Fox News
"“Your refusal to repent and be restored in your relationship with God and His Church leaves us with no alternative than to carry out the third step of the discipline process,” the letter explained. “In accordance with Matthew 18:17, we intend to ‘tell it to the church.’” ... “I don’t really care what they do to me. But I am concerned about my children sitting in church with their mother being crucified by the church that they trust,” she said. “I am very concerned about how it would affect them.”"
DOL Warns Retaliation on Whistleblowers
 - Labor News
"“Rank and file inspectors expressed concern MSHA higher-ups will try to retaliate against those who provide evidence of the agency’s willingness to compromise safety,” Yarman said. The union “is warning any demotions, transfers or negative performance reports” on the 59 “would be closely monitored.”"
States Cut Medicaid Coverage Further - Washington Post
"With revenue falling at the same time that more people are losing their jobs and private health coverage, states already have pared their programs and many are looking at deeper cuts for the coming year. Already, 19 states -- including Maryland and Virginia -- and the District of Columbia have lowered payments to hospitals and nursing homes, eliminated coverage for some treatments, and forced some recipients out of the insurance program completely."


25 Dec


Hurley woman talks of Christmases past
"Growing up on the Levra homestead in Iron Belt, Wis., she recalls Christmas trees of the past, along with gifts from Santa Claus.  "We had Christmas trees with waxed candles as lights," she said. The candles snapped onto the tree. "They were pretty, but they had to be watched every minute because they were dangerous.""
Weather Blamed for Seven Deaths
"Weather-related accidents are blamed for killing five people in Wisconsin today, raising the two-day death toll to seven... Also, two men died yesterday in separate accidents on slippery highways in Outagamie and Manitowoc counties."
Children of Newly Laid Off Workers Get Special Present
"Thanks to an anonymous donor, children whose parents lost their jobs with the closure of the NewPage paper mill in Kimberly have something to smile about this Christmas.  The $10,000 donation, coordinated by local public and parochial schools, provided each child with a gift card for the holidays."
Luke 2:11 -
  • Douay-Rheims Bible
    "For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David."
  • King James Bible
    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Matthew 2:1 - The Shooters Bible - NRA
  • "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to ..." give him these assault weapons and cop killer bullets.
Wal-Mart workers unionized at third store in Quebec - NUPGE
"Less than two months after closing a tire and lube shop in Gatineau to get rid of a union, Wal-Mart is now faced with a certification order for 150 employees in the adjacent retail store − located across the Ottawa River from Canada's capital."


24 Dec

Hurley, Montreal receive grant funds
"Hurley will use its $826,500 for the County D extension project, while Montreal has earmarked $247,725 (to be received after April 1) for rehabilitation of its sewer system throughout the city, mayor Bob Morzenti said.  "We've got damaged sewer lines throughout the city. We'll be using these funds to upgrade those lines," Morzenti said Tuesday."
Mercer school superintendent to retire
""I can't say enough about Jeff and what he's brought to our district," school board president Karl Anderson said Wednesday. "His years of experience, level of professionalism -- he's just helped move us forward in so many ways.""
Iron County landowner fined for wetland violation
"According to the complaint filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Tyson caused fill to be placed in a northern cedar swamp, near the shore of his Long Lake property, without first providing notice and obtaining written confirmation that the filling would be consistent with the requirements of state wetland protection laws. The fill was placed to create a fire pit, to facilitate tree removal, and to back-blade a path from Tyson's home to the lake."
Tribal police departments receive less than hoped for from state
""It's like everything else," he continued. "The need is there for other tribes, but the money keeps on going down. "  Bad River Police Chief Joe Szwarek said he was "very pleased" to receive the grant award.  But this year's allocation to the department is about $12,000 less than what he requested, Szwarek said."
Xcel biomass project begins state regulatory process
"Xcel Energy has begun the process they hope will lead to the construction of the largest biomass-fueled power plant in the Midwest.  The firm plans to convert an existing coal-fired boiler at Ashland's Bay Front electrical generation facility with biomass gasification technology, thus allowing the plant to use 100 percent biomass in all three of its active boilers."
Holiday Travel
"Auto travel is expected to drop 3.2 percent from last year, while airline travel is expected to be down 10.8 percent.  Kamholz says even the drop in gas prices hasn't been enough to overcome worries about the economy and people see travel as an area they can cut back on."
Morning After Pill 
"Wisconsin Department of Health Services executive assistant Rea Holmes says the rule voids a state law requiring emergency rooms to provide rape victims with information about the so-called morning-after pill and dispense the drug at their request."
Wisconsin Unemployment 
"New figures from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show unemployment in the Janesville area was 7.4 percent in November, up from 6.6 percent the month before.  Those figures do not include the 1,200 workers who lost jobs Tuesday when General Motors ended sport utility vehicle production at its Janesville plant."
Harley guarantees trade-in value for some Sportsters
"Harley riders who either buy a new Sportster or trade in their recently purchased Sportster between Dec. 26 and March 31 will get the bike's original manufacturer's suggested retail price when they trade up to one of Harley's Big Twin or VRSC motorcycles."
Capitol Festivus pole goes up, and gripes begin
"Funny, but nobody's laughing much about the Festivus pole that popped up under the dome of the Illinois Capitol this week.  Not the people who set up the nearby nativity scene.  "I think it's a mockery," said Dan Zanoza, chairman of the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee."
Like everything else, the UW Foundation has taken a hit from the economy 
"For the calendar year, Wilcox said the UW Foundation's endowment fund, which ended 2007 at $1.77 billion, has dropped about 22 percent -- or roughly $390 million, to $1.38 billion. As a comparison, the S&P 500, a standard used to track the performance of the overall stock market, was down 37.7 percent from the start of 2008 through November."
Fatality on Hwy. 70
"... when the vehicles collided, with the logging truck running over the driver's side of the pickup. The logging truck sustained damage to its axle area and swerved left as a result. The logging truck then struck another pickup truck, and a car in the line of vehicles struck logs that had spilled onto the highway. A fifth vehicle went into the ditch in an effort to avoid the other vehicles and logs in the road."
State lawmakers say they're forced to accept raise
"Lawmakers' annual salaries will rise $2,530, or 5.3 percent, to $49,943, according to the state Department of Administration ... Lawmakers can't write a law next year undoing the raises because the state Constitution bars changing the pay of elected officials during their terms, said Carrie Lynch, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston."
State milk production up 1 percent in November 
"Milk per cow in the state averaged 1,565 pounds, 15 pounds higher than a year earlier. The total of 1.25 million milk cows in the state was up 1,000 from October and 5,000 over a year earlier."
God Is a Problem, Sources Say - Wall Street Journal
"When terrorists murdered Christian workers while sparing Muslims in the offices of a Karachi charity in 2002, Mr. Marshall observes, "CNN International contented itself with the opinion that there was 'no indication of a motive.' Would it have said the same if armed men had invaded a multiracial center, separated the black people from the white people, then methodically killed all the blacks and spared all the whites?""
Wal-Mart to Settle 63 Lawsuits Over Wages - Washington Post
"Wal-Mart faced more than 70 wage-and-hour suits, including class actions claiming the company failed to pay for all hours worked or didn't properly compensate workers properly for overtime. The workers claim that Wal-Mart's own records show that hourly employees were cheated. Wal-Mart has denied the allegations."
Activist accused of tainting drilling lease sale - TPM/AP
"Several bidders said they hadn't decided whether they would withdraw their bids. Some said they may reluctantly hold on to their leases — despite the higher cost — out of concern that the parcels might not go up for auction again under President-elect Barack Obama's administration."



23 Dec

Determining the recession's impact on state and local governments and individual Americans
"It's already clear - with a broad bipartisan consensus - that we need a major infrastructure package to help create jobs and, literally, prepare the road for future growth. But we must also take steps to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society don't get left behind as we work our way through what's shaping up to be the worst economic recession of our generation."
Determining the recession's impact on state and local governments and individual Americans
"It's already clear - with a broad bipartisan consensus - that we need a major infrastructure package to help create jobs and, literally, prepare the road for future growth. But we must also take steps to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society don't get left behind as we work our way through what's shaping up to be the worst economic recession of our generation."
Midgettes remain unbeaten
"The Hurley Midgettes placed four players in double figures to offset a huge offensive night by Solon Springs' Rachel Hanley as Hurley defeated the Eagles 68-43 Friday night in Indianhead Conference girls basketball action.
Hiring by committee
"The hiring policy was drafted by the finance-personnel committee after Iron County Health Department Director Zona Wick presented the county with two proposals, both addressing the use of a $56,056 windfall in state funding for tobacco prevention and control."
Suspect waives extradition
"A Kimball, Wis., man was transported to Gogebic County for arraignment after waiving extradition in Iron County Circuit Court Monday morning.  Gregory Rantanen, 47, faces felony kidnapping charges after allegedly forcing a 27-year-old Ironwood woman into his truck in an alley in downtown Ironwood last Thursday."
Midgets look to defend Holiday Tournament title
"And Hurley is the favorite because it is hosting the 23rd annual tournament, coach Gary Giancola said ... A tournament final against undefeated Ironwood, should it happen, would be a dogfight, he said.
[You are reminded that this game will be heard on WJMS 590AM as per yesterday's posted schedule. - Bob]
Panthers drop Midgets
""That score wasn't indicative of how hard fought that game was," Hurley coach Gary Giancola said. "It was a great game, very competitive game."  Hurley had a chance to take the lead after Mike Leinon hit a shot while being fouled to tie the game 40-40 with 11.4 seconds to go in the third quarter."
With the colors
Hjerstedt/U.S. Air Force; Gergen/U.S. Army
Community Resource Agent Seeks Former Residents' Assistance
"Iron County UW-Extension Community Resource Development Agent Will Andresen is trying to reach as many former area residents as possible to take the survey. If you are a former resident but no longer live in the Ironwood/Hurley and have no intention of returning to the area. Please take a few minutes; go to the site below; and take the survey. http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB228N5NL969Y "
Local Economy Gets Boost 
"Beth Poast is President of the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce. She says, "It brought a lot of fishermen into the community of Rhinelander at a time when we don't have a lot of reasons for people to come to Rhinelander--it's after deer hunting and before the holidays."  Poast says the fishermen spent more than $170,000 over the long weekend.  She adds, "It was just a tremendous boost for the Rhinelander economy.""
Tribal Law Enforcement Grants
"Van Hollen says this money is designed to help with the unique law enforcement challenges on Native American lands here in the state.  The grant money will help fight gang, drug, and violent crimes."
Judge Sets Separate Trials for Parents
"A judge has set separate trials for parents accused of reckless homicide for praying instead of taking their 11-year-old daughter to a doctor as she died of undiagnosed diabetes."
Workers watch last Chevy Tahoe roll off assembly line in Janesville
"General Motors Corp. figured workers might not want to stay for the emotional scene of watching the last vehicle roll off the assembly line at their plant in Janesville, so they were allowed to punch in this morning at 5:48 a.m. and leave.  But hundreds of workers stayed and watched the black Chevy Tahoe LTZ completed."
Owner of dog that froze to sidewalk pleads not guilty 
"Authorities say Bigler left her 120-pound border collie, Jiffy, outside overnight earlier this month when temperatures dipped into the single digits. Police have speculated the overweight dog survived because it was protected by layers of insulating fat."
DNR opposes Oneida County rebuilding change
""If the county amends or interprets its shoreland protection zoning ordinance to authorize reconstruction and expansion of legal pre-existing (nonconforming) structures within 75 feet OHWM setback at a location that does not include the location (current footprint) where the existing structure was lawfully placed before the shoreland ordinance took effect, DNR believes such an amendment or interpretation would essentially create an exception to the 75 foot setback and exacerbate the existing nonconformity resulting from the expansion of legal pre-existing (nonconforming) structures within the setback zone," Blake wrote."
Pope marks Galileo anniversary, praises astronomy - Associated Press
"The Catholic Church condemned Galileo in the 17th century for supporting Nicholas Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.  In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized, saying that the denuncuation was a tragic error. "
Health insurance options limited after job loss - San Francisco Chronicle
"Those who are lucky enough to be married to someone who has job-based insurance probably can be added to their spouse's group policy. Some people may be able to find another job quickly enough to avoid a gap in coverage. But for many, especially older workers or those with pre-existing medical conditions, the options are few."
Franken holds lead over Coleman, but it's not over - Associated Press
"Once the Canvassing Board restores the votes from the final group of 5,000 withdrawn challenges, Franken will have gained 3,191 votes out of the total pool of challenged votes and Coleman will have gained 2,955 votes. That adds up to a 236-vote advantage for Franken, enough to wipe out the 188-vote lead that Coleman had held before the Canvassing Board started ruling on disputed ballots. That was out of almost 3 million votes cast on Nov. 4."


22 Dec

WJMS With Full Schedule of Local Basketball Games
"Tonight on WJMS the Hurley boys travel to E-TC....pre-game at 5:50 with Gary Aho, tip off at 6.  This weekend we will be broadcasting the Gogebic Range Holiday Tournament - Friday night Dec. 26 @ 6 PM Ironwood vs. Bessemer....@ 7:30 Hurley vs. Wakefield-Marenisco.  Saturday the 27th @ 6 is the consolation game and @ 7:30 the Championship Game.  Join Gary Aho and Joe Rimkus." - Bill Swift
Hurley grounds Eagles
"Hurley finished the 2008 part of its schedule with a 5-0 record after a 68-43 Indianhead Conference win over Solon Springs Friday night."
Carbon monoxide alarms prevent tragedies in homes
"Area residents seeking last-minute stocking stuffers for Christmas would be wise to consider a gift that will keep on giving.  Carbon monoxide alarms can be as important as smoke detectors in saving lives."
Holiday donations dip in tougher times
""Although it's extraordinarily impressive and good to see the kinds of donations and the amount of donations that come in, there's still that bit of anxiety that hangs over you and you say 'Is this really enough to get us through?'" said Kathy Beeksma, director of ministries for The BRICK, a coalition of local churches assisting families with food, clothing and other essential items."
Local nursing homes receive mixed ratings
"A 40-bed facility, Mellen Manor was given five stars, which means the nursing home ranks "much above average" in criteria such as staffing and how it fared during recent state inspections."
[You can see the ratings of Hurley homes by clicking HERE.  Villa Maria and Sky View both get four stars. - Bob]
Wisconsin lawmakers to get 5.3 percent raise
"Salaries for the 132 lawmakers are set every two years by the Office of State Employment Relations. Their pay will go from about $47,400 to about $49,900.  As a comparison, the governor and justices on the state Supreme Court earn just over $144,000 a year. The attorney general makes $140,000, and the lieutenant governor earns $76,000.
At least 11 injured in 15-car pileup on I-43
"The chain-reaction crash had already begun when Tom Galioto of Grafton was driving in the southbound lane and saw a man standing in the road, waving his arms to alert him to trouble ahead.  Galioto slammed his brakes but because he was on a bridge over Jay Road, he couldn't swerve left or right and ended up sliding into a minivan."
Economic uncertainty plagued Wisconsin in 2008
"The state grappled with jobs losses at manufacturing plants and a nationwide housing and lending crisis that grew into a broad recession. Financial firms and automakers sought billions in taxpayer bailouts. Faced with stagnant tax collections, needy citizens and busted budgets, states including Wisconsin also are seeking their own federal rescue."
Back-to-back storms on way; December snow record set to tumble
"Back-to-back winter storms are lining up for a pre-Christmas blow to southern Wisconsin, with between 8 and 14 inches of snow expected Tuesday and Wednesday. The snow will shatter December's snowfall record."
Southern Baptist growth plan teeters - The Tennessean
"But critics within the denomination say the new initiative is in danger of failing. Some blame a lack of funding. Others wonder if the mission board leadership is up to the task.  The agency's 2009 budget seems to support the first group's concerns.  Among $130 million in planned expenses are $367,000 in travel for board trustees, $975,000 for technology upgrades and $250,000 for mission board headquarters near Atlanta.  And the national evangelism initiative? That line is blank."
UAW busting, Southern style - LA Times
"At Goldman Sachs, for example, employee compensation made up 71% of total operating expenses in 2007. In the auto industry, by contrast, autoworker compensation makes up less than 10% of the cost of manufacturing a car. Hundreds of billions were given to the financial-services industry with barely a question about compensation; the auto bailout, however, was sunk on this issue alone."
Insecurity drives farm purchases abroad - Christian Science Monitor
"The race for farmland in Cambodia underscores how countries desperate to boost farming amid an ongoing food crisis are turning to global outsourcing, hoping to grow their own food on land abroad. Japan has bought up plots in Brazil, South Korea large tracts in Madagascar, in a trend poised to change global land ownership and agricultural production."



20&21 Dec

Make the Storm Your Holiday Station!
"'Tis the season of uninterrupted Christmas music! Beginning at 2 PM Christmas Eve you can tune into the Storm for commercial free "sounds of the season." Including a special Christmas Beacon with Austin Harris from 6 to noon on Christmas Day."
[Make sure to click on "Having fun in the Snow.... to see one of the best web holiday/pet videos I have ever seen.  Then call/email them to say "thank you" and "Merry Christmas." - Bob]
Obey: Massive stimulus package needed to stabilize economy
"While Obey is sure the public is well aware of the turmoil on Wall Street and the housing markets that  prompted the $700 billion bailout package already approved by the Bush Administration, he’s not sure if people realize the gravity of the ongoing economic crisis likely continue to drive up unemployment rates for the next year to 18 months."
Iron County may enact hiring policy on Monday
"Iron County is considering a policy that says the hiring of all county employee must be approved by the finance-personnel committee... According to the resolution, all department administrators must also obtain permission from the finance-personnel committee if an administrator "intends to fill positions by transferring an existing county employee or change the job title of an existing employee."
Feliz Navidad
"The Spanish students are also responsible for coming up with four interesting facts about the country they chose.  Those facts then become a learning experience for the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.  The children from those grades receive a mock passport with questions about the countries represented.  While working their way around the elementary gym they look for the answers at the booths and receive extra credit from their teachers."
  • Groovy game on tap Monday
    "This group of Hurley boys has never beaten Ewen-Trout Creek in basketball.  "Now they have a chance to play them when it really counts, so they're very excited about this opportunity," Giancola said.  The game will feature two of the best local high school players, E-TC senior Tony LaPlant and Hurley junior Daulton Levra.
  • Hurley grounds Eagles
    "All 11 players scored for the Midgettes, including Bry Stengard and Gabby Mattson, who were brought up from the junior varsity team.  "That was a big accomplishment for some of my JV players that were brought up," Hurley coach Melissa Oja said."
WI Senators Have Perfect Attendance
"They were among seven senators who made every vote.  Feingold says the people of Wisconsin have entrusted him with the responsibility of representing them, and he takes that responsibility seriously.  Kohl agrees, saying people expect him to make sure their voices are heard in Washington."
State Lawmakers Get A Raise
"Wisconsin state lawmakers will get a 5.3 percent pay increase starting in January.  Their pay will go from about $47,400 to about $49,900.
Smoking Ban
"Tavern owners in the Village of Weston are upset over an ordinance to ban smoking, one of the toughest such measures passed so far.  The ban passed unanimously this week. It disallows smoking in bars, hotels or virtually any other business in the village when it takes effect January 2010."
Senator Russ Decker of Weston open to statewide smoking ban deal
"Decker said a smoking ban proposal needs to address the concerns of health advocates as well as business owners.  "It depends (upon) if people are willing to compromise," he said."
[In the right column you will find a Google map of the current smoking bans in the state. - Bob][
Buck at Jefferson County preserve had chronic wasting disease
"The white-tailed deer was killed Dec. 1 as part of an effort by the owner of the 53-acre preserve to cull his herd and repopulate it with new stock, said Donna Gilson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  Two deer remain on the preserve and will be killed. They have been quarantined by State Veterinarian Robert Ehlenfeldt."
Lawsuit to block transfer from Patients Compensation Fund dismissed
"In his ruling, Circuit Judge Michael Nowakowski said the transfer from the fund, created in 1975 to control soaring costs of medical malpractice insurance, was legal.  Doyle proposed the transfer in 2007, saying the balance in the fund was enough to cover projected future malpractice claims.  On behalf of its members, the Wisconsin Medical Society and a physician, David M. Hoffmann of Mauston, who also pays into the fund, sued to block the transfer."
Journal Sentinel reporters win environmental journalism award
"The team was honored with the 2008 John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism for "Chemical Fallout," an ongoing series that exposed the dangers of common household chemicals - particularly bisphenol A - and the failures of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration to protect the public."
Minnesota man gives Wisconsin bluff to conservancy
"Eighty-three-year-old Stanley Ledebuhr of Winona says he watched peregrine falcons nest on the bluff near Fountain City, Wisconsin, when he was a young man.  The retired teacher donated it this week to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy based in La Crosse, Wisconsin."
DNR plans candlelight walks in state parks 
"The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will start a series of candlelight hikes and ski trips in state parks Jan. 3 at Blue Mound, Harrington Beach and Mirror Lake state parks. Candlelight events will run around the state through the last weekend in February."
WHAT’S NEW - Robert L. Park Friday, 19 Dec 08
Campbell Soup Adopts Gay Agenda - Buzz Flash
"The AFA blusters that Campbell is "helping homosexual activists push their agenda" and trying to convince others "that homosexual parents constitute a family and are worthy of support."
The Top Dozen Insights of Conservatives, 2008 - TPM
"It was a brutal year for the conservative movement, which at long last came crashing down after dominating American politics for nearly 30 years. One small consolation for at least some leading thinkers on the right is that they began to demonstrate perceptiveness that by and large eluded them in preceding years."
Katrina's Hidden Race War - the Nation
"As word spread that the area was dry, desperate people began heading toward the west bank, some walking over bridges, others traveling by boat. The National Guard soon designated the Algiers Point ferry landing an official evacuation site. Rescuers from the Coast Guard and other agencies brought flood victims to the ferry terminal, where soldiers loaded them onto buses headed for Texas. "


19 Dec

Letter From Zona Wick to Don Richards
"We all agree with supervisor Don Richards that the best way to reduce smoking rates in our county is to keep people from smoking in the first place - and that starts with young people.  We also agree that the smoking rates at all ages are unacceptable. We still have a lot of work to do."
Rebuttal to Statement Issued By Zona Wick Yesterday
"I ask for your continued support when I bring a resolution to the Iron County Finance Committee and then to the full Iron County Board to get this tobacco money out of the Iron County Health Department and on to our great schools where it will actually do some good. Please continue to support and assist me in protecting Iron County greatest and most treasured asset, our children."
an economic stabilization and recovery package
"The future welfare of millions of American families is at stake. As Roosevelt said, we need action now! With the right decisions and the right leadership, we can come out of this crisis with a stronger and more vibrant economy than ever before. But it will take repeated action and constant adjustment to changing circumstances to do so."
  • Public comment pursuant to Iron County Resolution #2341.
  • Resolution: Selling of 2 parcels of land to the Town of Pence.
  • Resolution: Authorizing application for county forest variable acreage share payment.
  • Resolution: Authorizing the submittal of applications for grants to administer the Iron County forest for the year 2009.
  • Resolution: Enacting a hiring freeze upon the County of Iron.
  • Resolution: Petition to amend Zoning Ordinance, fee schedule changes.
Board of health approves spending plan
"The Iron County Board of Health has proposed a third option for spending $56,056 in state funding for tobacco prevention and control.  The new proposal calls for a 50-cent-per hour-raise for Karen Hagemann, who is coordinator of the Tobacco Free-Iron County Community Coalition, and an increase in hours per week from 18 to 32... Hagemann now receives $22.79 per hour for 18 hours a week, a total of $21,331 annually. Approval of the proposal will increase her hourly rate to $23.29, or $38,755 annually."
Midgets drop South Shore
"Hurley junior Daulton Levra scored 28 points and junior Dylan Laurin had a double-double in a 57-33 over South Shore in Indianhead Conference play Thursday."
Leader, bridge builder earns Eagle Scout award
"A new Eagle Scout's community project bridged a trout stream and the generations.  Ryan Koski, 15, received his Eagle Scout award on Sunday during a ceremony at the site of his Eagle project."
Climate change summit draws local leaders
"Sessions covered topics specific to transportation, bio-fuels and bio-energy, local food systems and community purchasing, opportunities for business innovations, and specific predictions for uneven climate change patterns across the state."
Utility Rates
"Regulators told WPSC to cut gas rates by $3 million and WP&L to cut gas rates by $4 million.  It ordered both utilities to keep their electric rates at current levels."
Solar Power 
"The Public Service Commission says its solar
collaborative will study ways to dramatically accelerate the deployment of the panels by utilities."
Journal Communications to record impairment charge
""The challenging economy and precipitous decline in the stock market is impacting our stock and the stock of other media companies," said Steven J. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe that the current stock price understates the value of Journal Communications and the significance that our advertisers and audiences find in our products and services."
GM loan won't help Janesville plant
"The last Chevrolet and GMC sport-utility vehicles are scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Janesville on Tuesday, ending about 80 years of vehicle production there and eliminating the jobs of thousands in the auto industry and its suppliers."
Unemployment rises in Wisconsin to 5.3 percent 
"Secretary Roberta Gassman announced Thursday that Wisconsin's unemployment rate for November was 5.3 percent, up from 4.4 percent in October and 4.3 percent a year ago.  Unemployment has been rising nationally and was 6.5 percent in November."
TomoTherapy cuts staff by 12% by laying off, dropping unfilled positions
"The company has some 600 employees. Late last week, co-founder and President Paul Reckwerdt announced he would retire as of Dec. 31. Chief Financial Officer Stephen C. Hathaway also has announced plans to retire when his contract expires, March 31."
'Holiday Enchantment' in Minocqua
"The Reindeer Run is a fun way to get some holiday shopping done - just stop at eight of the 12 participating stores in Minocqua, get your Reindeer Run form stamped or signed by a store employee, and gallop on to the next store."
Warren, Obama and prayer
"Finally, Warren is among a group of younger evangelicals who, without renouncing traditional views about abortion and sexuality, have expanded their mission to include environmental stewardship and efforts to eradicate poverty and AIDS. It's because of such views that Obama can credibly include him in his effort to bring Americans together despite differences about social issues.
The Top Ten Ethics Scandals of 2008 - Mother Jones
"Why isn't the recent criminal complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on the list? Well, for one, it's not a Washington-centered problem. But Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, adds that while the Blagojevich case may be the flavor of the week right now, she thinks the scandals on her administration's list will have more of an impact in the long run."
Welfare Rolls See First Climb in Years - Washington Post
"More striking is who is coming onto welfare and why. Here in Florida, as elsewhere, the new face of welfare includes people who have tumbled from the middle class -- and higher -- after losing jobs, savings and self-reliance."

18 Dec

I zigged when I should have zagged.  The Dec 18th update no longer exists.  Sorry. - Bob
Archbishop backs disestablishment (and the Muppets) - The Guardian, London
"I can see that it's by no means the end of the world if the establishment disappears. The strength of it is that the last vestiges of state sanction disappeared, so when you took a vote at the Welsh synod, it didn't have to be nodded through by parliament afterwards. There is a certain integrity to that."
Religious Right to Newsweek: ‘Woe to [You] for Even Printing This’ - Religion Dispatches
"Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber told OneNewsNow, the news service of Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, “You know, scripture says woe to those who call evil good and good evil, and I say woe to Newsweek for even printing this drivel.” Barber added: “Christ was very clear as to marriage. He said it is between a man and a woman." 
Gov't report: Navy has billions in surplus - USA Today
"The Government Accountability Office report says the Navy hasn't heeded repeated warnings since 2001 about longstanding problems with the military's inventory management. The report from the GAO, Congress' non-partisan investigative agency, says the Navy's failure to keep track of changing requirements and a lack of communication among the proper officials led to surpluses of spare parts ranging from submarine sonar sets to engine fan blades for fighter jets." 
Katrina's Hidden Race War - The Nation
"Because of the widespread notion that blacks engaged in looting and thuggery as the disaster unfolded, Hill believes, many white New Orleanians approved of the vigilante activity that occurred in places like Algiers Point. "By and large, I think the white mentality is that these people are exempt--that even if they committed these crimes, they're really exempt from any kind of legal repercussion," Hill tells me. "It's sad to say, but I think that if any of these cases went to trial, and none of them have, I can't see a white person being convicted of any kind of crime against an African-American during that period.""
Echoes of Injustice Travel from Chicago to Iowa: The Story Behind the Republic Window Settlement - Buzz Flash
"It seems that, despite fears of the Illinois Attorney General, Republic's customers aren't much affected by the shutdown of the Chicago factory. A glass trade publication article cites industry dealers as saying they've simply moved their orders from Republic to Echo. Another industry publication is reporting that the former vice president of sales at Republic is now the main contact for www.echowindows.com."

17 Dec

Details emerging on co-op farm purchase"Supporting the local agricultural network has always been a priority for the Chequamegon Food Cooperative.  But its board of directors recently announced that the co-op is looking to take a bold step and become directly involved in farming through the purchase of a Bayfield County farm."
Iron County trails open Monday
"Snowmobile trails in Iron County officially opened Monday, with conditions in the northern part of the county reported "excellent."  Snowmobilers have 304 miles of groomed and packed trails throughout the county, just waiting for the sledding to begin."
Iron County to launch invasive-species program
"County conservationist Mary Jo Gingras said the Department of Natural Resources grant will be used for a comprehensive program to educate the public about the aquatic invasive species that not only threaten the Great Lakes, but inland lakes as well."
Hurley Super One beacon of light in local economy
"Miner's decision to invest in the area should help bolster our perception of the local economy. No company, especially in these trying times, embarks on a new enterprise unless it believes strongly that it will be successful."
Snowmobile Trails Open
"But right now Cook and Mayo say even though it's early, it's good. Vilas County has around 1000 miles of snowmobile trails and typically opens its trails around this time each year.  Oneida County is scheduled to open its snowmobile trails tomorrow, Wednesday December 17th."
City: Nativity will stay put
""Specifically regarding the Nativity scene, there is a holiday tree right next to it, a Santa Claus to its left and a toy soldier to its right," she said in the letter.  "No reasonable person could possibly believe that the Nativity scene stands alone or is highlighted. It is certainly not an 'independent' display.""
  Bush Excluded by Latin Summit - Bloomberg
"“A lot of this is designed to stick it in the eye of the U.S.,” says Peter Romero, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere from 1999 to 2001. “But underlying the bluster, there’s a genuine effort to exploit the gap left by a distant and distracted U.S.”"
When Justice Got Bonged: Mary Beth Buchanan Vs. Tommy Chong - Buzz Flash
"But when you consider Buchanan's involvement in the U.S. attorney firing scandal, it's imaginable that she has different reasons behind her "commitment" to her current job.  After being implicated in politically motivated hirings and firings of U.S. attorneys, it seems that she is trying to get fired for political reasons herself. "
[Disclosure: Cheech's daughter's father-in-law is my brother. - Bob]
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
"So last night's snow of 3 to 5 inches wasn't enough for you? Just wait. Thursday night's snow could drop as much as a foot of snow on southern Wisconsin.  Still not enough?  There's another chance for snow on Saturday night.  Then again on Tuesday.  "They're all sort of lined up," National Weather Service meteorologist Rusty Kapela said of the anticipated storm systems."
Train derails in SE Minn.
"Buehler says one train coming from Portage was pulling 100 cars, the other was coming from La Crescent and carrying 15. Crews reported more than half of the trains' cars derailed with some ending up in the river.  Buehler says two railroad employees on the trains were injured."
Audit says state raided cleanup fund to plug budget holes 
"A state audit released in November found that in the 2007-08 fiscal year, the state collected $76.6 million in cleanup fees and used it to pay off $30.4 million in scheduled debt service and $16.8 million in PECFA claims.  What happened to the rest of the money?  A total of $20.3 million was sent by the Legislature and the governor to the state Transportation Fund and $1 million went to the state's General Fund for operations."
Crystal Cathedral pastor Schuller resigns - Orange County Register
"The elder Schuller told his congregation in October that his son would no longer be the preacher of the church's weekly "Hour of Power" syndicated TV broadcast. Of late, a guest pastor has preached to the show's 20 million viewers each week.  He told the congregation at the time he did not force out his son, who had preached on the show since January 2006."
Bush Excluded by Latin Summit - Bloomberg
"“A lot of this is designed to stick it in the eye of the U.S.,” says Peter Romero, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere from 1999 to 2001. “But underlying the bluster, there’s a genuine effort to exploit the gap left by a distant and distracted U.S.”"
When Justice Got Bonged: Mary Beth Buchanan Vs. Tommy Chong - Buzz Flash
"But when you consider Buchanan's involvement in the U.S. attorney firing scandal, it's imaginable that she has different reasons behind her "commitment" to her current job.  After being implicated in politically motivated hirings and firings of U.S. attorneys, it seems that she is trying to get fired for political reasons herself. "
[Disclosure: Cheech's daughter's father-in-law is my brother. - Bob]



16 Dec

Winter Road Condition Page - State of Wisconsin
For those who have gotten used to the Link to the state's excellent map of winter road conditions across the state (which has always been in the right column of this site), please note: It has been replaced with a google map based system that will show snow covered roads only if you are in the regional view and click the box at the right.  You can click on "new" to see it.  Hopefully it will not be enhanced so that you also have to click your heels together and say "There is no place like home."
Roads in northern Wis. take beating during storm
"Travel is not recommended in northern Wisconsin because of blowing snow and whiteout conditions.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says portions of Highway 2 in Superior and Highway 2 west of Ashland are closed because of dangerous conditions.  Other main highways are snow or ice-covered."
Hurley School adds sparsity funds to budget
"The Hurley School Board Monday approved a budget amendment allowing for $45,223 of state allocated sparsity aid to be incorporated into the district's annual budget... Hurley's share was inadvertently omitted from its annual budget that was approved Oct. 27 because budget planners at Hurley were still waiting for the state to disclose the amount to be allocated.
Honor roll
"The Mercer School has announced its honor roll for the 2008-09 first marking period."
Decline in Christmas tree harvesting permits
"The number of Christmas trees harvested
from the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest has declined over the past decade.  Ten years ago, more than 1,600 Christmas tree permits were issued for cutting in the national forest.  Last year, 800 people got permits."
South Milwaukee would prevent itself from mandating worker benefits
"Voters in Milwaukee overwhelmingly approved a referendum Nov. 4 that requires all private employers in the city to provide paid sick days to all employees.  The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has said it will challenge the ordinance in court."
Wisconsin author signs deal to protect fabled farm
"The conservancy's executive director, Tim Jacobson, calls the farm "an important piece of American cultural history."  The conservation easement allows Logan to keep ownership of the farm, which will continue to be leased as farmland. But the easement also ensures future owners will not develop the land."
Doyle may seek faster approval for construction 
"Doyle presented President-elect Barack Obama's staff with a list of $3.7 billion worth of roads, building and other public works projects that the governor says could start in Wisconsin within four months.  Doyle and other governors are pushing Congress and the incoming Obama administration to pass an economic stimulus package to help states."
Doyle: Keep school revenue limits, repeal salary caps
""I do want to get rid of the QEO, I always have and I think we should," Doyle told the editorial board. "I do not intend to take the revenue limits off of schools, so I think like any public employees - there are revenue limits on cities, and firefighters and police go to the bargaining table without any QEO and they have to operate within what those limits are. I don't see why teachers should be treated any different.""
Attorney general investigating Planned Parenthood - WorldNow and WTHR
"A pro-life group member posed as a 13-year-old and secretly shot the video at a Bloomington clinic in June. She told an aide she'd been impregnated by a 31-year-old man.  The aide told the woman she could get an abortion in Illinois where parental consent is not needed and to not reveal the father's age."
Veterans Affairs Slammed for Recovering Benefits From Widows - Yahoo News
"Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, the chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, confronted the department last week about the problem, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of senior citizens losing pension and disability money received during the month of their spouse's death."

15 Dec

State aid will help library programs
"The Northern Waters Library Service, which serves Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, Vilas and Washburn counties, is among 17 federated public library systems that will share $16.8 million in state aid during 2009 to economize on shared resources and cooperative library services."
Debit card fraud hits Ashland area
"The victims have debit cards issued through Northwoods Community Credit Union (NCCU), a member-owned institution with offices in Ashland, Park Falls and Phillips."
Join the Christmas Bird count
"The count will be held on Saturday, December 20, when participants around the Cable-Hayward area identify and count every bird they see that day within a designated area. Volunteers can conduct the count while hiking outdoors, sitting at home watching bird feeders, or while driving in their cars."
Mercer staff attends anti-bullying conference
"Keynote speaker Barbara Coloroso spoke on how parents and teachers can help break the cycle of violence from bullies. Conference participants received information on the new state law for suicide prevention curriculum in middle and high school health courses."
Wisconsin Weather
"Strong gusts pushed wind chill temperatures lower and caused drifting snow to the north.  The state Department of Transportation said Highway 2 remained impassable from Ashland to Superior."
'08 Voter Turnout
"Only Minnesota surpassed Wisconsin in voter  turnout for the presidential election... Nearly 79 percent of voters in Minnesota cast their ballots last month.  In Wisconsin, nearly 73 percent of voters turned out."
Health care job market remains bright prospect
"The findings, developed from 2006 job numbers, do not reflect the recent economic downturn. The general trends, however, are expected to hold true for health care because of the growing population of older residents who will need services."
Harley receives $500 million advance from lenders
""On the back of this announcement, it appears the unsecured debt markets may have been too difficult for Harley to access, with this arrangement providing additional time for Harley to complete a deal," Farley wrote about the $500 million bank advance."
State rebidding contract for vehicle emissions tests
"The emissions-testing contract has been at the center of controversy - and a lawsuit - because the state Department of Transportation wants to allow testing at car repair shops. Critics say the public would be skeptical of tests performed by people who would gain financially from making repairs, but the DOT argues that it could protect consumers while offering them one-stop shopping."
Doyle: Double state job cuts if no federal aid
""Due to cuts we have made over the last few years, we approach the challenge ahead with a state government where one out of 10 of our workers no longer holds the job. The budget deficit we face in this economic crisis stands to, at a minimum, double the number of state workers out of their jobs," Doyle said."
Gwen Moore suffers the indignity of CNBC
"Moore stood her ground, graciously and effectively.  She is a strong and honorable woman who is determined to do the right thing -- even if it means suffering the indignity of sitting around the table with brain-dead CNBC "commentators.""
"Kill Christians and Destroy Their Institutions" - Catholic World Report
"In the two months following the murder of Lakshmanananda—who, according to obituaries, left behind his wife and two children decades ago to pursue the monastic life—violence in Orissa claimed at least 58 lives and left 50,000 Christians homeless. One hundred Catholic and Protestant church buildings and 4,500 Christian homes were destroyed, the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News reported."
Remember when Detroit 3 came to nation’s rescue, senators? - Detroit Free Press
"Between them, the three Detroit auto companies gave more than $18 million in cash and vehicles to the Katrina relief effort in the ensuing months. No strings attached."

13&14 Dec

Nicholls behind the scenes at Hurley City Hall
""Time goes by fast when you're having fun," said Ken Nicholls of Hurley, who has performed custodial duties at the city hall in Hurley for the past 19 years.  Nicholls began working for the city in 1991."
Area charter school honored by Wisconsin association
"A five-district consortium that includes the Mercer Environmental Tourism Charter School has received a state award from the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association.  The Rural Community School Alliance was named Charter Innovator of the Year."
Midgettes, Tigers win IC games
"The Hurley Midgettes improved to 4-0 with a 90-14 win over Bayfield Friday night... The Mercer Tigers dominated the Drummond Lumberjills 46-11 in Indianhead Conference basketball Friday."
Deaths of six wolves investigated by WDNR
"The remains of all of the animals have been, or are being, transported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Health Laboratory in Madison for necropsies.  WDNR officials said gunshot wounds were obvious in some of the animals."
Season Play of the Rangeland 8-Ball League - Superior Chronicle
"Co-Managers of the Knight Club, Alan Traczyk and McKensie Ratkowski, said more teams can sign up before the league begins next Thursday. According to the managers, 8 to 10 teams are ideal for a competitive league. "It's a great way to spend an evening!" Traczyk said, "It's absolutely free to participate in league. The only amount anyone might have to pay is $1.00 for each of the two drink rounds... should you lose!""
News Tribune



Miner's purchases Hurley grocery
"Miner’s Inc. is a family owned business that currently operates 28 retail grocery stores in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Dakota under the names Super One Foods, U-Save! and Piggly Wiggly."
Doyle Meets With Zimmerman's
"Governor Jim Doyle met privately in November with the parents of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student whose murder remains unsolved."
Area Business to Lay Off 164 Employees
"Greenheck Fan Corp. says the layoffs of factory and office workers are due to a slowdown in new orders of commercial and industrial air-moving equipment.  The company is headquartered in Schofield and employs about 2,800 workers."
  Deer-car crashes decline
"Greater driver awareness and the size of the state's deer herd are two factors in the decline, said Dennis Hughes, manager the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Safety. Some law enforcement agencies rely on citizen report forms to document deer crashes. Such forms are not included in the DOT's report, so the statewide figure could be lower than the actual number, Hughes said."
GM Closing
"The last General Motors sport utility vehicle will roll off the assembly line in Janesville two days before Christmas, but the hard times caused by the plant's closing have already begun.  Business is down at least 20 percent at Prime Time Pizza, where two shifts of GM workers once ordered up to 40 pizzas a day.  The Just in Time for Kids Child Care Center, which catered to GM workers, is closing Dec. 31."
Tribal Grants
"Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Friday that the County-Tribal Law Enforcement grants are being awarded to 19 of the cooperative programs throughout the state.  He says a growing number of the grants go to programs that include tribal police, but most generally help pay for the services that county sheriffs provide to tribal communities and reservations. "
UW students want to break snowball fight record
"A group of students that has about 3,300 members on the social networking Web site Facebook wants to beat the record they say is held by Michigan Tech, where 3,745 students took part in a snowball fight.  Steve Miller, a freshman who is one of the organizers, says the exact date of the event next semester will depend on the weather."
State says agency erred in case of slain foster child
""The investigation found that the case manager failed to conduct effective face-to-face visits with the children and caregivers and did not effectively assess the safety of the home where both baby Christopher and his sister were placed," Bicha said in a statement."
Mexico to return man sought in killing
"A man charged with sexually assaulting and killing his 2-month-old daughter here three years ago is being brought back from Mexico, a sign that fugitives can no longer escape justice by running back to their home country, officials said Friday."
UW-Madison team launches study of financial aid
"The goal of the study is to learn more about how financial aid affects low-income students during college and beyond.  Researchers say they may track the participants for a decade or more and examine the impact of aid on college completion, employment and income."
Elder abuse reports rising
"Despite the growing evidence of abuse of vulnerable senior citizens, finding new money or even keeping existing money to protect elders will be a challenge given the state's projected $5.4 billion deficit over the next biennium, said Lee Sensenbrenner, spokesman for Gov. Jim Doyle."
Wisconsin's delegation will be bigger player on Capitol Hill
""The Wisconsin delegation is going to have a strong role to play in the new Congress," said Ed Miller, a UW-Stevens Point political science professor. "They have seniority and they have roles on committees that are very, very important. The bottom line is our members are pretty powerful in Congress.""
Food banks forced to partner with farms, fishermen
"As traditional sources of donations dry up and demand rises amid a worsening recession, food banks and their volunteers are finding creative ways to make the best of a growing challenge - while the hungry try to make less food go further.  "(Hunger) has been a persistent problem but it's radically gotten worse in the last year since the economy has tanked," said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, formerly Second Harvest."
Fire union gives $43,000 to charities 
"The union representing Madison firefighters will hold its annual Christmas Party Saturday and in the process will be handing out more than $43,000 to local charities.  Local 311 of the International Association of Firefighters will be celebrating 75 years of giving back to the community and will make several donations to nonprofit groups during the party, ..."
Moody's downgrades Charter, says bankruptcy
"The ratings agency said it believes a default is imminent and bankruptcy is likely for Charter in 2009. Any bankruptcy almost certainly would be reorganizational, rather than a liquidation, which means customers wouldn't necessarily see an immediate change in service."
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park - Friday, 12 Dec 08
Moderate Evangelical Richard Cizik's Resignation May Not Stop Broadening of the Evangelical Agenda - US News & World Report
"Cizik has faced years of criticism from the Christian right over his advocacy for combating global warming, with many conservative evangelical leaders questioning the validity of global-warming claims and mankind's role in the process. Many of those leaders saw Cizik's so-called "creation care" activism as a sign of him trying to liberalize a traditionally conservative agenda and distracting from such fights as stopping abortion and gay marriage."
"This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it."
Mich. man starts campaign to boycott Alabama products  - - Montgomery Advertiser
"The Web site does not point out specific Alabama products for the boycott, but Babiasz said he has prepared a list and will post it when a family medical emergency passes.  He said the site generated 35,000 hits in its first 48 hours. More than 1,600 people sent him e-mails, with 97 percent of them supporting his position, he said."


12 Dec

I have opened Tobacco Coalition Funds for comment .  Directing anti-smoking funds to the schools to concentrate the message on youngsters BEFORE they start smoking is a cogent, reasonable, responsible proposal.  Comments, pro or con, are welcomed.  Let your elected officials how you feel about this.  Click on one of the above links and add your thoughts to the discussion.
Falling energy prices mean no hike in Xcel Energy electric rates
"The worldwide economic meltdown that has sent oil prices plunging has meant relief in the pocketbook for electric customers of Xcel Energy.  The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Thursday approved a collaborative agreement with Xcel on pending electric rate applications that will mean no change in customer electric bills in 2009."
Resolution drafted to divert anti-tobacco grant funds
"On Thursday, DeRosso told the finance-personnel committee that he had received a lot of calls and had a lot of visitors at the courthouse.  "All but one are in support of diverting the money into the schools," he said.  County board member John Wiita favors diverting the funds to the school districts."
Supervisor hot for hiring freeze
"In making his presentation to the finance-personnel committee Thursday, county board chairman Dennis DeRosso proposed that Iron County "not allow any more hiring due to the fact that the economy of the nation is in turmoil."  DeRosso also recommended consolidating some county positions. "As attrition happens, consolidate some positions," he said."
Midgets win; Tigers fall to Mellen
""It was a nice team effort tonight on both ends of the floor," Hurley coach Gary Giancola said. "We showed improvement from Monday (a loss to Drummond).  Our defense helped our offense get going. We were patient and got guys going. I liked the way we shot from the perimeter and from the free-throw line.""
Packers game to air locally Sunday
""I sincerely appreciate the willingness of WLUK to work with us to provide this coverage of the Packer game," said Don Gladwell, Charter Communications governmental relations manager for the Upper Peninsula.  The Green Bay-Jacksonville game will air on Charter's local channel 26. It begins at noon, said Gladwell."
Northwoods Supermarket to Retain Employees
"However, today Roundy's Supermarkets Incorporated which operates Copps Food Center in Hurley, and Miner's Incorporated which owns Super One Foods stores announced that an agreement had been reached on the sale.  Representatives from Super One have begun interviewing Copps employees for positions with Super One."
Doyle Tells Committee How Recession Affects Wisconsin
"Governor Doyle told committee members Wisconsin will collect $3 billion less in taxes over the next two years. The Democratic governor says that jeopardizes state schools, universities, technical colleges, access to health care and local police and fire service."
Vilas, Oneida may partner in tourism efforts
"Burzinski said the two counties are looking to pool their tourism marketing resources around an "Original Northwoods Experience" marketing plan, which looks to create a regional Northwoods identity and a local branding identity that could be expanded into other areas like economic development."
Group threatens to sue over Nativity scene
""The Nativity scene belongs on private property, and the costs involved should be paid with private, not public money," wrote Larry Pischke, a Wisconsin Rapids resident.  The letter from the foundation, which seeks to ensure the separation of church and state, claims the display solely consists of a religious scene, which promotes Christianity, and it costs the city at least $1,000 a year to store it, which is an addition to the labor cost to erect and dismantle it."
Japan halts beef from Green Bay plant
"Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said the estimated six-ton cargo headed to Japan was halted because the beef tongues may not have been under 20 months in age. U.S. exporters must verify that products are from cattle under 20 months old and do not contain materials that might be linked to mad cow disease."
Commission holds line on Xcel Energy rates
"The action came after the PSC and customer groups negotiated a settlement that eliminates the company's proposed rate increase. The action was made possible by the dramatic drop in the price of natural gas and purchased power this fall, Xcel said."
Give wind farms a fair chance
"The goal should be to prohibit the "not in my backyard" disease known as NIMBYism while preserving local authority to restrict or reject wind farms when warranted.  Recent proposals to erect wind turbines on and near the Great Lakes demonstrate that it's in the public interest to take advantage of wind power. Wind power is expected to meet 90 percent of Wisconsin's goal to more than double the renewable energy contribution to electric needs over the next six years."
Wisconsin boasts 74 new national board-certified teachers 
""National Board certified teachers are top-notch educations," State Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Burmaster said in congratulating those who reached the designation. "National board certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates exceptional professional practice and in depth subject-area knowledge," she said."
Babylon's history swept away in US army sandbags - AFP
"From April 2003 to June 2004, huge gravelled avenues were gouged out around the ruins of the palaces of Nebuchadnezzer in order to set up prefabricated buildings which became home to up to 2,000 troops.  The heliport is only some 300 metres (yards) from the remains of the north palace, and according to Maithem Hamza, vibration from the aircraft caused the base of the temple of Ninmah -- rebuilt by Saddam in the 1980s -- to collapse."
California adopts the most sweeping curbs on greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. - LA Times
"Approved by the state's Air Resources Board in a unanimous vote, the 134-page plan lays out targets for virtually every sector of the economy, including automobiles, refineries, buildings and landfills. It would require a third of California's electricity to come from solar energy, wind farms and other renewable sources -- far more than any state currently requires."


11 Dec

"In his capacity as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI) held a hearing today to determine the impact of the recession on state and local government budgets and on individual Americans. Obey is working with Congressional leadership and the incoming administration to put together an economic stabilization and recovery package."
Sherman named chair of Assembly Forestry Committee
"Sherman, who served on the committee last legislative term, will now split his time with his assignment to the powerful Joint Committee on Finance, the Assembly/Senate body charged with the review and coordination of all state appropriations."
Coming soon: a Superfund cleanup near you
"Ashland's Superfund site poses a unique challenge, the officials said, because it includes contamination in the Miller Creek and Copper Falls aquifers, along with contamination in the soil between the city's marina and its boat launch to the west, and buried shallowly in 10 acres of sediment in Chequamegon Bay."
Super One to buy Hurley Copps
"Copps will remain open throughout the business acquisition process until the conversion to Super One Foods is complete, Anderson said. The two companies plan to complete the transfer after the holidays, he said.  Anderson said the opening of a Super One in Hurley will not affect Ironwood's Super One."
Franzoi to take over as Paavo marathon director
"The Hurley Lioness Club and Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsors of the marathon.  Franzoi said Wednesday that she is excited to put her leadership skills to the test as director of the marathon, which involves hundreds of runners and even more volunteers."
Environmental study continues for proposed mine
"Data collected through the environmental baseline studies over the next two years is required as part of the permit application, he said. After that, Orvana will file its mining permit application. Williams said the application review process takes about a year."
Salvation Army: Number of Needy has Doubled
""How would you feel if you looked a kid in the face and you knew that child was not going to be receiving the gifts that they otherwise would have received?" asks Collins.  The Salvation Army calls the need 'alarming.' The organization says during the last recession need only rose about 25 percent."
Doyle tells Congress what recession means to Wisconsin
"In testimony given before a U.S. House committee, Doyle said the slumping economy forces governors like him to choose between spending cuts that threaten "the most essential expectations people have for government" or "damaging tax increases at a time when families' ability to pay is most threatened.""
Food pantry visits increase for sixth month
"Last month, 27% of food pantry clients were first-time visitors, she said, adding that economic conditions appear to be driving more to the pantries for assistance."
Gas prices fall through another barrier
"Just when you think gas prices can't drop below another barrier, they do.  A Flying J station in Oak Creek listed gas Wednesday afternoon at $1.49 per gallon – the first in the area to drop below $1.50 in years."
Audit finds questionable Wis. Medicaid payments
" The questionable payments to nursing homes, pharmacies, chiropractors and dentists were identified during a review of 9.4 million claims paid by the state in 2005-2006.  Auditors say 65 nursing homes were paid an estimated $108,700 in transportation costs that appear to be improper."
Foreclosure filings down; Wisconsin ranks 29th 
"Almost 260,000 foreclosure filings, including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, were reported in November, seven percent lower than October's filings but still 28 percent higher than filings reported in November 2007, according to the monthly foreclosure market report from RealtyTrac."
Bush talks of belief in God, evolution - AP
"Asked about creation and evolution, Bush said: "I think you can have both. I think evolution can — you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president."
Richard Cizik Resigns from the National Association of Evangelicals - Christianity Today
"Cizik spoke mostly on the environment in a December 2 interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio's Fresh Air, but he made brief remarks about same-sex civil unions, gay marriage, and his early support of President-elect Barack Obama."
Wal-Mart's Poor Employee Relations Will Cost Retailer $54 Million - Daily Dog
"The company required hourly employees to work off-the-clock during training and denied full rest or meal breaks in violation of state wage-and-hour laws, Hastings, Minnesota, District Judge Robert King Jr. ruled July 1, following a non-jury trial. King said Wal-Mart broke labor laws more than 2 million times and ordered the retailer to give employees $6.5 million in back pay..."


10 Dec

Letter to Iron County Board - Don Richards
"With economic times being what they are, it is not only our fiduciary responsibility as elected officials to see that grant money is used efficiently and to the best benefit of those who elected us.  We have a responsibility to our children."
[With Don's permission, I have opened so you can comment on Tobacco Coalition Funds, Don's post from yesterday.  If you have a comment, use the links above and fill out the form.  The comment is monitored to prevent spam and keep it family friendly. - Bob]
Shop With a Cop
WIMI/WJMS thanks the sponsors of this annual area charitable event and have up pictures of their participants. - Bob
Fire department fundraising inflames debate
"Last week the HVFD bought a used Chevrolet four-door pick-up truck for the purpose of transporting fire fighters to and from the scene of fires. Petrusha said he has been questioned in the last two days how the department could spend that money without the council's approval."
Man charged with child neglect
"According to the criminal complaint, when Hurley police officer Steve Glatczak responded to a 10:45 p.m. complaint of a child left alone in a running vehicle parked outside a local tavern, Glatczak found "a female child sitting in a child car seat in the rear seat of the vehicle. It appeared the child was sleeping.""
Polar Bear Midgets win two, drop two
"The Polar Bear Midget hockey team's record evened out at 3-3 after four games last weekend.  The team, consisting of young men age 15-19 from Hurley, Ironwood, Bessemer, and Wakefield notched two wins in Iron Mountain and two losses in Manistique."
New leadership program accepting applicants
"The program is designed to help build leadership skills, to acquaint participants with important area issues and to provide opportunities for building relationships with other civic minded people.  The program is a 6-month interactive educational course taught by UW-Extension and local leadership development specialists."
Sexual assault victim services funding announced
"The announcement was made by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who said the grants totaled $38,286 for Northwoods Women Inc., which operates the New Day Shelter program, and $30,600 for Red Cliff's Office of Crime Victim Services.
2008 Deer Hunt Report
"They say hunting dropped off on the Sunday of opening weekend and didn't pick up for the rest of the season. They also reported fewer large groups of hunters, fewer people at deer camps, fewer youth hunters and fewer deer drives than in years past."
Lake Superior angel investor network formed
"The Lake Superior Angel Network has about 24 wealthy individuals as members, and will focus on investing in early-stage companies in a region stretching roughly from Duluth, Minn., to Ironwood, Mich., the group said in a news release. The Wisconsin counties of Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland and Iron are included in the group's targeted geography."
Estimate: Stimulus package could be worth $1.64 billion to Wisconsin
"But a report today by a Washington-based group that makes its living studying the symbiotic relationship between states and the federal government says it could be worth up to $1.6 billion for Wisconsin over the next two years. That would help Gov. Jim Doyle, and Democrats who will control the next legislative session, fix a two-year deficit the governor estimates totals $5.4 billion."
Deaths of 6 wolves being investigated
"One was found a day before the nine-day gun deer season, and the rest were discovered during the hunting season.  Several of the wolves had obvious signs of gunshot wounds. All were taken to a state Department of Natural Resources laboratory for necropsies."
Doyle set to testify about states' plight
"Doyle will be one of three governors at Thursday's hearing, which was scheduled to offer advice on how states like Wisconsin can benefit from a massive federal spending package proposed as an emergency stimulus by President-elect Barack Obama.  Doyle's office said it expects today to release a catalog of high-priority Wisconsin construction and transportation projects to be financed by the Obama package. Doyle said they are meant to jumpstart public-sector hiring at a time when private-sector employers are shedding workers."
Wisconsin scores well in disaster preparedness 
"The 10 factors cover such things as plans to distribute emergency vaccines, antiviral purchases, health lab systems, electronic disease tracking, liability limits on volunteers who serve in public health emergencies, the state's ability to diagnose foodborne disease, and an increased or maintained funding for public health."
Snowball fight draws hundreds at dorm
"University of Wisconsin Police responded to calls on two consecutive nights as Madison’s winter wonderland was transformed into a massive snowball fight outside Sellery and Ogg Halls."
Catholic groups launch climate change efforts - Catholic News Service
""Climate change is a reality today affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions in developing countries by exacerbating storms, droughts and natural disasters," said an appeal signed by 92 bishops, archbishops and cardinals."
Media still wedded to $70+ per hour autoworker falsehood despite GM's recent statements to the contrary - Media Matters
"However, GM recently has reportedly pointed out that the figure representing the hourly cost of labor to U.S. automakers -- a cost that GM reportedly puts at $69 -- includes not only current workers' hourly wages and benefits, such as health care and retirement, but also retirement and health-care benefits that U.S. automakers are providing for current retirees, as Media Matters has noted."


09 Dec

Tobacco Coalition Funds - Don Richards
"Currently the feds and state are increasing tobacco coalition funds for Iron County and this is excellent news! Iron County currently administers and disperses tobacco coalition money through the Iron County Health Department. After conducting extensive and exhaustive research on this matter, the fact very simply is that the grant funds would be better off with our two great school systems. This is where the help is needed."
"The Iron County Finance Committee will meet on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 8:00 AM at the Iron County Courthouse, Hurley, Wisconsin. The meeting is open to the public per Chapter 19, sub Chapter V, Wisconsin Statutes. (Open Meeting Law)"
“It is unusual for a member of the Joint Finance Committee to also chair another standing committee,” Sherman noted. “I am honored that the Speaker-Elect (Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville) has shown confidence in me by delegating this chairmanship to me.”
Iron River trails
"Find new trails to explore this winter on your snowmobile featured on this week's new episode of Venture North, Thursday, December 11, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on PBS eight."
Jacks outlast Hurley, 62-57
"The Midgets had three chances in the final minute to pull out the win, but they came up empty each time. Instead, the Drummond Lumberjacks were able to hang on for the 62-57 Indianhead Conference victory."
Snow causes minor accidents
"No injuries were reported by either of the county sheriffs' departments following a rash of mostly weather-related minor accidents in Gogebic and Iron counties this weekend."
'Jacks edge Midgets
"Down 58-57 with less than a minute to go Monday, Hurley missed two quick shots on two possessions.  The Midgets were forced to foul and Drummond missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities. The Lumberjacks then fouled Hurley, which missed both free throws."
DNR, Hunters Disagree About Size of Deer Population
"DNR wildlife biologist Keith Warnke says he gets many messages from hunters that say the agency is overestimating the size of the deer herd and risking permanent damage to the population by encouraging more hunting through relaxed regulations.  But he and other DNR biologists believe signs like the high number of animals killed, the continuing problem of car-deer crashes and increasing crop damage point to a herd too big."
Former Obama Staffer Joins Doyle Team
"The 30-year-old Kanninen will be paid $85,000 a year for the job as Doyle's legislative director. He previously worked four years as chief of staff to state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar."
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev cutting 1,400 jobs
    "Anheuser-Busch InBev on Monday announced plans to cut 1,400 U.S. salaried positions in its beer-related divisions, affecting about 6% of the company's U.S. workforce.  About 75% of the cuts will be in St. Louis, where the company's North American headquarters is based."
  • MillerCoors' Coors Light to debut in Sweden
    "The launch is part of Molson Coors' focuses on international growth. Molson Coors and SABMiller Plc are joint venture partners in MillerCoors LLC, which in July combined the U.S. operations of Miller Brewing Co. and Coors Brewing Co. As a result of that merger, Cools Light was expected to be brewed in Milwaukee."
Wis. hospital joins donated breast milk program 
"Then the 29-year-old Greenwood mother found out she could donate her stock to the Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio, which passes it on to hospitals and families in need.  "I helped out our daughter and then helped other children," Kluge said."
Social media conquer politics
"“Everyone here thinks you are a giving a lot of BS and not answering the question the person actually asked you,” said Lee Brenner, executive producer of political programming and director of IMPACT (public affairs) for MySpace. “Do you want to try it again?”"
Gay marriage goes before Iowa high court this week - Des Moines Register
""This is the heartland of America - a place where family values are revered," said University of Iowa law professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, who has signed a court brief supporting gay-marriage rights. "It would be an incredibly strong signal for the Iowa Supreme Court to find that same-sex marriages are legal.""
IL Dems Stand Up for Republic Windows Sit-In Against Bank of America - Buzz Flash
""Over the last several weeks we have been debating in Washington how to spend hundreds of billions of dollars. We have been sending billions of dollars to banks like Bank of America. The reason we sent them the money was to tell them they have to loan this money to companies just like Republic," he [Dubin] said."
Report From The Trenches, Pt. 2 - Talking Points Memo
"In the last round of newspaper purchases, the buyers not only expected unreasonable margins of the papers they were buying, they took out loans based on their expectations. You're seeing the result. The question now is what major U.S. city will become the first to not have a large daily newspaper. My bet's on Miami."


08 Dec

Patrick O’Neill’s latest book of poetry: DECIDUOUS
"Patrick O’Neill’s verse with its wonderfully “everyman” characters brings so-called “common folks” to a literary immortality that demands his inclusion in the pantheon of old and new great poets"
No century mark
"The Midgettes took charge early in the fourth quarter and held on to defeat the Ashland Oredockers 53-46 in a much-anticipated early season girls non-conference basketball game."
Grouse will pay for lack of deer hunting success
"I've heard from men of the outdoors who are inclined to speculate that the deer herd is down drastically, that a sizable bear population has taken too many fawns and yearlings, that a growing wolf presence is making itself known in our woods and forests, that bands of marauding coyotes are getting more aggressive, and that the always evil Department of Natural Resources doesn't know its head from a hole in the ground. But I'm not saying this, because I don't know any of this. Not really."
Midgettes stop Ashland
"The Midgettes' ballhandlers handled the pressure well.  Hurley started out with a press. It changed to a 2-3 zone to contain Ashland's big girls. Hurley's inside players eliminated baskets underneath.  The Midgettes went back to a press in the second half and turned the momentum in their favor, Oja said."
Using Donated Breast Milk
"A central Wisconsin hospital has become the first in the state to use donated breast milk for its most fragile premature infants.  Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield acquires the supplies from the Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio, which receives milk from healthy donors and pasteurizes it before sharing it. "
Great Lakes Compact
"The Great Lakes Compact generally bars large-scale, long-distance withdrawals from the lakes.  But, it includes exceptions for communities near the lakes.  The compact also directs the Great Lake states to develop water conservation programs."
Deadline For Hunting Permits
"Hunters have until Wednesday to apply for a permit for the 2009 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season or the 2009 black bear hunting season."
Local dealers: Buy American to save the U.S. auto industry
"Joanne Alexander said her family's business has survived a national depression and three recessions and plans to make it through the present auto industry crisis.  "People need to realize that if we really get behind our domestic automakers, we could solve a lot of our own country's problems," Alexander said. "We need to be buying domestic products.""
Wis. prosecutors want to increase alcohol tax
"The state Audit Bureau released a report last year that found a shortage of prosecutors statewide. The Association of State Prosecutors argues that low pay and high caseloads has led to the resignations of nearly three-quarters of assistant district attorneys since 2000.  Wisconsin's liquor tax rate is among the lowest in the country and only Missouri and Wyoming have lower beer tax rates."
Environmental groups launch studies on Mississippi
"The Nature Conservancy will study four upper Mississippi watersheds, including the Root River in Minnesota, the Pecatonica River in Wisconsin, the Boone River in Iowa and the Mackinaw River in Illinois. The group also will work with farmers to reduce agricultural runoff."
The future of diversity
"“When we reflect on the midpoint review and assessments even from Design for Diversity, one of the elements of concern that’s been consistent over the years is the fact that diversity efforts have not been viewed as being central to the academic mission,” Washington said."

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 5 Dec 08





Bill Berkowitz: No Retreat, No Surrender: The Future for the Religious Right - Buzz Flash
"Weeks before Obama takes the oath of office, major Religious Right organizations are monitoring  his every move. Lou Sheldon's organization, Tradition American Values, have established an "Obama Watch."  After Inauguration Day, expect angry press releases, breathless Internet Alerts, nasty blog posts, and urgent fundraising appeals; all done to rebuild and reinvigorate a wounded movement."
Fiore: Greater Georgelandia II
Higher mercury standards, mountain top mining, concealed carry of firearms in National Parks, $700 Billion to his Wall Street buddies... folks, this is getting too bizarre. 
Doyle: Wisconsin is Still America's Dairyland! - Wisconsin Ag Connection - Marshfield,WI
06&07 Dec  
Child left in vehicle near Silver Street bar
"Both the man and the child's mother were inside the bar, said Chief of Police Dan Erspamer. The man told police he periodically checked on the child, Erspamer said, noting the child was about 2 years old."
Moore leaves legacy of love, commitment
"Moore became sole owner of the Iron County Miner in 1973, and worked there until the time of his death.  He left behind, a lot of fond memories."
  • Early ice can be nice, but...
    "First or early ice may promise the most fishing success, but it can also pose the greatest risk.  "Ice is always unpredictable, and that's particularly true early in the ice fishing season," said Gary Eddy, aWisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden."
  • Turkey, bear deadline Dec. 10 in Wisconsin
    "Wisconsin hunters have until Dec. 10 to apply for a permit for the 2009 Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season or the autumn black bear season."
EPA-DNR meeting on cleanup options for Ashland Superfund site
"U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have set a meeting to discuss their review of cleanup options at the Ashland/Northern States Power Lakefront Superfund site in Ashland."
Oredockers brace for Hurley
"That same night, the Hurley Midgettes moved to 2-0 with a 101-13 victory over Drummond. Hurley coach Melissa Oja drew the ire of some of the Drummond fans due to the high-point total and has been getting heat in the bi-state media.  Tonight the Oredockers and Midgettes get together on the court in what should be an entertaining game between two very athletic teams."
Lawton asks Midwest to Protect WI Jobs
"In a letter dated Dec. 1, Lawton tells chief executive Timothy Hoeksema (HUK'-seh-mah) the airline owes its strong reputation to its employees. She asks him to keep his workers' contributions in mind as labor negotiations proceed."
Silver carp's chances of invading Wausau area 'slim'
"That is because the dams on the Mississippi River are much lower than the power-generating dams on the Wisconsin River. Waters don't rise high enough in the spring to allow the carp to pass over the dams.  "If everybody is obeying the rules ... the chance is very slim that they would get all the way to Wausau," said Mark Endris, regional fisheries coordinator for the DNR."
More problems with I-Pass
"The tollway people checked into the situation and said that it's likely that there was a mistake. But the Illinois tollway people had already paid the Indiana tollway people the 30 cents. In order to remedy the problem, Indiana would have to return the 30 cents."
[I post this one because my WI licensed truck runs ILL IPass in Indiana and Pennsylvania... a convenience that not many in the northwoods would be familiar with ... and find the problem funny. - Bob]
Doyle would let tax cuts stand
""Those tax cuts were aimed at people who are out there working really hard - middle-class families - and I think in today's economy they're even more important," Doyle said after lighting the Capitol Christmas tree."
Madison-based Musicnotes.com setting sales records
""Musicnotes is showing its mettle in a rough economic environment," Tim Reiland, Musicnotes chairman and CFO, said in a statement. "The consumer advantages to our digital delivery model are compelling, and we have aggressive plans for continued growth.""
Archbishops hold Canterbury summit over threat of schism - The Times of London
"The Palace said there are “clear guidelines” set out for the creation of new provinces. “Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete,” it said, making it clear that in the case of the US conservatives no such process had begun."
Your Newspaper? - Talking Points Memo
"A few days the Newspaper Association of America announced that during the third quarter of 2008, newspaper ad revenues dropped 18% vs. the same quarter last year. And that number includes growing online ads. Print ads alone were down 19% and classified ads were off 31%. That's compared to a 7% overall decline last year."
 McCain Campaign Spent $110,000 on Palin’s Stylists - The Caucus
"Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist was paid $68,400 and her hair stylist received more than $42,000 for roughly two months of work, according to a new campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission."
[This is over $1500 per day ... every day ... for hair and makeup only ... and the best thing the lady had going for her was a truly pleasant and pleasing smile.  I wonder how much they paid for haircuts for Joe the Plumber. - Bob]

05 Dec

Copps patrons lament closing
"The consensus of Copps patrons interviewed for this story is the closure decision came from Roundy's corporate offices, and the opening of Wal-Mart in Ironwood is not to blame... Some people said possibly Super One; some just didn't know. One man said he had heard from people that Wakefield's market (Sunday Lake Supermarket) is a nice place to shop.  No one said Wal-Mart would become his or her replacement grocery store."
Hurley band concert to feature sax quintet
"The Hurley School will hold its annual Christmas Band Concert Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.  The concert will feature seasonal music by the beginning, sixth grade, and junior and senior high bands."
Midgets declaw Tigers
"In a game that was close through three quarters, Hurley began the season with a 69-43 win over Iron County rival Mercer Thursday night.  "I am very pleased," Hurley coach Gary Giancola said. "Our defense is what I am most proud of.""
Food Stamp Use is Up
"Enrollment in the state's food-stamp program has jumped 20% since last year as more people struggle with rising costs and the slumping economy.  About 201,000 households were enrolled in the FoodShare program as of October. That's about 33,000 more households than at the same point last year."
Hunters register 276,985 deer in November nine-day hunt
"In Vilas County the trends were much the same.  In 2007, a total of 2,085 antlerless deer were harvested while there were 1,404 bucks.  Preliminary numbers in 2008 show the kills at 990 antlerless and 928 bucks - that is a 53 percent reduction for antlerless and 34 percent downturn for bucks."
State Agents Found Few Problems at Polls
"They also were asked to report any problems and information about other observers watching the polls.  Many of the employees found no problems to report or listed only routine ones such as machines getting jammed.  Democrats accused Van Hollen, a Republican, of trying to intimidate voters by sending the employees. Van Hollen says he was trying to ensure a clean election."
State rep says door not closed on Janesville GM plant
"Sheridan, a former leader of UAW Local 95, says he reminded executives that the local union’s proposed work rule changes and other concessions could save the company $120 million a year if it brings new work to Janesville."
Retailers blue despite Black Friday
"Kohl's Corp. reported a 17.5% drop in same-store sales for November, one of the sharpest declines in the industry.  The rate of decrease for all retailers is magnified by a comparison with November 2007, which included a full week of shopping after Thanksgiving. This year Thanksgiving came late, resulting in just two post-turkey-day shopping days. Sales were reported for the four weeks ended Nov. 29."
We Energies parent corporation boosts dividend 25%
"Citing the lower sales forecast, the utility's parent company, Wisconsin Energy Corp., announced earnings in 2009 will be below the current projection of investment analysts.  The announcement came as the company announced it would raise its quarterly stock dividend by 25% in the first quarter, with plans to boost it further in the next several years."
Hard times good for shoe cobbler
"The owner of Heal to Toe Shoe Repair in Schofield says her business is up 50 percent compared with a few months ago and she was happy business was normal then.  Kathy Goodin says people who spend $100 to $200 on shoes want them to last longer in these tough times."
Survey finds high rate of sex assault in University of Wisconsin System 
"More than 285 of them, mostly female students, said they had been sexually assaulted but a majority never reported the attacks to police or school authorities. They said they were either too embarrassed, convinced they would not be believed or were assaulted by acquaintances who they did not want to get in trouble, the survey found."
Salvation Army Captain to be Fired for Marrying Non-Member - WTMJ
""I think it's pretty much set in stone," he sighed. "But I'm hoping and praying that I will be the sacrifice to prepare the road for future officers who have lost a spouse to never again go through what I've gone through."  Despite what the Salvation Army has put him through, Harsh stressed the importance of supporting its mission."
Ban the cluster bomb - LA Times
"In the last 10 years, the United States has used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. Israel used them on the villages and olive groves of southern Lebanon... The Bush administration and the Pentagon say that cluster bombs are needed to protect American soldiers"
White House documents found to be altered - DailyIllini.com
""I think that it raises the question of whether or not we can trust the government to maintain public records of things that were said or done that later prove embarrassing," Althaus said.  A proofreader reviewing an article Althaus co-authored discovered that a previously recorded Web address led to a blank page. Althaus confirmed that the document had been deleted. Related lists of coalition countries also appeared to contradict one another."

04 Dec

Ill-eagle activities
""It did not do anything for a few minutes. Then it flapped its wings and staggered head first into my driver's side door, lying against the car. It then staggered/flapped around the back of the car, ending up leaning against the passenger-side rear tire," Tauer said.  DNR officials asked sheriff's department dispatchers to crate the eagle for pickup on Tuesday, the report said."
[Pictures are available at Superior Chronicle. - Bob]
Cold duck dodges deputy
"The department received a call at 7:48 a.m. that a mallard was stuck in a snowbank on County C, near Hakkala Road and the town's water shed.  The duck was "quacking very loud, but could not move," the report said.  Randall immediately went duck hunting, but "had negative contact with the duck in the snowbank," the report said."
Midgets aim to defend Indianhead title
"Hurley starts the season Thursday at rival Mercer with a solid group returning for another run with a good collection of talent rising from the junior varsity team.  The challenge for Hurley is to get everyone to play well together and learn their roles early on as some new players enter the mix, Giancola said."
Deer kill numbers dismal in northern Wisconsin
"Hunters shot 542 bucks and 467 antlerless deer in Iron County, compared to 857 bucks and 679 antlerless deer a year ago.  "We still need to look at all the numbers from all deer seasons before we can say anything for sure," said Keith Warnke, DNR big game biologist, "but it looks like our estimates of winter mortality and fawn production may be off...""
DNR: Wisconsin deer kill down 20 percent
"‘‘The down numbers may mean the population is moving toward goal. That is a good thing, and that hunting is having a positive effect on deer herd management,’’ DNR deer expert Keith Warnke said. ‘‘If this is true, as populations get toward goals, lower harvests like this will become the norm.’’"
Preparing For The Worst Weather
"Dawn Robinson, of the Oneida County Emergency Management, says, "If we can get people to respond and do the things that we need them to do during an emergency event, it's going to assist our first responders and help our response time."  Just to make sure they would be ready in a power outtage, today's exercise at the Oneida County Sheriff's Department was done with the power disconnected, running completely off a backup generator."
Losses at state pension fund deepen in November
"The Core Fund managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board is down 28.3% through November while the riskier Variable Fund plummeted by 40.9%, according to preliminary figures released by the investment board this morning.  By comparison, the Core Fund was down 26% at the end of October while the Variable Fund was down 36.2% at that time."
Led by cheese, state ag exports rise at record pace
"Dairy exports grew by 39% to $176 million in the first nine months of 2008 compared with a year earlier.  Exports were driven by a healthy demand for cheese and butter. Cheese exports set a record value of $75 million for the first nine months, a 47% increase. "
Wis. conference for female farmers starts Friday
"The U.S. Census Bureau says there were 7,000 women farmers in Wisconsin in 2002, the latest year for which figures are available. Many new female farmers raise nontraditional crops and livestock, such as alpacas and llamas."
Google unveils new Madison office
""We're designing the hardware and software that goes into Google's data center," said Laudon, a native of Plover who earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the UW in the mid-1980s. "We're looking at advanced development, things that are three to five years out. And we do that in conjunction with Google's main team out in Mountain View (Calif.).""
Google comes to Madison
"“It is very obvious why Google opened up this office in Madison; it’s because of its proximity to the University of Wisconsin,” Doyle said. “It demonstrates how important the university is to the long-term economic health of this state.”
Poll: Calif. gay marriage ban driven by religion - Associated Press
"Age and race, meanwhile, were not as strong factors as assumed. According to the poll, 56 percent of voters over age 55 and 57 percent of nonwhite voters cast a yes ballot for the gay marriage ban.  People who identified themselves as practicing Christians were highly likely to support the constitutional amendment, with 85 percent of evangelical Christians, 66 percent of Protestants and 60 percent of Roman Catholics favoring it."
Subpoenas Issued in Special Counsel's Probe of U.S. Attorney Firings - The Public Record
"Fine and Jarrett’s 356-page report “found significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor in the removal of several of the U.S. Attorneys.”  They added that they were unable to fully investigate the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys "because of the refusal by several former key White House officials, including Harriet Miers and Karl Rove, to cooperate with our investigation.""
Suit claims Halliburton, KBR sickened base - Army Times
"A report from Wil Granger, KBR’s water quality manager for Iraq, states that non-potable water used for showering was not disinfected. “This caused an unknown population to be exposed to potentially harmful water for an undetermined amount of time,” according to the report. The report also stated the problems occurred all across Iraq and were not confined to Balad."



03 Dec

  • Freeze-up
    "With low temperatures in the teens fostering the buildup of ice in Chequamegon Bay, can ice-fishing season be far behind?"
  • Ashland garden signup tomorrow
    "But it's never too early to start thinking and planning for next year's garden."

[I'm sorry... I just found the two articles being close to each other funny. - Bob]

Iron County employment picture improves in October
"A 20-year-old Ironwood man faces a felony burglary count stemming from a Nov. 27 break-in at the Eagle Bluff clubhouse on County D near Hurley.  Marshall Wayne Allen, of West Coolidge Street, also faces misdemeanor charges of theft, criminal damage to property and trespass to a dwelling."
Packer fans may be shut out again Dec. 14
"Charter can't televise games from WLUK-TV in Green Bay on Ironwood's cable since the Ironwood area is considered to be a part of the Duluth television market.  On Dec. 14, the Vikings play at 3 p.m. and the Packers at noon, but both will be carried by FOX, and CBS has the doubleheader games that week. That means the Vikings will again have preference over the Packers, even though their games are at different times."
Midgettes win home opener
"Hurley looked crisp in what was also its home opener, capitalizing on 65 Drummond turnovers. Hurley held the lead in the game from start to finish."
Higher Education Affordability
"Only California received a passing grade in the category, a ``C,'' thanks to its relatively inexpensive community colleges.  Wisconsin got its best grade, an ``A-,'' in the category measuring how many students completed their bachelor's degree within six years."
Jumping silver carp discovered in Wisconsin waters
"The super-sized cousin to the common carp was discovered late last week in Wisconsin waters of the Mississippi River. It is the first time silver carp, one of four species of Asian carp, have been confirmed in the state, according to the state Department of Natural Resources."
Doyle oil tax is riding on rims
"Doyle pretends he can stop the oil companies from passing through such a tax to Wisconsin consumers. He talks about hiring a team of lawyers to audit the oil companies' books.  But no other state has pulled that off. So why should anyone believe Wisconsin can?"
More hunters take far fewer deer this season 
"Hunters in many areas of the state grumbled about fewer deer in the woods, and contended they heard fewer shots being fired, and some of that is due to the DNR's efforts to thin the herd as working.  "In the final analysis, once all the numbers are in," said Warnke, "it is possible that there will be fewer herd control and earn-a-buck units in the coming season.""
Business Beat: Wall Street bailout aids bicycle commuters
"Starting next month, employees who use bikes as their primary means of transportation to work will be eligible for a $20-a-month, tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bicycle-related expenses. In return, employers will be able to deduct the expense from their federal taxes."
Doyle: Many States Share Wisconsin's Budget Problems
"Doyle says a federal bailout would help, but Wisconsin and other states still face deep, painful cuts in government spending.  He says any federal stimulus package to benefit the states should focus on such items as transportation, buildings, health care, unemployment compensation and the education system."
Buttars takes aim at stores waging 'war on Christmas' - Salt Lake Tribune
"Rep. David Litvack, a Jewish Democrat who represents part of Salt Lake City, said he's fine with people wishing him a Merry Christmas. However, he wonders if constituents really want their representatives spending time on such matters.  "There are many more pressing issues that we've been elected to address," Litvack said. "We're a nation of many faiths and we as leaders should be finding ways to build common ground and respect, not entrenching one side over another.""
In Courtroom Showdown, Bush Demands Amnesty for Spying Telecoms - Wired
"The government sought to dismiss the original EFF case, and others that followed, on the grounds that they threatened to expose state secrets. Judge Walker has ruled against the government, saying the case could proceed.  The government appealed. But before the appeal was decided, Congress on July 9 gave the president the power to grant immunity to the carriers.  The EFF is now challenging the immunity legislation on the grounds that it seeks to circumvent the Constitution's separation of powers clause, as well as Americans' Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures."


02 Dec

56 jobs to be in Copps' wake
"Those benefits and services include unemployment insurance eligibility requirements and how to apply for unemployment; employment services through the local job center -- preparing resumes, searching for work, preparing for job interviews to skills assessments, and mapping out a plan if individuals want to change careers, Jones said."
DNR wardens rack up more than $2 million in overtime
"The latest union contract guarantees each conservation warden 420 hours of overtime per year. The agency is requesting a total of $2,092,500 a year in overtime salaries for its 180 wardens."
Troops Trees
"About 16,000 Christmas trees are headed for military bases around the country beginning Tuesday.  Hundreds of them were donated by Wisconsin growers.  Six northeastern Wisconsin growers loaded a FedEx van with about 250 balsam firs, Douglas firs, white pines and other evergreens at
Lambeau Field Monday. "
Federal agency plans sessions on new organic livestock rules
"Farmers throughout the Midwest are invited to share their opinions at the session, which will be at the headquarters of Organic Valley farmers cooperative. Those unable to attend are invited to participate live via phone at (888) 809-9297 or Webcast at www.farmers.coop."
iDGi: Free wireless broadband across U.S.?
"Under terms contemplated by the FCC, the winner of the AWS-3 auction would have to reserve at least 25 percent of network capacity for free broadband, while being allowed to charge for other services, including premium broadband that would offer faster speeds, USA Today reported."
Judge allows charges in prayer death case
""The free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects religious belief, but not necessarily conduct," Howard wrote in a 20-page decision.  Parents have a legal obligation in Wisconsin to protect their children, care for them in sickness and do whatever may be necessary for their "care, maintenance and preservation, including medical attendance if necessary," the judge said."
State Had 69% Turnout for November's Election
"Despite high interest in the presidential race, turnout in Wisconsin was actually down from 73 percent in 2004. More than 2.9 million people voted on Nov. 4.  Democrat Barack Obama won Wisconsin with 56 percent of the vote."
Officials finish marching band investigations
"The hazing allegations confirmed by the investigation included underclassmen having to drink alcohol in excess, submit to unconventional haircuts and play sexually suggestive games.  Helmkamp added he could not reveal if any students had been kicked out of the band because he was not allowed to give out information about individual disciplinary actions."
Atheists put up sign in Capitol building - Seattle Times
"A group of atheists and agnostics has placed a sign at the Capitol building that says, in part: "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."  The sign, sponsored by the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, is in part a reaction to a Nativity scene put up in the Capitol by a private citizen."
Why texting is too $$$ - Consumer Reports
"Text files are small and cost carriers very little to transmit, so texting is exponentially more expensive to consumers in terms of network space than other cell services. Five hundred text messages contain less data than a 1-minute voice transmission.  Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., also questions text-messaging rates. In letters to the above companies, Kohl, chairman of the Senate's antitrust subcommittee, demanded that wireless carriers explain why they've doubled the cost to customers in near lockstep. Kohl says he's particularly concerned that the rate jump appears not to be based on a rise in the cost of transmitting text messages."


01 Dec

Final Cayuga decision draws cheers, jeers
"So the federal agency needed to make special concessions when deciding what timber stays and what is harvested within the Cayuga Project, which covers more than 5,000 acres northeast of Clam Lake.  Some said the final decision, announced Nov. 19 by CNNF Supervisor Jeanne Higgins, continues to be detrimental to martens and the forest as a whole, despite three years’ worth of revisions."
Hurley Copps to close or be sold
"Copps employees reported that two Roundy's representatives met with employees Friday afternoon to inform them of the closing. Reportedly, the representatives indicated the Hurley store was not meeting financial goals. Earlier this month there had been reports that Roundy's had been unable to reach agreement on a new lease for the building."
Mercer School gets grant for anti-drug program
"Project ALERT is a two-year curriculum whose goals are to reduce initiation of marijuana use, decrease current marijuana use, reduce past month cigarette use and regular and heavy smoking and develop significantly enhanced anti-drug beliefs."
Muzzleloader Season
"Blaze orange garb is still required.  DNR weapons safety instructors caution hunters to keep their powder dry and avoid misfires where powder doesn't ignite or hangfires where there is a delay in the discharge."
Judge Expected to Rule in Prayer Death Case
"A judge is expected to decide this week whether to dismiss reckless homicide charges against parents accused of praying instead of seeking a doctor's care as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes.  Marathon County Circuit Judge Vincent Howard has said that courts in two states have tossed out similar cases while courts in two other states allowed them to go to trial."
West Bend man killed in logging accident
"A 46-year-old West Bend man has died after a tree he was helping cut down fell on him.  Oneida County Sheriff Jeffrey Hoffman says his office received a 911 call Saturday morning about the incident, which happened in the town of Cassian."
Northern Wis. soldiers leave for Afghanistan
"Nearly 1,000 people filled the Rhinelander High School gymnasium to send off more than 100 local National Guardsmen bound for Afghanistan."
County domestic partner registry starts Monday
"The Dane County Board passed Ordinance Amendment 13 on Sept. 18 creating the domestic partnership registry, which requires that companies that work for the county on contracts worth $5,000 or more must offer health benefits to their employees' domestic partners. The county already offers domestic partner benefits to its own employees."
Hurley supermarket to close, ending 56 jobs
"A Hurley supermarket will be shutting down next month, resulting in layoffs for 29 full-time workers and 27 part-timers.  Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc., notified the state Department of Workforce Development of its plans to close the Copps store in Hurley and lay off the workers by Jan. 28. "
Amid $5.4 billion deficit, DNR asking for more
""Of these amounts, about $231.6 million annually, or 39 percent, represents local assistance and debt service costs," Frank wrote. "The remaining $365.1 million reflects department costs to provide services.""

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 28 Nov 08




Relationship counsellor 'sacked for refusing to work with gay couples' - The Telegraph
"The 47-year-old, from Hanham, Bristol, will claim unfair dismissal on grounds of religious discrimination and accuse his former supervisors of refusing to accommodate his beliefs... Mr McFarlane claims he was harassed and labelled a "homophobe" after his suspension was lifted, and following a further disciplinary hearing, was dismissed on March 18."
Assembly Line - The New Republic
"... average wages for workers at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors were just $28 per hour as of 2007... While we can't be sure precisely how much those workers make, because the companies don't make the information public, the best estimates suggests the corresponding 2007 figure for these "transplants"--as the foreign-owned factories are known--was somewhere between $20 and $26 per hour, and most likely around $24 or $25. That would put average worker's annual salary at $52,000 a year."
Inaugural H.L. Mencken Club Gathering - Southern Poverty Law Center
"It’s not clear to me that the American people really supported Obama.” The president-elect only got a majority of white votes among 18-to-30-year-olds, according to Brimelow. “What this election shows is that whites vote one way and everybody else votes the other way.”"
2002 Chambliss Senate Race Was Rigged - Market Watch
"Stephen Spoonamore, a cyber security expert and lifelong Republican, has also stated that he believes that the 2002 Georgia Senate race was rigged in favor of Chambliss. "If you look at the case of Saxby Chambliss, that's ridiculous. The man was not elected. He lost that election by five points. Max Cleland won. They flipped the votes, clear as day." Spoon said in another exclusive interview posted on YouTube by VR at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzKbigGoMoo."