Local News - ... (Archives)

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31 Mar  
Koschnick says 32 years is too long in Supreme Court
"Koschnick, a self-proclaimed "judicial conservative," says that the 32 years Abrahamson has been on the state's top bench is too long for any judge to serve. He says he will offer a different style of jurisprudence, and calls Abrahamson a "judicial activist.""
Iron County secures grant funding for recycling
"Even though Wisconsin faces a $600 million budget shortfall, grant funds for Iron County continue to roll in. Iron County's recycling program was awarded a $117,277 grant on Thursday."
Anti-Corruption Agency Wants More Leniency with Investigations Rules
"The Government Accountability Board voted yesterday to seek to rewrite the law that created the one-year-old agency.  Those restrictions limited the board from releasing any information about 22 of the 29 investigations it did its first year."
Animal Rights Agendas
"Casey Langan of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says they want to remind legislators that the farm industry is a major economic driver in the state, and that they have constituents who are doing a great job of taking care of their animals. "
First shots fired over handgun microstamping in Wisconsin
"The goal of microstamping is to track a firearm from spent bullets by etching the gun's make, model, and serial number on the weapon's firing pin, which would copy that information to the cartridge when the gun was fired.  Proponents say microstamping is a dependable, low-cost technology that gives law enforcement an added public-safety tool, allowing them to trace a gun from spent shells left at a crime scene; opponents say it is an unproven technology pushed by anti-gun advocates whose real motives are to drive up the cost of firearm ownership. "
Prayer parents to request court-appointed attorney
"Leilani Neumann previously hired a private attorney using private donations, which have since been exhausted. Howard approved a court-appointed attorney last May to represent Dale Neumann...  Prosecutors say the Neumanns chose to pray for their daughter’s recovery rather than treat her diabetes"
Doyle, Pawlenty say joint efforts will save millions of dollars
"Minnesota and Wisconsin will work together on more than 80 projects such as planning prison menus and approving permits for oversize trucks in a joint effort to save cash and make the states' governments work better, Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday."
Local industrial economy improved in March
"Tuesday, the Milwaukee chapter of the Institute for Supply Management said that its seasonally adjusted manufacturing index registered 30 in March, up one point from February...An index measuring blue-collar employment rose seven points to 35, according to the report, while a new orders received index rose four points to 28."
Wis. governor proposes new program to save farms
"Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed the state buy development rights to some agricultural property as a way to stop developers from gobbling up Wisconsin farms.  The proposal also would give some farmers money to invest in their farms if Doyle's two-year budget plan is approved by the Legislature."
New UW-Madison cow facility isn't getting state funding 
"The project was necessary, officials in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences said, because the cattle center on the west side of campus was built in the 1950s and is now outdated. The stalls are too small for today’s cows and not ventilated properly.  This was the third in a three-part project to update the university’s cattle facilities. The first two phases — a heifer rearing facility in Marshfield and a research barn in Arlington — are already complete."
Third- party ads face scrutiny
"“Basically, it’s saying that if you don’t use one of those eight words that your ad can be termed an issue ad rather an explicit political ad,” GAB spokesperson Kyle Richmond said. “A group doesn’t have to register and report it’s contributor if it doesn’t use those words.”"
Islamic laws of finance a cushion in hard times - The Sacramento Bee
"Shariah prohibits usury, which often took advantage of a desperate person who needed to feed or protect his family, Azeez said. "There's an element of exploitation here."  The bottom line for many Muslims is, "if I don't have the money to buy something, that means I can't afford it," said Deya Dean Elghassein, who's Palestinian American."
Unions protest Joe the Plumber in Pittsburgh. - Think Progress
"As the union members noted, Wurzelbacher never had a plumbing license. Many of the people in that profession are members of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA), which supports the Employee Free Choice Act."
World's unions call for urgent action ahead of G20 summit... Xinhua News Agency
"The package calls for action in five areas, including coordinated international recovery and sustainable growth plan to create jobs, ensure public investment and tackle world poverty; help for insolvent banks and new financial regulations; combating the risk of wage deflation and reverse decades of increasing inequality; far-reaching action on climate change; and a new system of global economic governance. "
Genius! Federal Pension Guarantor Switched From Bonds To Risky Stocks Last Year - TPM Muckraker
"In the highly competitive race for the title of "Stupidest Recent Financial Decision Made By A Government Official", this one's got to be a strong contender...."

30 Mar

State budget hearing draws large and passionate crowd
"Citizens also disagreed about Doyle's prevailing wage provision, under which all development projects getting public financial help would have to pay construction workers a prevailing wage.  Dan Westlund, of the local Operating Engineers union, said he strongly supports the provision and its underlying goal of raising workers' conditions.  "Its about more than wages," he said. "It's about providing health care and other benefits.""
Hurley called 'Snow Capital of Wisconsin'
"In a Thursday letter to Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce President Don Richards, the governor wrote: "Renowned for a record-breaking snowfall, often topping an average of 200 inches, it's easy to see why Hurley is often called the 'Snow Capital of Wisconsin.'""
County board to review health dept. annual report
"Iron County Health Department Director Zona Wick praised the board of health and her staff for the department's ability to meet its challenges in 2008 as she prepared the health department's annual budget."
Aspirus Adds Ambulance Services
"The Aspirus Medevac takes critical care patients from one hospital to another.  Previously the Medevac would have to drive from Wausau taking 60 to 90 minutes just to get to the person in need.  Now with it stationed in Rhinelander people can get to critical care hospitals faster."
Wis. to spend federal money on rural bridge work
"A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found that most of the bridges approved for federally-funded repairs carry fewer than 1,000 vehicles a day. Many carry far less... Meanwhile, larger bridges weren’t eligible for the first round of federal money because plans and permits weren’t complete."
Trust fund issues record payout for school libraries
"The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands has announced library aid for 2009 totaling $35.3 million, breaking last year's record of $35 million.  Officials said the distribution would amount to more than $28 per student for improving library collections and facilities in schools serving kindergarten through 12th grade."
Wis. rule to regulate campaign ads moves forward
"The rule would require groups that spend money to influence elections to register with the board and disclose who gives them money. They would not be able to accept corporate or union money.  Several groups have vowed to challenge the rule as unconstitutional."
Recall Jim Doyle? Group is going to need a lot of signatures
"It will be difficult, perhaps even quixotic. To force a recall election under state law, the group would need to get signatures from nearly 540,000 voters within 60 days. Doyle, a Democrat, is already up for re-election in November 2010."
In times like these, more people are going to church for help - USA Today
"Pastors say they're giving out benevolent funds in record numbers, increasing ministries to the unemployed and the financially fearful, even reaching into their own pockets more to help.  Nearly two in three pastors (62%) report more people from outside their church asking for help, and nearly a third (31%) see more such requests from church members, according to a survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors."
GM, Chrysler rocked by hardline from Washington... Financial Post
""We are left to look back and say that Wagoner's appointment as both chairman and CEO in 2003 was little more than an act to ensure the dynasty of GM boardroom arrogance and failure continued," said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at brokerage BGC Partners."
Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials - NY Times
"The 98-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, is based on the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which is binding on 145 countries, including Spain and the United States. Countries that are party to the torture convention have the authority to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused."

28&29 Mar

10th Annual WJMS/WIMI Spring Home Sport and Recreation Expo.
"Mark your calendars for the 10th Annual WJMS/WIMI Spring Home Sport and Recreation Expo. Coming to the Pat O'Donnel Civic Center April 3-5. Vendor Space is still available. Call for details - (906) 932-2411."
Broadband Survey
"A committee working hard to help bring broadband internet service to the Northwoods is asking for your help.  The Grow North Broadband Access Committee is asking everyone in the Northwoods to find someway to log onto the internet and fill out a quick survey about internet access in the area."
Feingold fears Afghan troop buildup could worsen situation
""The problem is if you do this wrong, with too much emphasis on Afghanistan and not enough on Pakistan, you may be creating greater radicalization (in the region)," Feingold, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview. "In the end, Pakistan is more dangerous than Afghanistan. . . . I do think we're kind of putting the cart before the horse.""
Students face suspension for sending nude photos by phone
"Lt. Terry Morrissey, head of the police department's sensitive crimes unit, said no arrests will be made in the incident. He said the parents of all of the students involved had been notified. He said the students would face suspension from school for their actions."
Wis. governor to host Earth Day event for children
"Gov. Jim Doyle will celebrate Earth Day with a children's celebration next month at the governor's mansion.  The April 25 celebration will include events focusing on agriculture, conservation and education.  The governor's office says it expects about 1,500 people to participate, including more than 450 children between the ages of 7 and 10."
Comprehensive overhaul of ethics, lobbying laws considered in Wisconsin
""This is incredibly significant," said Jay Heck, director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. "These reforms really would transform Wisconsin into … the good government state that people thought we were all along.""
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 27 Mar 09
The Grand Inquisitor of Wisconsin - Talk to Action
"The threat to the Church is not secularism. It is the small-mindedness of Bishop Morlino and his ilk that has caused growing numbers of Americans to see religion, particularly Catholicism as the enemy rather than the friend of freedom.  By stifling dissent and discussion they marginalize rather than fortify the faithful; drive people away from rather than lead people towards God; and sew distrust of the Catholic Church by both members and non-members."
Anti-union intimidation on the rise - Institute for Southern Studies
"Studies by economists such as Cornell University's Kate Bronfenbrenner indicate that employers routinely try to intimidate workers--and frequently violate the law--in the run-up to NLRB union elections. Bronfenbrenner's research found high levels of corporate interference and intimidation."
The Quiet Coup - The Atlantic
"Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders."
Feingold announces funding for health clinics - Wausau Daily Herald



27 Mar

"Speaking at the 2009 Wisconsin Renewable Energy Summit in Milwaukee today, Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that the economic recovery act contains over $70 billion in investments and tax incentives for clean, efficient, American energy to help put people to work and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, because that dependence “is disastrous for our economy.”"
Marine mother happy with early morning surprise
"Claudia Cox was never so happy to be awakened at 3 a.m. as earlier this month.  Her son, Richard Meeker, arrived home on leave after his second tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps."
Stimulus Money for Jobs and Energy
"U.S. Senator Russ Feingold announced today the release of more than $38 million to Wisconsin from the economic stimulus package.  The funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program will help the state, counties, cities and tribes implement strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, lower energy use, and improve energy efficiency."
Hospitals Boosting Local Economy
"The report authored by the Wisconsin Hospital Association and UW-Extension say statewide hospitals generate over $22 billion for the state economy. Here in Oneida County, UW-Extension Department head Dan Kuzlik says the impact is $56 million."
DNR budget long on enforcement, short on services
"The blueprint calls for approximately $75 million in fee increases, reduced services for the general population, and cuts in grant support for counties, municipalities, non-profits, and private entities, while holding the line on funding for law enforcement, including the training and deployment of a new class of conservation wardens with expanded law enforcement authority."
Science roundup: Vindictive people, water bottles, NFL linemen
"Taken together, the scientists concluded there is widespread estrogenic contamination of mineral water that partly originates from compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging material."
UW-Madison reports another stem cell breakthrough
"Stem cell pioneer James Thomson and his colleagues have developed a safer way of turning cells from newborns' foreskins into something similar to human embryonic stem cells... Previous efforts to convert cells left behind viruses and outside genes, possibly leading to mutations, impairing the cells' growth or creating tumors.
Earth Day cleanup set in state parks
"Volunteers are invited to help the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks on April 25, three days after Earth Day on April 22, to work in Lake Kegonsa State Park near McFarland, Governor Dodge State Park near Dodgeville, Wyalusing State Park in Prairie du Chien and Mirror Lake State Park near Baraboo."
Gay Marriage, Set Back in One State, Gains in a 2nd - NY Times
" Only hours after the measure had failed by one vote, a handful of legislators reconsidered, allowing it to clear the Democratic-controlled House by 186 to 179.  The vote followed by a day an announcement by Gov. Jim Douglas of neighboring Vermont that he would veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage if it reached his desk."
U.S. workers on jobless benefits hit record - Reuters
"The number of workers collecting state unemployment benefits rose to a record 5.56 million earlier this month, while new claims rose to 652,000 in the week ended March 21, the Labor Department said on Thursday."
"Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to create a blue-ribbon commission charged with conducting an 18-month, top-to-bottom review of the nation's entire criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee, is the principal Republican cosponsor."

26 Mar

NSPW to pay Wis. DNR $1.3 million
"... it was apparent that a majority of the contamination along the lakefront was moving downhill from above — from the site of the former manufactured gas plants that generated the coal tar and other contamination that largely filled up the site, DNR hydrogeologist Jamie Dunn said Wednesday."
Iron Belt woman faces 4 felony counts
"Rhiannon Lee Smith, 27, is charged with four counts of delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, Vicodin.  Each count carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000."
Hurley boys, girls open track season
"The Midgets' Mike Leinon broke his own school record in the triple jump. His 39-2 jump Tuesday eclipsed his previous record of 38-9.5 set last season.  He also won the high jump (5-10), the event he competed in at the state tournament last year.  Hurley's BJ Wesenberg took first in the 55-meter dash in 7.49 and the long jump at 19-.75. Justin Rhenlund won the 200 hurdles in 30.79. Trevor Vuorenmaa finished first in the pole vault at 10-6. Garett Innes won the shot put at 40-4."
The pins didn't stand a chance
"800 series? No sweat!  While that may not be entirely true, the feat has become almost common at the American Legion Lanes in Hurley."
Vacationer busted for drunken driving 3 times in 3 days
"Jo A. Trilling, of Spokane, Wash., was visiting Wisconsin last year, apparently spending some time at the Kohler-Andrae State Park with a box of wine. She was busted for drunken driving three times in three days, according to this morning's Sheboygan Press."
UW tuition might rise for 4 years
"Under the initiative, in-state students would pay a tuition increase of $250 per year for four years, for a total of $1,000 per year by fall 2012. For out-of-state students, the cumulative increase would be $750 per year, for a total of $3,000 by the fourth year."
Unemployment rises across state; Beloit highest at 16.9 percent
"Twelve of the 31 municipalities for which the state collects statistics had double-digit jobless rates, led by Beloit, with 16.9 percent of its labor force out of a job — or about one of every six workers. That’s up from 15.2 percent in January and is more than twice the 8.1 percent unemployment rate Beloit had in February 2008."
Madison to get $2.4 million in stimulus aid for energy improvements
"The money announced today would be used for such activities as energy audits in residential and commercial buildings, the development of new building codes and the creation of financial incentives for energy efficiency improvements, the White House said. "
Attack ad airs in court election
"The ad is the first by a third party group to be run during this year’s campaign, a stark contrast to the 2008 Supreme Court race, which was dominated by third party ads.  “What we’ve seen in these last couple of years in the Supreme Court election is essentially special interest highjacking,” said Mike McCabe, director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “In the ‘08 race … 98 percent of the ads were sponsored by four interest groups.”"
School-Voucher Movement Loses Ground - Wall Street Journal
"Vouchers -- which give students public money to pay private-school tuition -- have grown since a 2002 Supreme Court decision upheld their use in religious schools. About 61,700 students use them in the current school year, up 9% from last year, according to the Alliance for School Choice, a voucher advocate."
Exports recovery may limit job losses... Business World
""SEIPI people are saying exports would recover by the third and fourth quarter because the inventory depletion abroad has already bottomed out," he said, referring to industry association Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc.  "So the job bleeding will have stopped by then or at least minimised," he told reporters."
A dream team should investigate the meltdown - LA Times
"They showed, in sum, that they have no understanding of the roots or remedies for the financial crisis, and -- more to the point -- no great desire to understand. They left me convinced that if we are to have a productive investigation of the financial meltdown, it must be taken away from posturing lawmakers."

25 Mar

"“For both these reasons, there has been a remarkable disconnect between the state of the economy, as measured by the growth of GDP, and the experience of most Americans. And if that disconnect continues, recovering from the current recession, urgent though it is, will still leave major economic problems unsolved,” Krugman warned."
ATV Trails Closed - Iron County Development Zone
"Effective immediately, all Iron County ATV trails are closed. Gates along the trails will be closed. ATV trails will remain closed until break-up conditions recede. Trails will open on a trail-by-trail basis as trail conditions dry up and have been inspected for washouts and grade integrity."
Wind, ice create havoc
"According to Iron County Sheriff's Department reports, a power line blew down across U.S. 51, near Center Drive in Oma, around 4:53 p.m. Monday. A tree took the line down, the report said. Xcel Energy was advised."
Iron County closes snowmobile, ATV trails
"All snowmobile and all-terrain-vehicle trails in Iron County are closed because of spring break-up conditions, according to trail coordinator Tara Stuhr from the Iron County Forestry Department."
Two burglaries, one address
"An investigation by the Iron County Sheriff's Department into a burglary at a home in Iron Belt, Wis., on or about March 1 revealed that an unrelated initial burglary occurred at the same residence on or about March 9."
Lower deer harvest leads to changes for 2009 season
"DNR biologist Todd Naas said a winter that was harsher than anticipated, plus a second-latest-possible start date for the season were among the factors that cut the buck harvest by 31 percent from the previous year in one Ashland County deer management unit. The gun antlerless harvest was down by 16 percent in Unit Six, and totals were down by similar margins all through northwestern Wisconsin, Naas said.""
Judge sides with Forest Service in another logging challenge
"The Fishbone project includes nearly 2,000 acres of mature aspen clear-cut to make way for "regenerated aspen," according to the Record of Decision for the project. It also includes about 600 acres of gradual aspen shelterwood harvesting. The project also rids the area of sizable amounts of oak — clear-cutting 350 acres and shelterwood harvests on another 1,000 — to reduce the chance of pest infestation."
Alcohol a factor in sled deaths
"The average blood-alcohol concentration among the 16 crash victims who died after drinking was 0.195 percent -- more than double the legal driving limit. Only one of the 16 had a blood-alcohol concentration below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Alcohol tests on two other victims are still pending."
Lake Levels on the Rise
"The Army Corps of Engineers reports the level of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is 13 inches higher than it was a year ago.  The Army Corps says two snowy winters have helped replenish the lakes after the level dropped two years ago to within three inches of the record low set in 1964."
Audit Finds Problem With WI Prisons
"The audit shows that the state spent nearly $60 million on mentally ill inmates in the 2007 fiscal year. As of June 2008 nearly 31 percent of the state's 22,451 inmates were identified as mentally ill."
Area economists encouraged by uptick in durable goods orders
"The Commerce Department said that orders for durable goods - manufactured products expected to last at least three years - increased 3.4% last month, much better than the 2% decline economists expected. It was the first advance after a record six straight declines and the strongest one-month gain in 14 months."
Chrysler delays layoffs at Kenosha engine plant
"Planned layoffs at the Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha are on hold while workers decide whether to take buyouts.  Chrysler spokesman Max Gates says about 150 layoffs scheduled to start Monday have been put on hold. The Kenosha plant employs about 800 people in all."
Disabled vets, ex-POWs get in free to state parks 
"Six months into the program, 343 veterans have received the fee waivers from the DNR.  Eligible veterans include disabled veterans with a 70 percent or greater permanent or temporary disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, disabled veterans determined by the VA to be totally disabled due to individual unemployability, and all former POWs."
New pro-life ad campaign starts
"Additionally, Hamill said a lot of anti-abortion supporters have agreed to boycott Meriter Hospital, University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation and UW Hospital and Clinics, which co-own the Madison Surgery Center that conducts late-term abortions."
In Quiverfull Movement, Birth Control Is Shunned - Morning Edition, NPR
"They speak about, 'If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three generations what we'll be able to do,' " Joyce says. " 'We'll be able to take over both halls of Congress, we'll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San Francisco for the faithful, and we'll be able to wage very effective massive boycotts against companies that are going against God's will.' "
FedEx says Boeing orders hinge on Congress... Reuters
"FedEx Corp will cancel an order to buy 15 Boeing Co jets, as well as an option for a further 15 planes, if Congress passes legislation that makes it easier for FedEx workers to organize under labor unions."
[Anyplace but on Wall Street this would be called extortion and result in a hard take down. - Bob]
Who owns Colorado's rainwater? - LA Times
"Frank Jaeger of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, on the arid foothills south of Denver, sees water harvesting as an insidious attempt to take water from entities that have paid dearly for the resource.  "Every drop of water that comes down keeps the ground wet and helps the flow of the river," Jaeger said. He scoffs at arguments that harvesters like Holstrom only take a few drops from rivers. "Everything always starts with one little bite at a time.""

24 Mar

Joint Finance Committee Listening Session
"State Representative Gary Sherman (D–Port Wing) and Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) announced today that members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will hold a listening session on the state’s budget at the Ashland High School auditorium on Saturday, March 28th, 2009, starting at 9:00 a.m."
Help Us Grow the Library
Local poet and Gogebic English teacher, Pat O'Neill will be doing a reading at Taconelli's on April 24th to benefit Ironwood's Carnegie Public Library.
SMAD-FPAS - Ken Jacobson
"I used to also be afflicted with a syndrome which affects many volunteer firefighters, especially early in their firefighting career. FPAS or "fire pager anxiety syndrome".   Many newly minted volunteer firefighters find that they constantly wake up during the night thinking they heard their pager go off."
Broadband Survey
"State utility regulators are seeking public
input on the needs for broadband service in areas of Wisconsin where it's not adequate for Internet and other communication needs.  The Public Service Commission is asking that people complete a Broadband Customer Survey available on its Web site, http://psc.wi.gov."
Wausau bucks national housing trends
"The market in Wausau is more akin to elsewhere in the Midwest, where sales dropped 18 percent last month compared with February 2008 and the median price declined 8 percent, the second-smallest drop of any region.  Nationwide, home prices are down 28 percent from their peak in July 2006, but Zahrt said it's nearly impossible to compare national trends to the Wausau market, where home values dropped 3 percent in 2008."
Whooping cranes arrive at spring nesting grounds
"The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership said Monday there are 11 of the cranes at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.  That's where young cranes hatched in captivity have started their southward migration each fall since 2001, led by ultralight aircraft to a refuge in Florida. After that, they migrate on their own."
Man with 7 drunken driving convictions charged with first offense by Mequon
"Robinson was arrested Oct. 4 in Mequon and was eventually found guilty of first-offense OWI, even though he had seven previous drunken driving convictions dating to 1992 - one in Illinois, one in Wisconsin and five in North Carolina, according to Wisconsin Department of Transportation records."
Wisconsin man returns meteorite to Arizona
"Eventually, it was determined it was, in fact, the Basket meteorite.  Instead of trying to sell it, Lynch said he decided it was best to return it to Arizona.  So 40 years after it was stolen, Lynch brought the Basket meteorite home to Meteor Crater Monday, saying he was actually glad to part with it."
John Nichols: 'The zombie ideas have won'
"When you leave Washington, it very quickly becomes clear that Geithner -- and, more importantly, the Treasury secretary's approach to the economic meltdown -- has lost the confidence of progressives. He is Wall Street's man doing Wall Street's bidding, arguably as bad a player as anyone that John McCain would have put in the position."
Assembly to vote on replacing punishment for unpaid fines
"“[The plan] ensures that people are still able to drive to their jobs and earn income that would still enable them to pay their fines. This legislation … encourages people to be responsible,” Benish said."
Critics: Thousands evicted from Angola church land - Associated Press
"More than 2,000 families have been evicted since Angolan authorities began returning land to the church that had been seized by the former Marxist state, according to Muluka Miti, a researcher for Amnesty International. The London-based human rights group said people were detained and arrested arbitrarily, and subjected to torture in some cases."
How to spread the stimulus... Boston Globe
"The construction industry has been especially hard hit in the economic downturn. And minority workers, who have fought with only limited success to break into the trade unions, are afraid that unionized workers will squeeze them out of the new opportunity."
Memo to the media: Where's W? - Media Matters
"The media's erasure of the Bush administration and its policies in their coverage of the economy has been so pervasive that they have given round-the-clock attention to the AIG bonus scandal for days on end with virtually no mention of the fact that it was the Bush administration that last fall approved billions of dollars in aid to AIG without requiring the company to nullify its bonus contracts."


23 Mar

Having found a power supply for my laptop in the northwoods, I hope to have this site up to date this evening.  The guys up at the Radio Shack on US 2 in Ironwood were very helpful.  I was only minutes from committing to driving 7 hours to Chicago to get the one I forgot.  If you have a chance to stop by and give them an "Atta Boy" it would be appreciated.  Sorry for any inconvenience. - Bob
More than 500 show for fire department fundraiser
"The second Hurley Fire Department roast beef dinner fundraiser drew more than 500 diners to Petrusha's Supper Club Sunday.  One hundred percent of the money raised for the fundraiser held every other year goes towards much-needed equipment, according to Hurley Fire Department chief Darrell Petrusha."
Sunken truck
"The recovery required cutting a hole in the ice around the vehicle and attaching a tow strap from the front axle of the truck to a front-end loader several hundred feet away near the shore. A steel ramp allowed the loader to gingerly haul the waterlogged truck out of the water."
Commerce's Leinenkugel finds silver lining in dark economic clouds
"A Northwoods native and owner of a Bass Lake vacation home in the Eagle River area, avid snowmobiler and ice fisherman Leinenkugel oversees the 400-employee Department of Commerce, which provides development assistance in a variety of areas including marketing, business and community finance, exporting, small business advocacy and manufacturing assessments."
Renovations For Military Base
"The money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used for a number of projects, including renovating the World War II era barracks, road reconstruction and water main maintenance."
Officials struggle to prevent fish kills
""The aeration system isn't operating as efficiently as it was back in 1981 when it was installed," said Dave Coon, director of environmental affairs for Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company. "It was never envisioned to operate this long, there was an assumption that water quality conditions would have improved.""
Declining Job Market Prompts Rise in Self-Employment
"“There’s no question that a lot of individuals are looking to either start their own business, grow their business, or do freelance work until they can get back into the corporate arena,” explains Gene Fairbrother, the lead small business consultant for the National Association for the Self-Employed.  In truth, now might be the ideal time to explore the possibility of starting a home-based business."
State seeks $225 million from Pfizer for overcharges
"A Dane County jury this year found that Pharmacia, a company bought by Pfizer in 2003, should pay $7 million to compensate the state for its monetary losses and $2 million for violating consumer protection laws.  The jury also found that Pharmacia violated the state's Medicaid fraud law 1.4 million times. Under state statute, the court may award a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $15,000 for each violation."
Feingold's battle against a regal Senate
"Legislation based on measures advanced by Feingold passed the Senate by a unanimous vote this week, beginning a process that could finally put an end to the automatic pay raise system, which was set up to give members of Congress salary increases each year."
Condemned by pope, witchcraft a reality in Africa - National Catholic Reporter
"For many in the Western world, “witchcraft” may seem a benign form of New Age spirituality; the chaplain’s handbook for the U.S. military recognizes “Wicca,” a modern form of witchcraft, as a legitimate religious practice.  Across Africa, however, things look very different. The working assumption is that magical powers are real, but they’re demonic – a conviction that can have devastating consequences."
US agency switches to Chinese-made condoms - The Guardian., uk
"At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to stem the tide of US layoffs, should that same government put even more Americans out of work by buying cheaper foreign products?  In this case, Chinese condoms."
Trade Barriers Rise as Slump Tightens Grip - NY Times
"Russia has raised tariffs on used cars. China has tightened import standards on food, banning Irish pork, among other things. India has banned Chinese toys. Argentina has tightened licensing requirements on auto parts, textiles and leather goods. And a dozen countries, from the United States to Australia, are subsidizing embattled automakers or car dealers."
Existing home sales spike 5% - CNN Money
""February wasn't too shabby for the existing-home market," said Mike Larson, real estate analyst at Weiss Research. "The catch? The increase in sales activity is coming at the expense of pricing."  The national median existing-home price was $165,400 in February, down 15.5% from last year, when the median price was $195,800."

21&22 Mar

Hurley lands four on All-IC squad
"Indianhead Conference champion Hurley placed four players on the 10-member all-conference girls basketball squad, including Kayla Windt, who made her fourth appearance on the team.  Joining Windt on the squad were teammates Brittany Czerneski, Jesse Mackey and Jeanna Aijala."
Airport officials focus on improved schedule
"Since Great Lakes Airlines has taken over essential air service at the airport, Mike Zacharias from Extreme Tool & Engineering in Wakefield Township said he's had to drive stranded customers  to Milwaukee two times to catch their connecting flights. At the same meeting, airport board chairman Joe Bonovetz acknowledged that scheduling is a prime concern."
Number One Cheese in U.S.
"Sartori Foods of Antigo's double-aged SarVecchio parmesan is officially the United States' number one of the year.  The cheese beat out more than thirteen hundred other cheeses for the honor."
Wisconsin finishes selling $1.54 billion in bonds
"The state had planned to sell $1 billion of bonds and the remainder in shorter-term notes, but overwhelming investor interest allowed it to sell the entire offering in bonds in the deal, which is expected to close April 8, Hoadley said."
State paid $50,000 to marketing group for tourism slogan
"The company, which is a certified minority business enterprise that specializes in reaching diversified audiences, declined several requests to talk about its work and referred all questions to Sarah Klavas, brand manager for the state Department of Tourism."
Doyle's budget tries to preserve Wisconsin's farmlands
"The proposal would redirect tens of millions of dollars in existing state incentives to keep farms from being sold for development and would prod local governments and counties to set up their own plans for preserving lands."
When dreams turn to nightmares: New legislation would allow for punitive damages against fraudulent home sellers 
"But getting punitive damages is out of the question, thanks to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling last summer. A bill being considered by the Legislature would allow home buyers who believe they’ve been lied to by a seller to sue for that extra compensation — a tool the Supreme Court took away in a controversial 4-3 decision decried by home buyers and Realtors alike."
Leaked memos: Gay rights group make new charges over LDS Prop 8 role - Salt Lake Tribune
"In new charges filed Thursday with the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the Los Angeles-based Californians Against Hate accuses the church of creating the National Organization for Marriage in California as early as summer 2007 as a front group for its agenda, while failing to report the costs as required by California law."
Starbucks, Costco and Whole Foods team up on labor bill... CNBC via MSN Money
"Starbucks, Costco and Whole Foods, which invited other corporations, unions and public interest groups to join them, proposed instead that unions be given more access to meet with workers, stricter penalties for labor violations and a guaranteed right to request secret ballots in all circumstances."
A time for silence - Canada.com
"Its me-first market philosophy has tumbled us all into global economic disaster. Its reds-under-the-bed paranoia and jingoistic militarism have led to pointless war, to untold thousands of needless deaths, to massive levels of destruction and suffering, to the creation of millions of new America-haters around the globe -- and therefore to new terrorist threats."
[Rough words from our international best friend and biggest trading partner. - Bob]

20 Mar

"The bill (H.R. 1586) would subject any bonus paid out by a company that received $5 billion or more in federal assistance to individuals who make over $125,000 a year to a 90 percent tax. Executives could avoid the tax by waiving any right to the bonuses or by returning the money to their employers by the end of the year."
Senator Jauch Visits Hurley High School Students
"Students from FACT, a tobacco awareness group, and students from the 2009 Superior Days delegation met with Senator Jauch earlier this year. On Friday, these students and their classmates will engage in a discussion with Senator Jauch about state government, education, and the state budget."
New airport terminal, service under fire
""In reality, the $1.3 million came from U.S. taxpayers," Zacharias said, noting he's against spending money from taxpayers on something that isn't deemed efficient.  "If we end up with a terminal building and no one flies in and out of it, it doesn't make good sense," he said."
Project Zero tackles teen drinking
"... 38 percent had indulged in binge drinking at least once in the previous month. Also, 14.7 percent of the youth had used marijuana within 30 days of the survey."
[Alcohol, mariguana, nicotine... I wish the $56K county grant had gone to Project Zero.  Is an intergovernmental agreement that hard to do? - Bob]
Laguna won't get new trial
"Laguna claimed ineffective counsel from attorney Fred Bourg, who was with the public defender's office in Ashland at the time."
Local youth educate Sen. Jauch on importance of a smoke-free Wisconsin
""Secondhand smoke kills," said Kyle Newago, a junior at Bayfield High School.  His message was delivered to Senator Robert Jauch during an in-district meeting held in Bayfield.  Members of the anti-tobacco industry group, FACT, called the meeting to educate Jauch on the dangers of secondhand smoke and to explain more about their group. "
Knowns and unknowns for local stimulus funding"It's been nearly one month since Congress approved the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and a large portion of Wisconsin's $3.7 billion cut has yet to be distributed, either through a formula or on a competitive basis."
Wisconsin's Unemployment Rate
"New figures from the state Department of Workforce Development put unemployment in February at 8.8 percent, about the same as the national jobless level. Just a year earlier, unemployment in Wisconsin was nearly four percentage points lower, but since then the state has lost nearly 90,000 non-farm jobs."
AIG Outrage
"Except for Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin delegation supported the bill.  Voting for it were Republicans Thomas Petri of Fond du Lac and Paul Ryan of Janesville..."
[Petri and Ryan abandon "No New Taxes" pledge, vote to change marginal income tax rate to 90%.  Sensenbrenner toes Rush Limbaugh Line by voting in favor of bonuses for AIG execs. These poor mopes didn't stand a chance. - Bob]. 
Treasury invests $10 million in Blackhawk Bank
"In an online message to bank shareholders and customers, Blackhawk Chief Executive Rick Bastian said the bank "more than agonized" about whether to take the government's investment because of the misperception that all banks that receive it are in trouble.  "Our numbers show we are not in trouble," Bastian stated. "In fact, we had record earnings per share in 2008, a level of performance few other banks can claim.""
Theft of government documents and benefit fraud doubled in Madison area
"Theft of government documents and benefit fraud can mean someone working under your Social Security number, claiming your Medicare benefits or stimulus check, or claiming your tax refund, said Denise Richardson, a Florida-based consumer advocate.  Nationally, Wisconsin is 41st in the number of identity-theft complaints, according to the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN)."
Grants offered for large renewable energy systems
""As concerns over the effects of fossil fuel based energy use, pollution and America's dependence on energy from overseas increase, it is our hope Wisconsin businesses will take advantage of these grants -- and the new federal incentives -- to take control over their energy use.""
Low voter turnout helps keep LdF's agreement with state
"By just three votes, 95-92, Lac du Flambeau tribal members upheld the long-standing agreement the tribe has had with the state that in effect helps set the number of fish speared from area lakes and thus the bag limits for hook-and-line anglers."
Economy Puts Focus On Family Planning - NPR
"These clinics generally serve young women between the ages of 18 and 24. But now, older clients — and many without insurance — are coming in. Some are looking for help supporting the children they have. Others are afraid of raising a child they say they can't afford."
Boom-years borrowing hits churches - Yahoo News
"Foreclosures and delinquencies for congregations are rising, according to companies that specialize in church mortgages. With credit scarce, church construction sites have gone quiet, holding shells of sanctuaries that were meant to be completed months ago.  Congregants have less money to give, and pastors who stretched to buy property in the boom are struggling to hold onto their churches."
French Take to Streets to Protest Economy... VOA News
"For a second time this year, hundreds of thousands of workers took to France's streets in a nationwide protest against the government's response to the economic crisis.  The strike, which has affected French schools, post offices, banks and transportation systems is part of mushrooming protests around Europe as fears mount of more hard times to come."
Feds were involved in ACORN raid in Nevada, officials say  - Raw Story
"“The manual governing how federal prosecutors are supposed to act with respect to election crimes says you should do everything in your power to conduct your investigation so that the investigation does not become an issue in the election,” Levitt told Raw Story in a recent interview. “The raid is certainly not that.”"


19 Mar

Local Poet Offers Poetry Reading and Book Signing Tonight
"Nora's Red Carpet Lounge in Hurley will be hosting a Poetry Reading and Book Signing by local author Patrick O'Neill on this evening at 7:00 PM. O'Neill has had several books of poetry published. His latest work, Deciduous, has just recently been released. Tonight's poetry reading will include pieces from his latest book as well works that have not been published."
Ballast lawsuit dismissed as states take law into own hands
"U.S. District Court Judge James Rosenbaum ruled last week that four environmental groups — the Izaak Walton League of America's Duluth Chapter, the Save Lake Superior Association, and the Minnesota and Wisconsin chapters of Trout Unlimited — did not have adequate standing to sue the U.S. Departments of Agriculture or Homeland Security or the U.S. Coast Guard."
GOP Lawmakers Upset About Agency Response To Glitch
"The letter was sent in error earlier this month following a computer glitch. No one will actually lose any money.  But the department decided against sending a followup letter telling people not to worry.  Instead it notified county service agencies and is telling concerned citizens about it only if they call to complain."
Former Nazi guard living in Wisconsin deported
"Prosecutors said 83-year-old Josias Kumpf served as a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany and the Trawniki labor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, and at slave labor sites in occupied France."
Harley extends $500 million loan agreement
"FTN Midwest Securities analyst James Hardiman said Wednesday's announcement was good news for Harley, which has been beset by credit and liquidity issues. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker warned previously that it would need an additional $1 billion to make it through 2009, Hardiman said."
Don't blow chance for wind power
"Wisconsin cannot afford to let the statewide interest in harnessing clean, renewable power from the wind be frustrated by local "not in my backyard" campaigns against wind farms.  The goal should be to adopt statewide standards for siting wind farms that limit local government regulation and provide developers with an opportunity to appeal."
Microsoft adds shortcuts, security to new browser
"The number of browsers has grown to a dizzying array, from Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox, the two most popular, to Apple Inc.'s Safari, Google Inc.'s Chrome, the Norwegian entrant Opera and others. Each is using speed, security enhancements and new features to fight for a share of Web surfers' growing time online. Microsoft remains the dominant player, but Firefox's influence is growing."
Novel approach: Undercover at Liberty - Lynchburg News and Advance
"As they passed out fliers, a film crew from “Girls Gone Wild” began taping the debauchery.  “The girls would lift up their shirts, and we’d tell them about Jesus. It was very uncomfortable,” Roose said during a phone interview.  The task was trying for the most seasoned evangelists. For Roose, a liberal, “God-ambiguous” sophomore who had transferred to Liberty for a semester from Brown University, it was a nightmare."
Union seeks to capitalize on anger at banks... Philadelphia Inquirer
"Griffin says SEIU is trying to organize bank workers and lists reasons that would be bad for bank owners, citing the experience of the small group of U.S. banks with union contracts:  "Salary and benefit expenses are about 7 percent to 8.5 percent higher" at unionized banks."
Limbaugh joined by other conservatives standing up for AIG against "mob rule" - Media Matters
"In the wake of Rush Limbaugh's defense of American International Group (AIG) on his March 16 and March 17 broadcasts, several conservative media figures -- including Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin -- have joined him in condemning criticism of the company's employee retention bonuses."
[Will Republican reps and Senators be able to withstand this push from their leadership? - Bob]

18 Mar

Mercer's Paw Shop fetches another honor
"The Paw Shop, organized and operated by Mercer High School and staffed in part by volunteers from the community, is one of 10 projects that will receive a Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin award on Monday in Madison."
22 apply for Mercer super post
"Jeff Ehrhardt, current superintendent who plans to retire at the end of this school year, said Tuesday that the board planned to review applications and conduct the initial round of interviews during the second week in April."
Levra earns All-Indianhead honors again
"Hurley junior Daulton Levra and Mercer senior Matt Klopatek were named to the All-Indianhead Conference basketball team Wednesday at the annual coaches' meeting."
Local youth educate Sen. Jauch on importance of a smoke-free Wisconsin
"FACT groups across the state, including the one at Bayfield High School, are using a variety of strategies to educate individuals on smoking's effect on nonsmokers.  Their message is that secondhand smoke kills and a smoke-free Wisconsin will save lives."
Printpack Union Free
"Skinner adds now that the union is gone employees will be eligible for paid personal time off and paid sick leave, something he says they didn't have before.  Teamsters representative David Reardon says the union will be sending letters this week to all employees at Printpack explaining what to expect in the next couple of weeks."
WI Republicans: Doyle Budget Relies Too Much on Tax Hikes
"Overall spending would increase 7.7 percent over the next two years.  Republican Senator Alberta Darling said there weren't enough cuts to ensure the budget will be balanced once the federal money is spent."
[Calling for specific reductions is responsible... just saying spending is too high is spin. - Bob]
Feingold urges Obama administration to void AIG bonuses
""I write to ask why any bonuses would be legally required, given the company‘s abysmal performance," Feingold wrote. "In addition, I would like to know what legal options have been explored for canceling the bonuses or recouping the money from the recipients.""
Odd duck found in Wausau
"A DNR official confirmed that the photos appeared to be that of a Mandarin duck, and suggested the bird most likely escaped from captivity."
Midwest manufacturing falls 6% in January
"The Chicago Fed reported today that the index declined, after adjustments for seasonal factors, to 85.6 points. Measured against the same month a year ago, output in the region fell 21.8%. The index is calibrated so that 100 equals manufacturing output in 2002."
More school workers could get Wis. state pensions
"Doyle proposed that education support staff only have to work the same number of hours per year as teachers, librarians and administrators to participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System."
Report: Doyle's budget raises state taxes by $1.7 billion
"The taxes include a 75-cent per pack increase in the state cigarette tax, a higher income tax on married couples making more than $300,000 a year, a tax on oil companies, and a range of complex tax increases on corporations that do business in states besides Wisconsin."
Slamming shut the doors of government
"Today, for example, the disciplinary records of public officials are open, and it doesn't matter whether a request pertains to one public official or to a thousand. In another important area, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that so-called quasi-government entities such as area economic development corporations can be subject to the open records laws, a matter that had been in contention for years."
Lawmakers pick up DNR's push for warrantless searches
"In a Feb. 24 email memo to all legislators, Jauch and Milroy laid out their reasons for proposing the measure, which seeks ostensibly to clamp down on the transportation of invasives. While current law prohibits any person, with certain exceptions, from transporting a boat on a highway if it has an invasive species attached, the bill would expand that prohibition to include any aquatic plants or animals."
Iraqi Christian refugees flock to Germany - International Herald Tribune
"The group of nearly 120 refugees will arrive Thursday, a day before the sixth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, on a chartered plane from Syria. And many more are expected.  The resettlement is part of a program sponsored by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. It is expected to help 10,000 Iraqi Christians relocate to Germany, Sweden and elsewhere in Europe."
Drawing up the Drawbridges: Europe Falls Out of Love with Labor Migration... Spiegel Online
"Globalization has turned 200 million people into migrant workers in the last few decades. One fifth of them are Europeans, less than one tenth are Africans and 3 percent are from Latin America. Now the trend is reversing itself, a shift that generally affects those who came from Europe's poorest regions and from emerging and developing nations. Officials at the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) fear that 30 million people around the globe could lose their livelihoods by the end of the year."
Just Say No Yes to Earmarks - TPM Photo Feature
"Among Sen. McConnell's 53 earmarks in the omnibus bill totaling $75.5 million are $1.6 million for forage animal production research laboratory in Lexington, KY and $1.08 million for an animal waste management lab."
[Perhaps what should be studied is that less than polite word often used to describe used oats... oats that have passed thru the bull. - Bob]

17 Mar

"Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI) announced that he is co-sponsoring a measure introduced in the House today that would impose a substantial tax on bonuses paid to employees of corporations that receive Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, like those made by American International Group (AIG)."
Terminal plan cleared for take-off
"Plans for the $1.3 million terminal building at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport were officially approved Monday by the airport board."
Revenue-sharing cuts create budget woes for local municipalities
"Locally, the amounts in question are relatively small — in Bayfield County they range from $50 for the Town of Mason to $8,574 for Bayfield County. However, given the dramatic economic downturn of the last year, it’s just one more financial squeeze in what could be described as an economic perfect storm."
Fish Virus Lawsuit Thrown Out 
"A lawsuit aimed at keeping a deadly fish disease out of Lake Superior has been thrown out of federal court... U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the groups lacked the right to sue, in part because the disease hasn't reached Lake Superior, so no harm has been done."
JSOnAir: Circus Parade Coming Back
"The Great Circus Parade will be back in Milwaukee this summer.  The parade's organizer says it has raised enough money to move forward with the parade on July 12th this summer."
National listening tour on immigration stopping in Milwaukee
"The visit is being held in conjunction with a group of 50 local faith and religious leaders who have formed a Family Unity Committee of Wisconsin to push for comprehensive immigration reform."
GM exec says Janesville plant not likely to reopen
"The plant used to be where GM made large SUVs. But the company shut down the plant last year, cutting about 1,200 jobs... But he says there currently isn't demand to use the Janesville capacity."
Coalition ramps up effort to connect local meat, dairy producers with sellers 
"The Dane County Institutional Food Market Coalition is expanding its efforts to include meat and dairy producers as well as sellers of food products made with local ingredients.  Founded in 2006, the coalition has worked to connect local fruit and vegetable growers with institutional buyers such as hotels, corporations and conference centers,"
Obama answers Feingold's call on bailout bandits
"The president told his treasury secretary "to use that leverage and pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole."  That's precisely the approach urged on the White House by Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, a lawyer and veteran member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who raised the call for a legal strategy with regard to AIG."
Congregational Tolerance - Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog)
"Congregations display less tolerance towards public supporters of abortion rights, cohabiting couples, and homosexuals than they do towards moderate drinkers, but even on these hot-button issues congregations express more tolerance and inclusivity than some might expect to see. Publicly supporting abortion rights presents no obstacle to membership in congregations attended by two-thirds of churchgoers, and it presents no obstacle to lay leadership in congregations attended by 41 percent."
Mexico slaps tariffs on U.S. goods in truck feud... ESPN Radio
"It was not immediately clear which exports would be hit.  But a spokesman for the Mexican economy ministry said the new tariffs would not affect rice, corn, beans or wheat, which are the main U.S. farm products exported to Mexico and make up much of the average Mexican's diet.  "It won't be any of these products because Mexicans are sensitive to them," the spokesman told Reuters."
An Overview on the National Labor Relations Act... ArticleBliss.com
"Labor laws were intended to balance the bargaining power between employees and employers. It gives employees the right to unionize. It also allows employees and employers to participate in certain activities for the fulfillment of their demands..."
Economic Data Offers a Balm as Fed Meets - NY Times
"Construction of new homes rose by an unexpected 22.2 percent in February from a month earlier, the Commerce Department reported, largely because of an increase in condominium construction. Housing starts over all rose to an annual pace of 583,000, and construction starts for single-family homes rose slightly from January."

16 Mar

Jauch, Milroy Applaud State Funds for Fraser Shipyards
"State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and State Representative Nick Milroy (D-Superior) today applauded an announcement by Governor Jim Doyle to award a $3.7 million harbor assistance grant to support improvements at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, the third largest state harbor assistance grant in history. They also said that the state investment will become the catalyst to seek a sizeable federal stimulus grant."
Man charged with theft of jacket
"Benjamin C. Macarty of Maple Street is also charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is scheduled to appear in Iron County Circuit Court Monday, according to the criminal complaint."
New Marketing Slogan for Wisconsin
"Doyle is unveiling the ``Live Like You Mean It'' slogan and an accompanying logo on Monday morning at a tourism industry conference in La Crosse."
New Forest Service Office
"Renovations to the new Forest Service office in Rhinelander are moving forward thanks to economic recovery funding.  The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest received 200-thousand dollars, and they're using it to finish remodeling their new office."
Harsh winter boosts Granite Peak business
""We've talked to several of our guests that, instead of going out West, they decided to make a second Midwest trip," she said. "We saw a lot of repeat visits (from state and regional tourists)."  The mountain received 59.1 inches of snow through February, according to the National Weather Service in Green Bay. The average snowfall total by this time of year is 43.4 inches."
Feingold to White House: Cancel Their Bonuses
"In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Feingold wrote, "I would like to know what legal options have been explored for canceling the bonuses or recouping the money from the recipients."  "Some of the recipients of these bonuses may have been responsible for the practices that drove the company to the brink of collapse.""
Feingold to explore action to stop AIG bonuses
"... U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis) said he was exploring what legal action could be taken to halt bonuses to AIG executives.  At one of his listening sessions, this time at a Kenosha school, Feingold heard from a number of unhappy citizens who called the bonuses outrageous."
Doyle to announce WATER Institute investment
"One would expand UW-Milwaukee's satellite harbor campus into a new research park and adjacent business incubator and another that would create a headquarters of the Milwaukee Water Council and portions of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences on the lakeshore."
State near top in work for homeless children
"Wisconsin received high marks in a recent report on caring for homeless children, but ranked low on policy and planning for the issue.  The National Center on Family Homelessness ranks Wisconsin seventh among states in dealing with child homelessness, child well-being and risk for homelessness."
Doyle proposes tougher controls on Great Lakes
"Under Doyle's proposal, Wisconsin would require all ocean-going vessels by 2012 to cleanse their ballast water 100 times more stringently than a proposed international standard. By 2013, all newly constructed ships that dock at Wisconsin ports would need to cleanse their ballast water 1,000 times more stringently than the international standard. This regulation also will go into effect in 2013 in New York and Pennsylvania."
Child Witch Syndrome And Killing of Harmless Children - This Day, Nigeria
"These signs portrayed her children as witches because when a calamity befalls a family, especially in this way and in this part of the country, then there must be witches among the children. All Mayen wanted was a confirmation of her mindset, and in no other place than the church whose pastors claimed to have "cleansed the child 'witches' and 'wizards' of their evil powers for pecuniary reward."
Jim Hightower: Americans Are Rearing for a Fight with Corporate Power... AlterNet.org
"These realities not only explain why today's workers need unions, but also why there is such a widespread yearning for them. A 2006 poll of the general public by the Pew Research Center found that 68% of us believe labor unions are necessary to protect working families. In that same year, a survey of workers by pollster Peter Hart indicated that as many as 60 million Americans would join a union tomorrow--if they could."
McConnell Bumbles When Asked For GOP Alternative To Obama’s Budget: We’re ‘Getting Down In The Weeds’ - Think Progress
"As the New York Times has pointed out, by not offering a full counterproposal, Republicans have made a decision “that will spare them from outlining potentially painful decisions required to bring federal books more in line with their call to hold down spending, cut taxes and reduce the deficit.” What they are instead offering is “a steady stream of complaints.”"


14&15 Mar

Happy Pi Day!

Sherman and Jauch announce Joint Finance Committee listening session
"State Representative Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, and Senator Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, have announced that members of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance will hold a listening session on the state's budget at the Ashland High School auditorium on Saturday, March 28 starting at 9 a.m."
Aerial bombardment planned against gypsy moths
"No, they aren't calling in the Strategic Air Command to carpet-bomb the forest; instead, the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will be using their aerial spray versions of smart bombs, including a bacteria that specifically targets the moths when they are tiny caterpillars and flakes of pheromone-impregnated plastic to confuse amorous male moths in their search for females."
Homeless Shelter Committee Hard At Work
"The Housing Issues Committee met with a couple today who has successfully opened homeless shelters in Northern parts of the state and in the UP.  After listening to the pair from the Salvation Army speak, the commmittee has a clearer view of what needs to be done to get the shelter up and running."
Lighthouses in northern Wis. to get $5M upgrade
"The budget provides $5 million to restore lighthouses on the Apostle Islands, which dot the coast in Lake Superior. The money will pay for structural upgrades, and make at least one lighthouse a tourist destination by restoring it in the style of a bygone era."
Doyle says energy funds will create thousands of jobs
"Barbara Ostovich is looking forward to saving nearly $1,700 a year on her energy bills thanks to a new furnace, refrigerator and insulation that have been added to her home.  Ostovich opened the doors of her home in the 3200 block of S. 6th St. to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Gov. Jim Doyle and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore Friday. The politicians toured the house to see an example of the home-weatherization program that's about to get a boost in funding from the federal economic stimulus package."
U.S. spending bill funds Milwaukee streetcar system
"With local officials deadlocked over how to spend $91.5 million in long-idle federal transit aid, Sen. Herb Kohl and Rep. David Obey quietly inserted a provision in the massive federal omnibus spending bill to hand 60% of the money to the city for a downtown rail line and 40% to Milwaukee County for buses."
Dave Zweifel's Plain Talk: A basketball story that all should hear
"And the game showed what kind of kids play for DeKalb High School as well.  "This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," the DeKalb coach said later. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night.""
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 13 Mar 09






Fruit of the Spirit is a Powerful New Health Product for the Christian Market Christian News Wire
"Following 5 years of intense research and development, a new health product designed for the Christian market unveiled at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville on February 7. Fruit of the Spirit's Healing Fruits are native to the Galilean (Mediterranean) region and Energizing Minerals from the Dead Sea."
NEW REPORT: Greater Unionization Could Pump $49 billion into the U.S. Economy... American Progress Action Fund
"The report shows that unlike in the past, when workers were compensated for 100 percent of their productivity gains, today’s workers are not reaping the benefits they deserve from their increased productivity. Increasing union coverage rates, which would be achieved by the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, could likely reverse these trends, as more Americans would benefit from the union wage premium and receive higher wages."
workers still waiting 9 years after secret ballot election - The Examiner
"“If ever there was a case that demonstrated how utterly bankrupt the current system is, the Jacksonville Wal-Mart case is it. It was not enough that a group of people in one of the least worker-friendly states in America had the courage to take on the least worker-friendly company in the world. It was not enough that they had to take their case before the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Court of Appeals. Even after clearing every hurdle Wal-Mart could throw in their path, these workers are still faced with a company across the table that has little legal incentive to deal with them fairly.”"

13 Mar

Reminder: High School Basketball Tonight
"Tonight on WJMS it's the District 127 Finals in boys basketball from Wakefield-Marenisco. Ewen-Trout Creek battles Ontonagon tonight at 6 PM."
Bridge project to receive stimulus funds
"In a news release, State Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, noted, "Iron County is slated to benefit from a second project from the federal transportation stimulus dollars," construction of the Poplar Street bridge."
A Closer Look at Doyle's Proposed Fee Changes
  • Raise boat registration fees
  • Charge a new one-time $510 certification fee for adult family homes
  • Increase the fee on people buying handguns from $8 to $30
  • Double the fee to get a work permit
WIAA flexes muscles against Wisconsin newspapers
"The WIAA is asking a Portage County judge to rule that the organization has the right to "control the transmission, Internet stream, photo, image, film, videotape, audiotape, writing, drawing or other depiction or description" of high school games."
Obey joins earmark crackdown
"Under the reforms announced Wednesday, Obey's committee would have to submit every request for funding to the appropriate agency for review. Earmarks benefiting for-profit groups would have to go through a competitive bidding process.  "These reforms, when combined with previous reforms since Democrats took control of the House in 2007, protect the integrity of the process and assure the proper use of taxpayers' money," Obey said."
DNR still searching for mountain lion after Washburn County sighting
"With the first snow in a few days, DNR personnel spent all day Wednesday driving back roads in Washburn and Burnett counties looking for signs of the animal.  "I wish we saw something," said Ken Jonas, a wildlife biologist supervisor. "Hard to say where he went.""
Doyle proposes increasing earned income tax credit
"The increase would raise the state's maximum earned income tax credit from about $2,160 to about $2,430.  The credit benefits working parents with three or more children and incomes of less than $45,300. It has broad support because it rewards work and helps the poor."
Legislators explore measures to spend less on corrections
"Wisconsin spends more than $1.08 billion on corrections annually, more than the state spends on the entire University of Wisconsin System, according to Rep. Joe Parisi, D-Madison.  As part of a presentation by the Council of State Governments, legislators and community members discussed an overview of the state’s corrections system, conducted an analysis on ways to improve community corrections and offered up suggestions on improving the state’s correction system, all of which will be discussed at the committee’s next meeting in April."
Sudan says it has located kidnapped aid workers - Reuters
"The Sudanese government has located three international aid workers from the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres taken in Darfur and is in contact with the kidnappers, a foreign ministry official said on Friday.  "We know where they are ... We have established a link with them and we are discussing their terms," Mutrif Siddig, undersecretary at the foreign ministry, told Reuters."
US Import Prices Edge Lower; Reflecting Global Recession... Nasdaq
"Import prices were lower on a 12-month basis even excluding oil and other fuels, suggesting that steep drops in oil and commodity prices at the end of last year are no longer the primary source of U.S. disinflation, but rather the worldwide nature of the economic downturn."
Sarah Palin: More Earmark Hypocrisy - MotherJones
"In other words, earmarks rule in Alaska. And Palin, who last year tried to ride an anti-earmarks campaign into the vice presidency, is apparently willing to exploit the earmarks process, make her own requests, accept all the money that comes, and put that crusade of hers on hold."
I'm Mad as Hell! - TPM
"By this stage in the interview, Cramer is a whipped puppy, and Stewart has long since dispensed with any comedic effect, morphing into a basic cable Howard Beale:"


12 Mar

Hurley Montreal River Bridge Slated to Receive Federal Stimulus Funding
"The Montreal River Bridge in Hurley is one of forty-nine projects throughout the state to benefit from $42 million in federal transportation stimulus dollars for local projects. It is expected that the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee will review and approve these projects next week."
Board of Health seeks hike in inspection fees
"The Iron County Board of Health proposes to increase annual sanitation inspection fees for food-related businesses throughout the county."
Montreal council rejects exemption appeal
"The city council initially denied a tax exemption request from NWCSA chief executive officer Millie Rounsville on Oct. 14.In a Dec. 2 letter to Montreal Mayor Bob Morzenti, Montreal city attorney John Carter, from Milwaukee, said the NWCSA of Superior, Wis. does not qualify for tax-exempt status."
Forest Co. Drug Problem
"According to the Sheriff's Department Forest County's per capita crime rate is just behind Milwaukee--a statistic Deputy William Mertig says is related to drug use.  Mertig tells Newswatch 12, "A lot of the drug users will commit crimes to get money to pay for the drugs, they will steal things to pay for drugs.""
High school graduate workers exposed to most workplace smoking
"The University of Wisconsin-Madison Comprehensive Cancer Center survey says high school graduates are twice as likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than college grads. It also finds men are 50 percent more likely to be exposed to smoke than women."
$197 million to state for weatherization, energy help
"The state will receive $141,502,133 for the Weatherization Assistance Program and another $55,488,000 for the State Energy Program. Doyle said the money will create jobs and renewable energy manufacturing opportunities for state companies.  The funding is part of $8 billion in energy funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
Agreeing to pay for treatments can put patients, families in difficult spot
"Hospital staff said the transplant would cost about $274,000. Before they would put Martin on the waiting list for a liver, Lewis had to show proof of ability to pay and sign a financial responsibility form. If she didn’t sign it, he wouldn’t be listed and would receive medications and other care for his condition."
Foreclosures continue to soar in area
"Home foreclosures jumped 71 percent in February over January in south central Wisconsin, according to figures released Thursday.  RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure tracking firm, said 333 housing units recieved foreclosure filings in February in Dane, Columbia and Iowa Counties, up from 195 in January."
Oneida, Vilas unemployment sails past 10 percent
"America's and Wisconsin's prosperity is vanishing at a breathtaking rate - the stock market surrendered half its value this past year - and the news these days out of northern Wisconsin is no better, with unemployment rates in Oneida and Vilas counties zooming in January to more than 10 percent."
Atheists' group, church battling with bus signs - Wisconsin State Journal
"The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is spending $2,100 on six signs appearing for up to two months inside 50 buses. Each sign has a quotation questioning religion or giving reasons for not believing... In response to the ads, Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe said this week it purchased space on the outside of 11 Metro Transit buses for an ad quoting Psalm 14, verse 1: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.""
Give workers a fair shake... Chattanooga Times Free Press
"In the interim, many employers may use a number of tactics to intimidate employees against forming a union, including lengthy “education” campaigns and wrongful terminations. If union advocates manage to hold on and win a union organizing vote, employers may then may refuse to negotiate in good faith toward an initial contract, stretching out static pay and more intimidation for months, and even years, until union advocates give up."
Canadian Lawyers Seek To Ban (Or Prosecute) Bush For His Role In Authorizing Torture -  Think Progress
"But instead of greeting Bush with open arms and (potentially) wads of cash, activists and human rights lawyers in Canada are hoping their government will greet him with handcuffs — or at the very least — bar him entry in to the country. In fact, Vancouver Lawyer Gail Davidson said the government has an obligation under the law to ban Bush from entering Canada because of his role in supporting torture:"
Police report: Skoien with two prostitutes - Chicago Sun Times
"The allegation is in a domestic battery report from Skoien, 55, against his 36-year-old, 5-foot-4-inch, 110-pound wife. He said she beat him with her fists and an electric guitar.  But Skoien said the police report inaccurately stated that he had prostitutes in his home. Skoien said he and a friend were talking in the playroom when his wife came down and began beating him."
"Pardon my amusement but I have a hard time envisioning the little Republican wife going all "Peter Townsend" on the poor mope. - Bob]

11 Mar

Local Poet to Offer Reading and Book Signing
"Nora's Red Carpet Lounge in Hurley will be hosting a Poetry Reading and Book Signing by local author Patrick O'Neill on Thursday, March 19, 2009, at 7:00 PM. O'Neill has had several books of poetry published."
Iron County to cover airport shortfall
"The additional funds will be used for the local share of the new terminal and fuel tanks at the airport, according to Iron County Board of Supervisors member Don Richards, one of Iron County's representatives on the airport board."
Hurley to meet on stimulus projects
"City of Hurley officials will meet with MSA Professional Services representatives next week to determine federal stimulus project applications."
Mellen mill trims 81 jobs
"Eighty-one of the 180 employees at the Mellen mill are being laid off, according to Brian Kinsley, head of Columbia Forest Products' veneer division in Newport, Vt."
Another WI Company Affected by Rough Economy
"Toro vice president Sandy Meurlot says ``these are extraordinary times with conditions we haven't seen in decades.''  Toro started a voluntary retirement program last year, froze hiring, eliminated seasonal hiring and all overtime."
Deer harvest down 13% after harsh winter
"The drop in harvest was linked to a harsh winter and poor fawn production in 2008, according to Keith Warnke, DNR big game specialist.  The 2008 harvest numbers were released as statewide meetings begin this week to review deer management units."
State won't appeal minimum gas markup decision 
"Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he won't appeal a federal judge's decision striking down Wisconsin's minimum markup on gasoline."
Obama makes FAFSA easier
"The decision to simplify the Free Application of Federal Student Aid came from the president and the Department of Education’s goal of encouraging the maximum amount of students to receive some degree of upper-level education."
Oneida, Vilas unemployment sails past 10 percent
"In Oneida County, the unemployment rate jumped from 8.3 percent in December; a year ago the rate stood at 7.3 percent. In Vilas County, joblessness climbed a full two percentage points in a month, rising from 8.9 percent in December. A year ago the rate was 7.5 percent."
'Sex-y' sermons cause stir in rural Alabama - AP
"It's another thing when a small-town congregation puts up billboards with the phrase "Great sex: God's way" on rural highways to promote a sermon series. You can't even legally buy beer in Cullman County, and a preacher is talking about S-E-X on Sunday morning?"
Wal-Mart downgraded by Citigroup over unionization prospects... MarketWatch
"In that case, Wal-Mart might have to shoulder higher wages for more seasoned employees and increase employee benefits significantly. In addition, its flexibility in the job functions of its workforce could be decreased, while relationships between store-level managers and store associates could be impaired, the analyst said. Wal-Mart could also see its competitiveness reduced if it's forced to raise prices to help offset higher labor costs, she wrote in a research note."
Maine Skiers Warned About Late-night Owl Attacks - CBS News
""I've got my headlamp on, and all of a sudden, I felt a whack in the back of my head and this stinging, and I understood what everybody was talking about," said Allen, said he who screamed and waved his poles. His thick winter hat protected him from scratches."

10 Mar

Wis. deer numbers drop, season changes afoot
"New population estimates show Wisconsin’s deer herd has shrunk substantially, driving state wildlife officials to propose easing fall hunting regulations in some areas."
Four Midgettes earn all-conference honors
"Senior Kayla Windt made the team for a third consecutive season, senior Brittany Czerneski and junior Jesse Macky earned spots for the second straight year and sophomore Jeanna Aijala was also named to the squad. Mercer's Nici Roeder earned honorable mention."
Attorney General Won't Appeal Minimum Gas Markup Decision
"The 1939 law prohibits retailers from selling products for less than they paid. Gas stations must tack on 6 percent over what they paid or 9.18 percent over the average wholesale price of gas, whichever is higher.  U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa ruled in February the law violates federal antitrust statutes."
Survey shows Wisconsin becoming less Christian
"It says 76 percent of Wisconsinites identify as Christian, down from 91 percent in 1990. Fifteen percent claim no religion, up from 6 percent in 1990.  The survey says similar trends are seen nationwide."
Employers expect to maintain employment levels
"Sixty-seven percent of nearly 32,000 employers surveyed by Manpower Inc. of Milwaukee expect to maintain their workforce in the upcoming quarter, 15 percent expect to increase staff and 14 percent expect to cut employers."
FTC warns of misleading credit report sites
"The FTC’s videos are a spoof on FreeCreditReport.com, which has advertised its site for years with similar catchy videos of young men singing about their credit and repeating FreeCreditReport.com. Users of FreeCreditReport.com, however, are charged a fee if they do not cancel their membership within seven days of signing up."
Deer season structure proposal for 2009
""We've made a lot of progress toward deer goals," said Warnke. "The final decisions won't be made for another month, but that progress will be reflected in the season structures."  The preliminary map is shown below. It is also viewable via this link:  media.journalinteractive.com/documents/deerseasonstructure2009.pdf"
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers praise end of stem-cell ban
""The decision will help restore America as a leader in this field and is a clear path out of a policy thicket that has slowed the pace of discovery for eight years," he said [UW-Madison scientist James Thomson] in a statement. "It also removes a stigma that has discouraged many bright young people from embarking on careers in stem-cell research.""
Housing authority mulls smoking ban for new
"The CDA is considering whether to ban smoking in the $9.2 million housing development for low-income tenants.  CDA officials have worked closely with Allied Drive residents to set screening criteria and rents for the new housing at a level that would open its doors to them and their neighbors. A smoke-free policy would slam it, Artis said."
John Nichols: Have the last laugh on Limbaugh and honor Ted Kennedy with health reform
"So, yes, make it the Edward Kennedy National Health Care Bill.  Let Limbaugh have his hate.  Let Ted Kennedy -- and the humane and responsible advocates for reform who have battled all these years at the side of the liberal lion -- have the last laugh."
Christian outreach moves into the inner city - Christian Science Monitor
"Young Nadeje and her tutor, Leah Beidler, are sitting around the kitchen table as they do every Monday night. Usually, the fifth-grader from this inner-city Boston neighborhood and the college graduate from Vermont do homework.  But tonight they’re buying iTunes, in a warmly lit room painted robin’s-egg blue, with a framed collage of smiling neighborhood kids hanging overhead. You’d never guess this cozy apartment was once a decaying crack house where the walls were black with nicotine stains."
Southern Oligarchy and the Labor Unions - Populist
"Why weren’t these same senators protesting the high salaries in the financial sector when the Congress approved the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street? Why pick on blue-collar workers at the Big Three who last year agreed to huge concessions expected to save the companies an estimated $4 billion a year by 2010? These concessions have already helped lower union wages to non-union levels at some auto plants."
Hoffa Commends Sponsors of Employee Free Choice... Business Journal of Milwaukee
"The bill would give workers the choice of forming a union through majority sign-up or a National Labor Relations Board election. It would make it easier for workers to form a union.  "In these dire economic times, I can't think of a better way to restore stability to middle-class families than to strengthen unions," Hoffa said. "History shows that the economy does well when unions are strong.""
Jon Stewart Rips Into Jim Cramer Again - MSNBC
"Jon Stewart, whose pointed takedown of the network CNBC last week has already become legendary, returned to the subject Monday in response to host Jim Cramer's complaint that he was taken out of context during the segment."


09 Mar

Tournament Basketball Broadcasts:
  • MON. 3/9 6:15 BOYS – W-M vs. ONTONAGON @ W-M
  • WED. 3/11
    • 5:00 BOYS – IRONWOOD vs. HOUGHTON or L’ANSE @ Houghton
    • 6:15 BOYS – BESSEMER vs. W-M or ONTONAGON @ W-M
  • FRI. 3/13 TBA BOYS – IRONWOOD vs. CALUMET or HANCOCK @ Houghton (if Iwd. wins)
Fall Creek girls end Hurley's dream season
""We got outplayed," Hurley coach Melissa Oja said. "I thought they played more as a uniform team than we did. Offensively, we just had major, major breakdowns. In their offense, people were in position, cutting and moving and it definitely showed.""
[Congratulations to the team on their 23-1 season. - Bob]
Some State Voters To Become Inactive
"Wisconsin voters who have not voted for at least four years have two weeks to respond to a notice sent to them last month by the state Government Accountability Board or they will be declared inactive.  The postcard was mailed to more than 313,000 Wisconsinites last month and tells then that if they want to be retained as active voters, they must respond to the agency by March 23."
UW Researchers Praise Obama For Lifting Stem Cell Restrictions
"Researchers say the move will allow them to compete for more funding as they search for cures to some of the most debilitating diseases.  More than 30 research groups with a total of 80 scientists study human embryonic stem cells at UW-Madison."
So much for bipartisanship in Legislature
"Republicans are tearing apart Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget piece by piece, saying it was concocted behind closed doors with no Republican input. Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau has said the plan shows “no bipartisan spirit.”  Meanwhile, Doyle and other Democrats say they’re willing to listen to good ideas from Republicans, but they haven’t heard any yet."
DNR secretary measure has heavy support
""I can't recall a time when a controversial bill had this many co-sponsors," Black said in a statement. "This unprecedented strong and bipartisan support shows how important the independent of the DNR is to the citizens of the state.""
SBA lending in Wisconsin sank to $13.9 million in February
"Banks and other lenders last month advanced $13.9 million in SBA-guaranteed money. That compares with $35.2 million in February 2008, $41.2 million in February 2007 and $34.1 million in February 2006.  The loan totals also have slid sharply downward since September. After coming in at $35.2 million then, the loan totals have fallen every month and now are well under half the September level."
6 of 10 US lawmakers from Wisconsin seek earmarks
"Rep. David Obey, a Wausau Democrat who controls a significant chunk of the federal budget through his perch at the top of the House Appropriations Committee, attached his name to $68.8 million worth of earmarks in the current bill, much of it in his district."
Smoking bans will affect most of Dane County by end of summer
"Whether or not a statewide smoking ban included in Gov. Jim Doyle's 2009-11 budget proposal becomes law, most Dane County residents will find themselves living in smoke-free communities by the end of the summer, as municipal and county smoking bans go into effect."
Unemployment rates reach 25-year high
"Over the past year, the number of unemployed citizens in America increased by 5 million, with the unemployment rate rising 3.3 percent. However, in Wisconsin, unemployment rates for January increased by 1.2 percent, reaching 7.6 percent... Dane and Iron counties underwent the second smallest unemployment increase of 1.1 percentage points, following Menominee County, which only had an increase of .5 percentage points."
'What's with President Barack Obama's Rush to Kill?' -- Asks Day Gardner, National Black Pro-Life Union
"He has also been working relentlessly to force physicians to either kill "unwanted children" or refer their patients to other baby killers.  His latest effort is to ensure that even more children are killed by removing the ban from embryonic stem cell experiments."
UAW approves changes to union contract with Ford... MarketWatch
"According to the UAW, 59% of production workers and 58% of skilled-trades workers across the U.S. voted to ratify the agreement. Ford shares bucked a broader market downturn to register a 2.9% gain to $1.75. Under the terms of the deal announced last month, Ford will be able to use equity to fund up to 50% of its payments to the VEBA instead of cash."
18 deaths in February were possible suicides - Army Times
"Last month’s numbers are higher than the previous February, when 11 soldiers’ deaths were confirmed as suicides.  This February’s number represents a slight drop from as many as 24 suicides in January. Of the January deaths, 12 have been confirmed as suicides and 12 are suspected.  The January total was the highest monthly toll for the Army in nearly 30 years."

07&08 Mar

Wiildlife officials pursue mountain lion
"Wisconsin wildlife officials continued Thursday to pursue a mountain lion roaming near Spooner in an effort to fit it with a radio collar.  It’s only the second documented wild mountain lion in the state since the early 1900s. One spotted in January 2008 near Milton was later killed in a Chicago suburb."
Working lands workshop to be held In Ashland area
"The workshop will be focused on a variety of  ways landowners and communities can protect traditional farmlands and forest lands. It is one of a series of workshops co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and American Farmland Trust."
Conserve School Families React to Judge's Ruling
"It's unknown whether the late James Lowenstine, Conserve School's founder, would have approved of the program changes, but Greta believes he wouldn't done it differently.  She adds, "There's no way from what I know of him and what I know of the school that he would approve of what they've done to the students and what they've done to the staff. I think that's as much the spirit of the trust as the actual logistics of it.""
Decrease In Traffic Deaths
"Wisconsin had 29 fatalities in traffic crashes in February and deaths so far remain lower than last year's 64-year low... A total of 64 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2009, which is 16 fewer than the same period in 2008 and 30 fewer than the five-year average."
Wisconsin to receive $42.3 million for job training programs
"The funding is intended to help Americans get back to work by addressing immediate employment needs and especially targeting low-income and low-skilled job seekers.  The funds also are supposed to support increased youth employment activities this summer."
State retirement system to cut benefits in May
"About 145,000 retired state and local government workers and teachers will be affected by the cuts, Stohr said. About 35,000 of them at some point in their career elected to allocate some assets to the all-stock Variable Fund and will be affected by its much larger decline, he said."
Obama order may diminish importance of Thomson stem cells but expand the research
"Many newer stem cells, including some developed with private money at UW-Madison, are free from animal products and have more genetic diversity, said Kamp, who studies heart disease. That makes them better suited for eventual studies in people, he said."
All Wisconsin Retirement System pension checks to see a cut in May
"Retirement payments will shrink by 2.1 percent, effective May 1, for the 146,000 retirees whose pensions are funded solely by the Core Fund, the primary pension account, the state Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) said Friday. The reason: the stock market’s skid in late 2008."
Some credit unions expect loan losses
"Loan losses, which plagued some Wisconsin banks for most of last year, now are affecting some of the state’s credit unions.  Suzanne Cowan, director of the state Office of Credit Unions, said the amount of money set aside by credit unions to cover loan losses rose substantially in the fourth quarter of 2008."
Mercy Corps says millions left at risk in Darfur - The Oregonian
"About 2.5 million people there have been living on international aid channeled largely through relief organizations and the United Nations. They are no longer able to farm or work, and the exodus of aid agencies will leave many without food, potable water and health care, Keny-Guyer says."
1930s Unemployment vs. Today: It's About People, Not Percentages - Seeking Alpha
"The number of people affected at the peak of the depression was 13.5 million unemployed vs today's official number of 11.6 million. Eleven million six hundred thousand human beings unemployed is within a dangerously short distance of the worst number the Great Depression ever printed ..."
The media's tax fraud - Media Matters
"When is a tax cut for 98 percent of taxpayers portrayed as a tax increase? When some of the small handful of people whose taxes will go up happen to control the nation's news media.  Last week, President Obama unveiled a budget outline that extends the Bush tax cuts for all but the top two percent of taxpayers and makes permanent a tax credit of up to $800 for low- and middle-income workers that was included in the recent stimulus package, among other tax cuts."



06 Mar

Reminder: FRI. 3/6 5:45 GIRLS – Class D District Finals @ EWEN (feed from WUPY if local team playing)

HURLEY CITY COUNCIL -Tuesday, March 10, 2009

  • Board of Public Works – 6:00 P.M.
  • Police, Fire & License Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Parks & Recreation Committee
  • City Council Meeting - 6:30 P.M.
Wisconsin jobless figures for January brutal
"Although Iron County's jobless rate increased from 10.2 percent in December to 11.3 percent in January, it no longer was the worst rate in Wisconsin."
Robinson named new director of Hurley chamber
"Sarah Robinson is the new director of the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce.  Robinson has worked for the chamber for two years."
Ore on the Range
"If everything goes well, copper production from a 1950s mining site in Ironwood Township could materialize by 2013..."
Harley Davidson's Sales Fall
"Sales in the U.S., which account for nearly two-thirds of the company's business, were down 9.4 percent.  International sales skidded 21.5 percent compared with January and February of 2008."
Harley sales down 13% through February
"At this time, the company said, it continues to expect that it will ship 264,000 to 273,000 motorcycles in 2009 and believes that the company is on track to meet the 2009 guidance outlined in the 2008 fourth quarter and annual earnings release."
Governor's budget cuts toxic collection
"Doyle's budget cuts $1 million in grants for Clean Sweep programs that are used by about 40 agencies across Wisconsin each year.  Clean Sweep collects pesticides, drugs, paint, solvents and old televisions and computers."
Opinion: Limbaugh's party vs. Obama
"That's right.  Not satisfied with running the Republican Party, Limbaugh now wants to run the country -- or, at least, the discussion about its direction."
$5.89 million goes to WI job training
"The Wisconsin Sector Strategies Initiative will be funded by nearly $3 million in federal funds over the next two years and $490,000 in grants over the next few months, according to a statement from the governor."
Panel studies stimulus’ effect on poverty
"He added this will provide people who are working with a 6.2 percent credit on income tax. This element of the stimulus bill accounts for $116 billion.  According to Meyer, there are two reasons this is significant.  “One reason is that this is a new tax credit that is a new change that will last. Secondly, it covers a pretty wide range of the population. It is not targeted at low-income families,” Meyer said."
Rhinelander Airport bucks trend of service cutbacks
""The good news is that we still have four flights a day by Northwest going to Minneapolis and we still have our two flights a day by Great Lakes going to Milwaukee - no cutbacks - where the majority of airports have seen a reduction services, a reduction in the number of flights," he said. "We're maintaining our schedule, which is good.""
Festival of Peace Begins Today in Surat - The Times of India
"Pastor Sanjeev Christian of Festival of Peace Committee said, "The festival is organised for establishing peace in the world and its people. Special prayers
will be offered for terrorism, wars and the natural disasters, which are posing great danger to the mankind."  Reverend Cecil David said, "This is first time the city is going to witness such a festival. We are expecting participation of thousands of people.""
Piecemeal Layoffs Avoid Warning Laws... New York Times
"I.B.M. is one such company. It reported surprisingly strong quarterly profits in January, and in an e-mail message to employees, Samuel J. Palmisano, the chief executive, said that while other companies were cutting back, his would not. “Most importantly, we will invest in our people,” he wrote.  But the next day, more than 1,400 employees in I.B.M.’s sales and distribution division in the United States and Canada were told their jobs would be eliminated in a month."
CNBC won't talk after Jon Stewart rips network in wake of Santelli cancellation - Chicago Tribune
"Stewart then turned to CNBC itself, airing a selection of clips from personalities like Jim Cramer giving opinions and predictions about the economy that in retrospect looked spectacularly ill-informed.  "If I had only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today," Stewart said, "provided I'd started with $100 million.""

05 Mar

Joint Finance Committee Listening Session
"State Representative Gary Sherman (D–Port Wing) and Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) announced today that members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will hold a listening session on the state’s budget at the Ashland High School auditorium on Saturday, March 28th, 2009, starting at 9:00 a.m."
Baskeball Live Broadcasts
  • FRI. 3/6 5:45 GIRLS – Class D District Finals @ EWEN
    (feed from WUPY if local team playing)
  • FRI. 3/67:15 GIRLS – HURLEY vs. FALL CREEK @ Hayward
  • SAT. 3/7 6:45 GIRLS – HURLEY vs. COLFAX or PRESCOTT @ Altoona
    (if Hurley wins Friday)
  • SUN. 3/8 1:45 WOMENS – MCC-Penn Valley @ GCC
    (District F Playoff)
Apostles are Wisconsin's choice for coins honoring National Parks
"Images of the Apostle Islands’ unmatched natural beauty may one day be circulated among millions of Americans if the state's selection of the national lakeshore is adopted by the U.S. Mint into a series of new quarter coins honoring America's national parks and other national sites."
Bulldogs pull upset of Hurley
"Chetek opened up a 15-point second-half lead on Hurley in Tuesday’s WIAA Division 3 regional. But Hurley clawed all the way back to tie the game, only to see Shawn Sanders hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bulldogs to the 62-59 upset."
Bulldogs upset Midgets
"Chetek senior Shawn Sanders hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to go as the seventh-seeded Bulldogs pulled off a 62-59 upset of No. 2 Hurley in the WIAA Division 3 regional opener Tuesday night."
Flambeau tops Mercer
"Leading fourth-seeded Flambeau 39-32 entering the fourth quarter, the Tigers (8-13) were unable to hang on, as the Falcons (18-5) held Mercer to just six points in the final period to pull out a 53-45 victory."
Wisconsin Lawmakers & Line Item Veto Legislation
"Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold and Republican Representative Paul Ryan are forming an unlikely partnership to push Congress to pass line item veto legislation.  That would give President Barack Obama the power to strike individual items from budget bills."
Doyle is among those picked to help lead administration's health forums
"After Thursday's health care "summit" at the White House, the Obama administration will be taking the discussion on the road and has tapped Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and others to help lead a series of regional forums on health care reform around the country.  Doyle and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will preside over the first of these events in Dearborn, Mich., on March 12, according to White House aides."
Wisconsin wildlife officials pursue mountain lion
"DNR officials attempted to capture the adult male twice in two days after tracking it up trees. But each time, the animal jumped out of the tree and ran off.  "We want to be very safe with the animal when it's in an elevated position," Jonas said. "We're using an immobilization agent that's more gradual. We're trying to get it groggy, so to speak, and get set up with a net below for it.""
State kids can get tree seedlings to plant  
"Kids across Wisconsin can become the new "Johnny Appleseeds" by planting tree seedlings available to youth groups through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources."
Dead Sea scrolls headed for public museum - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"An exhibit of the legendary Dead Sea scrolls will appear at the Milwaukee Public Museum in late 2009 or early 2010, museum officials confirmed Thursday. The scrolls date to about the middle of the first century B.C.  Museum spokeswoman Mary Bridges said that the museum is in the process of determining exactly what artifacts will appear in the exhibit and would not give the exhibit a name or say where the artifacts will come from."
A 2nd State Lets Doctors Lend Help in Suicide - NY Times
"Washington’s law is essentially identical to the one in Oregon, the only other state that allows doctors to prescribe lethal medications. It is the first in the country since the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that states had a right to adopt such measures."
Ford debt offer could put off "day of reckoning"... Globe Investor
""Every company out there is doing some version of this, so it's not surprising," said Jeff Given, a portfolio manager at John Hancock in Boston, where he manages fixed-income assets, including Ford bonds. "If you can put off the day of reckoning longer, that makes sense."  "This puts them in a stronger financial position going forward, allows them to convert the debt to equity and helps recapitalize the entity," Given said."
In past 2 years, 87 million in U.S. went uninsured - Reuters
"A third of Americans under age 65 -- 86.7 million people -- went without health insurance at some point during the past two years, according to a report released Wednesday.  The report from the advocacy group Families USA showed that the lack of access to health insurance in the United States is more widespread than government statistics suggest."

04 Mar

  I had a run-in with Bambi and a few of his homies on the way from Hurley, WI to WC this evening ... Persons wishing to pay their respects will find him east of Rockford on the side of the expressway.  Three got away clean and I suspect a fourth is limping.  I don't feel like finishing this update tonight.  Sorry.  - Bob
Hurley game moved to Hayward
"Friday's WIAA Division 3 girls basketball sectional semifinal between Hurley and Fall Creek has been switched to Hayward at 7 p.m."
Midgets, Guards regroup for regionals
"After enduring an epic battle for the Indianhead Conference title Friday night, area boys basketball fans hope both the Hurley Midgets and Washburn Castle Guards have something left in the tank as WIAA regionals tip off tonight."
Midgettes game time changed
"The game time for Hurley's WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal game on Friday has been moved a half-hour later to 7:30 p.m."
[Reminder that this should be on WJMS 590 AM as per:
  • "Friday - 5:45 Girls - Class D District Finals, if there is a local team playing
  • Friday - 6:45 Girls - if Hurley wins Saturday 2/28 @ Neillsville, opponent TBD"]
  • To OWI or not OWI?
    "Law enforcement officers in Iron County are questioning their judgment in issuing drunk driving citations... A review of the last 20 alcohol-related dispositions in Iron County Court shows seven OWIs amended to lesser charges."
    School truancies down at Hurley
    "Jim Kivisto, who handles alternative education programs at the school and checks student absences, said in mid-February there had been 26 truancies. There were three times as many truancies a year ago, he said."
    • Bulldogs upset Midgets
      "The Midgets, who were hoping to defend last year's regional title, dug too big of a hole in the first three quarters for their fourth-quarter comeback to take the game into overtime."
    • Flambeau tops Mercer
      "Leading fourth-seeded Flambeau 39-32 entering the fourth quarter, the Tigers (8-13) were unable to hang on, as the Falcons (18-5) held Mercer to just six points in the final period to pull out a 53-45 victory."
    Unpaid Taxes
    "Department of Revenue figures show the total of delinquent taxes rose 27 percent in a year, increasing from $800 million to $1 billion on July 1."
    Costs for Recycling
    "The Oneida County Landfill used to pay trash collection businesses like Northern Waste in Rhinelander to bring in recyclables, but now companies are not buying recycled products from the landfills which means it is becoming increasingly expensive to process these materials."
    State’s delinquent taxes top $1 billion
    "The rising tax delinquency comes at a time when Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed cutting 32 full-time Revenue Department jobs to help balance the budget."
    Municipalities will decide how to spend about one-third of state's federal stimulus road project money
    "But those projects must be major roadways identified on federal highway maps and go toward long-term improvements, said Al Fish, UW-Madison’s associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management who is helping lead the state’s response to the $787 billion federal stimulus bill."
    The feds help cover health costs for the unemployed, but it's still steep for some 
    "A key provision in President Barack Obama's economic recovery package will help unemployed workers pay for the continuation of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Until recently, employees have had to pick up the entire cost of their monthly COBRA premiums. Under Obama's plan, Uncle Sam will pick up 65 percent of the tab for up to nine months."
    Anglican diocese to defy ban, perform same-sex blessings - The National Post
    "The Diocese of Ottawa has said it will perform same-sex blessings, becoming the first Canadian Anglican diocese to make such a move since a ban was imposed on the practice by the international church.
    Obama: Bush government tried to undermine unions... KNAU
    ""We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests," Obama said in prepared remarks for a video address to the executive board of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, meeting in Miami."
    Bush's executive tyranny - LA Times
    "In the course of such operations, according to the Office of Legal Counsel, the military was free to ignore 4th Amendment prohibitions on illegal search and seizure and to engage in warrantless wiretapping. 1st Amendment protections of free speech also could be suspended at the chief executive's directive, according to these opinions, and the president has the power to abrogate any international treaty at will."

    03 Mar

    Tuesday - 6:45 Boys - Chetek @ Hurley - WIAA Division 3 on WJMS AM 590.
    • Defense paves way for Hurley
      "The Midgettes switched to a sticky man-to-man in the second half to help erase a five-point deficit, and Kayla Windt and Jesse Mackey hit free throws down the stretch as the Midgettes beat the Lumberjills 43-34 in the final girls game at the red-clad "Birdcage.""
    • Hurley edges Castle Guards
      "Daulton Levra made two free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining to lift the Hurley Midgets to a thrilling 42-41 victory over the Washburn Castle Guards before a packed house."
    State to close Hurley Welcome Center in April
    "The rest areas, operated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will remain open.  The rest area building on U.S. 51 just north of Hurley is owned and maintained by WDOT... Brochures and other printed materials will still be available at the rest areas and can be found in many other places including restaurants, convenience stores and other retail businesses, especially near popular tourist sites."
    Change of venue for Midgettes
    "At approximately 85 miles from Hurley, the Midgettes' trip was cut by more than 100 miles. Fall Creek, Hurley's opponent, now has the longer trip at 115 miles, as opposed to what would have been a 39-mile jog to Neillsville."
    WI Lottery Sales Down
    "In a report released Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue says through January lottery ticket sales were down 5% compared to last year and the department expects ticket sales to drop another 3.5%. "
    State investment pool loses risk insurance
    ""We have been informed by Financial Security Assistance that, due to the current market environment, they will no longer be insuring money funds," Sass wrote. "As a result, commercial paper and negotiable certificates of deposit purchased for the LGIP after Feb. 15, 2009, will no longer be insured against credit loss.""
    Doyle proposes decrease in state aid to help smokers kick the habit
    "A proposed statewide ban on lighting up in bars and restaurants and near outside entrances to buildings could further reduce smoking.  Yet as Gov. Jim Doyle proposes to raise $291 million more in taxes on smokers and tobacco users over the next two years, he is proposing to cut state help to programs that help smokers kick the habit by $1.8 million — on top of $2 million in cuts already being made this year."
    Bump in Wisconsin unemployment benefits delayed
    "Department of Workforce Development spokesman Chris Marschman says the state is making the changes as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, unemployed workers are receiving benefits under the old levels. Those are capped at $363 per week."
    State's prison population has hit plateau and fewer on probation, report says
    "Wisconsin "is moving in the right direction," Raemisch said. "We’re seeing our prison population leveling off, and we’ve had a couple of thousand people (fall) off our probation numbers.""
    UW faculty again backs domestic partner benefits
    "It's a matter of justice and equal treatment for equal performance. And there are instances of outstanding faculty who have left because we don't have these benefits that are provided by other large corporations, and small ones, throughout the state."
    State may reduce sex offender tracking to save cash
    "Under “active” monitoring, sex offenders carry a portable tracking device that allows law enforcement to watch them 24 hours a day. Those under “passive” monitoring are watched more loosely, with their movements reported only when offenders recharge their tracking device."
    Mayor wants pot legalized
    "Rachel Strauch-Nelson, spokesperson for Cieslewicz, said legalizing marijuana is not a pending decision in the city. If the mayor had more say about the issue, he would probably be pursuing the matter, she added."
    Christians’ plea to parties - The Hindu
    "Reaffirming the community’s commitment to secularism and democracy, the memorandum urges political parties to use the election as an opportunity to halt the trend of religious, caste and gender intolerance."
    Labor leader discusses union, Democratic party at Illinois StateU-Wire.com
    "Matejka said President Obama has already pledged his support for the Employee Free Choice Act, which will make it easier for employees to join, create or assist in labor organizations.  "What a lot of businesses do is when they hear about unions trying to organize, they find out who the ring-leaders are and they fire those people," he said."
    Office of Legal Counsel Memoranda  - Department of Justice
    "Due to public interest in this matter, the Department of Justice is releasing these documents in an inaccessible format. Accessible versions will be posted as soon as possible. If you have a disability and the format of any material on the site interferes with your ability to access some information, please email the Department of Justice webmaster at webmaster@usdoj.gov."

    02 Mar

    Monday - 5:45 Girls - Bessemer @ Ewen-Trout Creek - Class D District 127 on WJMS AM 590.
    Tax Cutting and Structural Deficits
    "Ever since I took office, I have attempted to elevate the level of public discussion of major issues. One of the things that has always bothered me has been the lack of concern for facts. People just seem to assume that whatever they believe, or read, or are told by self-proclaimed experts, is true - without actually knowing anything about it themselves.  Viral email, in particular, is almost never true."

    [I really like the attempts of Rep. Sherman to get the facts out there where a voter can make decisions based on fact, not the latest party smear. - Bob]

    Feingold questions lack of state-based TV programming
    "Feingold said he would support changes to the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA) when it comes up for reauthorization, or other legislative fixes that would allow people in those affected Wisconsin counties to receive Wisconsin-based coverage from other markets via satellite or cable."
    Dinner for 46?
    "Whether it becomes an enormous dinner table or a bragging-rights corporate boardroom gathering point, at 40 feet in length, an immense slab of ancient Kauri Wood from New Zealand is undoubtedly the largest single plank of wood in the world. It arrived in the United States last week and was delivered to Ashland's Ancientwood Ltd. Friday."
    Turkey feed draws more than 900 diners at Kimball
    "More than 923 people had ordered turkey dinners at the Kimball Community Center as of 4 p.m. Sunday. The annual turkey feed is a benefit for the Kimball Volunteer Fire Department."
    • Midgettes claim regional
      "The Hurley Midgettes won a WIAA Division 3 regional title, their first since 1980, after trailing by as many as seven points in the first half and the third quarter in a 43-34 win over Ladysmith Saturday."
    • Midgets win thriller, piece of Indianhead title
      "Hurley earned a share of the IC title with a 42-41 victory Friday over Washburn, the team they now own the conference championship with.  The Midgets (15-5, 13-3) completed the regular season sweep of Washburn (13-3 IC) in a game to remember."
    Turkey Hunting
    "The state has about 70,900 permits leftover in six of the state's seven hunting zones.  They'll go on sale beginning March 23."
    Wis. budget calls to curtail DNR, DMV services
    "Some state employees would lose their jobs or move to another city. Travelers would have to guide themselves. Hunters and anglers would have to find new places to buy licenses. Small-town teenagers would have to travel dozens of miles more to take their drivers license road tests."
    Council considers development wage, hiring standards
    "Among other provisions, the ordinance also would increase the required share of Milwaukee residents hired by contractors working on city public works projects, and create preferences for Milwaukee-based firms that bid on such projects.  Supporters say those provisions will ensure that Milwaukee residents and businesses will reap more benefits from city-financed public works projects."
    States urged to improve probation, parole programs
    "The Pew Center on the States report, released Monday, says the number of people on probation or parole nearly doubled to more than 5 million between 1982 and 2007. Including jail and prison inmates, the total population of the U.S. corrections system now exceeds 7.3 million - one of every 31 U.S. adults, it said."
    FBI spies chill speech and faith, Muslims say - Los Angeles Times
    "... last week, it became the most publicized mosque in California with disclosures that the FBI sent an informant there to spy and collect evidence of jihadist rhetoric and other allegedly extremist acts by an Orange County man who attended prayers there."
    Labor Lobby Enjoys a Return to Prominence... CQ Politics
    "Long a powerful constituency within the Democratic Party, union leaders relish the prospect of playing an influential role in Congress and the Obama administration.  Wilson’s union, which spent more than $1 million on federal lobbying last year, is placing particular emphasis on a measure to make it easier for unions to recruit new members. Health care and immigration are also high on labor’s agenda."
    CIA Destroyed Nearly 100 Interrogation Tapes
    "The letter, dated March 2 to Judge Alvin Hellerstein, says the CIA is now gathering more details for the lawsuit, including a list of the destroyed records, any secondary accounts that describe the destroyed contents, and the identities of those who may have viewed or possessed the recordings before they were destroyed.  But the lawyers also note that some of that information may be classified, such as the names of CIA personnel that viewed the tapes."

    28 Feb & 01 Mar

    Hurley settles in, thumps Phillips
    "Despite a comfortable win Tuesday night, the Hurley Midgettes weren’t very comfortable with how they played.  With that, they focused on getting their comfort zone at practice and apparently did just that. The Midgettes were clicking in all areas Thursday as they cruised to an 80-43 victory over the Phillips Loggers in their WIAA Division 3 girls basketball regional tournament game."
    Midgets win thriller, piece of Indianhead title
    "Hurley earned a share of the IC title with a 42-41 victory Friday over Washburn, the team they now own the conference championship with.  The Midgets (15-5, 13-3) completed the regular season sweep of Washburn (13-3 IC) in a game to remember."
    Tigers win season finale over WVL 82-31
    "Matt Klopatek led the Tigers (8-12) with 24 points and 10 assists. Brett Pfieffer scored 16 points with 14 rebounds and Jeff Richards dished out nine assists. Josh Verdevela led WVL with 14 points."
    WI Could Close 8 Welcome Centers Including Hurley's
    "But the Welcome Centers, the first of which opened in 1962, provide more than just printed information, said John Gulig, who manages the Kenosha center. They also offer a much-needed dose of human interaction during a time when people are being pushed into the Internet, voice mail and other soulless endeavors, he said.  "They still want that personal touch," said Gulig, who's worked at the center for 14 years. "People want to talk to people.""
    Reaction to Earth Liberation Front Sentencing
    "One of the main trees they work with is a hybrid poplar, a combination of a poplar and an Aspen.  Eric Gustafson is the Director for the institute and he says the trouble arose with ELF when they had mistaken ideas about how these trees are bred.  ELF was apparently concerned the institute was genetically engineering the trees, but Gustafson says they use a traditional, natural breeding method for the trees."
    Forest Service Maps
    "Forest Supervisor Jeanne Higgins says the maps of the northern Wisconsin forest show roads and trails open to motor vehicles and are the product of more than two years of work.  The maps also show areas open to all-terrain and other classes of vehicles and when the areas are open."
    [Click HERE to link to the PDF maps. - Bob]
    Despite budget problems, UWM chief to keep pushing improvements
    "The school is seeking state approval for $240 million in building projects over the next six years, including new schools of freshwater science and public health and the envisioned engineering complex in Wauwatosa. Meanwhile, Santiago is urging legislators to restore some of the $8.4 million UWM requested."
    Apostle Islands nominated for new parks quarter
    "The Apostle Islands National Seashore will be Wisconsin's nomination for the new quarter honoring national parks.  Gov. Jim Doyle said Friday the islands on Lake Superior have been selected for the U.S. Mint's new quarter program."
    State withholds payments to five voucher schools
    "State officials said that the two established schools, Early View Academy and LaBrew Troopers Military University High School, each owed the state more than $200,000 because previous payments were larger than they should have been. The state policy is not to make any further payments until overpayments are cleared up."
    Wis. to pay back $15.6M in disputed welfare funds
    "Gov. Jim Doyle included money to cover the payment in his two-year budget this month and lawmakers said they likely will have no choice but to approve the request. The state will pay $500,000 every month through June and the remaining $13.1 million in the budget year that begins July 1.  The payments resolve a dispute that dates back to the 1990s but come just as Wisconsin faces its worst financial situation in history: a $5.7 billion budget shortfall through mid-2011."
    LdF Tribe will go to referendum in efforts to spear more walleye
    "This year, spearers of the Lac du Flambeau are taking the same route by saying they want more and need more fish, and that the tribe should eliminate the current agreement with the State of Wisconsin opening Pandora's box for negotiations on bag limits for hook and line fishermen on non-reservation lakes declared by the tribe."
    WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 27 Feb 09
    Man stabs son for wearing hat in church
    "Police said a 58-year-old man stabbed his teenage son after he refused to take off his hat at church earlier in the day. The father and his 19-year-old son got into an argument on Sunday afternoon. That's when police said the father went to a car, got a knife and stabbed his son in the left buttock and fled."
    Solar industry, unions heading for clash on jobs - Las Vegas Sun
    "In operation since June 2007, the 64-megawatt Nevada Solar One plant built by Spain-based Acciona was the first solar thermal plant built in 17 years and the largest of its kind in the world. The $260 million construction project hired labor from outside Nevada and in many cases outside the United States.  That became a rallying point for the state AFL-CIO, which had promoted legislation in 2001 that provided $15 million in state incentives for the plant. The union had imagined the incentives would be used to train and hire Nevadans for the high-paying specialized electrical work of hooking up photovoltaic solar panels to homes and businesses."
    Right-Wing Tax And Budget Myths - The Progress Report
    "As the Center for American Progress's Michael Ettlinger noted, these changes are "going to provoke outrage." But "were this budget to be enacted, it would be by far the most significant progressive step in over forty years," noted CAPAF Fellow Matt Yglesias. Conservatives are already propagating various myths about the budget; The Progress Report offers these debunks:"
    Worst Week Ever: Republicans Unhinged - Huffington Post
    "In just seven days, Republicans have offered up more amusement and fodder for an election campaign than even the most hopeful among us could have expected. What is especially thrilling is that it comes at little expense:"
    [This is exactly the kind of gloating that makes bipartisanship impossible. - Bob]
    Feingold Questions Northwest Wisconsinites' Inability to Receive WI-Related Programing - WQOW TV News 18 - Eau Claire