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29 May

Cardinals end Midgettes' season
"Park Falls took advantage of Hurley's miscues in the field to win its third straight regional title with a 6-3 win Thursday.  The Midgettes were solid at the plate and on the mound, but they gave up four unearned runs off five uncharacteristic errors."
Park Falls knocks off Hurley
"Kelsey Walasek had three hits and kept the potent Hurley bats in check Thursday as the Park Falls Cardinals defeated the Midgettes 6-3 in a WIAA Division 3 regional final."
Xcel Energy seeks $30.4 million rate increase
"Typical residential customers of Xcel Energy in Wisconsin will pay an average of $4.56 a month more on their electric bills if the Wisconsin Public Service commission (WPSC) approves a requested 5.7 percent rate hike on electric service for 2010."
The Joint Finance Committee Passes Two Year State Budget
"The budget includes a 75-cent per-pack cigarette tax increase, a new tax on large oil companies, cuts to schools and state government, and other measures to balance a $6.6 billion shortfall."
A Cap On Teacher Pay Increases May Soon Be Over
"A 16-year-old state law that effectively places a cap on teacher pay increases would remain in place for only one more year under the budget being finalized by a legislative committee.  Gov. Jim Doyle and the state's biggest teachers union have long advocated for doing away with the so-called qualified economic offer."
US judge refuses to dismiss ’Day of Prayer’ suit
"The Obama administration and National Day of Prayer Task Force filed motions to dismiss the case, but Crabb rejected them as premature.  She says the foundation faces a heavy burden in proving the tradition violates the separation of church and state but should have an opportunity to do so."
Finance Committee signs off on corrections plan
""This provision guts the idea of truth in sentencing," said Rep. Robin Vos (R-Caledonia). "There are going to be more victims." ... "It’s time that you get... not just tough on crime but smart on crime," said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a committee co-chairman.
Bike to work week starts June 6 
""Simply, the warmer June weather is going to draw out more people and encourage more first-time bike commuters," said Bike to Work Week project manager Shea Schachmeyer. "Numerous communities throughout the country have initiated this trend as well, moving Bike to Work Week to best accommodate the peak time of year to bike.""
WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 28 May 09 Washington, DC
Pro-life Catholic leader roots for Sotomayor - The Washington Times
"We encourage the Senate Judiciary Committee to engage Judge Sotomayor and any future nominees to the Court on their commitment to the principles of Roe v. Wade," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "Anything less threatens not only a woman's constitutional rights, but her life and health."

28 May

Snow Capital declaration
" Iron County board members adopted a resolution Wednesday declaring Iron County the Snow Capital of Wisconsin.  The resolution is an attempt to get the attention of Wisconsin legislators and possibly eliminate Wisconsin's late deer hunting season, at least in Iron County.  County officials want legislators to recognize that the extended deer hunting seasons are affecting snowmobiling in the county."
  • Midgettes, Cardinals play for higher reward
    "Park Falls looks to get revenge on Hurley Thursday in the WIAA Division 3 softball regional final in Hurley at 5 p.m."
  • Midgettes win; host Park Falls in final
    "Hurley scored seven runs in the fourth inning to break the game open.  Czerneski started the inning with a four-pitch walk. Freshmen Caitlin Maki and Bry Stengard each followed with singles. Czerneski and Maki both scored on a single by Jesse Mackey."
Alliant Energy Cuts 150 Jobs
"The cuts include 125 management and nonunion employees.  Alliant spokesman Rob Crain says the positions eliminated include about 30 percent of the company's highest-ranking managers."
President Called Feingold to Talk About Supreme Court Pick
"Feingold says Sotomayor is a bright judge who doesn't let people push her around. He says he still wants to learn more about her background, but Sen. Feingold says Sotomayor, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bush Sr. in 1992, isn't a controversial choice."
Press Gazette
Green Bay
State smoking ban will apply to Lambeau Field
"Smoking is permitted in designated areas of the stadium concourse, but Webb said Packers officials admit it isn't strictly enforced. Smoking is not permitted in the stadium bowl. The state law, which Gov. Jim Doyle signed May 18, includes "any stadium, pavilion, gymnasium, swimming pool, skating rink, bowling center, or other building where spectator sporting events are held," according to the final version of the bill."
More Wis. banks profitable in 1st quarter
"Wisconsin Bankers Association chief executive Kurt Bauer says even though there's been improvement, it's expected to be a tough year for bank earnings. A total of 254 Wisconsin's banks showed a profit in the quarter, together making about $75 million. That compares with a collective loss of nearly $2 billion in the fourth quarter."
General Accuses WH of War Crimes - Washington Post
""In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored.  there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.""
""This citation and fine from OHSA is important because it shows that Walmart could have prevented this death, but did not. Walmart had a responsibility to ensure its workers were safe, but instead put profits ahead of people, and failed its employees, and its customers."

27 May

Young for the Thumb
"About 15 master gardeners and other volunteers, including Hurley mayor Joe Pinardi and police chief Dan Erspamer, helped 37 students from Hurley K-12 School plant multi-colored petunias in 64 planters flanking 32 benches along Silver Street."
Midgettes win; host Park Falls in final
"Hurley advanced to the WIAA Division 3 regional final with a 12-2 win over Cameron in a semifinal in six innings Tuesday at the Hurley K-12 School.  The Midgettes play Park Falls on Thursday in Hurley. The Cardinals defeated Chetek 3-1 in the other semi."
Washburn edges Hurley for regional golf title
"Jared Reid will have some company for his fourth consecutive trip to the WIAA Division 3 sectional golf tournament. Hurley finished second to Washburn, 355-350, at the regional tournament at Eagle Bluff on Tuesday and the team advanced to Monday's sectional at Luck."
ASD rejects open enrollment students due to space constraints
"The students, who have been put on a waiting list that gives preference to those who have siblings already attending school in Ashland, would be entering kindergarten, first grade or third grade next year."
Wolves kill calf at Moquah beef farm
"Given the attachment to their animals, the discovery that Appelgren stumbled onto at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning was particularly horrifying. Just a short distance from the barn, one of their 35 prized Limousin calves lay in the field, dead and disemboweled."
Background Check Fees for Handguns Could Rise
"The Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 Tuesday to increase the fee from $8 to $13.  Doyle had wanted to raise it to $30.  The Democratic-controlled Legislature must approve the $5 fee increase before it takes effect. "
Leilani Neumann Comments On Her Guilty Verdict
"She says ``the real issue is our local and national government is turning more and more anti-God.''  The child's father, Dale Neumann, will face his own trial in July on a charge of second-degree reckless homicide."
Joint legislative panel favors police collection of data on race
"Starting in 2011, law enforcement officials across the state would be required to compile data on the race of people stopped by police, under a budget proposal that the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee recommended late Tuesday."
Wis. Supreme Court says judges will give up raises
"Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson says the decision means the judicial branch is joining other parts of government to solve the state's projected $6.6 billion budget shortfall."
Judiciary Committee members Feingold, Kohl hail Sotomayor pick
""I'm pleased to learn of President Obama's historic nomination of the first Latina to the Supreme Court," said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis. "By all accounts, Judge Sotomayor is accomplished, exceptionally bright and well respected by her peers. It would be tough to classify her as a liberal or a conservative,..."
Church-state separation group eyes Salvation Army shelter 
"Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State has given the county until mid-June to address allegations about The Salvation Army homeless shelter in La Crosse.  The group said it has received complaints “the Army regularly presents prayers and sermons at meals, and holds religious services” at the shelter."

26 May

Ashland beats Hurley twice
"Ashland beat Hurley twice on Friday night as the Midgets struggled once again on the defensive side of the ball. Ashland won 15-3 in game one and 14-9 in the second game."
New state smoking ban law receives mixed reviews
""In Dane County, a first-time offender caught with a small amount of marijuana, which is illegal, can be fined about 15 bucks," Meyer said. "While according to this new anti-smoking law, someone smoking a cigarette, which is legal, can be fined $100 or more.""
BadgerCare Plus Health Insurance
"Some low-income Wisconsin families can begin applying for an expanded state health insurance program next month.  The BadgerCare Plus Core Plan provides health insurance to uninsured low-income adults with no children."
Neumann: 'I did what I thought was lawful'
"Neumann and her family showed no physical signs of emotion Friday after a Marathon County jury found her guilty of second-degree reckless homicide in connection with the March 23, 2008, death of her 11-year-old daughter, Madeline Kara Neumann. Prosecutors said that Neumann should have recognized that Kara was seriously ill and taken her to a doctor instead of praying for the child’s recovery."
State wolf numbers explode
"A harsh winter allowed Wisconsin's wolf pack to feast on weakened deer, sending the population surging between 16 percent and 21 percent, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.  The growth -- from about 550 wolves in the winter of 2007 to about 650 last winter -- is prompting increased calls for a wolf-hunting season in Wisconsin."
New construction contracts far below a year ago
"Through the first four months of 2009, $67.7 million in residential construction contracts have been issued, a 43 percent drop from 2008, while $196.3 million in non-residential contracts have been issued, a 13 percent decline from the first four months of 2008."
Home prices fall by record 19.1 percent in first quarter
"The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history.  Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006 and are at levels not seen since the end of 2002."
  Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths - McClatchy
"A Pentagon study released last year, based on a review of 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the U.S.-led invasion, concluded that while Saddam supported militant Palestinian groups — the late terrorist Abu Nidal found refuge in Baghdad, at least until Saddam had him killed — the Iraqi security services had no "direct operational link" with al Qaida."

25 May

It's a family affair
"Hundreds of ATVers participated in Friday's parade that was termed "a practice run" for Iron County's attempt to recapture the Guinness Book of Records title for the world's largest ATV parade in 2010.  Iron County captured the title in 2005 with 687 entrants in its Friday night parade. "
Friday part of learning cycle for Hurley 3rd graders
"Hurley police officer Chris Colassaco offered that and other bicycle maintenance and safety tips to third graders at Hurley K-12 School on Friday afternoon."
Midgettes to host Cameron Tuesday
"Hurley will host Cameron Tuesday in a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal at 5 p.m. No. 4 seeded Cameron (7-6) beat No. 5 Ladysmith 11-4 on Thursday in the regional's opening round."
Broadband Loan
"SonicNet will build up to eight Broadband towers in the county by the end of next year. Officials say this is a major victory for local businesses and local Internet users.  Jim Kumbera, Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, says, "This is going to give us a very competitive edge in attracting businesses, attracting homebased businesses, and the key thing is it's going to give an opportunity to our youth in the community who are very restricted in broadband in many cases.""
Proposal May Limit Hunters Weapons
"The Wisconsin Conservation Congress fears that definition of legal firearms could allow hunters to use new, untested technology, such as electromagnetic weapons. The congress is an influential group of sportsmen that advises the Department of Natural Resources."
Summer camping spikes
"A tough economy appears to be prompting Wisconsin residents to forgo big vacation getaways in exchange for outdoor activities closer to home.  Advance reservations for camp sites in state forests have increased 5 percent, with the number of nights reserved by campers up 11 percent through May 4 compared with the same time last year,
Feingold will challenge Obama on 'prolonged detentions'
"In fact, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution has informed the president that he plans to hold hearings on aspects of the president's plan that the senator bluntly describes as violations of basic American values that are "likely unconstitutional.""
Early retirement claims increase dramatically
"Many of the additional retirements are probably laid-off workers who are claiming Social Security early, despite reduced benefits, because they are under immediate financial pressure, Goss and other analysts believe.  The numbers upend expectations that older Americans who sustained financial losses in the recession would work longer to rebuild their nest eggs."
State slashes UW system budget by $120 million
"The committee, however, also approved spending $15 million for a retention fund for high-demand faculty members and to pay for UW research initiatives in bioenergy, DNA and biotechnology."
Same-sex couples closer to having rights as marriage
"The Legislature’s budget committee voted 12-4 Friday for a plan allowing gay and lesbian couples who live together to form domestic partnerships and receive some of the same benefits as married couples.  If the plan becomes law, Wisconsin would be the first state to legalize domestic partnerships despite a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage and “substantially similar” same-sex relationships."
  Bush-Cheney Torture Killed Thousands of Americans
"I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo ...  It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse."

22 May

UpComing Live HS Sports on WJMS 590 AM
High winds, downed power lines cause multiple forest fires
"According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Specialist Tom Piikkila, the DNR responded to some 25 fire calls throughout the Brule Dispatch coverage area, including Ashland, Bayfield, Iron and Douglas counties."
Strong winds fan fires from Oma to Gurney
"Firefighters from 12 area departments responded to three major fires in Iron County Wednesday afternoon, all reported within a 90-minute time frame.  The fire departments traveled from one fire to another."
Fires abound in national forest
"Fire danger remained very high to extreme across much of the forest as high winds, hot temperatures and low relative humidity aided fire conditions. The largest fire was about seven miles east of Park Falls, near Blockhouse Lake. It covered about 100 acres and destroyed several structures."
Daily Globe's Montz, WJMS win Good News Awards
"WJMS-AM radio won a Good News Award, the top award, for a Memorial Day program entry called, "Rangeland Heroes." WJMS will rebroadcast "Rangeland Heroes" at 11 a.m. on Monday."
Forest Service Battles Multiple Fires
"The U.S. Forest Service says four vacation homes and three other buildings were destroyed in a forest fire in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  Officals say substantial progress was made today to control and contain the 13 fires that started on Wednesday."
[Great picture at http://www.wjfw.com/Photos/Park%20Falls%20Fire%202.jpg ... see also Vilas County Wildfires and Burning Permit Ban Lifted - Bob]
Mercer School Board fires grade school teacher
"He [district administrator Jeff Ehrhardt] said he was preparing a letter to send to Schoeneman advising her that she was being placed on administrative leave and advising her of her right to have a due process hearing.  When asked about any possible action or discussion regarding allegations against one of the school board members for alleged involvement in the incident with Schoeneman Ehrhardt said he was "not at liberty at this point to discuss the matter.""
Man in Gorilla Suit Steals Banana Displays
"But this banana thief slipped up. The attempted crime was caught on one store's surveillance video. Police released the grainy images in the hopes that someone might recognize the ape and turn him in.  Police received several calls last night from people who claim to have seen the "ape" hanging around, but the thief still on the loose."
The Gazette
Janesville church’s chimes prompt noise concerns
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.  But not too joyful.  And definitely not when somebody might be watching “All My Children.”  A man living on Waveland Road in Janesville would like the noise coming from Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church to be less joyful—or at least quieter.  Now, after calls to the city attorney’s office, four police reports and the work of several officers, he’ll get his way."
Gov. Jim Doyle proposes more cuts to amend $1.6 billion budget shortfall
"Doyle's $63 billion, two-year budget plan released in February solved a shortfall that then was projected to be about $5 billion. But tax collections continued to tank in March and April, forcing Doyle and lawmakers back to the table to come up with another $1.6 billion."
Prosecutor: Wis. mother is 'religious extremist'
"Defense attorney Gene Linehan says Falstad's claim is ridiculous. He says Muslim terrorists are religious extremists. He says the Neumanns are good Christians who tried to save their daughter and didn't know she was that ill.  The jury has begun deliberating."
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate drops to 8.8 percent
"The rate was down from 9.4 percent in March, the state Department of Workforce Development said. The agency estimated about 17,000 more people had a job in April than in March.  Employment typically increases from March to April because seasonal work begins, said Eric Grosso, a DWD labor economist."

21 May

Roar returning
"This year's Rally will get underway at 3 p.m. Friday, with a pre-party in the field across Wis. 77 from the Cary Mine Convenience.  Coordinator Bob Walesewicz of the Hurley Chamber said the field party "is a reunion of ATVers -- a chance to reconnect with folks they may not have seen for a while. It's also a great time for local ATVers to get together, as well.""
Wind expert to visit Hurley
"The Hurley School Board this week authorized spending $600 to $900 for an assessment that could lead to a grant to construct a wind turbine to generate electricity at the Hurley K-12 School.  The money will pay for an assessment by a wind expert."
High winds drive fires throughout Iron County
"Fire fighters from most fire departments in Iron County were kept busy on Wednesday night, as high winds flared at least five fires throughout the county on a hot and dry Wednesday afternoon, according to dispatchers from the Iron County Sheriff's Department."
Process due?
"Gene Dagner said Tuesday that it is up to the school administration to present a case to the board, through witnesses and testimony, "as to why they think the employee should have the discipline that they're recommending."  After that, Dagner said, "the board pretends like they're an impartial third party ... and they make judgment.""
Three Hurley juniors named to traveling all-star team
"Josh Thiede, Dylan Laurin and Daulton Levra will play for the Wisconsin Metro All-Stars baseball team after being selected at a tryout in Eau Claire this spring.  The team is just for juniors. They'll be traveling across the country, including Florida; Omaha, Neb.; and Indiana."
Coaster brook trout not endangered, Feds say
"While the agency said there are some differences between coasters and brook trout, those differences are not significant enough to warrant extra protection under the Endangered Species Act."
Most Wildfires 50% Contained
"The "Blockhouse Fire," which started by Blockhouse Lake near Highway 182 in the area of Park Falls, is 50% contained.  Nine people that live in the area near Blockhouse Lake have been evacuated and 24 are on stand by."

[See also: Block House Fire Burns Over 100 Acres Near Park Falls, Oneida & Vilas County Wildfires, and DNR Cancels All Burning Permits for the Day - Bob]

Neumann Homicide Trial in Recess until Friday
"The defense has rested its case without calling any witnesses in the trial of a rural Weston woman who prayed instead of getting medical care for her dying daughter."
Crews battle wildfires in Upper Peninsula
"DNR spokesman Les Homan says about 777 acres have burned in Marquette County southwest of Ishpeming. An estimated 500 people have been evacuated, and the fire is 65% contained.  A separate fire east of L'Anse in Baraga County has scorched roughly 400 acres. DNR fire specialist Robert Ziel says the fire was about 20% contained by Wednesday night. One structure was reported destroyed, and some residents have been evacuated."
1 major state union won't give up pay raise
"AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy tells the Wisconsin State Journal that workers won't give up the raise as long as the state continues to outsource additional work to contractors. The union represents white-collar state workers."

20 May

...And The Pitch (Jason Juno/Daily Globe photo)
"Hurley’s Josh Thiede delivers a pitch Tuesday evening to Ironwood’s J.J. Erickson at Lorenson Field in Ironwood. Also shown are Hurley catcher Derrick Chavers and home-plate umpire Bob Hamen."
  • Midgets trip Devils
    "Hurley freshman Matt Marczak had the unenviable task in Tuesday's rivalry game against Ironwood.  Throw the last two innings against a Devils' team determined to fight back after starting pitcher Josh Thiede struck out 14 before being ejected."
  • Midgettes take IC track and field title
    "They beat second-place Drummond 159-81. Mercer was third with 61. The Midgets were just 11 points behind first-place Drummond, 117-106. Mercer finished third with 52."
  • Midgettes rout Castle Guards
    "Hurley used a big day at the plate to beat Washburn 27-1 and finish second in the Indianhead Conference at 4-1."
Local officials prepped to fight ash borer
"This week marks Emerald Ash Borer awareness week, although upper Midwesterners may already be aware that the pest was discovered last week in St. Paul, Minn. It first arrived in Wisconsin in August 2008.  While the insect poses no threat to humans, it bores into ash trees and feeds on the inner tissue underneath bark, giving each tree a slow death."
Judge rules for Forest Service in logging case
"The Environmental Law & Policy Center, Habitat Education Center and several individuals challenged the Forest Service on its proposed Fishel Vegetation Management Project. The project includes more than 5,500 acres of logging within an 85,000-acre boundary, and also includes 185 miles of road construction."
DHS boys, Hurley girls win
"The Drummond boys and the Hurley girls earned the team titles at Tuesday's Indianhead Conference Track and Field Meet.  This was the first time this season that all of the IC teams were at the same venue."
DNR Cancels All Burning Permits for the Day
"Rhinelander fire officials say due to the weather, the DNR has canceled all burning permits today.  The winds and temperatures have prompted today's action."
Wolf Population
"A significant growth in Wisconsin's gray
wolf population over the winter has proponents of a wolf hunt calling for better management of the pack.  The Department of Natural Resources tracking surveys show the number of wolves increased from 630 to 680, the largest winter surge since the
1970s ..."
Sheriff Says Pregnant Inmate Deliberately Killed Fetus
""Woten and another inmate would push on Woten's stomach in order to - quote - 'get rid of the baby'," Carlson told reporters. "She did not feel bad about this baby's death since she did not want it anyway and did not want to be attached to the father.""
Whistleblower protection bill introduced
""Journalists must be able to protect the confidentiality of those who expose public or private wrongdoing," said Kreitlow, a former TV and radio reporter, in a statement. "In many cases, these journalists and their sources are key factors in bringing about important change. Our bill strengthens their ability to play that important role.""
State tells five voucher schools to get funds in order
"The rules on financial health have been in effect since 2005, but until now there have not been orders threatening to cut off schools from the program because they are financially weak. The orders make no reference to educational problems at any of the schools."
Report: More biofuels needed for UW power plant 
"A report from consultants hired by the state recommended Tuesday running the plant on a mix of natural gas and biomass and installing a more expensive boiler that can burn any type of biofuel. But the report also warned the state's biomass market must be expanded for the project to be successful."


19 May

"To deal with the influx of veterans created by two wars and embarrassing wait times for veterans’ medical services around the country, we have increased veterans' healthcare funding by more than 40 percent in the last three years - including the largest one-year increase in the 78-year history of the VA. As a result, the VA has hired 8,000 new doctors and nurses, and they’re in the process of hiring thousands more."
“It’s important that the public has confidence in the federal government’s willingness and ability to enforce the laws on illegal immigration,” Obey said. “It is a federal law enforcement responsibility and I couldn’t be more pleased that the new Administration has toughened up the previously casual policy.”
Obey Alleges More Errors In CIA Torture Briefing Timeline  - FireDog Lake
"In fact, Mr. Juola recollects that he walked members to the briefing room, met General Hayden and Mr.Walker, who were the briefers, and was told that he could not attend the briefing. We request that you immediately correct this record."
Hurley School Board scraps paper
"District administrator Chris Patritto suggested the purchase of the five MacBooks, which will allow the school board to go "paperless." Instead of receiving board packets and updates from the administration through "snail" mail, that information will now be sent electronically, Patritto said."
A Little Pick-It-Up
"Fourth graders from Ronda Olkonen and Monica Kolpin’s classes at Hurley K-12 School pick up trash along Range View Drive in Hurley on Monday afternoon... The class went out last Friday as well, but there was so much trash, “we didn’t finish,” Olkonen said. “I can’t believe how much garbage we found.”"
Mercer controversy
"The firing follows weeks of rumors in the small town, according to some of about 100 people -- including nearly all of the school's faculty -- who filled the school commons to standing-room-only for the meeting.  There were allegations of inappropriate behavior involving the use of alcohol by the two chaperones of the senior class trip to Florida March 28 through April 3.
Gang of gulls
"About 300 Bonaparte's gulls spent time around the Chequamegon Bay area over the weekend during their migration north, and participants in the annual Bird and Nature Fest got to see them Saturday morning ..."
Midgettes thump Granite Diggers
"With a strong wind knocking down or holding up any fly balls, the emphasis quickly fell on infield play. When Mellen committed a number of errors, Hurley was able to make the most of them, scoring twice in the first inning, three times in the third and five in the sixth."
Mellen knocks off Midgets, claims share of IC title
"With a possible Indianhead Conference baseball title on the line, the Hurley Midgets didn't play like conference champions.  Hurley committed seven errors, and the Mellen Granite Diggers took advantage to post a 12-3 victory in Monday's showdown."
Prayer Death Mother Called Sickness "Sin"
"Once at the home, they prayed with the Neumanns. Leilani Neumann raised her hands in the air, calling her daughter's illness a test of faith and a chance for God to show his power, Wormgoor said.  "'Oh Lord, you can heal diabetes. You can heal cancer,"' Wormgoor said Neumann prayed. "'I am praying that God is going to bring her back from this and make her 10 times better."'
Two state airports receive $2.4 million for improvements
"Under the Recovery Act, the FAA received $1.1 billion to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts."
Groups push for tax hikes to balance Wis. budget
"More than 60 advocacy groups came together Tuesday to argue that cutting the budget without raising taxes will devastate programs helping the poor, those with disabilities and others.  The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families was among those calling for targeted tax increases, rather than just budget cuts, to solve the state's $6.6 billion budget shortfall."
Wisconsin poised to become 1st state to mandate hearing implant
"The Legislature recently passed a bill that would make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require insurers to cover the costs of giving deaf children cochlear implants, but some members of the deaf community are waging a furious last-minute battle to try to persuade Gov. Jim Doyle to veto it this week."

18 May

3rd Annual.Lupine JuneFest
"The event will offer Bike Tours of 10, 26, 28, or 48 miles (a.m.), 5 & 10 k Run/Walk (p.m.), Chalk Drawing Contest, Photography Contest, Children's Scavenger Hike, Classic Car Show, Art & Craft Fair, Informational Booths, Music, Food, Beverages, Hourly Door Prizes, Silent Auction, and MORE!"
Garden's goal: Color
"Tulips short and tall, tulips with striped leaves, tulips with ruffled petals, multi-colored tulips -- this garden has them all.  "The purpose is color, constant color. We have it," said Chris Ainslie, the advanced master gardener who created the abundantly blooming garden for Hurley attorney Paul Sturgul."
Midgets win new golf conference
"Hurley blew away the competition on a windy Friday at Eagle Bluff to complete its Northern Wisconsin Golf Conference championship.  Hurley earned the first title in the newly formed conference by winning all three conference meets, including Friday's finale."
Hurley sweeps Indianhead Conference meet
"The Hurley boys and girls track teams are hoping Thursday's Indianhead Conference meet is a good indicator for Tuesday's IC championship meet."
Hurleys depth leads to sweeps
"Weather and circumstances have made it tough to get the Indianhead Conference teams together for a track meet this spring. On Thursday, though, that opportunity came up and the Hurley Midgets cashed in.  Hurley posted a sweep of the boys and girls meets."
Hurley nips Jacks in IC showdown
"Behind a pitching gem from Josh Thiede, the Hurley Midgets cleared the first of two hurdles towards a possible Indianhead Conference baseball title.  Thiede shut down the Drummond Lumberjacks Thursday in their showdown and Hurley scratched out just enough runs to support him. That helped the Midgets emerge with a 2-1 victory in a battle of IC unbeatens."
Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week
"Gov. Jim Doyle has issued a proclamation urging state residents and visitors to learn more about the invasive species and help slow the beetle's spread.  Communities and organizations plan to set up lawn signs along busy streets to remind people about the beetle and the risks of moving firewood that might contain the pest."
Smoking Ban Reactions
"Mark Edgren of Rhinelander says he doesn't like the idea of a total ban, saying, "I think that bars and restaurants should have the option of leaving their smoking areas."  "As a bar tender, I believe that it is probably a good idea to have the ban," says Ginger Peoples of Crandon.  Brandy Brekenridge of Rhinelander, a smoker says, "It feels like they're just kind of taking everybody's rights away.""
Latinos on edge after illegal immigrant's arrest in murder case
"Since Ponce-Rocha's arrest, public online forums have been clogged with comments against illegals living in the area.  Damari Cruz of Wausau said it is not fair that people find it so easy to judge others by the language they speak, she said."
Obey says he's just begun
""We're going to do our damnedest for this country," Obey said during the annual Wisconsin Democratic Party's Founders Day dinner, which was held in his honor this year. "We're going to, in the end, put government back on the side of regular average Americans.""
Mother felt "spirit of death" before daughter died
"A family member says that a day before an 11-year-old girl died of untreated diabetes, her mother felt the spirit of death in their rural Weston home.  Susan Neumann was the first witness to testify Monday in the trial of Leilani Neumann, who is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in her daughter Madeline's March 23, 2008, death."
Wis. ag secretary: Food safety now a big priority
"He says the federal government is looking to improve the food safety system and three major bills are pending in Congress to address the issue.  Nilsestuen says he sees a need for better communication between the 13 federal agencies that oversee food safety and state governments that handle most inspections and investigations."
"Rumsfeld’s intransigence begins on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans—and the same day that Bush viewed the damage on a flyover from his Crawford, Texas, retreat back to Washington—a White House advance team toured the devastation in an Air Force helicopter. Noticing that their chopper was outfitted with a search-and-rescue lift, one of the advance men said to the pilot, “We’re not taking you away from grabbing people off of rooftops, are we?”  “No, sir,” said the pilot. He explained that he was from Florida’s Hurlburt Field Air Force base—roughly 200 miles from New Orleans—which contained an entire fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters. “I’m just here because you’re here,” the pilot added. “My whole unit’s sitting back at Hurlburt, wondering why we’re not being used.”"
The Tip That Didn’t Pan Out - New York Times (Ombudsman)
"Suzanne Daley, the national editor, said she then called a halt to Strom’s pursuit of the Obama angle. “We had worked on that story for a while and had come up empty-handed,” Daley said. “You have to cut bait after a while.” She said she never thought of the story as a game-changer and never used that term with Strom."
Farm Labor Crisis: Sen. Feinstein Introduces Legislation to Relieve Worker Shortage in Agriculture - American Chronicle



15 May

"Due to the extremely wet conditions, combined with wetland legalities, Iron County ATV Trail #8 will be closed until further notice. As with any trail closures in Iron County, all efforts to reopen the trail are currently being made and the trail will be reopened when conditions permit."
Veterans Memorial Park to be dedicated
"Marty's Goldenaires will play at 1:45 p.m. at the park along U.S. 51, across from Mercer's signature loon statue.  Festivities begin earlier and run later.  The American Legion Auxiliary will sponsor a french toast breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon at the Mercer Community Center."
Montreal officials to take action on city eyesores
""It is bad. It has never been this bad," Dale Wicklund of Gile told the city council on Tuesday. David Samardich of Montreal, whose father lives in Gile, agreed. The same complaints were voiced at the council's April meeting. Blight problems at the former school in Montreal were also noted on Tuesday as the city's blight ordinance was discussed."
  • Hurley sweeps Indianhead Conference meet
    "The Hurley boys and girls track teams are hoping Thursday's Indianhead Conference meet is a good indicator for Tuesday's IC championship meet.  The Midgets edged Drummond 126-120 and the Midgettes beat the Lumberjills 169-91."
  • Midgets win battle of IC baseball unbeatens
    "Hurley edged Drummond 2-1 Thursday in a battle of Indianhead Conference unbeatens. The Midgets improved to 4-0 in the conference and the Lumberjacks fell to 3-1 with two IC games remaining for both squads."
Brush fire
"A grass and brush fire near the junction of U.S. Highway 2 and Old U.S. Highway 2 on the Bad River Indian Reservation burned an area of about the size of a football field before being brought under control Tuesday. The fire was reported at about 11:30 a.m. and involved fire suppression units from the Bad River Fire Department, the Ashland Fire Department and the Department of Natural Resources."
Extra highway funds put Madeline Island road project on wheels
"Local officials appealed to State Senator Bob Jauch, D- Poplar, and State Representative Gary Sherman, D- Port Wing, for assistance in funding the project, because of its importance to the local community and the thousands of visitors who flock to the Island every summer.  Those efforts were successful, with the state agreeing to provide a 60-40 matching grant to help fund the project, and all seemed on track to have the project get under way during the 2009 building season."
Wildfire Started From Outdoor Fire
"The Department of Natural Resources says the fire started after an outdoor fire was not properly put out... Huppert says the people who started the fire are responsible for paying suppression costs--meaning equipment and manpower costs."
Emerald ash borer now in Minnesota
""It's pretty clear this is the emerald ash borer, and it's the first discovered in the state," said Minnesota Department of Agriculture spokesman Mike Schommer. "It's obviously bad news."  In response, the department plans to prohibit the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber, or any other article that could spread the insect in Ramsey and Hennepin counties. Last month the state issued a quarantine for Houston County in southeastern Minnesota due to an infestation just across the border in Wisconsin."
Memo: Wis. domestic partnership plan likely legal
"The opinion boosts Doyle's bid to make Wisconsin the first state to create domestic partnerships for same-sex couples despite having a ban on gay marriage and "substantially similar" relationships.  Doyle's plan would provide gay and lesbian couples who register their partnerships with 43 rights, including the ability to visit each other in the hospital, make end-of-life decisions and inherit assets."
Doyle signs bill to expand unemployment in Wis.
"The bill also allows Wisconsin to accept $141 million in stimulus money to help low-income households become more energy efficient, $143 million for water infrastructure projects and $19 million for criminal justice programs."
A spaceport in Sheboygan? Group aims to build one 
"A to-do list released Friday calls for a suborbital launch before the end of next year.  It also calls for securing state and local approval for the spaceport and starting approval talks with the Federal Aviation Administration, all within the next five years."
State to reevaluate gay marriage ban
"The court will review a challenge by political science instructor William McConkey, who claims the referendum on the constitutional amendment illegally put two issues to voters at the same time: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions."
WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 15 May 09 Washington, DC


14 May

Reminder:  Live Broadcasts
  • THURS. 5/14 at 4:30 PM - BaseBall - DRUMMOND @ HURLEY
  • MON. 5/18 4:30 PM - Softball - MELLEN @ HURLEY

"Don't miss your chance to win a Broil Mate Gas Grill from Giovanoni True Value of Hurley and a year supply of Miller Beer! (must be 21 to enter) All you have to do is look for the Storm Van broadcasting live and grilling up Johnsonville Brats served on Sara Lee buns and sign up!"

Iron County, WI ATV Trails Now Open
"The ATV trails are now open! ATVers are asked to obey all town route restrictions that may be in place. Some routes or portions of routes may still be closed. The Towns will continue to open routes as they are able to repair and maintain them. Please use caution on all trails and routes as conditions can change daily."
Fake crash, real learning experience
"Iron County's Project Zero hosted the crash exercise in the parking lot at the Hurley K-12 School. It served not only as a warning to students in grades 9-12, but also as a training exercise for first responders.  Beacon Ambulance manager and emergency medical technician Randy Forstrom said the exercise was a success."
Montreal sewer rates on the rise
"Sewer rates may be increasing, but the city has now received $247,725 in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 154 grant funding for its upcoming $2.3 million sewer rehabilitation project.  Sewer rates will increase by $5 a month or $15 a quarter, from $18.76 to $33.76, beginning with the June billing."
  • Midgettes top seed in loaded regional
    "Hurley may not be ranked in the Division 3 state coaches' poll like Park Falls and Chetek. But the Midgettes will take the ranking they received Wednesday: No. 1 in the WIAA D-3 regional tournament over the No. 2 Cardinals and No. 3 Bulldogs."
  • Midgets chop down Loggers
    "Hurley defeated Phillips 7-5 in non-conference baseball action Tuesday at the Hurley K-12 School. The teams are in the same WIAA Division 3 regional and Hurley is 2-1 in the season series."
Prayer Death Hearing Motion Regarding Expert Witness
"Prosecutors in the trial of a central Wisconsin woman accused of praying while her daughter died of undiagnosed diabetes want to prevent her from calling an expert witness in faith healing."
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Money Comes to Lincoln County
"Lincoln County is getting almost $2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Lincoln County Highway Commissioner, Randy Scholz says Lincoln County has received approximately $1.5 million dollars for pulverizing and repaving six miles of County Highway CC."
The science run: Gas vs. charcoal
"Eric Johnson, lead author of Elsevier's Environmental Impact Assessment Review, reported that the carbon footprint for charcoal grilling is almost three times as large as that for liquid petroleum gas grilling."
Minn. appeals court looks at ship ballast rules
"Environmental advocates also say Minnesota's rules will take too long to implement, allowing for more invasive species to enter the lakes and spread to Lake Superior.  The regulations requiring all ships to treat their ballast water before dumping it into the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior would go into effect in 2016. New ships would have to comply starting in 2012."
State's Hispanic population at 5 percent 
"New U.S. Census Bureau estimates show a significant growth in Wisconsin's Hispanic population.  The figures released Thursday show the Hispanic population has increased about 48 percent since 2000, to nearly 286,000 people. Hispanics now make up about 5 percent of the state's population."
Lawmakers Pass Smoking Ban
"Opponents decried the measure as an attack on personal freedoms that could keep smoking customers away and drive businesses under.  Some non-smokers voted against it for the sake of small business.  "I'm in the club that believes too much regulation on our small business society is killing our state," said South Milwaukee Republican State Representative Mark Honadel."
More snaps from Abu Ghraib - Sydney Morning Herald,
"Some of the 60 previously unpublished photographs that the US Government has been fighting to keep secret in a court case with the American Civil Liberties Union."


13 May

Water main break a setback for Hurley project
"The Hurley City Council learned Tuesday the sewer and water project began on time Monday, but ran into a problem on just the second day.  A water main on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Wisconsin 77 broke. That corner is adjacent to the project, but originally part of the project."
  • Midgets chop down Loggers
    "Hurley defeated Phillips 7-5 in non-conference baseball action Tuesday at the Hurley K-12 School. The teams are in the same WIAA Division 3 regional and Hurley is 2-1 in the season series."
  • Midgettes rout Phillips
    "urley dominated Phillips 11-0 in five innings Tuesday to complete the season sweep."
Deer Protected Under Animal Cruelty Statutes
"A Waupaca County judge has ruled deer are protected under the state's animal cruelty statutes.  The ruling Tuesday is detrimental to the case of three men accused of running down and killing a group of deer with their snowmobiles."
DNR, Firefighters Control Wildfire
""We actually knew something was going on before somebody had called 911," says John Huppert.  John Huppert a Forest Ranger with the DNR, says he could see the smoke from miles away.  "There was a very large column of grey and dark smoke," according to Huppert."
Auto dealers ask Obama, Congress to spare dealerships
""The Obama Auto Task Force is relying on a dangerous misperception that new car dealers somehow create a cost burden to auto manufacturers," the position paper states. "Instead of being cost centers, dealers are the primary source of revenue for manufacturers.""
Wisconsin moves to expand unemployment program
"The Assembly voted 87-11 Wednesday to qualify those who quit their jobs to relocate with a spouse, to take care of ill relatives or because of domestic violence.  The plan also allows workers in some training programs to qualify for 26 additional weeks of benefits."
More travel expected this Memorial Day weekend 
""Last year, soaring gas prices and a deteriorating economy resulted in far fewer trips being taken than had been forecasted," said AAA Wisconsin President Tom Frymark. "The good news is sharply lower gas prices and plentiful travel bargains have Americans feeling better about taking a road trip this summer.""
Wisconsin wants to lower tax gap
"The committee told the department to use the money to increase enforcement of tax laws, including conducting more audits and tracking down delinquent taxpayers who collectively owe more than $1 billion. The department could hire 31 more employees, including tax agents and auditors."
Senator Russ Feingold 'Appalled' Federal Auto Bailout Not Saving U.S. Jobs - Oh the Hill
""We need an American auto industry, but it can’t be 'American' in name only -– American jobs must be protected," Feingold says in a speech yesterday from the Senate floor. "Unfortunately, the auto restructuring plans that have been put forward contain proposals to ship jobs overseas. That is not acceptable to me or to my constituents."


12 May

State kicks Pence letter back to DA
"Further investigation into who wrote and circulated a letter signed by "concerned citizens of the Town of Pence" just prior to the April 7 election is back in the district attorney's hands.  The anonymous letter cited 16 claims involving former town chairman Dan Swetkovich, who was seeking re-election."
Midgets take home invitational
"Hurley won its first home meet, the Hurley Invitational, Monday at Eagle Bluff. The Midgets finished ahead of Prentice (184) and Park Falls (186). Ironwood took sixth and Bessemer was eighth."
Midgettes get pair of wins
"Hurley beat Ashland 4-2 and 9-6 on Monday. Game one was the continuation of a May 5 game that was suspended due to lightning."
70-year-old trekker's 4,400-mile hike a sojourn of the soul
"On Friday, Eberhart was in Mellen, almost exactly 1,400 miles and one quarter of the way along his current goal of hiking the entire length of the North Country Trail. It is the second to last of the eight National Scenic Trails that Eberhart has to walk to meet his goal of walking all of the trails in his lifetime."
Fire Helicopters
"The Rhinelander-Oneida County airport is housing one Level Three and one Level One helicopter that are both used to help fight forest fires until the end of May.  The orange, Level One helicopter is equipped with a tank that can hold up to 2,600 gallons of water. The smaller, Level Three helicopter has a bucket attachment that holds about 150 gallons."
Public comment period on water levels study likely to be extended
"Despite the communication blackout, the Journal Sentinel has learned that the study leaders are likely going to pull the plug on a July 1 deadline for public comment on the controversial study until all the science is released that drove the conclusion that nature – and not dredging – is responsible for erosion in the St. Clair River that has permanently lowered Lakes Michigan and Huron."
Online survey supports hybrid vehicles
"According to the survey, 88% of those surveyed said the U.S. must become a leader in hybrid vehicles. A total of 84% said the government should support advances in battery technology.  The survey said that the biggest reasons why U.S. adults think it is important for the country to lead in hybrid technology are to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil (81%), create jobs (67%), and reduce the U.S. impact on the environment (64%)."
  • Shortfall hits $6.6 billion
    "Wisconsin’s budget deficit has ballooned to $6.6 billion because of falling state tax collections, grim news that could foreshadow deep cuts to state programs, according to a report released Monday."
  • Unemployment benefits could expand
    "A measure moving quickly through the Democratic-controlled Legislature would allow workers to receive unemployment if they quit jobs because spouses relocate, to take care of ill relatives or if they fear domestic violence. Laid-off workers in certain job training programs would also qualify for 26 weeks of additional benefits."
Mining company targets Oneida County sulfide deposit
"Kent is perhaps best known for her tenure with Royal Oak Mines Inc. and the aptly named Giant Mine in the Canadian Northwest Territories, where, then known as Peggy Witte, she presided over a protracted mining strike in 1992 that led to the sensational murders of nine replacement workers."


11 May

HURLEY CITY COUNCIL - Tuesday, May 12, 2009
  • Board of Public Works – 5:45 P.M
  • Police, Fire & License Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Parks & Recreation Committee
  • City Council Meeting - 6:30 P.M.
Unless we all hang together . . .
"As the economy tightens and each of us has to struggle to maintain the things we consider important in our lives, and the resources that maintain our institutions become increasingly scarce, we dare not fall to attacking one another. We must work together."
Follow Up Pictures From Haven North - Don Richards
"If you remember, I sent each of you pictures in April of two geese walking around on the ice.  I thought they were a bit lost but they were certainly not and they even had a plan.  Please see the attached pictures and you will see what I mean.  They had six of the cutest little goslings yesterday.  This was a perfect tribute to Mothers Day.  What made this even more special is that my wife Lisa and I have been watching this mother sit on these eggs for the past three weeks on the island that is closest to our condo.  She has been a very diligent mother."
[This is a follow up of April 10th's item, "
Illegal Aliens Complain About Water Quality"
  • Midgettes knock off No. 1
    "No. 1 softball team in the state? No problem.  Hurley took care of top-ranked Park Falls 8-2 on Friday.  The win carries added significance because the Midgettes (10-3) and Cardinals (12-1) are competing for high seeds in the same WIAA Division 3 regional."
  • No miracle finish for Midgets this time
    "There was no miracle comeback for the Hurley boys this time as they fell 13-1 to Tomahawk Friday at the Hurley K-12 School."
  • Hurley golfers edge Park Falls
    "Hurley edged Park Falls by two strokes for its second conference golf meet win of the year Friday."
Broken pipe leaked sewage into Lake Superior
"A broken pipe less than 100 feet from the shore of Lake Superior resulted in at least 2,000 gallons of raw, untreated sewage spilling into the lake over the course of several days late last month, a city official said Thursday."
Tourism Increases in Badger State
The study says the spending supported 310,000 jobs and generated more than $2.1 billion in tax revenue for state and local governments. "
Lawmakers Reserve Hope for Chrysler Plant
""Any work that would keep Kenosha going would be beneficial for us, and we can build anything," said Peni Keeling with UAW Local 72.  Keeling supports a new plan to make the plant "green". Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, along with Congressman Paul Ryan and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, have asked the Treasury Department for grants and loans to start making fuel efficient engines at the Kenosha plant. It could keep the plant running for years to come, but Senator Kohl admits it's a long shot."
State's loggers continue to struggle amid weak demand
"Mark Huempfner of Wausaukee is vice president of the association and said that across the main logging region in the northern part of the state, many loggers have parked their equipment.  "Nobody's going at more than 50%" capacity, he said of logging firms in the state."
Grey Poupon Pardon - Kraft
"So we urge you to respond to “Dijon-gate” by issuing a “pardon” to any American who has ever been criticized for putting a liberal spread of Dijon mustard on a burger or a conservative dollop on a ham & cheese sandwich."
[Web searches have uncovered no proof that Hannity and Beck don't put ketchup on their hot dogs. - Bob]
Until further notice, MyHurley is cutting out weekend postings, reducing Wisconsin state news, dropping the non-local coverage, and posting press releases, not paper articles about state and federal pols. 



08 May

Vets would get bidding preference in Sherman legislation
"Legislation proposed by State Assembly member Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, would give companies that are at least 51 percent owned by a military veteran who was injured during service a five percent "cushion" on state contracts.  The proposal is based on an existing program that allows minority-owned construction companies to win contracts if they are within 5 percent of the low bidder on a state project."
Perfect 10 for Hurley
"The 10-run rule nearly cost Hurley a non-conference game against Northwestern on Thursday.  Trailing 12-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Daulton Levra hit a home run to leftfield to extend the game and keep Hurley's slim chances alive.  The Tigers didn't score again, but the Midgets scored 10 in the bottom of the seventh to escape with a big comeback win, 13-12."
Statewide Smoking Ban Compromise Reached
"Niki Kostrova is the Oneida County Tobacco Coordinator. She says, "You know, while there is still strong support for a statewide ban with no exemptions and no delays, this is a compromise and I think in the end we're getting a healthier Wisconsin out of it."
[I suspect that a million Wisconsin smokers don't find this much of a compromise... cigar bars and a year to implement. - Bob]
Decker: Smoking ban will pass
"The bill first will go through a Senate committee and Assembly committee, which both are expected to cast separate votes at 10 a.m. today to move it forward. If successful, the bill will go to both legislative houses on Wednesday. Gov. Jim Doyle then would have to sign the bill into law."
Doyle Calls for Mass Layoffs, Furloughs
"The governor also said Thursday that most state workers will have to take 16 unpaid days of leave over the next two years starting in July.  Doyle says 700 jobs could be lost as part of a 5 percent cut to state agencies he is proposing Thursday. He says another 400 could go if the state workers union doesn't agree to give up a 2 percent pay increase scheduled to start in June."
Committees advance smoking ban to Senate, Assembly
"Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink (D-Milladore) said the ban will hurt small taverns in her rural district that have been operated by the same families for generations. She ended up voting for the change, but said she will attempt to make significant changes to it when the full Assembly debates it Wednesday."
Swine flu misperceptions hurting state pork producers
"Timing of the H1NI virus couldn't have been worse, as pork prices were already low and farmers have struggled to make a profit.  Nationwide, up to one-third of pork producers could be forced out of business, according to a Purdue University study."
Layoffs, furloughs, cuts to local government seen in new budget crisis
"“Our state employees are people who have dedicated much of their lives to public service and to them we owe our gratitude,” Doyle said at a Capitol news conference Thursday. “The harsh sacrifices they now face are part of the effect of this national economic downturn.”"
Kohl's ahead of the curve on next flu outbreak
"Even as the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies tabulate cases of the current outbreak of what has been referred to as the "swine flu," Kohl is pressing officials to prepare for what could be a far more serious outbreak in the fall."
Queen’s Trinity Cross honour deemed unlawful by Privy Council - Times
"The Trinity Cross of the Order of Trinity was established by the Queen 40 years ago to recognise distinguished service and gallantry in the former colony of Trinidad and Tobago. It has been received by 62 people ..."
State Laws Allowing Majority Sign-up for Unions Shows why "Employee Free Choice Act" is Fair Option for Workers - TPM Cafe
"The report found that between the years 2003 and 2009, 21,197 public sector workers used majority sign-up procedures allowed by state law to form unions with only one complaint about union coercion filed during that whole period -- and even that complaint was dismissed as without merit by the state Labor Relations Board.  In fact, across the country since 2003, half a million workers have formed unions using majority sign-up procedures, either under state law or through voluntary agreements made with employers, and there is no significant evidence of union coercion under the process."
More than 1,000 leading academics announce support for the Employee Free Choice Act - Examiner
"Scholars across the country are calling for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, in letters to Congress, symposiums, rallies, and roundtables starting this week. They will discuss how labor law has weakened over the last several decades, and why it is more important than ever to return to workers the freedom to form unions through the Employee Free Choice Act and to create an economy that works for everyone."
Newspaper Narcissism - Columbia Journalism Review
"Yet at the same time, owners, editors, and reporters should push issues they believe government is ignoring. They should do it factually and in articles short enough to read daily, but spread over time. That is how Americans absorb information—by repetition."
The Physicians' Proposal - PNHP
"The Physicians’ Proposal for National Health Insurance establishes the vision and principles of a single-payer health system for the United States. The document was composed by a distinguished group of physician leaders*, and secured the endorsement of 8,000 physicians by the time of its publication in the August 13, 2003 JAMA."

07 May

Virtual School Enrollment
"The number of applicants for virtual schools in Wisconsin could exceed the 5,250 cap set by the state Legislature.  The Department of Public Instruction has notified the virtual schools that there appears to be more interest in online instruction than what's allowed by law."
Feingold "appalled" by plan to shut Chrysler plant
""I am appalled that the automakers that received taxpayer assistance are not prioritizing the retention of American jobs, including jobs in Wisconsin," said Feingold, referring as well to the shutdown of the GM plant in Janesville."
Did release of lake level study violate policy?
""Every member of the International Upper Great Lakes Study, including (citizen advisory panel members) are asked to respect confidentiality of internal discussion ... Two days later, the study board went public with its findings that nature - and not the Army Corps - is to blame for erosion of the St. Clair riverbed in the past few decades that has permanently lowered the lakes.  It apparently did so without the required peer review."
Graduating UW-Madison law students forced to seek volunteer jobs
"Fewer law students will have secure jobs when they graduate this month, and some of those who have been hired at big firms must delay their start dates for six months or a year, until the firm has more money and work for the freshly minted attorneys, said Jane Heymann, assistant dean for career services at the law school."
Wisconsin appeals court upholds GPS tracking by police 
"The ruling came in a case involving Michael Sveum, a Madison man who was being investigated for stalking a woman in 2003. Police obtained a warrant to put a GPS device on his car and secretly attached it in his driveway.  Police tracked his car's movement for weeks. Based on that information, investigators obtained a warrant to search his home and car and found incriminating evidence. Sveum was charged, convicted and sentenced to prison."
State smoking ban likely to pass
"Individuals who break the law by smoking indoors will have to pay fines of no less than $100 but no more than $250, as long as the establishment made an effort to ask the individual to stop smoking or call the police.  If the establishment breaks the law by allowing an individual to smoke without asking them to stop, they will have to pay the fine. "
Lawmakers Agree on Statewide Smoking Ban
"Leaders in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate reached an agreement late Wednesday on a bill that would make smoking illegal in most public places and privately-owned businesses on July 5, 2010.  It could be passed as early as next week.  "I am pleased we have a workable compromise," said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) ..."
[I really don't see any "compromise" in this.  It looks like "winner take all" to me. - Bob]
Obama defends, curtails National Day of Prayer - Associated Press
"Obama's position has disappointed Christian conservatives, who want the president to do more to mark the day, and an atheist group that wants him to end the tradition.  The Obama administration has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which claims the day violates the separation of church and state. In a rare alliance, 31 mostly Republican members of Congress and a prominent Christian legal group are joining the administration to fight the lawsuit."
Fiat reported to have plans to shut down German Opel plant - Deutsche Welle
"One GM plant in England, one in Austria, as well as two Italian factories would also be part of the shutdown list, according to the reports.  However, this contradicts Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's denial earlier this week that any of Opel's four German plans would be closed. "
Eight Heroic Healthcare Activists Arrested at Baucus Hearing--Updates - Daily Kos
"Sen. Max Baucus--a favorite recipient of donations from the health insurance industry--has also been the key Democratic attack dog against single-payer healthcare.  He stated it's "off the table," and this morning convened a Senate Finance Committee hearing that included 15 expert witnesses on healthcare--NONE of them in support of a medicare-for-all or single-payer healthcare system."

06 May

Ekmark, former sheriff of Iron County, dies at 67
""He was a dedicated law enforcement officer who always put the people first," said current Sheriff Robert Bruneau, who has been the chief law enforcement officer in the county since Ekmark retired."
Kimball woman charged with prescription theft
"A Kimball, Wis., woman faces an Ashland County charge of illegally obtaining prescription drugs while she worked at a nursing home in Ashland."
Red Cliff to continue Lake Superior barrel investigation
"The project is the next step in an investigation of barrels filled with waste and munitions at Honeywell's Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, and tossed overboard in an approximately 96-square-mile area of western Lake Superior between 1959 and 1962."
Initial appearance held in narcotics theft
"Megann L. Kubacki, 38, was charged with the misdemeanor after admitting to investigators that she stole prescription drug medication from residents of Golden Living Center in Ashland numerous times over a three- to five-year period while formerly employed at the facility."
Obesity Rates in the Northwoods
"In our viewing area, Iron County ranks 10th, making it the lightest county in the Northwoods with an obesity rate of 20.9 percent... And 69th ranked Langlade County tips the scales as the most obese county in the Northwoods with a 31.5 percent obesity rate. "
Possible changes to smoking ban being negotiated
"... lawmakers are talking with Tavern League of Wisconsin and smoking ban advocates on potential changes to the bill. The parties are negotiating on whether to allow for a longer phase-in period; to permit outdoor smoking areas; lessen the penalties for tavern owners; and exempt cigar bars, Richards said."
Dave Zweifel's Plain Talk: Single-payer is the only way to go
"In fact, a nationwide single-payer system would save health care money in the long run. While both employers and employees would have to pay a payroll tax, just as they now do for Social Security and Medicare, they wouldn't be paying the escalating premiums and co-premiums that exist now. They wouldn't be subsidizing a 30 percent administrative cost that's become a product of our jury-rigged system."
Public debates possible state smoking ban
"“If I have a member that goes broke making bad decisions on their own … they’re OK with that, if they go broke, they lose everything they’ve worked for their entire life because of a decision government makes, that’s quite another,” Madland said."
To my good friends who oppose all taxes.
I don't understand why vets have to do fund raising.  I try to honestly and accurately fill out my taxes... and pay without complaint, feeling that most of it goes to good causes, like health care and education for returning vets.   If my taxes are too high, it's not because the rate is too high, it's because too many corps have paid legislators for loopholes and they avoid their fair share.  - Bob
'Superstitious nonsense' remark violated rights, California court rules - Associated Press
"U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled Friday in a lawsuit student Chad Farnan filed in 2007, alleging that teacher James Corbett violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment by making repeated comments in class that were hostile to Christian beliefs.  The lawsuit cited more than 20 statements made by Corbett during one day of class, which Farnan recorded, to support allegations of a broader teaching method that "favors irreligion over religion" and made Christian students feel uncomfortable."
Grocery workers reject another contract  - Los Angeles Business
"United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7 rejected a contract from King Soopers Tuesday that would have required pension-benefit cuts and salary freezes for the lowest-paid workers, union spokeswoman Laura Chapin said. The vote came one day after rejecting a similar agreement from Safeway, she said."
U.S. food stamp total is record third month in a row - Reuters
"U.S. food stamp enrollment set a record for the third month in a row, rising to 32.55 million at latest count, the U.S. government said on Monday.  In a monthly update, the Agriculture Department said food stamp enrollment in February of 32.55 million was up 1.1 percent, or 350,000 people, from January and up 17 percent, or 4.8 million people, from one year earlier."

05 May

Obey: Govt responding to public health needs
"He noted $350 million was set aside to help “rebuild” local public health departments, which have laid off 11,000 employees nationwide in response to government budget cuts in the past several years... Obey bemoaned the fact the recent stimulus package was stripped of the $900 million in the House version of the bill targeted for pandemic flu preparation."
Wolf off endangered list in Great Lakes
"Wolves in parts of the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes region come off the endangered species list Monday — opening the way for public hunting of the animals to begin in some states this fall.  But prior attempts to remove federal protection for the predators have been rejected by judges and new legal challenges are certain."
State to Ashland Schools: make quiet room changes
"These concerns echo those voiced in early April by several students, parents and community members who alleged that the rooms were being used to involuntarily seclude students in non-crisis situations."
No fish tale
"Third graders from Hurley K-12 School stocked the unnamed pond on Division Street with rainbow trout from the Brule Department of Natural Resources Hatchery on Monday morning.  More than 300 lively rainbow trout made the trip from Brule, Wis., in a tank full of 44-degree water."
Midgets rout B-G to start busy stretch
"Hurley started off a busy week with an 18-6 win over Butternut-Glidden on Monday. The Midgets host Ashland today, Northwestern Thursday and Tomahawk on Friday. They go for two games in the Park Falls Tournament on Saturday."
Control of wolves transfers to state Tuesday
"The DNR now has the authority to use lethal control to manage wolves in cases where non-lethal methods, such as husbandry practices, noise-making devices, barrier fencing and rubber bullets are not successful or viable."
Over the Falls
"A kayaker goes over Gorge Falls on the Black River near Black River Harbor Sunday around noon. Ironwood residents Sam Davey III and his wife, Ann Davey, were making their annual spring hike from Copper Peak to the falls along the North Country Trail and happened upon the kayakers."
Vilas Co. Health Dept. Issues School Closure
"The Vilas County Health Department says two people showed symptoms of Influenza A and were tested Monday  One of the people being tested is a student at Lac du Flambeau School."
Lac du Flambeau Public School closed
"Two individuals in Vilas County are suspected of having the swine influenza virus A (H1N1) virus after a Lac du Flambeau man was hospitalized exhibiting flu-like symptoms.  The man has tested positive for the Influenza A virus and is being tested for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus. His young child has also shown signs of having the flu and is being tested."
Mining company targets Oneida County sulfide deposit
"Tamerlane Ventures of Blaine, Wash., a publicly traded international mining company, is petitioning the Oneida County Board of Supervisors to open county forest land to mineral leasing in what would be the first step toward mining a massive sulfide deposit in the town of Lynne."
Mexico May Get Kenosha Chrysler Jobs
"Governor Jim Doyle claims he was blindsided by Chrysler executives. He said up until the day before the automaker revealed plans to close the Kenosha plant, the company gave state and local leaders the impression that Kenosha would be upgraded to build new energy efficient engines."
[Hmmm... who do we blame?  the corporatist lackeys that support NAFTA and CAFTA ... or those who now cannot prevent all further abuse? - Bob]
Smoking ban on fast track, after morning hearing
"The proposed ban would cover smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. It's now on a fast track in the Legislature, which is expected to act on it next week. Gov. Jim Doyle included it in his state budget proposal, but lawmakers felt the measure should be debated and passed separately."
Kohl lobbies to keep Chrysler plant open in Kenosha
"Kohl protested Chrysler's plans to build a new engine in Mexico rather than Kenosha at the same time the financially troubled company seeks billions in government bailout money.  Kohl's meeting with Steven Rattner, Treasury's lead adviser on restructuring the auto industry, came during a closed session of the Senate Banking Committee."
Recession strains safety net for the unemployed
"In spite of a massive budget deficit, the state has boosted spending on Medicaid health care for the poor and newly unemployed — at a controversial cost to federal and state taxpayers. But the state has lagged in increasing dollars to counties to run programs like Medicaid that help growing numbers of needy families cope with job loss.  As a result, families who wait to seek help until they’re at the end of their rope are finding they have to hang on even longer."
Last whooping crane pair abandons north central Wisconsin nest 
"Researchers hoping to see reintroduced whooping cranes successfully nest in the wild instead have seen all 12 active nests in north central Wisconsin this spring abandoned.  The 12th pair of the endangered birds left their nest Sunday, but a biologist monitoring it retrieved two eggs to be incubated in hopes of hatching them."
Officials outraged by threat to close state's Chrysler plant
“It seems incomprehensible to me at a time when jobs are disappearing in our auto industry that Chrysler would continue to close down domestic manufacturing plants,” the state’s senior senator said. “We are facing challenging times and continuing to eliminate jobs in Wisconsin will severely hurt the local economy. The skilled employees of Chrysler are prime examples of the hard-working people that are the backbone of our workforce and I will continue to fight for their jobs.”
We are Calling for an Inclusive National Day of Prayer - Jews of First!
"The National Day of Prayer falls on May 7th this year, and in most parts of the country, there is a religious "litmus test" limiting participation to fundamentalist Christian evangelicals. Focus on the Family, the largest organization on the Christian Right, and groups allied with it control the occasion, calling themselves the National Day of Prayer Task Force and asserting that their website is the "National Day of Prayer Official Website.""
Southwest Airlines labor deal includes pay raises -  Miami Herald
"Southwest didn't say how big the pay raises would be. It said the 4-year deal also includes benefit increases in exchange for giving the company more scheduling flexibility and productivity improvements.  The agreement, which still needs ratification by employees, is retroactive to last year and runs through October 2012. "
U.K. Denies Entry to Islamic, Baptist Preachers, Michael Savage  - Bloomberg
"U.S. radio broadcaster Michael Savage and the pastors of a Baptist church are among those barred from entering the U.K. for allegedly stirring-up hatred and fostering extremism, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said... “Coming to the U.K. is a privilege, and I refuse to extend that privilege to individuals who abuse our standards and values to undermine our way of life,” Smith said in an e-mail today. “I will not hesitate to name and shame those who foster extremist views. They are not welcome here.”"

04 May

Pat O'Neill's Poetry Reading for the Library -
     "I just wanted to drop a line to let you know that the Poetry Reading done by Pat O’Neill, held on April 24th at Taconelli’s Restaurant in Ironwood, was fantastic!
     Over 130 people attended and many also bought copies of Pat’s book. All money from tickets and book sales was donated to the Ironwood Carnegie Library, with the total amount being over $1200.
     Pat entertained the audience and fed our minds with his reflection, humor, and insight. Following the reading, he also fed our stomachs with a wonderful assortment of meats, cheeses, vegis, and desserts.
     Pat is a wonderful advocate for libraries, and he truly recognizes the need to help our children learn to imagine, envision, and create. He knows the role of the library is to encourage a love and awe of reading that will last a lifetime, and we are so fortunate to have his wonderful support."
Lynne Wiercinski, Carnegie Library, (906) 932-0203
Midgettes surge early to win home opener
"The Midgettes hit Northland Pines with a seven-run first inning, putting the Eagles on the ropes and keeping them there. From there, Hurley cruised on to a 14-0 five-inning win in their non-conference softball game."
Kids Fishing Day nets great turnout
"Prior to Saturday, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stocked the lake with 6,500 trout.  As the young anglers reeled in the fish, members of the Superior Bass Fishing Club provided a fish cleaning table, where the children were taught the proper method of fish cleaning."
Possible Tuition Increases for UW-Madison Students
"UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin has proposed
increasing in-state undergraduate tuition by $250 per year for the next four years, on top of hikes approved by the Board of Regents.  Undergrads from other states would see their tuition go up by $750 per year."
Governor Doyle on Swine Flu 
"Governor Jim Doyle says he wants people to remain calm. He says the state is well prepared to combat an outbreak of the infection, "We have stockpiled the medicine that will help combat the flu. We have our public health people on alert all over the state of Wisconsin. We are testing hundreds and hundreds of people, in fact thousands of people, who have flu-like symptoms, so we are very well prepared.""
Declining Lake Levels
""Water levels are dropping and it's becoming more obvious to folks," says Tim Asplund, a statewide limnologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources... "There's really been a drought, a longterm drought and it's really confined to North Central and North Eastern Wisconsin," answers Asplund."
University of Wisconsin researcher on offensive against swine flu
"At his nearby company, FluGen, Kawaoka is developing vaccines for swine flu, bird flu and regular flu.  "I work on anything about the flu," said the renown scientist, who received a sample of the swine flu virus last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
State Debate: 'Fighting Bob' deserves honor from Congress
""Fighting Bob" La Follette is memorialized in marble in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, and in 1959 a U.S. Senate committee led by Sen. John F. Kennedy named La Follette one of the five greatest senators in history. Now three Wisconsin lawmakers are introducing legislation to honor La Follette with the Congressional Gold Medal, the most distinguished award Congress bestows."
Evangelists apologise for slur on gay cleric - The Scotsman
"AN EVANGELICAL group has been forced to apologise to a gay Church of Scotland minister and his family for spreading misinformation about his private life.  Forward Together has accepted it was wrong to tell its members that Scott Rennie left his wife Ruth and young daughter to set up home with another man.
Falling Wage Syndrome - NY Times, Krugman
"But if everyone takes a pay cut, nobody gains a competitive advantage. So there’s no benefit to the economy from lower wages. Meanwhile, the fall in wages can worsen the economy’s problems on other fronts.  In particular, falling wages, and hence falling incomes, worsen the problem of excessive debt: your monthly mortgage payments don’t go down with your paycheck."
Bling Dynasty - Mother Jones
"Though the financial crisis is hurting China, too—many factories in the Pearl River Delta, the manufacturing heartland of southern China, closed over the past year as US demand softened—Beijing still stands in better shape than the US and other Western powers. Holding nearly $2 trillion in currency reserves and running significant trade surpluses, China can spend to get its economy humming again. (Already, Beijing has launched a stimulus package worth nearly $600 billion, and more could follow.) Having refused to open up many of its banks to global markets—despite intense criticism from the West—China now doesn't have to deal with mountains of bad debt."



02&03 May



A dry run for Guinness
"Iron County will not attempt to regain its 2005 Guinness Book of Records title for the world's largest ATV parade when it hosts its 24th annual Memorial Weekend ATV Rally on May 22-25. This year's event, however, will be a practice run for Iron County's attempt to recapture the record in 2010."
State directs Ashland School District to make quiet room changes
"During the visit, her staff identified a number of concerns, including the “use of seclusion for verbal behavior”; “documentation of the use of seclusion in incident reports”; and “disproportionate use of seclusion wither students who are Native American,” among others mentioned in the letter."
$1M in stimulus funds coming to school districts
"The first wave of Recovery Act money is still lapping into the Chequamegon Bay area, and local officials are already starting to eye the next round of funding requests.  So far, projects impacting the public at large have been the biggest beneficiaries. That trend continued this week with stimulus funding for education announced, with local districts receiving a share for Title I and other needs."
UW Gets Money For Alzheimer's Research
"The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has been awarded a grant of $6.9 million to create an Alzheimer's disease research center."
Governor Doyle Goes Fishing
"The Governor spent his morning fishing the Chippewa Flowage near Hayward. The Governor says people have been waiting for months for this day. "
Republican State Convention
"Wisconsin Republicans are settling in for the second day of their state convention in La Crosse.  Convention organizers kicked off the day Saturday with the usual roll call of counties represented at the convention. "
Study: Erosion, not dredging, lowered lake levels, and problem not getting worse"
"The report, prepared for the International Joint Commission, recommends doing nothing about riverbed erosion that it estimates has permanently lowered Lake Michigan and Lake Huron by about four inches in recent decades."
All but one whooping crane nest at Necedah abandoned
" A multimillion-dollar effort to reintroduce whooping cranes to the eastern United States was dealt another blow this week when all but one pair of cranes abandoned their nests.  Now scientists are looking for answers. And as part of their detective work, they're using minnow nets, electronic monitoring, crane feces and even dry ice to help them study the birds' behavior."
Madison-area Latinos bracing for swine flu backlash
"Although the first symptoms of swine flu surfaced in Mexico, experts say it could have originated anywhere. Still, because the flu has hit Mexico the hardest, it is linked closely with the country, and that's causing some unease among Latinos."
  Feingold kicks off The Progressive's 100th anniversary
"But Feingold reminded the hundreds of people who filled Monona Terrace for the weekend-long celebration that La Follette -- because of his anti-war stances and militant defenses of civil liberties -- was in his day "considered a substantial pain in the neck."  The contemporary senator, who has been a lonely dissenter on some of those same issues, delighted in recalling that La Follette was eventually recognized as one of the five greatest senators in the nation's history."
Islamic law ushers in reign of terror in Pakistan's Swat valley - McClatchy
"Two weeks after the Pakistani government capitulated to Islamist demands and imposed Islamic law throughout the Swat valley, armed militants are patrolling the streets of the district capital and masked gunmen have taken control of outlying districts, where they're terrorizing residents and using intimidation to close girls' schools."
NBC/ WSJ poll question advanced false claim about proposed labor law -  Media Matters for America
"The National Labor Relations Board, in its September 2007 Dana Corp. decision, noted the existence and legality of voluntary recognition: "We do not question the legality of voluntary recognition agreements based on a union's showing of majority support. Voluntary recognition itself predates the National Labor Relations Act and is undisputedly lawful under it." In the decision, the board later observed that when an employer voluntarily recognizes a union, "[t]he employer's obligation to bargain with the union attaches immediately."
GOP Party Identification Slips Nationwide and in Pennsylvania  - PEW Research Center
"Over the first four months of 2009, the Republican Party has continued to lose adherents. Interviews with over 7,000 respondents nationwide so far this year found fewer than a quarter (23%) of the combined total identifying themselves as Republicans. This is down from 25% in 2008, and from 30% in 2004. In total, the GOP has lost roughly a quarter of its base over the past five years."



01 May


Muzzleloader Deer Season
"Due primarily to the large turn-out from the tourism industry, particularly in the northern half of the state, the Muzzleloader proposal was soundly defeated (4,174 votes against, compared to 2,546 in favor on the first of two questions on this, with the second question having comparable results). This means that for now, there will not be a deer season that consumes the entire month of December."
Timber sales set record
"The annual report shows total revenues of $2,270,170 in 2008 from the county forest and parks.  Of that amount, $1,694,223 came from paid stumpage, $71,963 from Saxon Harbor, $13,717 from county parks, $8,292 from miscellaneous permits and fees, and $481,974 from grants and loans."
Area leaders upbeat about future of Range
""I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out to be surprisingly upbeat," Klein said.  Nine community leaders made up the panel that offered brief presentations and took questions from the audience. Twenty-three people attended the session at the Hurley K-12 School."
Great Lakes' levels holding steady
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday that Lake Superior maintained its average increase, climbing 3 inches during the month. While Superior is still 6 inches below its beginning-of-May average, it is 2 inches higher than one year ago, according to the Corps."
Spinach Distributed in Wisconsin Tests Positive for Salmonella
"The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says consumers should discard 10-ounce bags of Kleen-Pak curly-leaf fresh spinach with use-by dates of April 29, April 30 and May 1."
Smoke Free Taverns
"Schneider says she joined "Taverns Clearning the Air" Coalition to help pass a statewide smoking ban.  Governor Jim Doyle proposed a statewide work place smoking ban in his budget. He expects a vote in May."
Wis. governor declares public health emergency
"The declaration directs the state health department to take all necessary steps to prevent and respond to flu cases and distribute anti-viral stockpiles, among other things. It also authorizes the state adjutant general to use the Wisconsin National Guard to help in the state’s response."
Oshkosh named finalist for huge defense contract
"Oshkosh Corp. has been named a finalist in a multi-billion-dollar competition to outfit ground troops in Afghanistan.  Late Thursday, the company said it was awarded a U.S. Army contract for three all-terrain, armored vehicles for further military testing.
Most states have fewer drugs than feds suggest
"Wisconsin has even less: Only 399,000 courses of treatment on hand as of this week, or enough for about 7 percent of its population. Another 204,000 courses are expected to arrive in the next week from the federal stockpile, which will increase the supply to cover 10.7 percent of the population."
Swine flu swamping state labs 
"As the world faces a potential pandemic, swamped labs are not testing all possible cases. Getting an exact tally has taken a back seat to finding new outbreak hot spots or ways to limits its spread, health officials said."
Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful - CNN
"More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life."
[Who would Jesus torture? - Bob]
Swine Flu Could Depress May Day Immigration Rallies... WNBC.com
"Organizers of the May Day rallies, which have drawn thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people in recent years, said they would look to recommendations from public health officials about whether to cancel or modify the events."
Thief Steals 2 Wheels From California AG's Car - CBS News
"Brown wrote about the crime on his Facebook page, saying "even though I am California's 'top cop,' 2 of my tires were stolen. No matter. I got 2 new ones and I'm rolling again!""
What Finland can teach America about true luxury - Christian Science Monitor
"The weather was glorious, but Helsinki felt like a ghost town. I learned that most Finns take a five-week summer vacation, and that many of them disappear for the entire time to tiny, bare-bones cottages in the woods. Curious, I wrangled an invitation to visit one of these secluded cabins."