UW-Whitewater grad among those killed in theater shooting; Heat advisory issued for southern Wisconsin; more briefsWisconsin News
UW-Whitewater graduate John Larimer was among the 12 people murdered in Friday’s movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colo. Southern Wisconsin will be under another heat advisory today. More briefs.
President Obama offered the nation’s sympathy last night to survivors and the relatives of those killed in Friday’s movie theater shooting rampage in Aurora, Colo.
UW-Whitewater graduate John Larimer was among the 12 people murdered. As was Macayla Melek, 23, who has relatives in Milwaukee.
Larimer graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2008 with a double major in history and political science. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake.
ABC News said Larimer was shot while protecting his girlfriend from gunfire. He was among a group of sailors watching the movie. He was a Navy cryptologist at Buckley Air Force Base.
Among the 58 wounded was Carey Rottman, 27, of Mequon. Rottman told his father he saw James Holmes throw a smoke grenade during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”
When Holmes started shooting, Rottman said he ran out as quickly as he could. In the parking lot, four young people pulled him to a grassy area and used a belt for a tourniquet. Then one of them waved down a policeman.
Rottman’s father, Dale, said his son had surgery later on Friday, and he’s expected to fully recover.
Rottman is a 2003 graduate of Homestead High School. He called his parents at 2 a.m. from the hospital, telling them he was going to have surgery for a gunshot wound to his leg.
Thiensville dentist Dr. Dale Rottman and his wife immediately flew to Denver at their son’s request.
Carey Rottman was married last month to his college sweetheart. He says it is lucky she decided not to go to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
Heat advisory issued for southern Wisconsin
Southern Wisconsin will be under another heat advisory today.
The National Weather Service says afternoon highs could get above 100 degrees as southwest winds move into the region ahead of an approaching cold front. The heat index is expected to reach 105 with only a slight chance of rain.
The heat advisory runs from 10 a.m. today until 8 p.m. tonight throughout the southern part of the state.
Once the front moves in, the Weather Service says showers and thunderstorms are likely tonight, and they’re possible in southeast and central Wisconsin. More rain is expected tomorrow throughout the southern half of Wisconsin, providing at least a bit of relief from both the heat and the summer drought.
Highs in the 80’s are expected all week in southern Wisconsin with 90’s possible in the southwest on Wednesday night.
In the north, overnight lows are supposed to drop into the 50’s for at least the next couple of nights with highs mostly in the 70’s all week.
Tech colleges ask for 100% increase in financial aid for students
Wisconsin lawmakers generally agree that technical college students can use more financial aid. But some wonder if the state can afford a nearly 100% increase sought by the board of Wisconsin’s 16 tech schools.
The board has asked for an additional $34 million in Higher Education Grants for job-based training in next year’s two-year state budget. That’s on top of the nearly $38 million funded in the current budget.
Oshkosh Democrat Jessica King, who chairs the Senate’s Job Training panel, said more people are beginning to realize there’s a gap between what employers need and the numbers of workers trained to meet those needs. King said the tech schools need to be a priority in the next budget.
But a spokesman for GOP Assembly Colleges Committee Chairman Steve Nass of Whitewater said the money might not be available.
Mike Mikalsen said schools should focus on specific local job demands instead of just funneling more students to the classroom.
Last year, Gov. Scott Walker rejected an extra $23 million in financial aid for tech colleges. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the new request will be considered as part of an overall review of next year’s available funding and needs.
For now, he said the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation has created grant money that’s tied to specific jobs. The foundation recently gave almost $4 million to five technical colleges.
13th OWI conviction results in nine-year prison term
Outagamie District Court Judge Mark McGinnis says the community needs to be protected from Gerald Blasczyk.
Blasczyk’s conviction on a 13th drunken driving charge has earned him a prison sentenced of almost nine years.
Prosecutors said Blasczyk drove his Jeep and a trailer into a ditch in the town of Seymour where a passerby discovered him slumped over the steering wheel. When he came to, he sped away, but the witness called authorities and that led to him being stopped.
Blasczyk reportedly had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.
Hwy. 35 works unearths ancient remains
Scientists from the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center report they are finding ancient remains, which could be Native American, at a highway construction project location near Onalaska.
Almost two dozen possible skeletal fragments were found as work was being done on Wisconsin Hwy. 35.
Researchers say they have found hundreds of food and garbage pits, cooking hearths, tools and other artifacts at the dig site. All burial sites are protecting by Wisconsin state law.
Wisconsin company pursues New Jersey scofflaws
A Milwaukee firm will help a city in New Jersey try to collect $3.3 million in overdue municipal court fines.
The state has approved Bridgeton's use of the Milwaukee-based Duncan Solution. The administrative office that runs New Jersey's court system was required to approve the arrangement. Bridgeton, in southern New Jersey, is the first in that state to get such an approval.
Bridgeton officials say they don't have time to chase down long-term scofflaws. The collection firm will try to recover money only from violators who have not paid their fines for a year or longer.
Duncan will get 22 cents for every $1 it collects.
Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly said it does no good for a judge to impose fines if an offender is not compelled to pay them.
Hovde says voting in DC was discouraging
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde is defending his Wisconsin credentials and his lack of a voting record.
Former governor Tommy Thompson raised the issue of Hovde’s voting last week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the banker and hedge fund manager registered in Washington DC in 2004, and he voted in just 2 of 11 elections until this year – the 2004 and 2008 November presidential contests.
Hovde told the paper he has spent “75% of my life in an airplane” while he built homeless shelters around the world.
He said it’s discouraging for conservatives to vote in DC because “Your only choice is a liberal Democrat and a liberal Democrat.”
Hovde has voted in every election since buying a house near Madison late last year.
But Thompson, who leads second-place Hovde in the polls, said last week, “The first time he’s going to vote for the U.S. Senate is for himself in Wisconsin … He wants to buy the race … and I don’t think the people are going to buy it.”
Thompson was referring to the $4 million Hovde spent on TV ads this year to get himself known.
Spokesmen for Republican hopeful Mark Neumann and Democrat Tammy Baldwin also criticized Hovde on the same issues.
But he denied being a carpetbagger, saying he’s a third-generation Wisconsinite. He said he went to Madison East high, graduated from the University of Wisconsin and has returned to the state often.
Hovde said he couldn’t believe his years in Washington were an issue in the Republican Senate primary, which takes place in just 22 days.
Oshkosh air show starts today
Thousands of classic airplanes are flying into Oshkosh for today’s opening of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Show.
A record number of aircraft, around 12,000, attended last year’s show, and there were over 550,000 spectators.
The 40th anniversary of Van’s RV Aircraft is being honored today. There will be demonstrations and air shows throughout the day. Tonight the Steve Miller Band will perform.
Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Hudner Jr. will appear at the EAA on Wednesday. He was the Navy’s first African-American combat aviator during the Korean War. Filmmaker George Lucas also returns on Wednesday.
The Air-Venture show runs through next Sunday.
A plane crashed on Saturday while arriving at the Oshkosh show grounds. Winnebago County authorities said it hit some parked trucks on its descent. The pilot and a passenger were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
As a result, landings were cut off for about 2 1/2 hours.
Also, Outagamie County authorities said an experimental aircraft went down Saturday afternoon in the town of Bovina. The pilot, the only person on board, had non-life-threatening injuries.
Broken fuel line fixed
FOX VALLEY -- Gasoline is flowing again after a ruptured pipeline north of Germantown was repaired and restarted during the weekend.
The West Shore Pipeline Company said that its crews are performing environmental tests in the area of the leak. So far, there’s no indication of air or water pollution.
The federal government has been investigating the cause of the gas leak, which spilled around 42,000 gallons of fuel in the Washington County town of Jackson.
The leak was first discovered Tuesday and shut down about half of a pipeline that sends 3 million gallons of gasoline each day from Chicago to Green Bay.
By Thursday, there were concerns that the Green Bay area would have fuel shortages by the weekend.
On Saturday, Gov. Scott Walker issued an emergency energy proclamation which made it easier for trucks to bring in fuel from elsewhere. The order exempted weekly driving restrictions for fuel trucks on all state highways for 10 days.
But the pipeline was back in business around 8 p.m. Saturday.
Jail inmate of paying to have wife killed
An inmate in the Grant County Jail is accused of making several attempts to have his estranged wife killed.
Robert VanNatta, 48, didn’t want to her to testify against him in a case where he was charged with sex crimes involving a minor.
VanNatta now also is charged with solicitation of first-degree intentional homicide in a criminal complaint filed last Wednesday.
Earlier this month, an inmate in the jail told a staff member VanNatta had said he had paid a person $3,000 to “take care” of his wife. He said that person didn’t follow through and he was looking for someone else to kill her. At least three other inmates passed on details of similar conversations.
Hunting permit deadlines near
Wisconsin hunters are running out of time to apply for permits for several seasons.
The Department of Natural Resources says license applications are due a week from Wednesday for this fall’s turkey, grouse, otter, fisher and bobcat seasons.
Aug. 1 is also the deadline to apply for Canadian geese permits in the Horizon zone.
Hunters can apply on the DNR’s Website, service centers and other permit outlets.