Expect hottest day in nearly a month; Ryan emphasizes Wisconsin roots in convention speech; more briefsWisconsin News
Wisconsinites are about to feel the heat once again. Today is supposed to be the hottest day in almost a month with highs in the 90’s statewide. Humidity will be low during the day so the heat index may not reach 100.
Wisconsinites are about to feel the heat once again. Today is supposed to be the hottest day in almost a month with highs in the 90’s statewide.
Humidity will be low during the day so the heat index may not reach 100. Strong winds are also in the forecast with possible gusts of over 30 mph.
The combination has authorities in neighboring Minnesota and Iowa concerned about the spread of wildfires. Red flag warnings have been issued for southern Minnesota and northeast Iowa today.
A “Fire Weather Watch” had been posted for this afternoon for far western Wisconsin. But that’s apparently been lifted because the National Weather Service has no fire watches or warnings for the state as of this morning.
Conditions are expected to improve this evening when the winds die down, and there’s more humidity. A dry cold front is expected in southern Wisconsin Friday, but highs will still be in the 80’s and 90’s.
Cooler weather is expected during the weekend with highs in the 80’s from Saturday through Labor Day. Our next chance of rain will be Sunday.
The Weather Service says the remains of Hurricane Isaac, and its heavy rains, will not get past Illinois and Indiana.
Ryan emphasizes Wisconsin roots in convention speech
Paul Ryan introduced himself to the nation last night by highlighting his Janesville upbringing, President Obama’s shortcomings and Mitt Romney’s promise of a national turnaround.
Ryan accepted the Republicans’ vice-presidential nomination in a 37-minute speech at his party’s convention in Tampa, Fla.
The House Budget chairman said the Democrat Obama wants to be judged on his promises instead of his results. Ryan said those results include a stimulus program that he called “cronyism at its worst” and health care reform that Ryan called “the greatest threat to Medicare.”
Without getting into specifics, Ryan said he and Romney would honor what he called the “promise” that Medicare represents. Ryan pointed to his 78-year-old mother as he vowed to “protect and strengthen Medicare” for future generations.
One of the Democrats’ main criticisms of Ryan is that he espouses a plan that forces seniors to tackle the health care market themselves, using tax-funded and lower-cost vouchers.
Ryan said Obama visited the former General Motors plant in Janesville in his 2008 campaign and said, “If our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.” But Ryan said the plant didn’t last another year.
“That’s how it is in so many towns today where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight,” said Ryan. But he didn’t mention that the plant actually ended production a month before Obama took office.
Ryan had high praise for Romney, calling him “prayerful, faithful and honorable … a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.” Romney will accept the GOP’s presidential nomination tonight.
Labor reports says Milwaukee lost more jobs than other metro areas
The U.S. Labor Department said Milwaukee lost more jobs than any U.S. metro area during the year ending in July.
The new data shows that the Milwaukee region lost 6,000 jobs, a decrease of .7%.
Of the 50 largest U.S. metros, only New Orleans, St. Louis and Providence joined Milwaukee in having year-to-year job losses.
But the figures are based on estimates and relatively small employer surveys and are subject to revisions later on.
State workforce development officials have questioned the accuracy of the figures which are reported for the previous month. They say the government’s quarterly job figures are much more accurate because they’re based on surveys of up to 96% of employers.
That recent report shows that Wisconsin gained 3,700 jobs in the year ending in March. But the quarterly reports don’t get a lot of publicity because they’re not all that timely. The data is several months old by the time they’re released.
Only 18% voted in August primary; voter fatigue suspected
State officials say about 18% of Wisconsin’s eligible voters took part in the Aug. 14 primaries, well below the 58% who turned out for the historic recall elections in June.
During the recalls, Gov. Scott Walker survived but Republicans lost their majority in the state Senate.
Observers have said voters were showing fatigue and needed a break after months of intense campaigning in the recalls and a politically charged Senate recount that followed.
This month, about 582,000 people voted in the Republican primaries in which Tommy Thompson earned the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
His Democratic challenger, Tammy Baldwin, was unopposed. She received about 186,000 votes.
The August primaries will also be known for the defeats of two long-time Milwaukee legislators including Peggy Krusick, who was in the state Assembly for 29 years.
Brother charged in hit-and-run death
Two brothers made their first court appearances Wednesday for the hit-and-run traffic death of a man in Green Bay.
A judge ordered a $100,000 bond for the accused driver, Felix Ruiz, 17, Green Bay. He’s charged with hit and run causing death, and he’s due back in court next month for a preliminary hearing.
Rene Ruiz-Mosqueda, 21, pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer. He’s under a $5,000 bond with a trial tentatively set for October.
Prosecutors said Ruiz was arguing with a girlfriend July 8 when his vehicle struck and killed Daryl Wayka, 52, on Green Bay’s east side. Authorities say Ruiz didn’t stop.
The girlfriend told police they were scared, and they didn’t know what to do.
A few days later, police said Ruiz’s brother drove him to Milwaukee to catch a bus to Mexico. Officials said he returned last week, and police were hoping he would turn himself in, but he didn’t.
Police said Ruiz was hiding in a closet at a friend’s house in Howard when he was arrested. In court Wednesday, a prosecutor said Ruiz did not have a valid driver’s license, and he has a condition that restricts his eyesight.
Teens get probation for stealing owl
Two teenagers will spend the next 18 months on probation for stealing a popular owl from a rehabilitation center near Oconomowoc.
Dilan White and Matthew Kuhlemeyer, both 18 from Dousman, each paid $6,500 in restitution before striking a plea deal. They escaped felony burglary convictions and were found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing, theft and criminal damage.
The two teens stole Dakota the Owl last year from his cage at the Wildlife in Need rehab center. They showed it off at a party and on Facebook, where they gave themselves away to police who routinely monitor those sites.
Dakota then escaped and that launched a search that lasted several weeks before the owl was discovered on a nearby porch in poor health.
During the probation, Waukesha County Circuit Judge William Domina ordered the teens to perform 80 hours of community service, maintain absolute sobriety and get a drug and alcohol evaluation.
The judge said he did not believe the two meant to injure Dakota, but he said it was a “bone-headed” thing to steal him.
Drought means shortage of dried chips for throwing contest
This summer’s drought has had an impact in ways you could never imagine.
The annual Wisconsin Cow Chip Throwing Contest could not get enough dried cow manure from the fields this year. Organizers will have to dip into a reserve of about 200 chips for this year’s festival Friday and Saturday in Prairie du Sac.
The chips are about the size of a table tennis paddle. They come from a local herd of beef cattle who eat grass and produce dense and strong chips.
Contest workers normally shovel the manure in July and let it dry and flatten in the sun. But that operation was scrapped this year because of the poor quality of the manure as a result of the drought.
Organizers were only able to scrape up about a third of 200 to 300 chips they normally need for the contest.
The winners will advance to the national contest in Beaver, Okla., and they get $200 toward the cost of their trips.
The men’s record, set in 1991, in the Wisconsin competition is 248 feet. The women’s record, set four years ago, is 157.5 feet.
Seven charged in $15 million marijuana bust
Authorities are still removing evidence from a multi-million dollar marijuana-growing operation in a remote forest in northeast Wisconsin.
Officials announced federal charges Wednesday against seven people after 15,000 pot plants were seized from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Oconto County. The drugs were worth an estimated $15 million.
Ed Wall of the state Department of Justice called it one of the largest operations his agency has encountered. He said the marijuana is being destroyed, and it will take until today to airlift it from the forest.
Such remote operations have become more common throughout the nation. This was the third one discovered in the Chequamegon-Nicolet forest in the last three years.
Wall said a fisherman noticed suspicious activity in June and called the state Department of Natural Resources, and that set the wheels in motion for an investigation that involved federal, state and local officers.
According to prosecutors, the U.S. Forest Service found at least three growing sites close to each other, and law enforcement cameras caught Maria Blanca-Garcia of Brandon making numerous trips to the sites.
Officers tracked her vehicles and stopped one of them last Saturday. Five others living in her apartment were also arrested. A seventh person was stopped in Idaho last week, but it’s not clear whether that person’s in custody.
Not guilty plea entered for woman accused of stabbing small daughter
A not guilty plea has been entered for a Fitchburg woman accused of stabbing her six-year-old daughter seven times.
Tasha Harmon, 30, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court. Judge David Flanagan ordered her to stand trial and entered a not guilty plea to her charge of attempted homicide.
The next step in the case is to set a trial date, but no further court proceedings were immediately scheduled.
Prosecutors quoted Harmon as saying that she heard voices and conducted a “spiritual cleaning” of her house just before she stabbed young Adrianna Harmon on Aug. 13.
The girl suffered a punctured lung as well as back and chest injuries. The mother then stabbed herself in the chest and throat. Police quoted Harmon as saying she tried to kill both her daughter and herself, but neither happened.
Adrianna was released from a hospital Monday, and she’s now in the custody of Dane County human service workers.
UW-Madison earns nearly $58 million from licensing rights
UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation made almost $58 million last year from the licensing of its research findings.
That’s the 10th-highest among 157 schools surveyed by the Association of University Technology Managers.
The UW and the Alumni Foundation spent a combined $1.1 billion on research last year. That research resulted in four business start-ups, and 156 patents being issued.
Nationally, $1.8 billion was made from licensing agreements – a slight increase from the year before.
UW officials called it a true investment in Wisconsin. Vice President Michael Morgan said the UW is part of the fuel that drives the state forward.