Thompson: Sexual orientation ‘not an issue’ in race; Polk Co. man charged in death of son injured in 2007; A $24,696 tip on a $304 tab? Not what he intended; More briefsWisconsin News
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said it was a mistake for one of his top aides to send disparaging messages about his opponent Tammy Baldwin. Thompson said his political director should not have sent critical emails and tweets that showed Baldwin dancing at a gay pride event.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson said it was a mistake for one of his top aides to send disparaging messages about his opponent Tammy Baldwin.
Thompson said in Milwaukee Tuesday that his political director, Brian Nemoir, should not have sent critical emails and tweets that showed Baldwin dancing at a gay pride event.
The messages were sent last week in advance of Baldwin’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Baldwin would become the state’s first openly gay U.S. senator if she’s elected.
Nemoir’s message satirized Baldwin’s emphasis on heartland values which she delivered at the convention. Thompson’s campaign consultant said soon afterward that Nemoir acted on his own, and he was not representing the former governor’s campaign.
Thompson said Nemoir should not have sent the message, and he has apologized. Thompson said he didn’t know about the message until it went out, and Nemoir made it himself.
Thompson said sexual orientation is “absolutely not an issue” in the campaign.
John Kraus of Baldwin’s camp criticized Thompson for being silent on the matter until now. He called Nemoir’s message a “divisive, personal attack.
Polk Co. man charged in death of son injured in 2007
A northwest Wisconsin man convicted of injuring his baby son in 2007 is now facing a homicide charge after the child died 10 months ago.
Kenneth Larson, 30, of Balsam Lake is due in Polk County Circuit Court Sept. 24 on his new charge of first-degree reckless homicide.
The boy was a month old when his mother took him to a hospital in September 2007. Larson claimed that the baby rolled off a bed, but a doctor testified that the infant would be severely disabled and could possibly die. The child died last November from complications of a brain injury.
Larson was convicted in 2008 of causing reckless harm by child abuse. He was sentenced to five years in prison at Oshkosh followed by five more years of extended supervision.
A $24,696 tip on a $304 tab? Not what he intended
A man got quite a shock after he bought two rounds of drinks Friday night at a club in Waukesha.
Police said the Waukesha County resident bought a couple rounds at Club Velvet with his debit card. When he tried to use the card at McDonald’s Tuesday, it was rejected.
His bank told him that Club Velvet charged $25,000 on his card – about $304 for the drinks and the rest for a tip. That was more than the amount in his account so the bank slapped on a $100 overdraft fee.
Police contacted the ownesr of Club Velvet, who said they were working with the bank to correct the matter. The man told police he would not pursue the matter any further if the bar tip was corrected.
Ryan can run for two jobs, only serve in one
If President Obama is reelected, Janesville Republican Paul Ryan hopes to slide safely into the U.S. House seat he’s held for 14 years.
So with that in mind, the Republican vice-presidential candidate is starting to advertise in Milwaukee for his House contest in November. Kenosha businessman Rob Zerban is running as a Democrat for that seat.
But if Ryan wins – and Mitt Romney takes the White House – another election would be held to fill the First District House seat.
State law allows Ryan to run for both offices, but he can only serve in one.
Ryan’s congressional campaign confirmed that it’s starting Ryan’s House ads today. They’ll run on Milwaukee and Madison TV all the way up until the Nov. 6 election.
Romney’s national campaign covers the costs of Ryan’s vice-presidential bid while his personal campaign fund of around $5.5 million will pay for Ryan’s House bid.
Ryan filmed a number of ads for his House post before Romney named him as his running mate just over a month ago.
Panic buttons installed in Capitol offices
Offices throughout the State Capitol now have panic buttons to help provide security for those who’ve felt harassed by the constant protestors in the building.
The Administration Department said it installed 482 panic buttons in the offices of legislators, officials and news agencies that use the Capitol’s press room. The cost is $103,000.
The wireless panic buttons send alerts to Capitol Police, who will respond immediately when staffers feel intimidated.
But Assembly Democrat Chris Taylor of Madison said there’s already been a false alarm, after a button was accidentally tripped during a routine committee meeting last week. She wondered if the Walker administration was overreacting.
Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend, who was chased by protestors outside the Capitol last March, said he didn’t need a panic button now. But he said it’s unfortunate that taxpayers must cover the tab.
Grothman told the Journal Sentinel, “It’s too bad we can’t directly bill the out-of-control protestors who caused this expense.”
The protestors have been a fixture at the Capitol for a year and a half, spurred by the law which virtually ended most public union bargaining.
Capitol protestor protests citation delivered to him at work
A State Capitol protestor said police went to his workplace to give him two citations, apparently to intimidate him. Another protestor said the officers were trying to get him fired from his job.
Bart Munger of Milton was among four Capitol protestors who were given seven citations Monday for displaying signs and protesting without the permits required under a longtime Capitol policy that’s just now being enforced.
The new Capitol police chief, David Erwin, said he’s cracking down on protestors who intimidate workers and visitors. His officers started issuing citations last week.
Now, officers no longer issue tickets on the spot. They’re serving them at the protestors’ homes.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said the change was designed to avoid confrontations in the Capitol and to keep order.
But Munger, a maintenance worker at UW-Madison, told the Wisconsin State Journal that police tried to intimidate him by showing up at his job.
Fellow protestor Arthur Kohl-Riggs said it was a “clear case of harassment,” possibly to get Munger fired. Kohl-Riggs also said officers are trying to avoid being caught on camera giving out the tickets because they know it would get many upset.
Meanwhile, more protestors are showing their displeasure by showing up at the daily noontime sing-along at the Capitol by the Solidarity Singers. Over 100 people showed up Tuesday – far more than before the new crackdown.
Man accused of arson in death of sons also charged with trying to push daughter back into burning home
State prosecutors said an Argyle man was so desperate to get out of his financial and marital problems that he tried killing his family and burning their house for the insurance money.
He also allegedly tried to push his two-year-old daughter back into the burning house after she escaped with her mother.
Armin Wand III, 32, and his brother Jeremy, 18, are both due in Lafayette County Circuit Court this afternoon. They were charged yesterday with a total of 13 criminal counts for last Friday’s house fire that killed three of Armin Wand’s young children and injured his wife and another child.
Armin’s wife, Sharon, remains hospitalized in critical condition. His parents told the Wisconsin State Journal that Sharon lost a baby she was carrying for 17 weeks, but no charges were filed in that death.
The parents also said authorities had it all wrong, and it’s possible that lightning may have caused the fire that destroyed Armin Wand’s house.
But prosecutors said Wand was “tired of his family struggling from day to day,” and he was sick of hearing his wife complain about a lack of money.
Wand was also quoted as saying they were considering a divorce. And prosecutors said he committed the crimes to get a quote, “fresh start.”
Prosecutors say Wand tried to kill the family as they slept, and he allegedly enlisted Jeremy Wand to start fires in certain spots.
Armin Wand is charged with three counts of homicide, a single count of arson and three counts of attempted homicide – two for trying to kill his daughter twice.
Jeremy Wand is charged with the same crimes, but he faces two attempted homicide counts instead of three.
The state is handling the case because Lafayette County District Attorney Charlotte Doherty is retiring after this year.
Motorcyclist killed in collision with semi
A motorcyclist from the Fox Valley has died in a crash in central Wisconsin.
Portage County authorities said Michael Lipske, 56, of Greenville failed to stop his motorcycle at a stop sign and was hit by a semi-truck.
The accident happened just after 10 a.m. Tuesday east of Wisconsin Rapids at Hwy. 34 and County Road P in the Portage County town of Carson.
The trucker was not hurt. Officials say they’re still investigating the mishap.
DNR protests Ojibewe plan to kill elk
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources has told the Ojibwe band of Indians that it has “deep concern” about a tribal plan to kill an elk for ceremonial purposes.
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved a permit to kill an elk, similar to the way Indians kill deer and bear on nontribal lands for ceremonial reasons.
But there are well-established hunting seasons for deer and bear while the state is still trying to establish an elk herd, and it has not approved a hunt for them yet.
In a letter to the Indian commission and the Voigt Intertribal Task Force, DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney raised public safety and biology issues. And he was concerned that his agency was not given a chance to provide input.
Indians have treaty rights to take fish and game off their reservations, but the DNR still manages those resources.
Agency lands administrator Kurt Thiede said the tribes believe they have full legal standing to kill an elk, but he’s not so sure because a hunt has never been set up for those animals. There’s been talk of such a season as the state considers importing more elk from Kentucky and setting up two centers for about 400 elk in the areas of Ashland and Jackson counties.
The state has about 185 elk now. The DNR’s long-term goal is to have 10 times that many.
EPA begins cleaning chemicals from abandoned factory
SLINGER -- An emergency response crew from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will start cleaning up an abandoned factory today.
Niphos Coatings has been vacant since 2008, but officials from the EPA’s Super Fund cleanup program said there are still stacks of chemical drums.
Coordinator Jaime Brown said the chemicals needed to be removed immediately because they pose a threat to the surrounding neighborhood and three schools nearby.
Village President Russell Brandt said he was pleased about the EPA’s decision to do an immediate cleanup.
The building’s owner, Thomas Harju, stopped paying property taxes on the business in 2007, and it’s been mostly empty since then.
A judge ordered the building to be inspected last month, and a state emergency management staffer got sick from an exposure to chemical vapors in the building.
The inspection turned up thousands of pounds of nickel sulfate, along with nitric acid, sodium cyanide, copper cyanide and hydrochloric acid.