State senator among those raging over Packers' 'victimization'; Neumann puts out plea for $152,000; Teens burned when fireworks explode in car; more briefsWisconsin News
The first topic of conversation in most of Wisconsin Tuesday is likely to be how the Green Bay Packers apparently got robbed by the NFL’s replacement officials last night in their 14-12 loss at Seattle. Also, Mark Neumann – who finished third among four candidates in last month’s Republican U.S. Senate primary – is asking for about $152,000 to help pay unexpected campaign bills.
MADISON -- The first topic of conversation in most of Wisconsin Tuesday will be how the Green Bay Packers apparently got robbed by the NFL’s replacement officials last night in their 14-12 loss at Seattle.
The Seahawks scored the winning touchdown on the final play. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 24-yard Hail Mary pass to the back of the end zone, where Packers’ safety M.D. Jennings looked to have the ball clutched to his chest for an interception, while Seattle receiver Golden Tate had just his arms on the ball while landing underneath Jennings.
One official on the field called it a touchdown, and another called it an interception. After a few minutes, the officials ruled it a touchdown. NFL replay official Howard Slavin – who’s not a replacement – upheld the call.
Referee Wayne Elliott said both players possessed it, and Seattle Coach Pete Carroll said the ball and the touchdown were correctly awarded to his receiver. Packers’ Coach Mike McCarthy – knowing that other NFL coaches have been fined up to $50,000 for criticizing replacement officials – restrained himself by saying he’s never seen anything like this.
Meanwhile, Green Bay players were also restrained in their remarks to reporters.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers simply called it “awful.” But they later went on Twitter with a battering of obscenity-laced tweets. Packers’ guard TJ Lang wrote that the league should “fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”
Packers’ guard Josh Sitton tweeted that the league should get its normal officials back “before we strike and they make no money.”
Even Wisconsin Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Middleton got his two cents in. He sent a message to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office phone. Erpenbach said in a separate tweet that if last night’s final call did not spark an end to the league’s lockout of the unionized officials, “This season will be a joke.”
The loss dropped the Packers to 1 and 2 – their worst three-game record since 2006, in McCarthy’s first season in Green Bay.
Neumann puts out plea for $152,000
Mark Neumann – who finished third among four candidates in last month’s Republican U.S. Senate primary – is asking for about $152,000 to help pay unexpected campaign bills.
The Waukesha County homebuilder and former congressman emailed supporters Monday to say he needs help to pay some unexpected bills from vendors late in his campaign. He said he had no money left in his campaign account to cover those bills.
Neumann’s net worth is between $6 million and $18 million, and as of late July, he put $240,000 of his own money into the campaign. But he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he would not cover the last-minute bills with his money.
He said he was trying to help GOP Senate nominee Tommy Thompson raise campaign money for his November contest against Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Neumann said the email solicitation would not cut into his efforts to help Thompson.
Teens burned when fireworks explode in car
SPARTA -- Five western Wisconsin teens were burned early Monday morning after fireworks exploded in their vehicle in Sparta.
All the victims were 17-year-old boys from the Sparta area.
Police said they were called around 4:30 a.m. Monday when the victims showed up at the city’s hospital.
Officials said the boys were throwing lit fireworks from their vehicle, and one of them exploded inside.
The car driver managed to get the group to the hospital, and four of the five were flown to other hospitals. Conditions were not immediately disclosed.
Evidence of voter fraud proving hard to find
Republicans who’ve promised to dig up voter fraud have not found very much of it.
The Associated Press said that in Colorado and Florida, only .1% of all registered voters were found to have cast ballots illegally. In Florida, election officials were asked to determine how many registered voters were not U.S. citizens. The state checked 180,000 people in a federal database that determines a person’s legal residency, and only 207 were found not to be citizens.
In Colorado, Secretary of State Scott Gessler initially said almost 12,000 non-citizens were on the voter rolls but the actual number was just 141. Of those, just 35 voted in the past.
In North Carolina, 637 registered voters were suspected to be non-citizens, but officials later found only 12 instances in which a non-citizen had voted.
In Wisconsin, former state Senate Elections Committee Chairwoman Mary Lazich of New Berlin asked officials in July to remove non-citizens from the state’s voter rolls. Reid Magney of the Government Accountability Board said his agency is considering the request and what it would involve.
In the meantime, Wisconsin’s photo ID law for voting remains suspended while the state challenges two court rulings which struck down the mandate.
Water-guns, sound may be newest weapons against Asian carp
LACROSSE -- Wisconsin fish experts will hold a public meeting in La Crosse Wednesday evening to explain a potential new way to fight the invasive Asian carp.
The federal project uses water-guns and underwater speakers to generate sound waves and pressure that could force the bloated fish to swim away.
The test will occur at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center on French Island in La Crosse.
The geological group needs approval from the state Department of Natural Resourves to move bighead and silver carp to the center for the study. The agency has received a federal permit to transport the fish.
The DNR will explain the project, and its role in it, Wednesday evening at the U.S. Environmental Center on French Island in La Crosse.
Archdiocese nearing claims settlement as deadline passes
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese is apparently getting closer to settling damage claims from almost 500 victims of sexual abuse by priests.
A 60-day mediation period has just expired, and both sides agreed Monday to extend their talks at least into next week. Retired federal bankruptcy judge Randall Newsome of San Francisco has been meeting with the two sides, trying to reach an agreement that would pay the victims while letting church continue its mission. Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said “much progress” has been made.
James Stang, who represents the sex abuse victims, said it was appropriate to continue based on the status of the talks, but neither side would give any more details.
The 10-county Milwaukee archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection almost two years ago. The church was facing a dozen lawsuits from sex abuse victims. Church officials said the bankruptcy petition was the only way to stay in business while giving fair compensation to the plaintiffs.
Several Catholic branches around the country have filed for bankruptcy, and Milwaukee’s case has the largest number of claimants.
Presidential election 6 weeks away; voter registration encouraged
MADISON -- The presidential election is six weeks from Tuesday, and Wisconsin’s top elections official will hold a news conference today to discuss voter registration.
Kevin Kennedy is encouraging new voters to register before they get to the polls. He’s expected to talk about new technology to help in that regard.
Last week, the state Government Accountability Board started a new Website that’s designed to deliver ballots securely over the Internet to Wisconsin’s military troops and other residents overseas. The system is designed to get ballots to foreign voters much faster, but they still have to mail their competed ballots to their local clerks.
Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to speak at Lawrence University in Appleton Thursday as she makes her second visit to the Badger State in the last month.
The Obama campaign says the First Lady will encourage people to organize their communities behind the president. And she’ll promote voter registration and voting through the “Own Your Vote” initiative.
Notorious Capitol protestor faces harassment charge
MADISON -- One of the State Capitol’s best-known protestors is free on a signature bond after being criminally charged with harassing journalists outside the Capitol’s press room.
Jeremy Ryan, 24, of Madison has a settlement conference scheduled for Oct. 26 in Dane County Circuit Court on two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct.
Authorities said Ryan yelled outside the press room in June and July, and it got so loud that reporters couldn’t hear a phone ring.
Among other things, prosecutors said Ryan sang insulting songs about last year’s death of longtime Capitol journalist Dick Wheeler. His daughter Gwyn Guenther now runs the Wheeler Report. She told authorities she feared for her safety in other parts of the Capitol.
Ryan also has a non-criminal disorderly conduct case pending. He’s been a frequent protestor at the statehouse for more than 18 months.
Standoff closes high school for morning
Marinette High School sat virtually empty until late Monday morning while a police standoff took place at a home across the street.
Police were about called around 6:30 a.m. Monday about an online posting in which a 28-year-old man said he had a gun and wanted to harm himself. Officers arrived at the home, discovered that he was on the second floor and kept him on the phone throughout the incident.
Meanwhile, police decided to move up to 700 Marinette High School students to a fieldhouse at the two-year UW-Marinette college.
Police said the man surrendered voluntarily around 9:20 a.m., and he did not any weapons in his possession. Police said they were treating the matter as a medical concern, and they took him to Marinette hospital. Students returned to the high school around 10 a.m.
$720,000 distributed to housing authorities
Local housing authorities in Wisconsin have received $720,000 federal dollars to prepare residents of public and assisted living complexes for jobs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the money can be used to hire or keep 1,500 service coordinators who work directly with families in public housing. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the funding will help residents get in touch with things like child care, computer training, job training and other basic skills that people need to earn a living wage.
Milwaukee was given $138,000, and Brown County received $135,000. Beloit was given just over $100,000 federal dollars. Smaller amounts went to public housing agencies in Kenosha and Appleton and Brown, Winnebago, Sauk, Dane and Racine counties.
Donovan said the government must make sure that every American has the resources they need for employment in order to keep growing the U.S. economy.