Three polls: Senate race still dead heat; Western Wisconsin: New gas pipeline considered to serve frac sand mines; more briefsWisconsin News
Three new polls released Thursday show that Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race has returned to being a dead heat.
Three new polls released Thursday show that Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race has returned to being a dead heat.
A poll of 750 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports shows that Republican Tommy Thompson leads Democrat Tammy Baldwin 48% to 47%. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist College poll of over 1,000 voters also shows a 48-47 margin – but for Baldwin. And a Saint Norbert College survey of 402 adults gives Thompson a 46-43 edge. All three results were within the margins of error.
A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday had Baldwin with a definitive 47-43 lead. It showed greater support from independents plus a majority of early voters.
Meanwhile, the candidates are putting on the miles as they make their last minute pitches around the state.
Baldwin has been speaking at appearances by her fellow Democrats at the top of the ticket. She appeared at President Obama’s rally in Green Bay Thursday and will be with Vice President Joe Biden today in Beloit and Superior.
Baldwin continued to blast Thompson and Republican Mitt Romney for paying lower tax rates than most middle class workers.
Thompson campaigned in the Milwaukee area. Instead of attacking Baldwin, the former governor vowed to improve the tax climate so companies don’t have to be skittish about creating jobs. Thompson plans a 10-city tour of Wisconsin over the next three days.
Western Wisconsin: New gas pipeline considered to serve frac sand mines
The state’s largest natural gas utility is considering a new pipeline in western Wisconsin to provide fuel to a growing number of plants that make frac sand.
In a conference call with analysts this week, Wisconsin Energy CEO Gale Klappa said at least dozen frac sand mining companies have asked We Energies to consider providing them service.
Klappa said the utility is starting to check out possible routes between Tomah and Eau Claire County for a natural gas pipeline. He said the company expects to apply to state utility regulators next year for a project that may cost around $150 million.
Jennie-O driver arrested in hit-and-run accident that injured family of five
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department reports an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run accident last night near Chetek which left five people hospitalized.
They say they have taken the driver of the pickup which crashed into the buggy into custody. The accident happened about 9:30 p.m. Brian Holst, 40, was arrested earlier today.
Authorities say they got a tip this morning that the vehicle involved in the accident might have been a Jennie-O Turkey company truck. Holst was the truck’s driver.
He was interviewed at the sheriff’s department and confessed to hitting the buggy and leaving the scene of the accident. Holst is expected to face felony charges.
The occupants of the buggy were Felty and Lorene Lambright and their three children, Marilyn, Amanda and Luella. At least one of the injuries was serious.
Local lawmakers defend Brown Deer police following spa shooting incident
The two state legislators who represent Brown Deer say 12 of their colleagues were out of line for criticizing the way village police treated Brookfield spa murderer Radcliffe Haughton.
The 12 lawmakers, led by Madison Assembly Democrat Terese Berceau, demanded a state investigation. They accused Brown Deer Police of violating a state law that requires an arrest during domestic abuse calls. They said Haughton should have been arrested for at least two previous incidents, including a standoff in which he apparently pointed a gun at his wife.
The legislators also took Brown Deer’s police chief to task for blaming the killer’s wife for not being cooperative enough with officers.
Assembly Republican Dan Knodl, who represents Brown Deer, called the letter from the 12 lawmakers inappropriate, especially while Haughton’s murder victims are still grieving.
Senate Republican Alberta Darling said she wants to get to the bottom of the matter, but she called her colleagues’ letter a “knee-jerk” reaction.
Knodl said Brown Deer officials are discussing the matter internally, and he expects action. The police chief has asked the state Department of Justice for extra training for domestic abuse cases. Gov. Scott Walker has called for a general review of the state’s abuse laws.
Employers warn of ‘personal consequences’ of Obama re-election
At least three employers in southeast Wisconsin have told workers they might lose some of their benefits if Republican Mitt Romney is not elected president on Tuesday.
A lawsuit has been filed against Rite-Hite of Milwaukee after its founder told employees to understand the “personal consequences” if President Obama is re-elected and raises taxes.
Now, the Journal Sentinel says Milwaukee’s Land Title Services has told its employees it would end pay raises adopted in January if its gets squeezed by higher taxes.
And Jockey International of Kenosha admits telling workers that the Obama health reforms would “further challenge companies such as Jockey to continue to offer affordable medical coverage plans.”
Citizen Action of Wisconsin has filed suit against Rite-Hite’s owner, saying he broke a state law against bosses making any comments that can be construed as threats if employees don’t vote a certain way.
Rite-Hite has not commented.
National media reports say the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision has given employers more power to discuss election consequences with their workers.
UW-Madison political scientist Ken Mayer said the Rite-Hite case does not appear to break state law. But he can’t blame employees for getting nervous when they’re told such things. He says he’s seeing nothing close to coercion, which he says would be a serious crime.
Merrill woman faces nine felony charges in crash that killed her friends
A Merrill woman is due in court Monday on nine felony charges connected with a traffic crash that killed two of her friends almost five months ago.
Ashley Baumann, 24, was charged Thursday in Lincoln County with counts that include death and injury by drunk driving, negligent homicide and reckless injury.
Authorities said Baumann drove a car that rolled over June 7 on a street in Merrill. Two of her passengers -- Jessica Hartwig, 33, and Misty Glisch, 31, both of Merrill -- were killed. A 29-year-old female passenger survived.
Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff said the State Patrol reconstructed the crash scene, and it reached the same conclusion as his investigators did earlier. Neff submitted the evidence to prosecutors Thursday morning.
Baumann is in jail awaiting her first court appearance.
Man with ammunition shows up at Sikh Temple
The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek still lets anyone attend a service and share a meal with worshippers on Sundays.
But members are more vigilant about checking out strangers in the wake of the mass shootings at the temple almost three months ago.
Last Sunday, members called police about a person they thought was suspicious. Officers said he had gun ammunition, zip ties and duct tape and strange writings about the July murders at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. He also had $4,000 after selling two guns.
The man was from Maryland, and he walked into the temple with a backpack. He told police he wanted to pray with Sikh Temple members, and he wanted to talk to some of them about a book he was planning to write.
He was drinking tea with them before the officers arrived.
Police released the man after deciding he was not a threat. The FBI was called in, and the man gave up his ammunition.
Mother gets three-year prison term for leaving baby in hot SUV
A Door County woman will spend three years in prison for causing the death of her baby daughter by getting drunk and leaving the infant in a hot SUV.
Melissa Martinez, 34, of Brussels must also spend four years under state supervision when she’s no longer behind bars.
She was sentenced Thursday after striking a plea deal in June. She pleaded no contest to causing death by child neglect. A count of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle was dropped.
Prosecutors said Martinez left her eight-month-old daughter, Elena, in the SUV in the family’s driveway last fall with the engine running and the heat turned to “high.”
The mother was drinking in the hours before her baby was found dead. Four hours after her arrest, her blood alcohol level was still at .20.
Since then, Martinez has been getting rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, and she pleaded for a lighter sentence.
But Judge Todd Ehlers told Martinez that her child is dead because of “your decision to drink.”
Springsteen joins Obama at rally in Madison
President Obama will bring star power during his next two visits to Wisconsin.
On Monday, rock legend Bruce Springsteen will join the Democratic president for a rally in Madison. It was announced earlier that pop star Katy Perry will join Obama for a rally in Milwaukee on Saturday.
This will be Springsteen’s second politically related show in Madison. In 2004, about 80,000 people showed up to hear “The Boss” perform with Democratic White House hopeful John Kerry.
Magazine says state’s business climate markedly improved
Wisconsin’s business climate is the 13th best in the nation, according to a new survey published Thursday by Site Selection magazine.
The magazine deals with corporate real estate strategies and economic development. Editor Mark Arend said Wisconsin made a big improvement recently. He said the state was not in the Top 25 for at least the last two years.
The magazine rated North Carolina as the top state for businesses to locate. Ohio was second, followed by Texas, Georgia and Virginia.
The states are ranked according to their tax burdens, numbers of new and improved business facilities and opinions from those who select locations for companies.
App advises hunters of hunting hours
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has developed a new app for Android phones to tell hunters when it is legal to shoot a gun based on their location.
The 99-cent app was tested with game wardens before it was released. It isn’t available for iPhones yet.
State officials say it uses GPS to determine where the user is and then matches that with the opening and closing times for the various hunting seasons in that location.
The downloadable app can also show information on other locations and future hunting seasons.
Ryan campaigns in Minnesota
Republican Paul Ryan is about to make his second visit in a week to neighboring Minnesota – a traditional Democratic stronghold where the presidential race has gotten close.
A recent poll by the Minneapolis Star Tribune shows that President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney has been cut from eight points last month to three last weekend at 47% to 44%.
Ryan appeared in St. Paul Tuesday night, and Romney’s running mate from Janesville is planning to speak a rally Sunday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
When Minnesota was firmly in Obama’s pocket, the state was relegated to being a spectator while the candidates traverse the neighboring battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Iowa.
Before the Star Tribune poll came out, both the Obama and Romney campaigns said they would start running ads in Minnesota, which surprised a number of observers.
Vice President Joe Biden will get news coverage from the Duluth, Minn., TV stations today when he campaigns in Superior. Biden is also scheduled to be in Beloit today, and Romney has a morning rally planned in West Allis.