Wisconsin had the nation's biggest job losses in October -- and the Badger State was one of just 11 where payrolls declined on a seasonally-adjusted basis. That's according to figures released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
State officials reported a week ago that 9,700 jobs were lost in Wisconsin last month, including 93-hundred in the private sector. New York State had the second-biggest losses with 83-hundred. Illinois added the most jobs in October, with around 30,000. California was next at just under 26,000. Wisconsin was among 36 states where jobless rates fell in October. The seasonally-adjusted rate in the Badger State fell one-tenth-of-a-point, to seven-point-seven percent. The federal government said the states had their bright unemployment pictures since April, when rates fell in 39 states. Wisconsin's rate is in about the middle-of-the-pack. North Dakota has the lowest rate, three-and-a-half percent. Nevada is the highest at 13.4.
A liberal group announced a $10,000 reward today for information that leads to the conviction of anyone who destroys recall petitions. The head of One Wisconsin Now, Scot Ross, said his group hopes to discourage the destroying of recall petitions -- which is a felony under state law. Ross said the reward was motivated by reports of one petition being destroyed in Madison, and a Facebook page advocating the destruction of signed petitions. Recall drives began a week ago against the governor, lieutenant governor, the Senate's majority leader, and three other senators -- all of whom are Republicans. The state GOP has launched its own Web site where people are encouraged to report petition fraud. It has also publicized Facebook posts from people claiming they signed petitions more than once, or used other people's names. Both are against the law. The petitions must be filed by January 17th to the state Government Accountability Board. At least 540,000 valid signatures are needed to order a recall election against Governor Scott Walker -- and a separate 540,000 are needed for a vote against Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
Newspaper readers in Madison could soon find out what types of illnesses teachers claimed they had, when they turned in sick notes during the pro-union protests in February. Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ordered the Madison School District to give copies of over a-thousand sick notes to the Wisconsin State Journal. The paper asked for them under the state's Open Records Law. But school officials refused to release them, saying they would have embarrassed the teachers and put out medically-sensitive information. Judge Colas said the district broke the records law with its blanket denial. Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad says his district is considering an appeal. Otherwise, they have 10 days to turn over the sick notes -- and the judge told the school district to pay for the newspaper's legal costs in pursuing the records. State Journal editor John Smalley says the paper plans to report the general nature of the illnesses that were claimed, and not name the individual instructors involved. Madison public schools were closed for four days after teachers called in sick -- and many went to the State Capitol to protest the law which took away most of their collective bargaining privileges. Last week, the state Medical Examining Board reprimanded seven doctors for handing out medical excuses on the streets outside the Capitol.
A second Wisconsin deer hunter has been found dead, both apparently from natural causes. The latest victim is an 80-year-old whose body was found after a two-hour search last night in the Manitowoc County town of Maple Grove. Sheriff Rob Hermann said there was no sign that the man died from foul play or a hunting accident. Six area fire departments helped with the search, along with search dogs and a helicopter from a Neenah hospital. The hunter's body was found about 200 yards north of Slager Road. His name was not immediately released. The other death occurred Saturday in Bayfield County, where an 86-year-old Racine man was found dead on his tree stand. At least three other hunters were injured since the nine-day deer gun season began. It runs through Sunday.
A candlelight walk and vigil will be held in Madison this evening to condemn the spray-painting of swastikas and other hateful graffiti. Somebody used red spray paint on a house, a utility trailer, and fences in a southwest side Madison neighborhood last Tuesday. Police have not made any arrests, and they said the swastikas and graffiti were not targeted at anyone specific. But the Southwest Community Organizing Committee still called it a hateful attack and said it should not be tolerated. The group said the graffiti goes back to a dark time when unspeakable atrocities were committed to try and elevate one race above others. And tonight's vigil will support those feel targeted or offended by the spray-painting. Four neighborhood groups and a church are sponsoring the vigil.
A suburban Milwaukee man has won a child custody case in which his nine-year-old daughter could be home from Japan by Christmas. The girl's mother, 43-year-old Emiko Inoue, pleaded no contest yesterday to a Milwaukee County charge of interfering with child custody. It was part of a plea agreement which ended a trial after it had begun. 39-year-old Moises Garcia expects his daughter to be back in his legal custody soon. If that happens, an advocacy group called Global Future said it could help bring back over 300 kids illegally taken to Japan by their non-custodial parents. Japan is the only "G"-Seven country that's not part of an international agreement for handling child abduction cases. According to authorities, Inoye fled to her native Japan with the girl in early 2008. That was right after Garcia filed for divorce. Garcia is a native of Nicaragua -- and his daughter had been born in Wisconsin. The girl is now living with Inoue's parents in Japan.
A second person who died in a weekend fire in north central Wisconsin has been identified as 55-year-old Marie Motte of rural Medford. She died early Saturday at a hospital, after her 82-year-old husband Eric Motte was killed at the scene of Friday night's blaze. Taylor County sheriff's deputies said a burning garbage pile got out of control. By the time officers arrived, the flames had engulfed a garage, and spread to the nearby house. Officials said both victims were in the house, and were not able to escape. An investigation continues, but deputies said foul play was not suspected.
Some of the trash that ended up on western Michigan's beaches in 2008-and-2010 came from Milwaukee's sewage overflows, after it floated across Lake Michigan. That's according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic-and-Atmospheric Administration. Their investigative reports were obtained by the Alliance for the Great Lakes -- and that group released them yesterday. According to the documents, the Coast Guard called Milwaukee's sewage overflows "a logical suspect" in releasing the debris which washed ashore in Michigan. And the NOAA said winds-and-currents at the time confirmed that Milwaukee might have been the source for the debris. Lyman Welch of the Alliance said trash from homes-and-businesses landed on Michigan's beaches after two Milwaukee sewage overflows in 2008-and-last year. The Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District says it will review the findings with the Coast Guard.
A 32-year-old man was shot-and-killed in Milwaukee late yesterday. Police said it happened around 5:40 p.m. near a north side intersection. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police continue to investigate.
Waukesha County prosecutors have tried-and-failed to move up a sentencing date for a man convicted of having his ex-girlfriend killed. District Attorney Brad Schimel told a judge that Darren Wold has refused to eat or drink anything since being convicted on November second. And Wold has not moved from his county jail bed except to call his parents a few times. The 43-year-old Wold is scheduled to be sentenced December 20th. Schimel asked Circuit Judge James Kieffer for an earlier sentencing date, because the state prisons are better equipped to handle Wold's behaviors. He also said the victims' relatives would find it easier to cope if the sentencing was not so close to Christmas. But defense lawyers say they won't be available for another date -- so it'll stay on the 20th. Wold and Jack Johnson were convicted of hiring Justin Welch to kill 39-year-old Kimberly Smith at her home in Oconomowoc in the fall of 2009. Prosecutors said Wold wanted Smith killed so he could he have sole custody of the couple's young son. Johnson will be sentenced December second. Both he and Wold face life in prison. Welch was given a life term on November 10th, but he'll have a chance for a supervised release when he turns 70.
Authorities in Honolulu continue to look for a hit-and-run driver that killed a college student from the Green Bay area. Police said 19-year-old Mariah Danforth-Moore of Oneida was crossing a busy highway in a marked crosswalk on Sunday night when she was hit by a white sedan that drove away. She died later at a hospital. Danforth-Moore was a student at Hawaii Pacific University. College president Geoffrey Bannister called the death tragic -- especially for someone in a "young and promising time of life." Counselors and psychologists are helping people on campus deal with the tragedy. Danforth-Moore died at a place where students often cross to catch a bus. University officials said they previously asked for a traffic signal there -- but the transportation department said there was not enough traffic to warrant one. Still, school vice president John Kearns said they'll work with the state to try-and-make the area safer for pedestrians.
A Lake Geneva man missing for 10 days has been found dead in a state forest in Maryland. State natural resources police said 75-year-old James Wilson died from exposure to the elements after he left his mini-van - which got stuck near the Potomac River at Little Orleans in western Maryland. A search team found Wilson's body about three-fourths-of-a-mile from his vehicle in a steep ravine. Authorities said Wilson left Lake Geneva on November 11th - and he was supposed to arrive in Delaware the next day, but didn't. He was reported missing five days after that, or last Thursday. Officials said Wilson might have gotten disoriented or confused.
Milwaukee's National Café and Takeaway has been sold - for 100 dollars. There were conditions. Former owner Michael Diedrick got the promise that Nell Benton will need Diedrick and his wife a meal a day for a year. Benton also has to use sustainable practices and serve local food. Benton was one of several people applying to purchase the restaurant which Diedrick had opened to make the surrounding neighborhood better.
Sales are up, and prices down for existing homes in Wisconsin. The state's Realtors Association said today that almost 4,350 houses were sold in the Badger State last month -- 13-and-a-half percent more than in October of 2010. And the median price went down by almost eight-percent, to about 129-thousand dollars. For the first 10 months of this year, homes sold by Realtors went down almost three-percent. Federal tax credits for home buyers were in effect for a good share of 2010 -- which makes year-to-year comparisons difficult. Officials said home inventories remain high. Michael Theo, the CEO of the Realtors Association, said the housing market needs a big improvement in the economy -- and so far, the economic news for the year has been mixed. Theo says Wisconsin's unemployment is lower than the national rate, but overall job growth has been stagnant.
Wisconsin -- and making all convicted drunk drivers breathe into sobriety tubes before they can start their vehicles. State legislators of both parties have rejected such measures in recent years. But MADD brought them up again in its latest national report which gave Wisconsin three starts out of a possible five for its efforts to curb OWI. In their last session, Wisconsin lawmakers voted to require the ignition interlocks for repeat offenders -- plus first-timers with blood alcohol levels of point-15 or higher. They also made first-time OWI a crime if there's a child in the car. Otherwise, first-time drunk drivers pay non-criminal fines -- the only state in the nation which allows that. John Vose of MADD's Wisconsin chapter says there's a lower deterrence factor when first-time OWI is not considered a crime. Vose says drunk driving costs Americans over 132-billion dollars a year in related costs. He also said the nation as a whole received three stars in MADD's "Report to the Nation." It marks the fifth anniversary of its campaign to eliminate drunk driving.
A former state trooper is scheduled to be sentenced January 19th, after a jury found him guilty of molesting a teenage foster child in his southern Wisconsin home. 49-year-old James Norquay was convicted in Green County of four felony child sexual assault charges, and two felony counts of incest. His bond was revoked, and he's now in the Green County Jail in Monroe. State investigators said the assaults occurred at Norquay's home in the town of Clarno after she was placed for foster care in late 2008 when she was 15. The man adopted the youngster a year later. Officials said the molestation continued until January of this year, when the youngster was removed from the home following a state investigation.
No one was injured this morning when a Delta Airlines flight with 26 passengers landed in Milwaukee with a blown tire. A Delta spokeswoman told a Milwaukee TV station that Flight 24-15 from Detroit to Milwaukee had one of its right tires go out as it landed at Mitchell International Airport. It happened about 10:40 a.m, and four crew members were also abroad the craft. A bus took the passengers from a runway to their terminal.
A man killed after an apparent street argument in Racine was identified today as 23-year-old Adrian Jackson. The victim was from Racine, and he was pronounced dead on a street where the shooting took place early yesterday. Neighbors told officers they heard an argument -- and one said he never heard a gunshot because women were yelling at the time. Investigators were still looking for a suspect at last word.
One of Wisconsin's best-known tourist attractions also has the most liquor licenses for each full-time resident. The Green Bay Press-Gazette surveyed state and U.S. Census records -- and it found that Egg Harbor in Door County has more liquor outlets per capita than any other place in the Badger State. Egg Harbor is the first major tourist community heading north from Sturgeon Bay into the Door Peninsula on Highway 42. It has 201 full-time residents and 21 liquor licenses, including a mini-mart, restaurants, and a golf course. That contrasts with Ephraim a few miles to the north. That's a dry community. The Press-Gazette said Wisconsin has over 17,000 licensed liquor establishments among its five-point-seven million residents. Milwaukee has over 13-hundred of those places.
A judge in Waukesha has ordered an involuntary medical exam and feedings of food-and-medicine to a man convicted this month in the death of his ex-girlfriend. Circuit Judge James Kieffer issued the order today, after prosecutors said Darren Wold has eaten nothing since November second. That's when a jury convicted him of hiring a hit-man to kill Kimberly Smith of Oconomowoc. District Attorney Brad Schimel told the judge that Wold has stayed in his bunk at the Waukesha County Jail since his conviction -- and he's only been up to make a few phone calls to his parents. Schimel said the 43-year-old Wold was in declining health, and he had to be hospitalized overnight this month. The D.A. wanted Wold to be sentenced earlier than his planned date of December 20th, because state prisons are better able to deal with situations like this. But that date won't change, because the defense lawyers say they can't change their schedule. A jury found that Wold and Jack Johnson hired Justin Welch for seven-thousand-dollars to kill Smith at her home two years ago, so Wold could have sole custody of the young boy he and Smith had. Johnson is due to be sentenced December second. Welch is serving a life term, but he can be considered for a supervised release in 42 years when he's 70.
A Beloit man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing one man and wounding another while standing in the middle of a street two years ago on Thursday. 29-year-old Antonio Mance still claims he's innocent. But a Rock County judge refused to consider a future supervised release for Mance, who was convicted in July of homicide and attempted homicide. Police said Mance was armed with two guns and fired them into a car's windshield, and he then moved to the driver's side of the vehicle and shooting more bullets. Derrick Kimber was killed inside the car, and Martell Rodgers was wounded. Besides the life term for the murder, Circuit Judge James Daley also sentenced Mance to 40 more years behind bars and 20 years of extended supervision for the attempted homicide.