Wisconsin roundup: Western Wis. man killed in lawn-mowing accident; 8 more state news stories
ETTRICK — A man who died in a lawn mowing accident in western Wisconsin has been identified as 47-year-old Brady Olson of Ettrick.
Trempealeau County sheriff's deputies say Olson was riding a tractor with an attached rotary mower — and the machine was going downhill when Olson fell and got tangled up between the tractor and the mowing unit. The mishap occurred Monday night, and Olson died at the scene.
Powerball jackpot now at $700M
The Powerball jackpot is at $700 million for Wednesday, but the odds of winning it are a lot tougher than almost two years ago.
That was when Powerball officials added 10 regular numbers and changed the odds to create more of these astronomical jackpots and the sales jumps that come from all the publicity. Before the change, the odds of winning the top prize were one in 175 million — but now, it's one in 292 million.
Wisconsin Lottery officials said the change would also result in more people winning smaller prizes. In last Saturday's drawing, almost 100,000 tickets in the Badger State won anywhere from $4 to $200,000— about eleven times the numbers of winners as in a normal drawing with a much smaller jackpot.
About 50 testify at Foxconn hearing
STURTEVANT — School and business leaders have joined state officials in supporting the state's $3 billion of incentives for Foxconn.
About 50 people testified Tuesday at a hearing in Sturtevant, close to where a $10 billion LCD screen plant would go in Racine or Kenosha counties. State jobs agency director Mark Hogan says Foxconn would likely spend $1.4 billion with other Wisconsin firms on supplies.
Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel says the plant would be Foxconn's most automated facility but it would still likely meet the target of 13,000 jobs — and if it doesn't, officials say they want to make the company forfeit tax dollars in accordance with the plant's employment. Democrats again accused the GOP of ignoring protections for taxpayers but finance committee co-chair Alberta Darling says there's a "lot of upside," and she expects a Senate vote the week of September eleventh.
Walker’s budget deal announcement appears premature
MADISON — Legislative leaders say the talk of a state budget deal is premature.
Gov. Scott Walker told reporters Tuesday that an agreement "in principle" has been reached on a two year spending package — and he gave some of the details, including a lower amount of borrowing for highway projects, and a reduction in the personal property tax on business equipment. Assembly finance committee co-chair John Nygren says "general conversations" have gotten majority Republicans "pretty close" but there's still disagreement on the main sticking point — paying for road work.
Senate finance chair Alberta Darling says GOP leaders still need to take proposals back to their members to see what they think. The finance panel will meet Thursday on the budget, and Darling hopes to have something wrapped up by Labor Day with final action by mid September.
Harley fights sales drop with new product lines
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's Harley Davidson looks to counter a drop in its United States motorcycle sales with the largest product makeover in its 114-year history.
Harley unveiled eight redesigned cruiser bikes on Tuesday, including a new line of Softail models with the most powerful engines ever made for the company's cruisers. The old Softail and Dyna models are being merged into a single platform, in what product portfolio manager Paul James calls the "most extensive research and development program in Harley Davidson history.
It's part of a 10-year effort to attract millions of younger Harley riders, as more baby boomers give up motorcycling for good. The company says it interviewed more than 3,000 riders to get their opinions on what the new lines should include, and they'll start being unveiled this fall.
State wants to tighten job requirements for paying Foxconn
STURTEVANT — The state wants to make Foxconn give back some of the tax money it gets if its new factory does not reach 13,000 jobs — or does not stay at that level.
Mark Hogan, head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, announced the state's request for tighter job requirements at a public hearing in Sturtevant Tuesday on a proposed $3 billion incentive package to get Foxconn to build its new LCD screen plant in Racine or Kenosha counties. Hogan says that if the company gets to 13,000 jobs in the fifth or sixth year of the arrangement, the WEDC would look at pulling back some of the money if the job numbers decline. Until now, the state's Foxconn package did not have minimum job requirements for the tax money.
Northwest Wis. woman faces charges in OWI death
SPOONER — A 48-year-old woman faces criminal charges after her passenger died in a drunk driving crash in northwest Wisconsin.
Lorraine Lampert of Springbrook was cited for OWI before she was sent to a Hayward hospital and then flown a facility in Duluth. The name of the 54-year-old woman who died was not released as of early Tuesday afternoon. The State Patrol said Lampert had alcohol in her system when her car crashed on Washburn County Road A. Officials said both women were drinking, and neither was wearing a seatbelt.
Worker who died in Superior hotel elevator shaft ID’d
SUPERIOR — Police in Superior have released the name of a 63-year-old man who fell 15-20 feet to his death in an elevator shaft at a hotel.
Police and the Douglas County Medical Examiner's office said they tried to find living relatives to Michael Steven Grigoni, who lived in both Minnesota and Wisconsin — but they couldn't find anybody in the past week, so they released his name Tuesday.
Grigoni was a maintenance worker who was trying to fix an elevator at the Androy Hotel in Superior last Tuesday when he fell to the basement and died at the scene.
Lotto security chief gets prison for rigging jackpots
DES MOINES — Former lottery security director Eddie Tipton has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for rigging lotto jackpots in Iowa — and he's expected to get another three to four years next month for a similar offense in Wisconsin.
But unlike the Badger State, where criminals generally serve their entire terms, Tipton's lawyers expect their client to be paroled in about three or four years in Iowa. The 54-year-old Tipton has struck a plea deal that convicted him of rigging lotto games in five states, including a Wisconsin Megabucks game that netted him $783,000.
His crimes unraveled when he tried anonymously to collect a $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot in Iowa in 2010, and he admitted fixing games with the help of a brother and a Texas businessman. They've agreed to pay $3 million in restitution.