“News – April 14, 2011”

Statewide Tornado Drill Today


4/14/11 – Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin has gotten off to a stormy start, and local emergency management officials are hoping people will take a queue from Mother Nature and prepare for the worst.  Dodge County Emergency Management Director Joe Meagher is urging the public to invest in a NOAA Weather Radio. He says you should make sure it has a SAME feature, which stands for Specific Area Message Encoder, and allows you to program the radio to a specific county or counties. Tornado sirens will be blaring Thursday as part of a statewide drill.  Local media will also be interrupted. Meagher urges members of the public to take advantage of the drill to review or implement an evacuation plan and prepare or update an emergency survival kit. The statewide tornado drill will begin at 1pm with a mock “Tornado Watch” issued by the National Weather Service followed by mock “Tornado Warnings” for different areas of the state every 10 minutes.  The test in Dodge, Columbia, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jefferson and Washington counties will begin at 1:20pm. If there is a real threat of severe weather such as tornadoes, downburst winds, or large hail anywhere in the state, the drill will be postponed to Friday.  The forecast for Thursday calls for some light rain over parts of the state – so it is unlikely that the drill will be postponed.


King Announces Candidacy In Hopper Recall Election


4/14/11 – To keep his seat State Senator Randy Hopper will face a familiar opponent in a recall election. Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King announced her candidacy in Oshkosh Wednesday afternoon. King ran against Hopper in 2008 and lost in a close race that resulted in a recount. King, a Democrat, told the gathering the she and the Republican Hopper are about as opposite as two people can be. In a statement today, Hopper said (quote) “Jessica King’s announcement is a warning sign to all taxpayers to hold onto their wallets. By joining forces with the special interests, King is sending a clear message that she’s choosing higher taxes and spending over hard working taxpayers.” The state’s Government Accountability Board is still verifying signatures on recall petitions. Recall organizer Scott Dillman says they got more than 24,000, which is nearly 8,000 more than was needed to force a recall election.


Fitzgerald Holding Office Hours In Juneau Today


4/14/11 – State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald will be holding office hours today. The Juneau Republican will be at the Dodge County Administration Building in Juneau from 5pm to 7pm.


Dems Start Petition Drive To Save Senior Care


4/14/11 – Wisconsin Assembly Democrats have announced a statewide petition drive to prevent cuts to the state’s Senior-Care prescription drug program. Fort Atkinson Democrat Andy Jorgenson said his colleagues will start circulating petitions in each of their districts, urging Governor Scott Walker not to make seniors sign up for Medicare Part-“D” – the federal drug program which for many would be more expensive than Senior-Care. The administration said Senior-Care would be scaled back to become a vehicle for providing extras to the Medicare programs. Walker said it would cut 15-million-dollars from the state’s budget deficit for the next two years. Opponents call it a hidden tax on the elderly. Two key Republican senators on the Legislature’s Finance Committee have promised to keep Senior-Care as it is, including co-chair Alberta Darling. But Democrats say the claim is merely lip service until they actually do something. The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups has also proposed a plan to restructure the payment system for Senior-Care to increase rebates from drug companies for the medicines in the program. Those rebates now cover about 70-percent of the program’s cost.


Study On Juneau Motel Completed


4/14/11 – A comprehensive study commissioned by the city of Juneau and the Cobblestone Inn shows that the community could sustain a 44-bed motel. The city and Cobblestone Inns split the nearly $6000 cost for the study conducted by Hospitality Marketers International. Mayor Ron Bosak says they are now looking for backers to build a $2 million dollar motel with 31 rooms. Cobblestone will only invest so much money and Bosak says city tax dollars are not an option but officials are considering a new Tax Increment Finance District. He says an ideal location would be on Highway 26, probably near the airport.


Fox Lake Utility Director Gets Top Award


4/14/11 – A local utility director has received a top award from the Wisconsin Rural Water Association.  Kip Peters, the Director of Utilities in Fox Lake, was recently honored in Green Bay as the 2011 District Operator of the Year.  The award is presented annually to individuals who demonstrate excellence in the field of waterworks operation.  Water Association Executive Director Ken Blomberg says Peters is deserving of their highest award for a state licensed water operator and the City of Fox Lake should be proud of his accomplishments.


Power Back On In Merrill


4/14/11 – All the power is back on in Merrill – at least to homes and businesses not damaged by last Sunday’s tornado. The Wisconsin Public Service utility said well over 100 workers replaced 60 power poles, replaced damaged transformers and other items, and re-strung miles of electric wires in the last three days. Up to six-thousand Public Service customers in the Merrill area lost their electricity at the height of the storm. Utility crews are still doing various cleanup tasks today. Almost 70 homes and 15 businesses were damaged in the Merrill tornado.


Oshkosh Dogs Death Sparks International Outrage


4/14/11 – The chief prosecutor in Oshkosh says he’s hearing from people as far away as Australia about an animal abuse case. That’s after the victim’s photos were put on-line. 19-year-old Bryan Hutcherson is charged in Winnebago County with felony animal mistreatment, and a judge is scheduled to decide tomorrow if there’s enough evidence to order a trial. He reportedly told officers he stopped feeding a dog named “Snoop” a month ago because it was too expensive, and he was under a lot of stress. The dog was found dead on a street just over two weeks ago. Once the dog’s photos were placed on the Internet, District Attorney Christian Gossett said his office received over five-thousand e-mails about the case from as far away as Australia – plus hundreds of letters. About 500 of the e-mails were addressed to Gossett personally.