News – June 18, 2009

Children Radiothon is Here!

6/18/09 – The 12th Annual WBEV/WXRO Children’s Radiothon is here with a full day of activities to benefit seven local charities. It all started with a live on-air auction this morning at 6 a.m., which will continue through 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. The 1st annual Noel’s Angel Walk started at 7 a.m. at Waterworks Park. John Kraft will be traveling around the county to seven different locations this morning as the organizations compete for the 2nd Annual DCS Cup. Other events include a rummage sale from 8 until 11 this morning here at the station, 100 Stoddart Street. We’ll also be hosting a dessert auction beginning at 9am through 11 in front of the studio. Later this morning their will be a Car Wash & Brat Fry at Tower Lanes starting at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then tonight we will have a street dance, also in front of the station. That begins at 6 p.m. and will include music, food, a guitar hero contest and more. Also starting at 6 p.m. will be the annual motorcycle ride. It will leave from John’s Bar in Beaver Dam. There will be a stop at the American Legion Bar in Fox Lake and ending at the radio station at 8 p.m. The seven organizations benefiting from the Children’s Radiothon are P.A.V.E., The Parent Resource Place, Beaver Dam Teen Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Dodge County, Green Valley Enterprises, YMCA of Dodge County, and Clothes for Kids.

Senate Passes its Version of Budget

6/18/09 – The Wisconsin Senate passed a state budget last night that would pay for new roads by removing tax breaks on capital gains instead of raising the gas tax. It’s one of many changes Senate Democrats made to the budget passed by the Assembly last weekend. The vote was 17-to-16 to pass the two-year, 62-billion-dollar spending package. All 15 Republicans voted no, as expected. Jim Sullivan from Wauwatosa was the only Democrat to vote against the passage. The Senates budget also drops the special driving cards and in-state U-W tuition for illegal immigrants passed in the Assembly version. The budget still includes around two-billion-dollars in tax-and-fee hikes, plus spending cuts and federal stimulus funds aimed at covering a six-point-six billion dollar shortfall in revenues. A conference committee will now work out the differences between the two houses. And Governor Jim Doyle wants the panel to act quickly so the budget can take effect July first as scheduled.

Southeast Wisconsin Conduct Homeland Security Training Exercise

6/18/09 – It was the nation’s largest homeland security training exercise. Army Reservists joined local authorities and hospital personnel yesterday in testing their response to a major chemical attack. Ten hospitals in southeast Wisconsin took part in Operation Red Dragon. Tents were set up where victims were de-contaminated. Emergency rooms acted as receiving stations, where victims were sent to different units according to how severely they were hurt. And some of the victims were portrayed as deaf and autistic, as hospital personnel faced the challenge of getting everyone their proper care in a very short amount of time. Brigadier General James Cook said about three-thousand military personnel took part, along with hundreds of civilian personnel – 200 alone at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. Jason Liu, an emergency doctor at Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital, said it was an exciting chance to learn from the Army. And Cook said his troops learned a lot from the civilian responders, too. It took about a year to plan the exercise. The Army chose Wisconsin because similar drills had been run at Fort McCoy near Sparta during the past four years.

Some Small Businesses Will Get Funds

6/18/09 – Some help is on the way for small businesses that are hurt by slow sales and tight credit – but they’ll have to act fast. Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton says only about 10-thousand of the nation’s 27-million small businesses will get special recovery loans the Small Business Administration made available this week. The loans cover up to 35-thousand-dollars in existing business loan and credit-card payments for up to six months. And the re-payments don’t begin for a year, which gives the businesses 18 months of breathing room. By then, Eric Ness of the S-B-A says an economic turnaround should be in bloom, in which shops can use rising sales revenue to pay back their loans. Just over a quarter-billion-dollars in loan money is being made available. There are no allocations for each state, and it’s all on a first-come, first-served basis.

State Suffers 4th “Swine Flu” Death

6/18/09 – Wisconsin now has four deaths from the H-1-N-1 swine flu. A school-aged child from Wausau died yesterday, after spending four days at a Marshfield hospital. Marathon County health officer Julie Willems Van Dijk said the child had an underlying medical problem that increased the risk of dying from the virus. Two children and two adults in Wisconsin have now died from swine flu. The other deaths were in Milwaukee, where the teenage victim was identified yesterday as 14-year-old Tiara Mosley – a freshman cheerleader at Milwaukee Madison High School. Her mother said Tiara collapsed at school a day after she felt better and left the hospital. She did not have the underlying medical conditions which are known to increase the flu risks. Richard Olds of the Medical College of Wisconsin says the H-1-N-1 virus appears to be killing more young people nationally than the normal winter flu strains – and fewer people above 65 appear to be dying. No one knows why. Wisconsin has about 35-hundred swine flu cases. Two-thirds of them are in Milwaukee County.

Unusual Bugs Popping Up Throughout Wisconsin

6/18/09 – It’s the season for unusual bugs in Wisconsin – and the D-N-R says the eastern tent caterpillar has made its presence felt. Experts say the insects create silk-type homes which look somewhat like cotton candy. They can damage trees, but the D-N-R says the effects don’t last very long. They suggest using soap-and-water and general insecticides to remove the caterpillars – which are often confused with the more damaging gypsy moths. But Andrea Diss-Torrance of the D-N-R says tent caterpillars make their own tents while gypsy moths don’t. They’ve been common lately in Dane County, as well as in Columbia, Green Lake, Adams, Marquette, Sauk, Waushara, Waupaca, Lincoln, and Ashland counties.

Stimulus Funds for Passenger Trains Could Be Headed to Wisconsin

6/18/09 – The Midwest appears to be one of the front-runners in the race to get eight-billion federal stimulus dollars for new high-speed passenger trains. Karen Rae, the deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, says she’s not naming any favorites yet. But she praised Wisconsin and other Midwest states for their regional cooperation in a plan for trains that connect 12 major cities. And Rae had good words to say about California, where voters approved 10-billion-dollars in state bonding for a part of a high-speed rail network for the Golden State. Yesterday, the railroad administration issued guidelines to those who apply for the federal aid. Pre-applications must be filed by July 10th, and most of the final paperwork is due August 24th. The first grants will be issued in mid-September. Any region can apply, but the agency has narrowed down its main choices to 10 U-S corridors. That includes the Midwest region, which includes Governor Jim Doyle’s plan to add high-speed service from Milwaukee to Minnesota’s Twin Cities, with a possible northern spur to Green Bay.