“News – September 7, 2009”

Some Breathing a Sigh of Relief in FDL


9/7/09 – After several weeks of strife surrounding proposed contract changes Mercury Marine and its employees union, the Fond du Lac area community can breathe a sigh of relief. Machinists Local 1947 union members ratified the contract Friday evening. The approval didn’t come without some cost to union members however. Russell Krings a representative of the District 10 office of the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers says union members made some “huge sacrifices” for themselves and on behalf of the community.  Steve Wiskow, a 33-year veteran employee of the company, was down about the vote as he dragged on a cigarette in the union hall parking lot. Wiskow says he and others are afraid that caving in to company demands is the undoing of the union.


Fond du Lac County Executive Al Buechel says while Mercury Marine’s Stillwater, Oklahoma facility will be losing jobs to Fond du Lac, those manufacturing jobs going from Fond du Lac to Oklahoma is something community officials couldn’t accept. Buechel says the local unions ratification of proposed contract changes from Mercury means the community will avoid becoming the “Detroit” of Wisconsin. (KFIZ)


Man Expected to be Charged in Hartford Abduction


9/7/09 – Hartford police have asked prosecutors to file charges against an Illinois man accused of abducting his son.  The man and the boy weren’t missing for long.  The father allegedly took the five month old child from a park in Washington County yesterday morning.  The two were found later that same day.  Hartford police say they were called about 2 p.m. Saturday and told the boy had been taken from Veterans Park.  The child mother had relocated with the boy in Hartford after she split from the father.  The 29 year old father and the boy were found at about 6:30 p.m. in West Allis.  The father could be charged with interfering with child custody.


Pewaukee Police Department on the Chopping Block


9/7/09 – It appears the village of Cambria is not alone in their concern of how much it costs to support a police department.  Next Thursday police in Pewaukee will try to save their jobs, as city leaders are considering a plan to disband the department and let the Waukesha County Sheriff’s office handle patrols.  The Cambria Village Board approved a similar plan last month.  Pewaukee’s mayor and common council have been told that could save the Milwaukee suburb a million dollars each year.  Police say they will use the meeting to let the public know about all the services they provide — and why it would be better to keep the county out of the picture.


Farmers Struggling Despite Slight Increased Food Prices


9/7/09 – Despite a recent, slight increase in prices, Wisconsin dairy farmers are hurting.  Consumers were paying 22 dollars per hundredweight of milk in June, but dairy farmers were only seeing 12 dollars, according to Vernon County Extension Agent Tim Rehbein.  He says somewhere along the line of dairy production, from processors to wholesalers to consumers, someone is making that money, but it’s not farmers.  And there’s another problem – Rehbein says consumers are already reluctant to buy dairy products in a down economy.


Suspect in Custody on Possible Murder Charge


9/7/09 – A suspect in the apparent murder of a woman in Waukesha is being held in Milwaukee.  Neither the name of the suspect, nor the victim, has been released yet.  Waukesha police say they are investigating the 21 year old woman’s death as an apparent homicide.  Officers were called Saturday night.  When they responded to the 9-1-1 alert they found the woman’s body in a parked car at an intersection.  The suspect was arrested some time later in Milwaukee.


Job Losses to Continue into Next Year


9/7/09 – An official of Milwaukee’s Manpower Incorporated says job losses should continue into next year.  But still, Jonas Prising says it’s clear that the downslide is improving.  The U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics said today the 216-thousand jobs were lost in August – only about a third as many as a few months ago.  Still, unemployment rose two-tenths of a percent to nine-point-seven – the highest rate since 1983.  Prising heads the American portion of Manpower’s employment business.  He says it’s been a long recession, and it’ll keep getting longer.  Manpower projects that unemployment will rise above 10-percent.   And while the job losses have diminished, Prising says the labor market will still be difficult for both employers and employees.


More Jobs Could Be Headed to WI


9/7/09 – A decision could be made by early next month on a plan that could mean from 150 to 400 jobs for Wisconsin and Indiana.  Republic Airways bought Midwest Airlines earlier this year.  It says it is considering moving 150 jobs from their New Mexico customer service center.  The three possible new locations are Milwaukee, Denver or Indianapolis.  Another 250 jobs now located in Denver could also be moved to Milwaukee or Indianapolis.  Republic is based in Indianapolis.


PSC Releases Water Fact Sheet


9/7/09 – A Public Service Commission water fact sheet says the number of people served by the nearly 600 water utilities in the state continues to rise, but the amount of water sold per residential customer dropped almost seven percent between 2004 and 2008.  PSC spokeswoman Teresa Wiedemann-Smith says she believes a lot of homeowners and businesses are doing more to conserve water.  Wiedemann-Smith admits the fact sheet does not estimate how much of the decline in per-person water sales is due to the recession.  Changes in the weather can also be a factor.  She says some people may be using less water, in order to save money, but, she also says several water utilities are encouraging conservation through new price structures.  The PSC says since 2004 the average cost of public utility water has gone up 17 percent — which tops the rate of inflation.  The report does not cover the large number of people who get their drinking water from private wells.


New Program Making it Easier for UW-Students to Find and Apply for Scholarships


9/7/09 – U-W Madison is making it easier for students to learn about opportunities for scholarships – and to apply for them.  A new Web site helps undergraduate students look for possible scholarships – and there’s also an on-line application form.  Until now, students and their parents had to go to each college or department on campus to get information about what scholarships might be available.  The new Web site has a database that evaluates a student’s situation, and determines which he awards he-or-she might be eligible for.  Here’s the address for the new site – Scholarships-Dot-Wisc-Dot-Edu.  Leave the W-W-W out.


Veterans Affairs Asking Legislators to Look into Fund Transfers


9/7/09 – The Board of Veterans Affairs has delivered a seven-page list of questions it wants the Legislative Audit Bureau to investigate.  That board wants an exhaustive audit of finances and operations and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.  Some of the questions concern the way veterans homes in King and Union Grove are managed.  That board is wanting the bureau to take a closer look at fund transfers between the two nursing homes involving millions of dollars.  Leaders of the bureau’s audit committee will likely consider the request some time next week.


More Money for Uninsured WI Residents


9/7/09 – Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle says a 50 million dollar grant from Washington will help more uninsured residents get the health care they need.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending the money to be used to improve the BadgerCare program over the next five years.  States getting this funding have to show they can keep the program going after the federal money stops coming.