- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Wisconsin GOP files complaint over Trek ad

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Republican Party filed a complaint Tuesday with the state elections board over a full-page newspaper ad by Trek Bicycle Corp., saying it amounts to an illegal contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

She is the sister of Trek president John Burke. Their father started the company in the 1970s and Mary Burke previously worked there as a top executive.

Mary Burke has touted her connections with Trek during the campaign, while Walker has tried to sully those ties by pointing out that Trek manufactures bikes in China. Trek is the largest manufacturer of bikes in the United States, but it also has plants in China, Germany and Holland.

Last week Walker launched a television ad saying Burke made millions while working for a company that shipped jobs overseas where woman and children earn as little as $2 an hour. He unveiled a second ad attacking Burke on outsourcing jobs on Tuesday.

The ads, coming from the pro-business Walker, were even more unusual given that his administration just two years ago lauded Trek and made it one of five companies at the center of a marketing drive to attract other businesses to Wisconsin.

Both John and Mary Burke separately defended Trek, noting that it employs 1,000 people in the state and contributes $100 million to Wisconsin’s economy annually.

On Sunday, Trek ran a full-page newspaper advertisement in both the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal reacting to the Walker ad and defending the company.

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Supreme Court sides with railroad in collision

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Memorial Day parade that led to a traffic jam blocking railroad tracks in a Milwaukee suburb did not amount to a specific hazard that could make the railroad company liable for striking a minivan, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision is a victory for the railroad industry, which worried that an opposite ruling could lead to railroads being liable for negligence for not slowing down under a variety of scenarios. Federal law requires trains to slow down or stop in reaction to specific hazards.

“Letters could come to the railroad asking for slow orders for events from birthday and graduation parties to family reunions, to races and marathons, all of which might happen only once a year,” Justice David Prosser wrote for the majority. “Railroads would face the constant dilemma of either slowing their trains of risking prolonged litigation and potential liability.”

In this case, the parade, which took place in Elm Grove in 2009, created only a “generally dangerous traffic condition,” the court said in a 5-2 opinion.

While the parade itself was not a specific hazard, the minivan stuck on the tracks was, the Supreme Court said.

Elm Grove Officer John Krahn and Scott Partenfelder, of West Allis, were severely injured as they rescued Partenfelder’s wife and 2-year-old child from the van. Both men were thrown from the tracks, while the child remained unharmed in his car seat. The men said they incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Partenfelder and Krahn sued Soo Line Railroad Company, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway, for negligence. They argued that the railroad should have issued an order for trains to go more slowly through the area because of the parade.

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Purple Heart sent to girl stabbed 19 times

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin girl stabbed 19 times, allegedly by classmates trying to please a fictional online character, has received a military Purple Heart from an anonymous donor.

The girl’s family had asked that well-wishers send her purple hearts, reflecting her favorite color and shape, and the 12-year-old was inundated with paper hearts from across the country. Then one person sent her the real thing.

The girl’s family said Tuesday that the medal came with a card that read: “The only heart I could find! Be strong!”

The military awards the Purple Heart to veterans wounded or killed in action.

Investigators say the girl nearly died in May after being lured to a park and attacked by two 12-year-old girls after a sleepover in Waukesha, outside Milwaukee. She’s now recovering at home.

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Democratic AG candidates tout experience at forum

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The three Democratic candidates for attorney general agreed on most political issues during a public forum Tuesday, so they sought to differentiate themselves by touting their experience and ability to win the November general election.

The candidates include two district attorneys - Susan Happ in Jefferson County and Ismael Ozanne in Dane County - and one state lawmaker, Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee. They’ll meet in an Aug. 12 primary, and the winner will take on Republican Brad Schimel, the Waukesha County district attorney.

Happ said she has proven she can attract votes from Republicans and independents as well as Democrats. Ozanne said he had more years of experience as a prosecutor than Happ does, giving him a better chance of beating Schimel. And Richards said he has the strongest statewide grass-roots organization.

“We’re all progressives; we’re all good people. You haven’t heard a lot of differences tonight,” Happ said. “… It comes down to who can win” in the general election, she said.

Among the notable moments of the forum:

VOTER APPEAL

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