- 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.

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