- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Woman’s death in Milwaukee may be cold-related

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office says an 87-year-old Milwaukee woman may have died because of the extreme cold.

The woman was found down in her backyard after apparently returning from a store. She was pronounced dead at the scene at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The medical examiner’s office says the woman had a body temperature of 37 degrees. An autopsy will be performed Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says the mid-afternoon temperature in Milwaukee was 1 above zero with a wind chill of 20 below.


Stradivarius stolen from Milwaukee concertmaster

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A 300-year-old “priceless” Stradivarius violin was stolen from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster during an armed robbery after a performance at a local Lutheran college, police said Tuesday.

The rare violin was on loan to concertmaster Frank Almond. The robber used a stun gun on Almond and took the instrument from him shortly before 10:30 p.m. Monday in a parking lot in the rear of Wisconsin Lutheran College, where Almond had just preformed, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said.

Flynn said the violin was valued in the “high seven figures,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1dLTjF0https://bit.ly/1dLTjF0 ) reported. Investigators believe the instrument, known in musical circles as the “Lipinski” Stradivarius, was the primary target, the chief said.

“The artistic heritage of Milwaukee was assaulted and robbed last night,” Flynn told reporters.

As Almond lay on the pavement, the robber fled to a nearby vehicle, described as a maroon or burgundy minivan driven by an accomplice, which then left the scene, Flynn said.

In a 2008 Journal Sentinel story, Chicago violin dealer Stefan Hersh said the violin’s value could be comparable to another Stradivarius that sold for more than $3.5 million in 2006.

The instrument, crafted in 1715, was on indefinite loan to Almond from its anonymous owners. Almond has characterized the owners as people with “strong ties to Milwaukee.”


Wis. justices to hear voter ID cases next month

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in two cases challenging the state’s voter photo identification law for next month.

The justices announced Tuesday they would listen to arguments in both cases during a joint hearing on Feb. 25.

The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the League of Women Voters have both challenged the law. Dane County judges struck the law down in both cases.

But the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled the law was constitutional in the League of Women Voters case, prompting the league to seek Supreme Court review. The justices in November decided to pluck the NAACP case out of the 2nd District Court of Appeals.

A federal judge is considering two other challenges to the law.


Average tax cut under Walker plan put at $177

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The average taxpayer who owns a typical home would save $177 under Gov. Scott Walker’s property and income tax cut proposal, a new analysis of the plan released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows.

The memo comes as lawmakers continue to digest Walker’s $504 million tax cut plan, which he unveiled last week in his State of the State speech. The tax cut is made possible by a budget surplus that’s $912 million more than originally estimated.

Some Republicans in the Senate are questioning whether to go along entirely with Walker’s tax cut plan, because it would increase the state’s projected budget shortfall by about $100 million to $807 million.

Democrats, who don’t have the votes to stop it, also have criticized increasing the state’s structural deficit. They also have said the proposed tax cuts don’t go far enough to help middle-class and poor people, particularly those who don’t own homes or have no income tax liability.

The Legislature is expected to act on Walker’s plan in the coming weeks.

The Fiscal Bureau memo shows that the average income tax cut for all filers would be $46. The owner of a median-valued $151,000 home would save $131 under the plan.

Under current law, property taxes for the owner of a median-valued home are projected to increase by $31. Walker’s plan to replace a portion of the technical college tax levy with state dollars would result in a $100 drop in property taxes, resulting in the $131 savings.



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