- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Firefighters rescue 2 men from flooded ditch

GERMANTOWN, Wis. (AP) - Firefighters have rescued two men whose truck rolled into a flooded ditch in southeastern Wisconsin.

Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss says the men are lucky they didn’t end up upside down, because they could have drowned.

The rollover happened Wednesday morning on Highway 41/45 as another round of storms passed through southern Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1lAArm1https://bit.ly/1lAArm1 ) reports it took firefighters about a half-hour to rescue the men. Firefighters had to deal with chest-high water in the ditch from heavy rainfall and crossed the ditch by laying ladders across the water to the truck.

Both men were hurt but are expected to survive.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.comhttps://www.jsonline.com


Southern Wisconsin cleans up after storms

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Homeowners and repair crews cleaned up and restored electricity Wednesday after another round of severe storms hammered southern Wisconsin, toppling trees, knocking down power lines and flooding streets.

Authorities said they received no reports of any injuries. The storm surged into the Madison area during the morning commute just before 8 a.m., dumping sheets of rain that reduced visibility on Interstate 94 to less than 100 yards. Drivers stopped under overpasses or along the highway’s shoulders to wait out the deluge.

Damage in Madison, Cottage Grove and Sun Prairie on Wednesday morning was sporadic, said Dane County Emergency Management specialist Carrie Meier. At least five houses and five vehicles in Sun Prairie were damaged by fallen trees, county officials said. State emergency management officials said the National Weather Service confirmed either straight-line winds or a microburst - an intense, localized downdraft - occurred in Sun Prairie and Cottage Grove.

Numerous trees were uprooted in a neighborhood on the far west side of Madison, including one that crushed a van in a driveway and others that blocked streets. Traffic lights were out in downtown Madison and police closed several streets.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning based on radar readings, but Meier said a tornado didn’t touch down. State emergency officials said winds reached maximum speeds of only 55 mph but the soil was so moist that the winds were able to knock down trees and power lines.

The Milwaukee area got so much rain in the first few hours of Wednesday that the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District was forced to open its overflow valves and allow untreated waste to flow into area rivers to avoid basement backups. MMSD spokesman Bill Graffin said the district typically sees about two such overflow events every year.

Sandy Rusch Walton, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee’s public works department, said her department had received 128 complaints of flooding on city streets as of midday Wednesday. She said 25 crews were working on the problems.


Wisconsin response over vouchers mirrors Louisiana

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A request by Wisconsin’s education department for information about students with disabilities attending private voucher schools sparked an angry response from conservatives this week, not unlike what happened in Louisiana in reaction to a voucher investigation there.

In Wisconsin, the state Department of Public Instruction last week asked for taxpayer-subsidized voucher schools to voluntarily turn over the information as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation. It is looking into alleged discrimination in the program against students who have disabilities.

Students with disabilities are typically more expensive to educate, but voucher schools receive the same taxpayer subsidy for every student. Repeated attempts to have higher vouchers for students with disabilities have failed in the Legislature in recent years.

In Louisiana, the Justice Department tried to block the state from issuing future vouchers in districts under civil rights-era desegregation orders unless the state first obtained federal court permission. Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal tried to use it against Democrats by accusing President Barack Obama of trying to deny school choice to poor children.

Wisconsin Republicans are taking a similar approach, accusing the Justice Department of working with the state Department of Public Instruction to intimidate voucher schools and undermine the program.

“If Eric Holder wants to go fishing in Wisconsin, we have more than 15,000 lakes, we will gladly find him a boat and a guide,” said Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, co-chairs of the Legislature’s powerful budget committee in a joint statement.

John Johnson, spokesman for the state education department, stressed that the information request was voluntary.


St. Cloud printing plant employing 280 to close

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Printing giant Quad/Graphics will close its commercial printing operation in St. Cloud in late August, affecting about 280 workers, the company said Wednesday.

The exact last day of production at the 237,000-square-foot plant will be determined later, Quad/Graphics spokeswoman Claire Ho told the St. Cloud Times (https://bit.ly/1piOX1Qhttps://bit.ly/1piOX1Q ).

The closing stems from Quad/Graphics’ recent $100 million acquisition of Brown Printing Co. of Waseca. Many of the plants in the Quad/Graphics network are equipped to do the special interest or short-run publications done in St. Cloud, Ho said.

“We are moving forward quickly with integration plans following our recent acquisition of Brown Printing Company,” Ho said.

Ho said a similar announcement was made Wednesday at a plant in Woodstock, Illinois. All full-time employees with Quad/Graphics will be eligible for separation packages, she said.

Job opportunities will be available at other Quad/Graphics plants, Ho said. The company, based in Sussex, Wisconsin, also has Minnesota plants in Shakopee and Waseca. In addition to its headquarters, Quad/Graphics has 10 locations in Wisconsin.

“It is not a reflection on the employees,” Ho said. “It’s a straight-forward business decision. Ultimately, it comes down to how we believe we can achieve the greatest manufacturing and distribution efficiencies with the strongest, most competitive platform for our clients into the future. The team at St. Cloud is very talented.”



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