- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014
Wisconsin needs more money for snow costs

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - County highway departments have spent so much money dealing with snow and ice on state roads this year that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation next week will ask the Legislature to allot $27.3 million more to cover those costs.

Some county departments say there was nothing they could do to cut costs. The winter brought repeated storms with above-average snow to plow, below-average temperatures with ice to melt and other costs that couldn’t have been budgeted for. The state also had to buy more salt at a higher price. All that added up.

“I know the reason. It’s very simple. It just snowed, and snowed, and snowed,” said Ashland County Highway Commissioner Emmer Shields.

Shields’ northern Wisconsin county has already spent more than its entire $350,000 budget for winter work by March 31. The county already has a $20,000 deficit, not counting costs for April snow. That leaves nothing for winter costs in October-December.

“The option is to cut back on summer work, but that’s not a good thing to think about either,” Shields said. “We could be dealing with safety issues in summer” if the request isn’t approved and costs are cut there.

Shields’ county is small, but its problems echo throughout the state.

Wisconsin contracts with counties to help maintain state highways in addition to their own county roads. Invoices are still coming in from counties for work plowing and salting state roads since January, and more are on the way as county departments continue plowing spring snow.


Gubernatorial candidate to hand out Klan hoods

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democratic candidate for governor Brett Hulsey plans to hand out white Ku Klux Klan-style hoods to Wisconsin Republicans as they gather for their annual convention Friday to highlight what he says are their racist policies.

Hulsey, a state representative from Madison who is white, came into the state Capitol press room on Thursday to show off a hood he says he made with his daughter’s sewing machine using curtain material he purchased for $1.

“It’s a Wisconsin Republican Party hat,” Hulsey said. “And people can interpret it any way they want.”

When asked whether he was serious, trying to be funny or provocative, Hulsey answered: “All of the above.”

Hulsey, a two-term state representative, is running a long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination against the better-funded and more broadly supported candidate Mary Burke. She is a former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle Corp. executive. Her campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki called Hulsey’s latest stunt “completely unacceptable and totally inappropriate.”

Hulsey has a history of outlandish behavior.

Hulsey contemplated bringing a musket onto the Assembly floor to call attention to GOP policies, like legalizing carrying concealed weapons, that he opposed. Last year, one of his legislative staffers told police she feared for her safety because he brought a box-cutter to the office.


Land O’ Lakes to close 1 Wisconsin cheese plant

DENMARK, Wis. (AP) - Land O’ Lakes is planning to close one east-central Wisconsin cheese plant and expand another.

The Minnesota-based cooperative said Thursday it plans to close its Denmark, Wisconsin, plant as of July 1. Land O’ Lakes says the provolone and mozzarella semi-soft Italian cheese products made at the plant have not been profitable in recent years. WLUK-TV (https://bit.ly/1jmjgBXhttps://bit.ly/1jmjgBX ) reports there is no word on how many workers will be affected.

Land O’ Lakes also announced a multi-million dollar expansion to its Kiel facility. Among the improvements in the next few years will be new milk silos and new cheese vats.

It’s not known if any of the Denmark workers will be offered jobs in Kiel.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has not received any layoff notices from Land O’ Lakes.


Information from: WLUK-TV, https://www.fox11online.comhttps://www.fox11online.com


UW-Whitewater faces federal sex assault probe

WHITEWATER, Wis. (AP) - The federal government is investigating whether the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and dozens of other universities have mishandled sexual abuse complaints.

The U.S. Department of Education said Thursday that 55 colleges and universities are under investigation. It declined to provide details of the probes, but said some were prompted by complaints, while others were initiated following compliance reviews triggered by other factors, such as news stories.

A spokeswoman for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater a complaint against that school was filed with the Education Department. She declined to comment on it because it is still under investigation.

Spokeswoman Sara Kuhl says the university is committed to investigating sexual abuse complaints in a “timely and effective” manner and provides the people making them with help in reporting the incidents to law enforcement officials.



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