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Did the State Elections Board violate state law when it directed local election officials to release voter identification numbers to third parties when requested is the question a state elections watchdog group wants answered. The non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign on Monday asked Peg Lautenschlager, the state attorney general, to issue a clarifying opinion on the question.
Declare St. Croix, Polk, and Dunn counties disaster areas because of drought is what Gov. Jim Doyle County is asking the Mike Johanns, U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary to do. Doyle sent a letter to Johanns Wednesday asking that a total of 19 counties in the state be declared disaster areas because local farm officials have reported many crops are beyond help despite recent rains. The other counties include: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Dunn, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marquette, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn and Waushara.
A recent article, entitled "Bridge stakeholders end meetings with environmental approval in sight" and concerning the final meeting of the St. Croix River Crossing stakeholders' group, misrepresented the Sierra Club's position on the project. The RiverTown Newspaper Group misquoted meeting moderator Mike Hughes as saying that the environmental-advocacy group "will be endorsing" a St. Croix River Bridge project.
Two motorcyclists from Minnesota were airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul after they collided Sunday afternoon just east of Prescott. The accident occurred at about 2:25 p.m. when Larry Stitzelo, 67, Lexington, was riding his motorcycle eastbound on Highway 10. Another motorcycle, driven by Bonnie Faye Sontag, 57, Farmington, was on 620th Avenue trying to turn right on Highway 10 from 620th Avenue. According to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, the two motorcycles then made contact.
Work is scheduled to begin the week of July 30 on a $2.6 million project to improve I-94 in Dunn and St. Croix Counties. But for motorists the good news is that most of the work will be done during the night, according to Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials. Crews will diamond grind 12.4-miles of pavement between Highway 128 near Glenwood City and Highway 25 in Menomonie. This project will remove the faulting in the concrete pavement joints to restore ride quality and extend pavement life. The Interstate will remain open to normal traffic during daytime hours.
Universal health care what U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, is aiming at in the health care reform package he announced Monday in Milwaukee. Feingold says he will introduce the package he calls the "State-Based Health Care Reform Act" in the Senate this week. The program it would authorize a couple of states to launch five-year long pilot projects aimed at providing universal health care for everyone in those states. "With an American-style approach to reform, that gives flexibility to the states and fuels innovation, real health care reform is within reach," Feingold said.
OSHKOSH -- Hundreds of thousands of airplane enthusiasts will descend on Oshkosh this week for the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual fly-in. Big attractions this year include rare vintage warplanes and some of the newest technology that may help return humans to the moon. The skies above Oshkosh will be swarming with planes this week and little Wittman Regional Airport will temporarily take the mantle of "worlds busiest" from O'Hare in Chicago. One of those planes will be a B-1 bomber.
This week's rain did little to dampen fire dangers across most of Minnesota including the east-central area. With more dry weather on the way the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is restricting burning permits. "Many areas are still several inches behind on accumulated precipitation," said Jean Bergerson with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center.
MADISON- The northern half of Wisconsin is under severe threat of wildfires because of severe drought conditions. Consequently, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has ordered emergency ban on a variety of outdoor fire-related activities. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, emergency forest fire restrictions were put in place in the following counties (outside of incorporated cities and villages): Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn.
Just as bands of heavy storms and sheets of much-needed rain pounded the far-western region of Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle issued an executive order that declared a state of emergency across the state because of drought conditions. The order will allow the Department of Natural Resources to expedite requests by farmers for temporary irrigation permits which allow them to use water from streams and lakes for irrigation. Under Doyle's order the irrigation permits would be good until Aug.