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Wisconsin now has a detailed plan for holding elections during a flu pandemic. And the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission calls it "forward thinking," and one of the best she's seen. Gineen Beach spent the last two days in Wisconsin, where she met with state and local officials about the plan. She asked states last week to submit emergency voting plans, and Wisconsin was the first to do so. Beach said it was so good, she has already shared it with other states.
Milwaukee's new pitching coach says the Brewers can win if he does his job. Rick Peterson was given a two-year contract Tuesday to improve a rotation which had the National League's highest ERA this past season at 5.37. Peterson, 54, says he has worked his entire life to maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury. And he says the Brewer front office is totally on board with the concepts he used in starting a company this year that uses bio-mechanics to keep pitchers healthy.
Ahman Green's agent denies media reports that the veteran running back has signed a contract to return to the Green Bay Packers. Milwaukee radio station WSSP said Green, 32, had a contract in place Tuesday. And the Journal Sentinel anonymously quoted two of his former teammates who said Green told them he made a deal and received a Packer playbook. But his agent, Joby Branion, said nothing happened Tuesday and he's not sure anything would happen today, either. The Journal Sentinel said Green's return hinges on the health of injured Packers' running back DeShawn Wynn.
Wisconsin has lost its best tackler for the season. Linebacker Mike Taylor tore an ACL ligament in his right knee in last Saturday's home loss to Iowa. Taylor, a red-shirt freshman, was the Badgers' leading tackler going into that contest with 43 total tackles and 20 solo tackles. He was second on the team in tackles for losses with 6.5. Coach Bret Bielema says it's a big loss. Taylor will have surgery in the next two weeks. He's expected to return for next summer's workouts with three years of eligibility left.
Jared Jenkins of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Aaron Johnson of La Crosse, and Tony Smidl of Platteville are the WIAC's football players of the week. Jenkins, a junior receiver, had 13 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown in the Pointers' win over Oshkosh last Saturday. Johnson, a senior linebacker, had 15 tackles and two and a half for losses in a triple-overtime victory by La Crosse over River Falls. Smidl, a senior kicker, tied a Platteville school record by going 4-4 in field goals at Eau Claire. His longest was a career-best 44-yarder.
In his inaugural address, President Obama said: "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man .... Those ideals still light the word, and we will not give them up for expedience' sake. That's how Louis Begley opens his new book, "Why The Dreyfus Affair Matters" (Yale University Press, $24).
The Sierra Club and other conservation groups want emergency action to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Experts say the dangerous carp can bypass an electric fish barrier on the Chicago Ship Canal if heavy rains cause the nearby Des Plaines River to flood into the canal like it did last year. The Sierra Club, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Great Lakes United asked the corps Wednesday to build an emergency dike between the canal and the river. But Army Corps Colonel Vincent Quarles said his agency does not have the authority to do it and they don't have the money, either.
Eleven more child care providers have had their state funding cut off, for defrauding the Wisconsin Shares program or violating its rules. This brings to 99 the number of providers cut off since a state audit discovered millions of dollars in fraudulent or suspicious payments to those supposedly providing care for the working poor. Among the latest suspects was a Kenosha woman who billed the state for 90 hours a week for caring for her grandkids while their mother was working just 40 hours. Officials said she also failed to submit required attendance records for the youngsters.
There's a new effort to let Wisconsinites carry concealed weapons. But this time, Milwaukee's police chief and district attorney are floating the idea, as part of a compromise to create tougher gun control laws. Chief Ed Flynn and District Attorney John Chisholm say they want to require background checks for the buyers of all guns in Wisconsin including those at gun shows. And if they have to cut a deal by allowing concealed carry, so be it. Right now, background checks are only required at federally-licensed gun shops and carrying a concealed weapon is a misdemeanor.
Supporters of an increase in the beer tax are frustrated by some high-level opposition. Paul Jenkins of Mequon recalled a meeting with state Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker during which Decker said there was "no way in hell" he'd increase the tax on beer. Jenkins' pregnant stepdaughter and her 10 year old child were killed by a drunken driver a year and a half ago. He says he believes "any tax that hasn't been raised in 40 years needs to be looked at." An Assembly committee has held a public hearing on the legislation. The state's tax on beer has not been increased since 1969.