Wisconsin roundup: Walker declares statewide state of emergency; more state news stories
All 72 Wisconsin counties are now included in the state of emergency declared by Gov. Scott Walker.
Heavy rains and flooding have combined with tornadoes to spread destruction to most of the Badger State. Seven counties were already under the state of emergency before it was expanded Wednesday. The move calls for all state agencies to help local governments with their responses to the high water and the storm-caused damage. It also opens the door for the Wisconsin National Guard to call its members to active duty to help.
Wis. businesses making ‘dark store’ appeals
A survey released by the Wisconsin Policy Forum finds that 25 percent more "dark store" appeals of property taxes were filed last year.
Dark store appeals are when business owners argue their property tax assessments should consider values of similar properties which are vacant. That is a way to lower their property tax burden. There were 79 dark store appeals in Wisconsin in 2017. The Wisconsin Legislature considered a bill which would have ended the practice, but it never made it to a floor vote during the most recent regular session.
Drunken driver convicted in fatal crash ordered to pay restitution
A Portage County Circuit Court judge has ordered a 30-year-old woman to pay $100,000 in restitution for causing a fatal crash.
The money would be paid to Badgercare Plus Managed Care. Thirty-year-old Billie Jo McSherry has already been sentenced to 15 years in prison for being drunk last year when she was involved in the accident which left a motorcyclist dead and his daughter critically injured. Prosecutors told the court her blood-alcohol content level was nearly four times the legal limit when she caused the death of 48-year-old Robert Korhonen.
Wis. man missing after boat capsizes in Alaska
Searchers are looking for a missing Wisconsin man who was thrown into Alaska's Kenai River when his fishing boat capsized.
Three men were in the drifting boat Monday when it hit a rock and overturned in the sport-fishing area south of Anchorage. The missing man is identified as 68-year-old Daniel Hass of Algoma. A 911 caller told dispatchers two men were clinging to an overturned boat and a third was floating down the river at about 7:00 P-M. Sixty-eight-year-old Charles Bohman and 64-year-old Lawrence Paul, also of Algoma, were rescued.
Flooding strands 400 Amtrak passengers for nearly a day
Two Amtrak trains carrying about 400 passengers were stranded for nearly a day when flood waters blocked the tracks in Wisconsin.
The Empire Builder train headed eastbound from Seattle was stopped near Tomah Tuesday at about 3 p.m. A westbound train from Chicago was stopped outside Portage for 18 hours. Both trains resumed their trips during the noon hour Wednesday after Canadian Pacific work crews managed to clear the tracks. Passengers were forgiving, blaming Mother Nature and saying they had been allowed to step outside and stretch their legs while waiting.
Milwaukee Holiday Parade ends after 91 years
There will be no Milwaukee Holiday Parade in 2018 — for the first time in 91 years.
The DeGrace family has been managing the annual event since 1953. It says a lack of financial support, vendor changes, and downtown construction projects led to the decision to call it off. The family is hoping someone will step forward to manage the parade. Bon-Ton Stores Inc., had been the main financial supporter, but the company declared bankruptcy. The parade which has been held the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving has served as a kickoff for the holiday season. The annual cost was about $150,000.
Miscommunication, pressure from above blamed for lunch controversy
An independent investigation finds that miscommunication and pressure from the superintendent contributed to the lunch controversy in the Stanley-Boyd School District.
Several students and their parents complained that lunches were tossed in the trash because they hadn't paid. The investigation determined it happened at least once. The district had a deficit of $1,500 in its lunch accounts at one point. The final report says Superintendent Jim Jones didn't tell staff to throw lunches in the trash, but he also failed to give them clear instructions on what they were supposed to do.