Wisconsin roundup: State biz leaders warm to Trump presidency; UW-Stout makes breakthrough honeybee discovery; 10 more state news stories
MADISON — Almost eight of every 10 leaders of Wisconsin businesses say a Donald Trump presidency will be good for commerce.
That's according to a survey of 270 state business leaders, commissioned by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. The state's largest business group says 60 percent of those surveyed believe the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, as Republicans are about to take charge of both the White House and Congress.
Six months ago, the same survey found that 84 percent of state business leaders thought the national economy kept going south as Democrat Barack Obama was winding down his eight year White House tenure. When asked what Trump should do in his first 100 days, Wisconsin business leaders said he should cut business regulations, reform Obamacare, cut taxes and boost domestic energy sources.
UW-Stout finds new bacteria that may cause honeybee deaths
MENOMONIE — A UW-Stout biology professor and his students have discovered new bacteria that may be causing the deaths of honeybees thorughout the Upper Midwest.
Biology professor Jim Burritt at the Menomonie campus says they've identified a bacteria called Serratia Marcescens Strain Sicaria -- or SS1. Burritt, who's a beekeeper himself, says winter failure rates for beehives in Dunn County have been as high as 80 percent.
One report says 60 percent of bees statewide died last winter, compared to a 44-percent death rate nationally. The bacterium was originally found in sick bees and their blood, and in working with UW- Madison experts, Burritt says they found that the organism had never been documented before.
Justice Ziegler may be unopposed as spring filing deadline nears
MADISON — The deadline for state and local candidates to get on the ballot for the spring elections is 5 p.m. Tuesday -- and a member of the State Supreme Court's conservative wing may be unopposed.
The Elections Commission says no challengers have registered for the seat held by Annette Ziegler, who's seeking a second 10-year term on the state's highest court. If a candidate emerges now, that person would have to register with the elections panel and get 2,000 valid petition signatures from legal Wisconsin residents by 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, state Superintendent Tony Evers could have up to five challengers this spring -- Lowell Holtz, Remberto Gomez, John Humphries, Jeffrey Holmes, and Rick Melcher. If more than two get on the ballot, a primary would take place Feb. 21 to narrow the field to two for the general election on April 4.
Ryan accepts ethics change, but warns against preventing investigations
WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville said Tuesday he'll go along with stripping the internal House ethics watchdog of its independence.
But Ryan says it does not mean the House Ethics Committee can interfere with investigations that will still be done by the Office of Congressional Ethics -- or prevent the office from doing its job. Ryan reportedly opposed the change during a closed-door caucus of House Republicans on Monday night -- and the House will consider the move Tuesday as part of its rules for its upcoming two year session.
Ryan's defense of the ethics change came soon after President Elect Donald Trump questioned its timing on the first day of the new Congress. The independent ethics agency was created in 2008 after a number of ethics scandals.
Marshfield's 'Dining deer' goes viral
MARSHFIELD — Folks from around the world have enjoyed a Facebook video of whitetail deer at a central Wisconsin zoo enjoying a Christmas dinner.
The Wildwood Zoo in Marshfield provides its animals with donated apples, honey, perfume, and other items which interest the animals during the holidays. This past season, Zookeeper Steve Burns and volunteer Pam Nikolai thought about the dining table. After they posted the video on Christmas Day to the Wildwood Park Facebook page, the Hub City Times said it had 55,000 views by late the same night. Since then, the deer diners have had 6 million views -- the video has been shared 125,000 times -- and it's been seen in numerous countries including Iraq, Serbia, and Romania.
State lawmakers to be sworn in
MADISON — Wisconsin's new legislative session begins Tuesday in Madison, when members of both houses will be sworn in to new terms.
In the past, lawmakers would use this day to promise being more civil with their colleagues of the opposing party -- until a partisan spat of some kind broke out before the day ended. Nowadays, there are not nearly as many minority party members in what was known in the 1970s as the "Loyal Opposition" from Republicans.
The Grand Old Party opens its new session with a 64-35 Assembly majority, its largest in the lower house since 1957 -- and the Senate will have a 20-13 Republican majority, its largest since 1971. The two year legislative floor period officially begins Thursday.
Seeker of state recount to rally in Madison for voting reforms
MADISON — The candidate who paid $3.5 million to have Wisconsin's presidential ballots recounted will hold a rally in Madison Tuesday to push for voting reforms.
The recount will cost the Green Party's Jill Stein much less than expected -- about $2 million when the final numbers come in -- and it resulted in only a small change in Donald Trump's November victory in the Badger State. But Stein says Wisconsin still needs to make changes in its voting system, like not using what she calls "tamper friendly machines."
Stein and her Green Party will present its recommendations at Tuesday's State Capitol event, where she'll launch a reform effort called "Count My Vote." Stein tells WITI-TV in Milwaukee she may file suit to require things like hand recounts.
Green Bay scrambles to accommodate playoff fans
GREEN BAY — Hotels, restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and other shops in Green Bay are scrambling to accommodate visiting Packer fans for a home playoff game that seemed improbable just two months ago.
Brad Toll, who heads the Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, says Sunday's Wild Card contest against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field will bring an estimated $14 million to the economy of Brown County and Green Bay, with a city population of 104,000.
The playoffs seemed like a pipe dream in November, when the Packers were mired in a four-game losing streak and lots of fans were calling for the coach and general manager to be fired. But the Packers have won six straight since then -- culminating in an NFC North Division title and the home postseason game that comes with it. As of late Monday, the Packers still had 3,000 tickets available.
UW-Madison student among 6 feared dead in Ohio plane crash
CLEVELAND — A UW-Madison student is among six people still missing and feared dead after their plane crashed in Lake Erie last Thursday.
Nineteen-year-old Megan Casey is from Powell, Ohio, and she was a freshman at Madison who was training to be a nurse. Officials say Casey, her father, and four Columbus-area neighbors were returning home from a Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball game when their twin engine private plane fell into Lake Erie soon after it took off.
The Coast Guard says baggage and debris from the aircraft landed on the shore -- but the plane and its passengers have not been found. UW Dean of Students Lori Berquam says Casey was a "friend to many" during the short time she was on campus.
Three Wis. officers died on duty in 2016
WASHINGTON — Three Wisconsin law enforcement officers died on duty in 2016, one more than the previous year.
The National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Fund says 135 local, state, and federal officers died on duty this past year -- the most since 2011. Rusk County sheriff's deputy Dan Glaze was among 64 officers shot and killed by suspects, a 56 percent increase from 2015. Glaze died in late October, and a suspect who was arrested has yet to be charged.
Also, the national group says Salem Public Safety officer Michael Ventura was among 53 officers killed in traffic crashes around the country last year, and he died July 8 while his squad car drove into a ditch with its emergency lights on. Ozaukee County sheriff's deputy Adam Hartwig died from a heart attack at the end of his shift on March 18.
Superior shooting victims ID'd
SUPERIOR — A 21-year-old man shot to death in Superior on New Year's Day has been identified as Kyle Androsky.
He was shot behind the Third Base Bar about 7:40 a.m. Sunday. Twenty-seven-year-old David Androsky was taken to a Duluth hospital after being shot in the chest -- and he was listed in stable condition at last word.
Police say there was an apparent altercation in the bar and it was taken outside where two people were shot behind the tavern. No arrests have been made, but police say it was not a random act and they're looking for information from the public about what happened and why.
New year brings new public access to birth, marriage certificates
RACINE —Starting Tuesday, many Wisconsinites will find it much easier to obtain vital records like birth and marriage certificates.
A new state law takes effect in the New Year, in which people can obtain their vital records at their nearest county courthouse -- and folks who no longer live where they were born don't have to drive to those places, as long as they still live in the Badger State. Racine County Register of Deeds Tyson Fettes sought the change, saying the technology is there to make things more convenient. Senate Republican Van Wanggaard of Racine sponsored a bill that easily passed both houses and was signed Feb. 29, 2016, by Gov. Scott Walker.
Since then, the state Vital Records Office has been scanning the various documents -- and as of Thursday, birth certificates can be available statewide if they're later than 1907 -- with death records available since 2012, marriage certificates from 2014, and divorce documents from 2016.