Wisconsin roundup: Marquette poll shows skepticism over Foxconn project; more state news stories
MILWAUKEE — The latest Marquette University Law School poll shows that most registered voters think the $3 billion in state incentives are not worth the cost to attract the $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group project in southeast Wisconsin.
The poll released Monday found that 49 percent think the state is paying more than it's worth, while 38 percent say it will provide as much economic development as the state is paying. The poll surveyed 800 registered voters between Feb. 25 to March 1 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
UW-Stevens Point cutting some programs, adding others
STEVENS POINT — The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point says declining enrollment and less revenue from tuition is forcing it to make some changes.
The university plans to cut 13 programs, including English, History and some languages while adding or expanding another 16. Leaders say the school is addressing a $4.5 million deficit by shifting its resources to areas with growth potential. UW-Stevens Point says it is increasing its focus in areas where there is a higher demand for qualified candidates. Job opportunities are growing in technology, environmental studies, and business.
Wis. Supreme Court: Landscaping company can be held liable
MADISON — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided an Illinois-based landscaping company doesn't have immunity from being sued in the death of a school teacher six years ago.
Creekside Tree Service had contracted to trim and remove trees from a youth camp property in Lake Geneva. Sixty-one-year-old teacher Jane Westmas was killed when a tree branch fell on her while she was walking.
Creekside argued it was functioning as a technical owner of the property at the time. The state's high court determined it didn't qualify for immunity under the law because the company wasn't an agent of the Conference Point Center youth camp or an occupier of the property.
Solar farm planned for Dane County airport
MADISON — County officials are moving forward with plans for a 41-acre solar farm at the Dane County Regional Airport.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says residents want climate change addressed on a local level with clean renewable sources of energy. All of the electricity generated by the solar panels will be used to power the airport, helping keep rates for residential customers low. Local electricians, solar installers and energy companies will be involved in the project. Work should get underway by the end of this year.
Trucks begin rolling from western Wis. Fleet Farm distribution center
CHIPPEWA FALLS — Fleet Farm hopes to have 325 people working at its new Chippewa Falls distribution center by the end of the year.
After 12 months of preparation, the first trucks hit the road Monday, carrying goods to more than three dozen stores across the upper Midwest. A company official says the project has gone "exceptionally well." About 100 people work at the facility so far. Truck drivers will have an additional destination this fall when the new Fleet Farm retail store in Eau Claire opens its doors.
No layoffs coming, but nurses want more transparency
APPLETON — The Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals says Ascension Health needs to be more transparent while it reviews its staffing levels.
Reports last week suggested layoffs were coming at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. Now, Missouri-based Ascension plans no significant change in the number of people working there. The Federation says it's not fair to workers when they have to guess whether they are about to lose their jobs. Fox Valley Workforce Development says this is actually a good time to be a healthcare worker. There are nearly 500 open positions in the field in the Fox Valley this year.
Apartment complex explosion kills 1 person
BEAVER DAM — A Monday afternoon explosion at an apartment complex in Beaver Dam has left one resident dead.
Emergency responders were called to the Village Glen Apartments at about 1 p.m The state Fire Marshal is helping with the case. Investigators say a victim is a man in his late 20s or early 30s. No other injuries were caused, but residents weren't allowed to return to their homes. They say "undetermined" chemicals were found inside the apartment and the source of the blast.
Neighbors complaint about coal dust from We Energies plant
OAK CREEK — Officials with We Energies blame strong winds for pushing stored coal dust onto nearby properties.
People living near the power plant in Oak Creek say they found the black dust covering vehicles, houses and other property when they woke up Monday morning. The company has a permit to store 420,000 tons of coal in an outdoor area at the plant. One neighbor says he first complained about the problem last summer. The company agreed to take samples yesterday, saying the results should be available in about a week. We Energies says it has voluntarily placed an air quality monitoring state about a mile south of the power plant. An environmental group is asking for another to be placed north of the plant, where the dust problem was located this time.