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Top Stories November 29, 2015

Walker Hints At GAB Bill Signing At Beaver Dam Stop


11/29/15 - Governor Scott Walker says he is reviewing the final bill to replace the state Government Accountability Board with new elections and ethics panels. During a stop last week in Beaver Dam, the Republican governor indicated that he supports a replacement that's fair, transparent, and accountable to Wisconsinites. Walker says he will be looking at GAB with a series of bills in the next two weeks and probably sign them all at once, similar to a marathon signing two weeks ago. The Assembly sent the bill to Walker earlier this month after ratifying Senate amendments. The retired judges on the G-A-B would be replaced with political appointees, with the exception of two judges on the ethics panel.


GOP Bill Would Limit Federal Wage, Environmental Road Requirements


11/28/15 - Two state Republicans want to reduce the number of road-building projects that are subject to federal minimum wage and environmental requirements. Senator Duey Strobel and Representative Robert Brooks, both of Saukville, are proposing a bill that lets officials allocate federal highway funds to some projects and not others. The state's total amount of federal funds would stay the same. But by assigning them to fewer projects, state-and-local governments could save money by not having to do as much environmental work. Also, they would not pay the prevailing federal wage to as many road-builders. Strobel tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he wants to cut costs as much as possible before considering a proposed gas tax hike. Pat Goss of the Transportation Builders Association opposes the new bill, saying the federal prevailing wage increases the quality of the work. Dan Fedderly of the Wisconsin County Highway Association favors the change, saying it would let local governments put more of their funds into the actual concrete. The state's prevailing wage law for local projects was dropped this summer in the new state budget.


Horicon Sets Guidelines For Outdoor Burning


11/29/15 - Horicon’s City Council approved an ordinance at this past week’s meeting that sets guidelines for fires within city limits.  Open burning is not allowed, except under certain circumstances.  In addition to using gas and charcoal grills, residents can only burn dry, non-treated wood.  That must be confined to a small or portable fire pit, portable fireplace, or chimney.  All outdoor fires must be at least 15 feet from any building or fence and must be supervised at all times by an adult with access to a garden hose or fire extinguisher.  Leaves, brush, lawn clippings, garbage, construction debris, and treated or painted wood may not be burned at any time. 


Columbus Schools Looking To Grow Ag Program


11/29/15 - Columbus schools are looking for ways to rekindle student interest in agriculture courses. District administrators met for a second time this past week with nearly 50 area agriculture leaders to discuss actions being taken by the schools. Administrators outlined plans to appoint a new district Agri-Science Advisory Committee. The process of hiring a new full time agri-science teacher is also underway. The new teacher will help develop new agriculture curriculum and serve as a FFA advisor. Suggestions from agriculture professionals at a June meeting listed 28 agriculture-related business and science courses that could be offered in the middle and high schools. Superintendent Annett Deuman and Dean of Curriculum Becky Smith are heading the search for the new agriculture teacher.


Monday Is ‘Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day’


11/29/15 - When winter weather is at its worst, they’re at their best. Wisconsin has about 3,000 municipal snow plow operators and to recognize these winter warriors for their important work, Governor Walker has proclaimed November 30 as "Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day" in Wisconsin. Wisconsin DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb says the state has a valued, long-standing partnership with county highway departments who handle plowing and salting operations along the state highway system. "Those crews are out there—they’re out for long hours in sometimes very treacherous conditions when the roads are very challenging. So when you see that plow out there cleaning snow, first of all make sure that you’re giving them plenty of room to operate—don’t tailgate them—don’t get too close to them. They have a job to do and just be very mindful that they’re providing a very important service for all of us on the highway and give them the room to do their job." During severe winter storms, motorists should stay off roads if possible. Vehicles that become stranded along snowy roadways become dangerous obstacles for snow plow operators.


Heart Disease, Cancer Top Causes Of Wisconsin Deaths


11/29/15 - Heart disease and cancer remain the top causes of death in Wisconsin.  The state Health Services department has issued a report showing that 50-thousand-137 state residents died last year -- 220 more than the year before. Forty-five percent of the deaths were from heart disease and cancer. Accidents were the third most common cause, followed by chronic respiratory diseases and strokes. Officials say 55-percent of the Wisconsinites who died last year were cremated.


Scientists: ‘Gray Wolves Should Remain On Endangered List’


11/29/15 - Scientists and scholars claim gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region should not yet be removed from the federal endangered species list. A group of scientist and scholars has released a report, disagreeing with colleagues who said the population has rebounded sufficiently. Lifting government protection from wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin could be justified if and when the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service "uses the best available science that justifies delisting," 29 scientists from the U-S and several other nations said in an open letter. The scientists said they were responding to 26 colleagues who sent a letter last week to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell saying it was time for wolves to lose their endangered status in the western Great Lakes, where their combined population is estimated at thirty-seven-hundred. When given protection in 1974, about 750 wolves in northeastern Minnesota were the only ones remaining in the lower forty-eight states after a century of hunting and trapping. The department has tried repeatedly to drop the region's wolves from the list but has been thwarted by federal courts in response to lawsuits from animal protection groups.


Trees, Shrubs Still Offered Through Dodge County Land Conservation


11/29/15 - Trees and shrubs continue to be available as part of the annual fall Small Packet Tree sales program in Dodge County. The Land Conservation Department is offering several species of trees for sale for the 2016 planting season, including red and white Oak, White Cedar, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Sugar Maple, Fraser Fir and American Cranberry Bush. Trees and shrubs are sold in bundles of 25 for $25 per bundle. Officials say there are limited amounts of some species, so early orders are encouraged. Orders will be accepted through January 29. For more information contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department information is at 386-3660 or:


Yesterday's Headlines
- Kottke To Governor: 'Don't Forget 4-H'
- Jobless Filings Continue Downward Trend
- Waupun Woman Charged In Burglary Spree

For those stories and more click here.

For older stories visit our news archive here.