Work Share Program Signed Into Law
5/19/13 - Governor Scott Walker signed a bill Friday that gives employers more flexibility in cutting work hours when the economy goes south. The bill allows companies to reduce hours for groups of workers, instead of laying off just a few of them. The state will get federal funds to pay unemployment benefits for the hours the entire group loses. The Republican Walker says Wisconsin is joining 24 other states in the so-called “work-share” program. As Walker put it, “Instead of getting a pink slip during an economic downturn, workers now have an opportunity to stay on the job and receive unemployment benefits for the hours they lose.” The Assembly passed the measure on a bi-partisan vote of 74-to-22, but no Democrats supported the bill in the Senate. Democrats and the state’s Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council wanted a provision in the bill requiring employers to respect ongoing union agreements. Republicans said the law already requires that. Also on Friday, Walker signed a bill to let amphibious vehicles like the Wisconsin Dells Ducks travel five miles on land instead of two, before having to register as motor vehicles. The governor said it would help the Duck vehicles keep operating as the Dells area gets bigger.
Walker Writes Congress On Internet Sales Tax
5/19/13 - If Wisconsinites are forced to pay sales taxes on their Internet purchases, Governor Scott Walker wants the extra revenue to go the people – not the bureaucracy. The U-S House is considering what’s called the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which would make Internet retailers charge the sales taxes that brick-and-mortar businesses must charge. It would net Wisconsin an extra 95-million dollars a year. The Republican Walker wrote the state’s congressional delegation, saying that he’d work with state lawmakers to reduce state income taxes by the same amount of the increased Internet tax revenues. Walker stopped short of saying whether he favors the Web tax or not. The U-S Senate recently approved it, and observers say it faces a tougher road in the Republican-controlled House. It would apply to retailers with over a million-dollars a year in out-of-state sales.
Sauk County Salamanders Infected By Virus
5/19/13 - A virus is infecting salamanders in reservoirs at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant north of Sauk City. The Baraboo News-Republic says it’s raising questions about whether the salamanders should be moved elsewhere when the old plant is destroyed. D-N-R regional director Mark Aquino says his agency is still trying to determine the extent of the virus. The National Wildlife Health Care in Madison will conduct new tests on the amphibians. Some of the salamanders could be donated for future research, and others may end up at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Researchers have studied the salamanders because of a rare ability to display their youth. They were first discovered at the site 20 years ago. The Badger ammunition plant was active during the Vietnam War, and for a short time after that. The D-N-R has been working on a plan to convert part of the property into a natural area with recreational opportunities.
Fond du Lac Arts Group Seeks Street Name Change
5/19/13 - The Fond du Lac Advisory Parking and Traffic Board voted unanimously this past week to recommend to the City Council to deny a request to change the name of a two block section of Sheboygan Street to Avenue of the Arts. Windhover Center for the Arts Executive Director Kevin Miller had made the request for the section of Sheboygan Street from Marr to Main Streets. It would help promote the multi-million dollar expansion the Windhover is undergoing and the City’s efforts to build an Arts and Entertainment District. Board member William Carey says he supports the Windhover’s efforts, but the police and fire chiefs have expressed concerns about public safety and he sides with them.The matter goes to the Plan Commission next and then the City Council on June 26th.
Something Special From Wisconsin Breakfast Today
5/19/13 - The 26th Annual “Something Special From Wisconsin Breakfast” is being held today at the Beaver Dam High School Cafeteria. Russ Kottke with the Beaver Dam Agri-Business Association says he’s got his big frying pan a-heated up. The menu includes only items from Wisconsin including scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, a “cheese island,” along with milk, cranberry juice and ice cream sundaes. The money raised from today’s breakfast is dedicated to the Beaver Dam FFA Scholarship Fund and the Dodge County 4-H. Food is served from 7:30am to 12:30pm.
Identity Thieves Using Obamacare In Scam
5/19/13 - Nobody can enroll in Obama-care until October first – but that’s not stopping identity thieves from trying to get unsuspecting people to sign up now. The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau say folks nationwide are getting calls from people offering them insurance cards. The callers claim they’re from the government – and they’ll be happy to send you a card if you give them your Social Security or bank account numbers. The B-B-B says there are no insurance cards yet for the Affordable Care Act – and the only thing that can happen now is for a scammer to clean out your bank account, or take out credit cards and leave you with the bills. Jared Albrecht of the Wisconsin consumer protection agency says he hasn’t seen any Obama-care complaints in the Badger State yet. However, Albrecht says it sounds like the Medicare card fraud that takes place. Once again, officials remind people that the government will only ask for information by mail – and folks are warned never to give personal data over the phone unless they make the contacts.
Serious Infections Decrease In Wisconsin Hospitals
5/19/13 - Wisconsin patients are less likely than others to get serious infections while they’re in the hospital. An annual report by the state Public Health Division shows that Wisconsin hospitals have dramatically reduced some of the most serious patient infections to below the national average. For example, Wisconsin hospitals had an average of less than one intensive care patient who was infected by dirty or contaminated needles in 2012. That was 56-percent below the national average of one. Urinary tract infections from catheters were 13-percent lower in Wisconsin than the national norm. Brenda Ehlert of Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton says medical staffers are doing a better job of washing their hands before they touch patients – and that’s the biggest reason for the drop in infections. Ehlert tells the Appleton Post-Crescent it’s an ongoing mission to shorten a patient’s hospital stays. She says quote, “Every day a patient stays in a hospital is another day they’re at risk for infection.”
Wisconsin Hospitals Treating More Uninsured
5/19/13 - Wisconsin hospitals are treating a lot more people who cannot pay for the care they get. The state’s Hospital Association said its members treated more than a million uninsured and low-income patients in 2011. That’s 30-percent more than in 2006. The figures are included in the group’s annual “Guide to Wisconsin Hospitals.” The report also showed that many procedures no longer require overnight stays. Seventy-percent of surgeries and other procedures are now performed in out-patient facilities. The most common diagnoses in the state’s 148 hospital emergency rooms are abdominal pain, complications from child-birth, and chest pains. About one-point-six million people visited Wisconsin emergency rooms in 2011, and over 47-thousand people received hospital care on an average day that year.
Dali Lama Calls Wealth Gap ‘Morally Wrong’
5/19/13 - The Dalai Lama says the world’s greatest problems can be addressed by teaching ethics to youngsters at an early age – and stress altruism and compassion. The spiritual leader of Tibet told about two-thousand people in Madison this week that each individual must have a role in solving societal problems. He said the entire world faces some type of moral crisis – and people must think in a more holistic way. The Dalai Lama told audience members to share his comments with 10 people, so they can tell 10 more. His address was part of a day-long conference sponsored by the U-W Madison Center for Investigating Healthy Minds – which the Dalai Lama helped dedicate a couple years ago. He also said stress costs American businesses around 300-billion dollars a year. He added that the growing gap between the rich and the poor is quote, “morally wrong.” The Dalai Lama was in Madison for most of the past week.
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- Schlieve Pleads Not Guilty
- Dumpster Fire at Phoenix Coaters
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