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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 3:30 p.m.
By Tom Daykin

U.S. signs off on Miller, Coors merger

Miller Brewing Co. and Coors Brewing Co. have received approval from antitrust regulators for their proposed joint venture, MillerCoors LLC, and the new company is expected to be officially created on June 30, it was announced today.

MillerCoors combines the U.S. operations of SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co., forming a company with 9,800 employees, eight breweries, annual sales of $6.6 billion, and a 29% market share. Company executives say MillerCoors will be a more effective competitor with Anheuser-Busch Cos., which has a 48% market share.

SABMiller and Molson Coors will each have a 50% voting interest in MillerCoors, with an equal number of directors on the new company's board.

But, based on asset value, SABMiller holds a 58% economic interest in MillerCoors. That means 58% of the joint venture's income will flow to SABMiller, a London-based global brewer.

Leo Kiely, Molson Coors chief executive officer, will be CEO of MillerCoors and will serve at least two years. He is expected be succeeded by former Miller President Tom Long, who will be MillerCoors' president and chief commercial officer.

Pete Coors, Molson Coors vice chairman, will be chairman of MillerCoors but does not have an executive position. Graham Mackay, SABMiller chief executive, will be vice chairman of MillerCoors.

MillerCoors will not close any of the six breweries operated by Miller, or the two breweries operated by Coors.

But, with a goal of saving $500 million annually, MillerCoors is expected to cut office and administrative jobs in Milwaukee and Golden, Colo. Miller has 900 employees at its corporate offices, at 3939 W. Highland Blvd., and 800 employees at the neighboring brewery complex on W. State St.

There's also the issue of where the MillerCoors headquarters will be located. The headquarters could be a relatively small operation, consisting mainly of upper level management and their support staff.

Pete Coors said in February that the headquarters would probably land somewhere other than the Milwaukee or Denver areas in order to create a "neutral site." Hastily issued statements from both Coors Brewing and Miller downplayed his remarks.

But industry sources continue to speculate that either Chicago or Dallas could be the future home of the MillerCoors headquarters.

The joint venture is expected to brew Coors Light at the Milwaukee brewery and at other former Miller breweries. That could bring more brewery jobs to Milwaukee.

Coors Light, which accounts for 72% of Coors Brewing's sales volume, has faced a competitive disadvantage because of the high costs of shipping that beer from breweries in Golden and Elkton, Va., to beer wholesalers throughout the United States. Reduced shipping costs are one of the key factors in reaching the $500 million cost savings goal, and some of the Miller brands will likely be brewed at the Colorado and Virginia breweries.

The rest of today's posts...

THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:30 p.m.
By Jesse Garza

2 in state sickened with Salmonella

Two people in Wisconsin are among 57 nationwide who have been sickened by infections caused by an outbreak of Salmonella linked to tomatoes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has announced.

The outbreak of the Saintpaul strain of Salmonella began in mid-April and has affected people in 11 states, the CDC reports on its Web site.

Tests in New Mexico and Texas have linked the illnesses to the consumption of raw tomatoes, according to the CDC.

Other states affected by the outbreak are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Utah and Virginia.
Visit www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul/ for more information.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:59 p.m.
By Emilie Rusch

Waukesha County Fair tickets on sale

General admission and VIP concert seating are now available for purchase for the Waukesha County Fair, which runs July 16 through July 20 at the county Expo Center grounds.

Fairgoers can save $2 on adult general admission tickets by buying them before midnight on July 15 or while supplies last. Tickets are available online at www.waukeshacountyfair.com or at Waukesha Sentry Foods locations in the Fox Run Shopping Center at the intersection of Sunset and St. Paul Aves. or in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center at the intersection of Highway 18 and County Road TT. At the gate, adult admission is $8.

VIP concert tickets for all Miller Lite Main Stage acts cost $10 and include a seat in a fenced-off area in front of the stage. Acts are: Soul Asylum and Everclear, 8 p.m. Friday; Tesla, 8 p.m. Saturday; Hootie & The Blowfish, 6 p.m. Sunday. The tickets can be purchased on the fair's Web site and will be available until noon of the day of the concert. The VIP ticket does not include fair admission.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:38 p.m.
By Emilie Rusch

Wal-Mart vote sparks recall effort

A citizen group opposed to plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Muskego's northern end has organized a political action committee to begin the recall process against aldermen.

Muskego First filed preliminary paperwork this week to form the Muskego Exploratory Recall Committee and plans to refile Friday with the names of those they hope to recall, Muskego First co-coordinator John Walters said today.

The city's Plan Commission approved plans Tuesday night for a 156,400-square-foot retail center and grocery after a contentious meeting that featured residents speaking both for and against Wal-Mart. Opponents frequently clashed with Mayor John Johnson.

The Supercenter will be located off Moorland Road near College Ave., across the street from the future GE Healthcare distribution center. The commission voted 6-1 in favor of the proposal, after adding a six-month review of the thornier issues, including the 24-hour operations.

Ald. Noah Fiedler, the only alderman on the Plan Commission, voted for the Wal-Mart proposal and will be the recall effort's first target, said Orville Seymer, field operations director for CRG Network. Muskego First is a Network affiliate.

Fiedler said the Plan Commission did its job and "exhaustively considered" residents' concerns related to the Supercenter's building, site and operation, including hours of operation, landscaping, delivery truck route, lighting and noise.

Once the Muskego clerk receives the completed paperwork, the group will have 60 days to gather the petition signatures needed to trigger a recall. Johnson will not be eligible for recall until April 2009.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 4:11 p.m.

Proposed arts center gets $100K donation

Franklin - Efforts to build a regional cultural arts center in Franklin have received a major boost as a local couple has pledged $100,000 toward the facility.

The center, which is being built entirely with private funds, would serve southern Milwaukee County by providing performance space to school groups, community theaters and regional touring organizations.

For more on this story, visit FranklinNOW.com.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 3:35 p.m.
By Dani McClain

UW regents approve 5.5% tuition hike

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today voted to approve a 5.5% tuition increase for resident undergraduates.

The decision will result in the following increases in annual tuition, beginning next academic year: Resident undergraduate tuition will rise at UW-Milwaukee by $340, to $6,531; at UW-Madison by $348, to $6,678; and at the four-year, non-doctoral universities by $265, to $5,084.

For the second year in a row, tuition at UW's two-year comprehensive colleges will remain at its 2006-'07 level. Tuition for non-resident graduate students will remain at its 2007-'08 rate, the Board of Regents voted.

About 3 percentage points of the tuition hike will help pay for the state-mandated veterans' tuition remission program, which subsidizes tuition for veterans at any schools in the UW or Wisconsin Technical College Systems.

Participation in the veterans remission program has tripled since 2005, but funding hasn't kept pace, UW System President Kevin Reilly said. The tuition increase will generate an additional $18 million for the program, which isn't enough to cover its full cost, Reilly said.

Several members of the board today suggested amending the motion so that members could vote on the 2.5 percentage points and 3 percentage points separately. This approach would help draw attention to the need for increased funding of veterans' tuition at the state and federal levels, they argued.

But the amendment was voted down as a majority of regents decided that it might be seen as pitting resident undergraduates against the veterans receiving the benefit.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 3:29 p.m.
By Steve Schultze

Guard will ride bus where beating occurred

A security guard will ride the No. 67 bus for the last two weeks of the school year to help ensure the safety of riders, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said today.

"We will not tolerate violence on county buses," Walker said.

The beating of a 15-year-old boy by other teenagers riding that bus May 29 prompted the security measure. The altercation was captured on video and shown by local news outlets this week. All county buses are equipped with video cameras.

The 15-year-old suffered minor injuries.

The decision to put a private security guard on the bus is a stopgap, and a more permanent solution will be sought before next fall, said Milwaukee County Transit System spokeswoman Jackie Janz.

Walker said St. Charles Youth and Family Services will be expected to provide its own transportation for students next fall or pay for a security guard on the No. 67 bus that picks up at St. Charles when school lets out, Walker said in a statement. St. Charles operates a school for emotionally disturbed and delinquent youth at 151 S. 84th St.

Four boys arrested for the assault and the victim were all St. Charles students, said Kim Brooks, spokeswoman for Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 3:04 p.m.
By John Diedrich

Three sentenced in baby formula case

Three Kenosha brothers have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in dealing stolen infant formula, according to court records.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert sentenced the final defendant, Murad Daher, 33, to 15 months in prison on a conviction of submitting false purchase receipts to the Women, Infants and Children program, also known as WIC, which serves low-income women and children, according to court documents.

Earlier this year, Clevert sentenced Daher's brother, Raid Thahir, 39, to the maximum of 60 months in prison for conspiring to traffic in stolen infant formula and submitting false documents to WIC, documents said. The judge also sentenced Daher's other brother, Fuad Zaher, 36, to 30 months in prison for submitting false receipts, they said.

The brothers, who ran Mike's Foods and Fast and Friendly Market, both in Kenosha, bought stolen baby formula - sometimes called "liquid gold" because of his high resale value -- from various sources and accepted WIC vouchers for the stolen goods, according to the indictment. A state employee uncovered the scheme in 2003 when he asked for invoices on the formula, it says. Thahir then traveled to Ohio to make up fake invoices, it says.

Clevert found that Thahir sought to conceal over $400,000 in stolen and apparently stolen infant formula for which Thahir did not have legitimate invoices, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Campbell credited work by federal and state officials in the case and said it should send a message. "This case shows that those who deal in stolen infant formula face the very real prospect of significant jail time," he said.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 2:55 p.m.
By Georgia Pabst

Latino Community Center director resigns

Ramon Candelaria, the executive director of the Latino Community Center on the city's south side, has resigned.

"During his tenure from 2002 to June 2008, Ramon was passionate about the mission of the LCC and his efforts were instrumental in helping the Latino Community Center achieve programmatic success, national recognition for its program achievements and become a positive and respected organization with the City of Milwaukee," said board member Pat McQuillan.

He and Candelaria called the resignation a "mutual decision."

Candelaria, 37, said it's time to move on to other things.

"It's been a long journey," he said, adding that fund raising for the center presents a constant pressure.

Located at 807 S. 14th St., the Latino Community Center offers after school programs and a variety of educational and recreational programs for youth. The LCC started the Violence Free Zones in three Milwaukee public high schools that works with chronic disrupters and is designed to reduce violence in the schools.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 2:54 p.m.
By Tom Haudricourt

Brewers draft Canadian Lawrie

The Brewers got the player they wanted with the 16th pick in the first round today when they selected catcher/infielder Brett Lawrie, a high school player from Langley, British Columbia.

The Brewers submitted Lawrie's name as a catcher, which probably indicates their plans for him. He has played second base and third base as well.

The Brewers love Lawrie's bat. He has been tourning the with Canadian Junior Team, using wood bats and tearing up enemy pitching. He has drawn comparisons to Craig Biggio, the long-time catcher/2B with Houston who retired last year.

Lawrie has above-average power and a great eye at the plate. He also has above-average speed (6.75 seconds in the 60). He is 6-0, 200 pounds and is 18. His high school doesn't play baseball so he has shown his stuff with the touring Canadian team, showcases and workouts.

Lawrie reportedly had an outstanding workout with the Brewers, and they just hoped he would still be on the board at No. 16.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 2:08 p.m.
By Scott Williams

Man pleads guilty in weapons stealing case

One of three men accused of stealing several weapons from a Muskego home last fall pleaded guilty today to a felony burglary charge.

David Henkel, 20, of Muskego, could face up to 12 years in prison when sentence is imposed July 25 in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Assistant District Attorney Timothy Westphal said the guilty plea was part of an agreement in which prosecutors dropped a more serious charge with a potential prison term of 15 years.

Two alleged accomplices, Jered Adams and Eric Neu, still face the more serious charge of being party to burglary while armed.

Police have said that the three men broke into a home on Janesville Road in Muskego looking for marijuana, but that they found no marijuana and instead stole 18 rifles, shotguns and handguns, as well as other belongings.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 1:56 p.m.
By Tom Content

GM's Janesville productivity up

Worker productivity at the Janesville sport utility vehicle plant improved by 11% in 2007, but the plant's scores still fell short of the Texas SUV plant General Motors will keep operating when the company ceases truck production in Wisconsin by 2010.

GM announced this week that it will end production in Janesville and shift all production of the large SUVs to its plant in Arlington, Texas. The end of the line for Janesville comes as market demand for the large trucks has "almost collapsed" amid soaring gas prices, GM executives said.

The Harbour Report is an annual survey of the manufacturing productivity of car and truck assembly plants. Janesville factory has consistently scored below the Texas plant, and last year ranked below a Dodge Durango factory in Newark, Del.

The Janesville factory was the second most productive of five plants across the country that make large SUVs. That's 4% less efficient than the Arlington, Texas, the GM SUV plant that makes the same models as Janesville - Chevrolet Suburbans, Tahoes and GMC Yukons. Arlington workers also produce the hybrid version of the same models as well as the Cadillac Escalade.

Harbour's productivity score represent a comparison of hours worked by employees at a plant to the number of vehicles produced.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 1:52 p.m.
By Doris Hajewski

Difficult times for Middleton Doll

Pewaukee - Middleton Doll Co. (DOLL) executives painted a bleak picture of the company's future for a handful of shareholders who attended the annual meeting at Middleton headquarters Thursday.

Middleton, formerly known as Bando-McGlocklin, now operates two consumer products segments, after closing out its real estate and lending division. Licensed Products Inc., its clock division, supplies products under private labels to large retailers such as Kohl's and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Lee Middleton Doll, an Ohio collector doll business that Bando-McGlockin acquired in a bankruptcy proceeding, is changing its strategy to focus more on play dolls for children.

The company reported a net loss of $799,145 for the quarter. Middleton's losses come from the doll business, which has seen sales slump as demand dwindles for high-priced collector dolls. The collectible dolls, priced from about $150 to $3,000, are sold to women who are typically middle-aged or older.

At the same time, the company is facing a July deadline to buy back $9.4 million worth of preferred shares at $25 each. Middleton has redeemed about 300,000 shares at $16.25 and $14 in two recent tender offers.

"We continue to anticipate that we will not have available cash to redeem the preferred stock," chief executive officer Sal Bando said.

Despite the deadline, the company isn't obligated to to take drastic measures to buy back the shares. If the company fails to pay two years worth of accumlated dividends, holders of preferred shares may elect a majority of the board.

"As we have indicated in our public filings, we continue to actively pursue various alternatives to address our financial obligations, including a recapitalization, a business combination or disposition of assets," Bando said

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 1:31 p.m.
By Joel Dresang

NewPage to slow paper production

Citing the effects of economic uncertainty on its customers, papermaker NewPage Corp. said today that it has scheduled downtime in the next couple of months for several of its machines as well as the permanent closing July 12 of its mill in Niagara.

NewPage had earlier planned to close the Niagara mill this fall, extending an initial deadline to shut down the plant in April 2008. But the company said that changing market conditions have moved the closing up again.

Ohio-based NewPage is the continent's leading maker of coated paper used in printing catalogs and magazines.

"We have been observing an increase in coated paper inventories at a number of printers, along with a slowdown in demand as advertisers deal with an uncertain economy," Rick Willett, NewPage president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "Since we are committed to balance our production to consumption, we are diligently taking steps to reduce our production over the next two months."

NewPage acquired the former Stora Enso North America operations, based in Wisconsin Rapids, in December, and in January announced consolidation plans that included closing the Niagara mill, with 319 employees, and a machine in Kimberly employing about 125.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 1:21 p.m.
By Dani McClain

UW chancellor to out-earn system president

Even though Cornell University Provost Carolyn "Biddy" Martin will take a slight pay cut when she takes the helm of Wisconsin's flagship public university this fall, her salary will set a couple of precedents here: she will outearn the system president, and she will get a six-figure chunk of her pay from private sources.

The Board of Regents voted today to increase pay for three new University of Wisconsin chancellors and the system president to make their salaries closer to the middle of the salary range for leaders at peer public universities.

The move comes on the same day that the regents will vote on a 5.5% tuition increase for resident undergraduates at four-year institutions and at a time when faculty are poised to earn roughly a 3% pay raise. But regents said the chancellor pay adjustments help the university system retain talent in an increasingly competitive national market.

Martin will earn $437,000. That's more than what Reilly will earn and includes $100,000 from private sources, saving taxpayers part of the cost.

The regents also voted today to increase System President Kevin Reilly's salary to $414,593, up from $341,864, effective July 1. Reilly's pay will increase again in July of next year to $421,500. This is the median salary for presidents at UW's peer universities.

But Reilly, who has been system president since 2004, announced today that he will accept only the 3% increase that most faculty and academic staff can expect. He and his wife, Kate Reilly, a part-time employee at UW-Madison's College of Agriculture, will donate the remaining $70,000 to support need-based scholarships through the Reilly Family Scholarship Fund at the UW Foundation.

"Study hard, take college prep classes, be a good citizen and we will find a way for your family to fund your UW education," Reilly said at today's meeting following the announcement of his family's gift.

Martin's salary is just $200 above the median of chancellors at multi-campus public universities comparable to UW. Today's vote marks the first time the regents have brought in a chancellor above the midpoint.

"We compete in a national and global market for top-shelf talent, and the best available data show that salaries in the UW System are generally not keeping pace with those offered by similar institutions elsewhere," Regents President Mark J. Bradley said in a statement.

Martin was eligible for between $370,000 and $452,000 under a base pay range the regents adopted in February. She earned $534,488 in salary and benefits as Cornell's provost in 2005-'06, according to the school's most recent tax return.

Current UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley earns just over $327,000, and $55,000 of that amount is paid by the UW Foundation as a fund-raising consultant fee. His salary was the lowest among his national peer group by $30,000.

Under the new arrangement for Martin's pay, the UW Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation will each contribute $50,000.

The foundations have established a $2 million John D. Wiley Chancellor's Chair Endowment to augment UW-Madison chancellors' salaries moving forward, said Sandy Wilcox, president of the UW Foundation.

The money will flow directly to the university and go to offset the costs of compensating Martin and her successors. The chancellors will not be asked to do any additional work for the foundations, UW System spokesman David Giroux said.

The regents today also confirmed that Robert Felner will become UW-Parkside chancellor on August 1. His annual salary will be $205,000.

Richard J. Telfer will lead UW-Whitewater beginning June 6 at an annual salary of $199,500.

These new hires were eligible for between $194,000 and $237,000, based on the pay range the Regents approved for the UW's comprehensive four-year universities in February. The midpoint salary for chancellors at peer universities that don't grant doctoral degrees is $218,338.

The new chancellors will all have retirement benefits and a car allowance as part of their compensation package. Martin and Felner will be provided houses on campus, and Telfer will receive of a housing allowance of around $1,700 a month, Giroux said.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 12:51 p.m.
By Lee Bergquist

DNR confirms fish carried worrisome virus

Two dead round gobies on the Lake Michigan shore near Grant Park. Photo/Paul A. SmithThousands of small fish that washed along the Lake Michigan shore at Grant Park in southern Milwaukee County were killed by invasive fish disease, the Department of Natural Resources reported today.

The fish are round gobies and died from viral hemorrhagic septicemia, also known as VHS.

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison confirmed the presence of the disease from gobies that were found May 28.

DNR fisheries director Michael Staggs said the finding was not a surprise because the virus has previously been found in Lake Michigan. However, this is the first finding of VHS off shore from Milwaukee and the first time the disease has been found in the southern basin of Lake Michigan.

Round gobies are believed to more susceptible to the disease and have been killed in large numbers in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The finding is also more bad news for Wisconsin's sport fishery, valued by the DNR at $2.3 billion a year, which has been harmed by an array of invasive species.

"VHS continues to be a serious threat to Wisconsin fish and everyone needs to continue following the rules to prevent the spread of the disease," Staggs said in a statement.

The disease is not a threat to humans.

It was first found in Wisconsin in May 2007 in the Lake Winnebago system. Later that month it was documented in brown trout in northern Lake Michigan near Algoma and Kewaunee.

In the latest finding, four fish tested for VHS were among the thousands of decomposing gobies that that found along the beach at Grant Park.

Infected fish transmit the virus through their urine and reproductive fluids. It eventually causes blood vessels to weaken and hemorrhage, according to the DNR.

Some fish can develop antibodies. But over time, antibodies can decline, and the fish can start secreting the virus again and create new cycles of infection.

Even after the virus leaves the fish, scientists have found that it can move through the water and infect other fish for 14 days.

Staggs said the virus has even been known to stay alive in frozen bait.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 12:39 p.m.
By Marie Rohde

Malpractice award tops $10 million

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury today awarded a former Mosinee man more than $10 million in damages for the catastrophic injuries he suffered as a result of an erroneous hospital procedure.

Almost half of the total award, $5 million, was for Larry Schultz's pain and suffering. The injury occurred on Feb. 20, 2006, just months before the Legislature enacted a state law that imposed a $750,000 cap on damages for pain and suffering. The jury also awarded Schultz $584,982 for past medical and health care expenses and $4.5 million for future expenses.

The hospital's insurer already paid Schultz $1 million.

Schultz, a former nuclear pharmacist who lived in Mosinee, had been diagnosed with gradual onset of multiple sclerosis in 1988. He had undergone several therapies that did not provide sufficient relief. On Feb. 20, 2006, he went to St. Luke's Medical Center for an injection of a drug into his spine that was supposed to relieve the spasticity resulting from the disease.

A medical resident at the hospital injected the drug Baclofen to treat the multiple sclerosis and Reno-60, a drug that was intended to trace the Baclofen. The Reno-60 was labeled that it was not to be used as an "intrathecal injection" - meaning that it was not supposed to be injected into the spine, according to court records.

The mistake resulted in severe spasticity, seizures and neurological damage. The damage included fractures to three vertebrae and his hips, an extremely painful condition that required further surgery and required him to use a wheelchair. A cousin who has spent much time with him since the mishap said Schultz does not accept his condition and believes that he can return to his two-story home, something caregivers say is impossible.

The case had raised concern in the medical community earlier when the Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families fund, the state fund that provides umbrella coverage in medical malpractice cases beyond $1 million, filed a counterclaim against the hospital, saying the hospital was negligent in training and supervising its personnel.

Lawyers for the fund said the hospital should have to pay additional damages from its general insurance policy.
The Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association had weighed in on the case well before it went to trial, saying that if the fund was successful in its claims against the hospital, it could destabilize the system created by the Legislature to deal with malpractice claims.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher, who heard the case, dismissed the fund's claim before the trial. The ruling means that the fund, which hospitals contribute to, is responsible for the jury award.

Daniel Rottier, a lawyer for Schultz, said, "St. Luke's Hospital is a wonderful facility and they have taken steps to make sure that something like this does not happen again."

Schultz lives in an apartment near the hospital and continues to be treated there, according to testimony.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 12:37 p.m.
By Ryan Haggerty and Alex Lundy

Officials launch south side crime plan

Milwaukee leaders launched a privately funded anti-crime program on the city's south side this morning, with suggestions that Operation Impact could be expanded to the rest of the city.

Donations from Milwaukee businesses and foundations will pay the overtime costs incurred by Milwaukee police officers working extra beat patrols and fund additional surveillance cameras, alley lights and an improved neighborhood watch program.

More than 20 area residents joined Ald. Bob Donovan, who spearheaded the program, at a briefing to outline the new initiative this morning in the gym at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2229 W. Greenfield Ave. Other officials in attendance included Common Council President Willie Hines, Police Chief Edward Flynn and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Operation Impact will cover an area bordered by W. Pierce St. on the north, W. Lincoln Ave. on the south, S. 16th St. on the east and S. 38th St. on the west.

Milwaukee businesses in the area already donated about $41,000 of the roughly $52,000 that has been pledged so far, allowing the extra beat patrols to begin later this month, said Donovan, whose aldermanic district includes the target area.

"As a Milwaukeean, I'm very proud of the private interest and involvement we've received so far, with corporations, foundations and even mom and pop store owners contributing money and resources to help this initiative move forward," Donovan said.

Donovan said he is hoping to raise a total of about $150,000.

District 6 police officers who will be paid overtime with the collected funds will volunteer to patrol one of five zones within the target area, ideally on foot or a bicycle, Donovan said.

"We're looking to really connect with the community through these beat officers," Donovan said. "It's an opportunity to open up the lines of communication, maintain order in the neighborhoods and address quality of life issues that impact us all."

The plan will also involve area churches, neighborhood associations, landlords and residents, Donovan said.

The alderman said he hoped the program set a precedent, but not one that suggests businesses and foundations need to open their checkbooks to receive extra police service.

"I don't want to leave that impression with people," Donovan said. "If there's a problem area in the city, it will most certainly be addressed."

Dolly Mertens, an owner of the Wild Flour Bake House, 2800 W. Lincoln Ave., views her businesses' $500 donation as an investment in the neighborhood in which her shop located six years ago. Her storefront is one of the locations where surveillance cameras are being installed this week.

The cameras, the extra police patrols and neighbor involvement will all help deter crime.

"I'm not looking for anything myself, other than to keep my community safe," Mertens said.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 12:21 p.m.
By Dani McClain

Regents hear from Santiago on UWM plans

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago today urged the UW Board of Regents to support the creation of a graduate-level School of Freshwater Sciences and a school of public health in Milwaukee.

The UW Board of Regents, which is meeting on the UWM campus, will vote on the initiatives Friday.

Santiago spoke broadly on the need to strengthen UWM's research initiatives in health care, freshwater sciences, advanced manufacturing and biomedical engineering. Support for the two new schools, as well as the creation of Innovation Park in Wauwatosa are essential to making UWM a leading urban research university, Santiago said.

He also urged increasing the faculty in the engineering school from 60 to at least 100 and increasing the number of PhD programs offered at UWM.

"We no longer are going to accept second-rate facilties, second-rate laboratories," Santiago said, adding that these are the necessary components to attracting top talent from around the country.

The per-capita incomes in Illinois and Minnesota are higher than Wisconsin's, which should be viewed in relation to the resources those states put toward their public research universities, he said.

That investment in the region would pay off, he said. Altogether, UWM, Marquette University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the Medical College of Wisconsin generate less than $200 million of academic research each year. By comparison, the University of Illinois-Chicago generates more than $350 million. UW-Madison, for its part, conducts more than $900 million worth of research a year.

Mayor Tom Barrett and local philanthropist Joseph Zilber followed Santiago's comments with their own in support of the school of public health and the freshwater sciences research center. Zilber has given $10 million toward the creation of the public health school.

Following the Board of Regents vote Friday, the initiatives would need to go before the Legislature for approval.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 12:03 p.m.
By Marie Rohde

Ruling: Gay group has right to court costs

By a 4-3 vote, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said in a decision released today that a lawyer who brought a frivolous lawsuit against a gay rights organization will have to pay the organization's court costs.

Before being appealed, the court cost for Action Wisconsin was about $87,000. Tamara Packard, a lawyer for Action Wisconsin, said she would ask for the costs of the appeal to be included, and that would likely bring the total to more than $100,000.

The case involved Grant E. Storms, a Louisiana preacher, talk show host and opponent of gay rights who appeared at a Wisconsin conference in October 2003 entitled "International Conference on Homo-Fascism" that was hosted by Wisconsin Christians United. He described his efforts to curb the "homosexual movement" and admonished those present to support the effort.

According to court records:

Timothy O'Brien, president of the Madison-based Action Wisconsin, became concerned when he learned the nature of the comments made and that a state senator had attended the conference. He said he purchased tapes of the speeches from the church group's Web site.

O'Brien said in a press release that Storms' comments advocated the murder of gays, something Storms denied.
Action Wisconsin issued a press release saying Storms had made sounds like gunfire, as if he were shooting gay people, "saying 'God has delivered them into our hands...Boom boom boom...there's twenty! Ca-ching! Glory, glory to God.'

The press release went on to say that the state Senate leadership "will be appalled as we were to find one of her colleagues in the audience for a speech apparently advocating the murder of his own constituents."

James Donohoo, a lawyer representing Storms, filed a defamation lawsuit against Action Wisconsin. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Patricia McMahon threw out the lawsuit, saying it was frivolous because there was no showing of actual malice - necessary for a public figure to sue for defamation - and awarded Action Wisconsin $87,000 in court costs.

The 1st District Court of Appeals found that Donohoo had engaged in a reasonable inquiry into the facts, and that there was a dispute over the question of malice. The justices, in a 2-1 split, also said a jury could have ruled in Donohoo's favor on the defamation case. They dismissed the costs award.

The high court majority decision, written by Justice Ann Bradley, found that there was no dispute that Storms was a public figure and that to prevail in a defamation lawsuit it would have to be shown that Action Wisconsin knowingly made false statements with a reckless disregard for the truth.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Patience Roggensack wrote that a reasonable jury could have agreed with Donohoo's position and found that his client had been defamed. Justices David Prosser and Annette Ziegler joined the dissent.

Donohoo said Thursday that he was considering asking the court to reconsider.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 11:15 a.m.
By Tom Held

Pothole patching may snarl weekend travel

Pothole patching on a couple of major freeways this weekend could create headaches for motorists looking to head out to vacation spots on Friday night and return on Sunday.

According to a release from the Department of Transportation today, westbound traffic on I-94 will be rerouted at the Zoo Interchange, starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow. The detour will flow south to Greenfield Ave., then return on Highway 45 and reconnect to the freeway on the westbound ramp.

That'll add a fun little loop for the kids.

Anyone looking to head westbound on I-94 from southbound Highway 45 will be directed to the same circuit.

Those diversions will be in place until about 10 a.m. Saturday.

The return on Sunday night, particularly from Door County and other points northeast will be slowed by a closure of I-43 between Mequon Road and Good Hope Road starting at 10 p.m. and continuing to 6 a.m.

Both northbound and southbound traffic will be rerouted, using the on-ramps to get back on the freeway.

On the plus side, the traffic relief should allow crews time to repair the potholes as part of a $10.8 million emergency paving program, authorized by the state Department of Transportation.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 11:13 a.m.

UPDATE: More severe weather expected

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center is calling for a severe weather outbreak this afternoon and tonight across much of the central United States, including portions of western and central Wisconsin where there is a moderate risk of severe storms.

Southeast Wisconsin is at a slight risk of severe storms later today and tonight.

Here's a look at a map of where Storm Prediction Center forecasters believe severe weather will take place today.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 11:08 a.m.
By Associated Press

Local clerk sentenced in NFL threat case

A former Wisconsin grocery clerk must serve six months in federal prison for making bogus Internet postings warning of terrorist attacks against NFL stadiums, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled today.

Federal Judge Jose Linares says Jake Brahm conducted a "sick" hoax. The judge also ordered Brahm to repay $26,750 incurred in extra security costs at two of the stadiums.

The 22-year-old from Wauwatosa says the postings were never meant to be taken seriously, but federal prosecutors argued he intended mischief.

Brahm pleaded guilty in February, admitting that he posted false information that so-called dirty bombs would be detonated at seven stadiums having games on Oct. 22, 2006.

Brahm had said the stadiums were in Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland, Cleveland and New York City. He admitted that the reference to New York City was intended to indicate Giants Stadium, in East Rutherford, N.J., where the New York Jets played the Detroit Lions that day.

The posting added that the stadium explosions would be praised by Osama bin Laden as "America's Hiroshima" and spark global conflicts.

Click here for coverage from the Journal Sentinel of Brahm's court appearance in federal court here in October of 2006.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 10:48 a.m.
By Kathleen Gallagher

Doyle marks expansion of Germantown plant

Gov. Jim Doyle is scheduled to break ground on a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at Cambridge Major Laboratories in Germantown this afternoon.

The plant will give the supplier of chemical ingredients to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries the ability to make active pharmaceutical ingredients on a large scale.

The new facility is expected to cost at least $30 million. It should be completed in August 2009 and lead to the hiring of as many as 45 new employees, the company has said.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 10:37 a.m.
By Don Walker

Quad to expand direct mail division

Quad/Graphics said today it will invest $25 million to build and expand QuadDirect, its direct mail services division.

The investment includes new equipment, such as digital and offset presses, high-speed envelope inserts and other machinery that the company believes will upgrade its existing 300,000-square foot plant in Pewaukee into a state-of-the-art direct mail production facility.

"We are once again expanding our direct mail capabilities to offer direct response marketers everything they need in one place, all expertly handled and seamlessly integrated for greater accuracy, shorter cycle time, better quality and the best return on investment," said Joel Quadracci, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics, in a statement.

The plant upgrade is expected to complement the company's existing facility in Fredericksburg, Va.

QuadDirect, originally formed in 1993, consists of the combined expertise and equipment of several Quad/Graphics divisions including QuadDirect Marketing, QuadData Solutions, Openfirst, QuadSystems, QuadCreative and QuadPhoto.

QuadDirect's services include just-in-time marketing strategies, creative development and data and workflow solutions.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 10:26 a.m.
By Tom Held

Tornado watches over, storms move on

The severe weather has moved out over Lake Michigan and the tornado watches for the Milwaukee area have expired, leaving a lull for clean up before the next threat of storms this afternoon and tonight.

Municipal crews continue to unclog storm sewer grates and allow flooded streets to drain in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. The rainfall totals for the morning, include 2.2 inches in Waukesha and 2.4 inches in Sheboygan.

Similar rainfall amounts caused flooding in southwest Wisconsin, where the Grant River was reportedly out of its banks near Hwys. 35/81 in Lancaster.

In Kenosha County, tree branches dragged down power lines in Pleasant Prairie and Paddock Lake.

At last report, roughly 10,000 We Energies customers were without power over the course of the storm.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 10:24 a.m.
By Alex Lundy

Neighbors protest UWM's growth

Members of a neighborhood association representing residents who live north and east of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee protested this morning against the university's enrollment growth and policies on off-campus behavior.

More than 20 members of the Mariners Association picketed outside the UWM Union, where the UW System Board of Regents is meeting today.

According to a news release, the residents are demanding that UWM cap its enrollment, promise not to use the Columbia campus as a dormitory and extend its disciplinary code to include off-campus behavior.

County Supervisor Gerry Broderick said while a small group of students are responsible for weekend disruption, it has become an uncontrollable group.

Ald. Nik Kovac, whose district includes UWM, picketed alongside the protesters, saying he attended to support all constituents. He said the density of the campus hurts both neighbors and students because it forces students to crowd into off-campus homes.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 10:23 a.m.
By Stacy Forster

On the lookout for recalled toys?

Last year, millions of toys were recalled because of potential hazards, prompting stores to pull them off shelves and parents to remove them their kids' toy boxes.

Since those recalls, have you or any parents you know found any recalled toys at day care centers or other child care facilities? Are you a parent who's on the lookout for recalled toys or products at places where you leave your child in the care of others? Or do you run or work at a facility that's removed recalled items? We'd like to hear from you - please send an e-mail to sforster@journalsentinel.com.


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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:52 a.m.
By Linda Spice

School closed after lightning strike

Classes are canceled today at Highland Community School because of a lightning strike, and officials are assessing the damage before determining whether school will be held Friday.

Highland, a small charter school at 3030 W. Highland Blvd. that contracts with Milwaukee Public Schools, closed after staff arrived about 6:30 a.m. and saw debris from the roof and chimney and a hole in the roof. Rain was coming in through the roof, according to the school's executive director, Kathy Ronco.

At least one classroom had water damage.

The school has about 150 students in kindergarten through third grade.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:36 a.m.
By Linda Spice

Firefighters on scene of south side home

Milwaukee firefighters are on the scene of a basement fire inside a one-and-a-half story home on the city's south side this morning.

Firefighters responded about 9:20 a.m. to 1318 W. Ohio Ave., where smoke was showing and all occupants had safely evacuated. Fire officials requested that the American Red Cross respond to the scene, according to Tiffany Wynn, department spokeswoman.

They indicated that the fire is under control and they would likely be working the fire for another 30 minutes.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:31 a.m.
By Avrum D. Lank

Wisconsin's economy grew 1% last year

The gross domestic product of Wisconsin grew 1% last year, half the national rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The put Wisconsin 39th among the 50 states. In 2006, the state's GDP grew 1.5%, and it was up 1.4% in 2004.

Nationally, the GDP grew 2% last year, the BEA said.

Utah had the fastest growing economy last year, with GDP up 5.3%, while Delaware had the lowest, with its economy contracting 1.6%.

Michigan and New Hampshire were the only other states to have contracting economies last year, falling 1.2% and 0.1% respectively.

Go to this link on the BEA Web site to read the full report.




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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:28 a.m.
By Don Walker

WIAA softball games delayed in Madison

Today's WIAA softball games, scheduled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Goodman Diamond, have been delayed from the morning until this afternoon because of the inclement weather.

Here is the new schedule:

Game 1: 1:00 Stevens Point vs. Oak Creek.
Game 2: 2:30 Wausau West vs. Homestead.
Game 3: 4:00 Middleton vs. Verona Area.
Game 4: 5:30 Appleton East vs. Arrowhead.

The winners of Games 1 and 2 will play at 7 p.m. The winner of games 3 and 4 will play at 8:30 p.m.

The WIAA also announced this morning that today's scheduled games in the WIAA state girls soccer tournament will be played, although delays may occur due to inclement weather.

The schedule:

DIVISION 1 QUARTERFINALS

Game 1: Appleton North (17-1-1) vs. Divine Savior Holy Angels (22-1-1), noon

Game 2: Eau Claire Memorial (17-5-1) vs. Brookfield East (17-1-4), 2 p.m.

Game 3: Waunakee (21-2-1) vs. Waukesha West (17-3-3), 5 p.m.

Game 4: Bay Port (18-1-4) vs. Kenosha Bradford (22-4), 7 p.m.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:21 a.m.
By Tom Held

Milwaukee crews tackle clogged sewers

More than two-dozen Milwaukee public works crews have been splashing through the raindrops this morning to clear clogged storm sewer grates and drain ponds collected on city streets.

By about 8 a.m. water had covered the intersection at E. Wright St. and N. Humboldt Blvd. and caused minor flooding in the 2300 and 2500 blocks of W. Oklahoma Ave., according to Cecilia Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the city DPW.

Police and residents started calling about the flooding problems shortly after the first storm blast left the area, around 6:13 a.m. A second bout hit Milwaukee around 7:15 a.m. and was expected to drop one to two inches of rain before dissipating around 11 a.m.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:09 a.m.
By Tom Held

Pack a blanket: Jazz in the Park a go

Banking on better weather after noon, Jazz in the Park organizers plan to open their 18th season tonight in Cathedral Square.

While the Soggy Bottom Boys would be a weather-appropriate act, given the likely moist seating area, tonight's attraction is Clamnation, a local, high-energy jazz group.

Kate Borders, executive director of the East Town Association, was confident, even as the rain was falling, that the skies would clear for the show.

"You never want to cancel opening night," she said this morning. "The excitement has been building for the festival season and for Jazz in the Park."

Past performances have gone on in the rain, but lightning would put an end to the evening fun. The concert is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

You can find the Jazz in the Park schedule here.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 9:07 a.m.
By Guy Boulton

Merge Healthcare replaces top executives

Merge Healthcare Inc. (MRGE), announced the resignation of four of its top executives, including its chief executive, late Wednesday.

Kenneth Rardin, the company's chief executive, will be replaced by Justin Dearborn, managing director and general counsel of Merrick Ventures, LLC, an affiliate of Merrick RIS, LLC.

Earlier Wednesday, Merge announced that it had raised $16.6 million, after transactions costs, closing fees and prepaid interest, from a $20 million financing with Merrick RIS.

In addition to Rardin, Steven Norton, the company's chief financial officer, Gary Bowers, president of its Merge North America division, and Loris Sartor, president of its Cedara/Merge OEM division, also resigned.

The West Allis company, which makes medical imaging software, also said it would reduce its work force by about 60 people, to about 300 employees.

The reductions will result in a charge of at least $6 million in its second quarter ending June 30. The charge is expected to include at least $5 million in employee severance costs and at least $1 million in costs related to the early termination of office leases.

Merge said it expects to incur additional costs associated with the early termination of certain vendor contracts as well as non-cash charges associated with the reorganizationin its second quarter.

The company also said that Merge Healthcare North America has been renamed Merge Fusion and Cedara, an operating division based in Toronto that develops software for companies that make imaging equipment, will be renamed Merge OEM.

Under the terms of its financing agreement with Merrick RIS, Merge issued a $15 million secured note due 2010 and 6.8 million shares to Merrick as partial consideration for the loan. It also sold almost 14.3 million shares at 35 cents a share.

In addition, five of the 11 directors on the company's board resigned on Wednesday and were replaced by directors designated by Merrick.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:57 a.m.
By Avrum D. Lank

Snap-on adds new board member

Nathan J. Jones has been named to the board of Snap-on Inc. (SNA), Kenosha.

He is a retired executive of Deere & Co. (DE), Moline, Ill.

"We are pleased to have Nathan Jones join our board," said W. Dudley Lehman, Snap-on director and chair of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. "Nate's broad set of financial and operational skills and experience will greatly benefit the board and Snap-on."

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:29 a.m.
By Doris Hajewski

Kohl's reports 7.2% sales slide in May

Sales at Kohl's Corp. (KSS) stores open at least a year slid by 7.2% in May, the company reported today. The decrease matched the expectations of analysts reporting to Retail Metrics, a Massachusetts research firm.

Kohl's said earlier this month that May would be the weakest of the quarter for the company, because of a difficult same-store sales comparison with May 2007. Kohl's is expecting same-store sales to decline by 3% to 5% for the quarter.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:24 a.m.
By Tom Held and Linda Spice

UPDATE: Storms cause morning problems



Motorists drive through standing water at Moorland Road near I-43 in Waukesha. Photo/Rick Wood

A storm system that spawned tornadoes in Iowa overnight has caused more inconvenience than damage during its blow through southern Wisconsin this morning.

The heavy rain, 60-mph wind and golf-ball-size hail compounded the flight delays at Mitchell International Airport, which has been shrouded in fog for much of the last 24 hours. Two dozen flights were delayed and a smaller number canceled because of the uncooperative weather last night and this morning, according to airport spokeswoman Pat Rowe.

"Some of this related to the fog from last night where it was difficult for some of the airlines to get their planes in," she said. "They weren't in place to load people up this morning."

The best advice, she noted, is for travelers to contact their airlines to check on flight status.

The strong line of storms that reached Milwaukee about 7:25 a.m. knocked out power to 7,600 We Energies customers and also caused problems for motorists, who were forced to maneuver through ponds of standing water on a number of streets and on Interstate 94.

In Waukesha County, public works crews were dispatched to clear water from the interstate near Highway 18, and city crews in Milwaukee were responding to reports of water on the streets in a number of areas, including Oklahoma Ave.

The National Weather Service reported rainwater had flooded the intersection of West Ave. and Highway 59 in Waukesha.

In Glendale, police reported that traffic was slowed along Silver Spring Drive near I-43 where a power outage in the area has taken out the traffic lights in the area this morning.

And motorists swamped themselves in standing water in a few locations: W. Hampton Ave. near N. 91st St., W. Good Hope Road and N. 55th St., and N. Prospect Ave. and Lafayette, according to a Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department dispatcher. Water accumulating in construction zones created the difficult conditions.

Initial reports detailed little damage from the storm in Wisconsin, although rainfalls approaching 2 inches or more threatened to cause flooding in the southwest part of the state, an area still recovering from the extensive damage caused by floods last August.

The weather service issued a flood advisory for the southern portions of Waukesha, Walworth, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties, based on the prospects that the storm would drop 1 to 2 inches of rain before 10 a.m.

In Walworth County, cautionary high water signs have been posted in the areas of Highway 36 and Highway H while county crews are preparing for high winds and fallen trees.

Public Works Superintendent Larry Price said this morning, "As soon as this rain quits we expect (the high water) to go right down. It's just that it came down so fast."

At about 8:30 a.m., he said his gauge showed that the area had received 2.8 inches of rain, falling at 1.9 inches per hour.

"It just didn't carry it off quick enough," he said of the local culverts. Crews are out clearing culverts with pitchforks to allow water to better flow.

A tornado watch is in effect for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties through 11 a.m.

Much of the severe weather is expected to pass the area before noon, an hour before the postponed start of the WIAA state softball tournament in Madison. The girls were forced to cool their heels through the stormy morning and will start play at 1 p.m.

Oak Creek will play Stevens Point at 1 p.m., while other area teams Homestead and Hartland Arrowhead will take the field at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:12 a.m.
By Linda Spice

North side fire damages garages

A fire inside a garage on the city's north side spread to two adjacent garages early today, causing about $15,000 in total damage to the three structures, according to Milwaukee police and fire officials.

Police responded to the scene at 2641 N. Booth St. about 2:30 a.m.

Investigators suspect an equipment malfunction inside the main garage may have sparked the fire; however, the cause is undetermined and remains under investigation today.

There were no injuries.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:10 a.m.
By Don Walker

WIAA proposal: Fans keep your shirts on

The bare-chested sports fan has long been a fixture at many prep, college and professional sporting event.

At yesterday's Milwaukee Brewers game, for example, TV pictures showed five young men with their chests painted with letters spelling out the last name of Brewers' star Ryan Braun.

But if the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has anything to say about it, bare-chested individuals will not be allowed at any WIAA regular-season or state tournament series indoor event.

Doug Chickering, executive director of the WIAA, said today that the measure had the support of WIAA"s sportsmanship committee. He said it would be considered by a sports advisory committee of state athletic directors next week.

If they endorse the measure, it will go before the WIAA's Board of Control for final approval on June 19 in Green Lake.

Chickering admitted the proposal had been getting mixed reviews. But proponents, he said, have two arguments why bare-chested fans don't belong in indoor events.

He said fans who bare their chests are drawing attention to themselves, instead of the action on the court. Second, he said, such behavior is not allowed in the classroom.

"So people felt it should not be allowed at an athletic event," he said.

Chickering added that some students who paint their chests in support of their team often caused damage when the paint dripped on upholstery.

"We had to pay for the cleanup," he said.

The Board of Control also may be asked to consider a ban on artificial noisemakers from all regular-season and WIAA tournament events, Chickering said.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 8:01 a.m.

Tornado watch lifted for some counties

The National Weather Service has lifted the tornado watch for much of the Milwaukee area, though it remains in effect until 11 a.m. for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties.

Thunderstorm warnings also have been cancelled, though more storms could pass through the area later today.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7:37 a.m.
By Don Walker

Beijing Ducks bring back the quack

Three years ago, players and coaches of the Beijing Ducks, members of the Chinese Basketball Association, came to Milwaukee as part of an international basketball exchange program.

This week, the team and staff are back for a similar, but apparently longer visit.

Details are being worked out, but plans call for the team to stay in the Milwaukee area for an extended period. The team hopes to attract area coaches and players to help them improve their skills on the basketball court.

Don Walker has more in the Business of Sports blog.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7:33 a.m.
By Linda Spice

Workers addressing standing water on I-94

Waukesha County highway workers are working with a plow to rid standing water in the roadway along Interstate 94 westbound near Highway 18, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.

Officials responded to reports of the standing water about 7 a.m.

County dispatch said there is no restricted travel through the area now.


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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7:28 a.m.
By Tom Held

Bridge closure affects western Wisconsin

Problems with another bridge, and not the weather, is causing travel headaches for residents in the Wisconsin border towns south of Fountain City and their neighbors in Winona, Minn.

A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Hwy. 43 bridge over the Mississippi River was closed after an inspection earlier this week. The bridge is reached by Hwy. 54 on the Wisconsin side.

Roughly 3,000 motorists travel across the structure every day, and are adding roughly 70 miles to their trips to reach the river crossings in La Crosse and Wabasha. The Winona mayor is looking to provide some relief with a ferry across the Mississippi.

Update: In a quirk of bad timing, the bridge was recently featured on a stamp marking Minnesota's 150th anniversary as a state, according to the Associated Press.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7:24 a.m.
By Linda Spice

About 7,600 now without power

About 7,600 We Energies customers are now without power this morning as storms continue to travel through southeastern Wisconsin.

"With the cell that just went through, our numbers have surged quite a bit," said We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty, who reported an hour earlier that there were outages to about 300 customers.

He said customers primarily affected are located near Waukesha and Jefferson counties as well as some in the Washington County area.

"If you look at the radar and the way that pass has gone, it makes sense. It was pretty intense if you look at some of the (radar) colors," McNulty said.

"It's always quiet and then boom."

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7:09 a.m.
By Linda Spice

After delays, visibility better at airport

Heavy fog overnight and this morning interrupted operations at General Mitchell International Airport, where there were a handful of cancellations and approximately two dozen delays to flights, according to airport spokeswoman Pat Rowe.

"Some of this related to the fog from last night where it was difficult for some of the airlines to get their planes in," she said. "They weren't in place to load people up this morning."

Rowe said a thunderstorm that rolled through helped to clear up the fog.

"Visibility is good right now, but it was for a while pea soup," she said.

Another line of thunderstorms could delay or interrupt some operations, she said. The best advice, she noted, is for travelers to contact their airlines to check on flight status.

Information on arrivals and departures is also available at the airport's web site.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 7 a.m.
By Tom Held

T-storms to reach Milwaukee by 7:25 a.m.

A line of thunderstorms generating winds on the plus side of 60 mph should reach Milwaukee around 7:15 to 7:25 this morning, according to the latest from the National Weather Service in Sullivan.

A tornado watch has been issued to cover much of southeast Wisconsin through 11 a.m.

Some hail has been falling in the thunderstorms that reached Waukesha County around 6:30 a.m. The strongest winds were reported a bit north of Delavan, in Walworth County.

As of 7 a.m., the weather service reported no damage from the early morning storms

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:47 a.m.

T-storm warnings in area until 7:15 a.m.

The storms that rolled through overnight are not the last for the day.

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 7:15 a.m. for the following counties: Waukesha, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth and Jefferson.

Here's the latest radar.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:31 a.m.
By Linda Spice

Lightning leaves some without power

About 300 customers are without power this morning, primarily due to lightning throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area, according to We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty.

He said although power failures right now have been relatively minor, he noted, "I'm sure that's going to change throughout the day with all the lightning and storms quietly going through here."

McNulty said crews are "fully staffed and ready to go" for any storm-related problems that interrupt service to customers.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:25 a.m.
By Linda Spice

Firefighter injured in Washington County

A Boltonville firefighter suffered minor injuries during a fall while on the scene of a house fire in the Town of Farmington that caused $100,000 in damage early this morning, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The firefighter was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in the Town of Polk.

Three people safely escaped the fire, which was called in about 12:22 a.m. at 1333 Scenic Drive. There were no other injuries.

Boltonville firefighters, assisted by the Fillmore Fire Department, were able to contain the fire to the basement. However, the home had significant smoke damage.

An investigation showed that an exhaust pipe connected to a recently run dryer was not attached to an exterior vent. The dryer expelled hot exhaust into an adjacent area of combustible material nearby, according to sheriff's officials.

The cause of the fire appears to be poor ventilation of the dryer, according to investigators.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 6:04 a.m.
By Linda Spice

Traffic lights out in Bay View area

Milwaukee police in District 2, which covers part of the south side, ask motorists this morning to use extra caution at a busy intersection in Bay View where squads are posted while public works officials repair traffic lights that are out.

Stop signs have been posted in the area of S. Kinnickinnic and W. Lincoln Avenues, S. Kinnickinnic and W. Howell Avenues and S. Howell and W. Lincoln Avenues.

"It's too big of an intersection for us not to leave squads here," said Officer Robert Monette. "People aren't used to it. They'll go through" the intersections.

Officers found the lights out about 4:55 a.m. Monette said the DPW hoped to have repairs made before the morning rush hour.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 5:40 a.m.
By Greg J. Borowski

Firstwatch: What's ahead in the news today

Almost there, folks.

A day away from the weekend, so things definitely are looking up. (Except for that weather out there)

Unfortunately, tuition for the University of Wisconsin system is also looking up.

The UW Regents open two days of meetings today, with their agenda to include a proposed 5.5% tuition increase, in part to subsidize tuition for veterans, who are able to attend free under state law.

Students argue the cost for that program should come from other sources.

In other soon-to-be news, Milwaukee officials are to announce a public-private partnership aimed at fighting crime in a near-south side neighborhood. The program, developed by Ald. Bob Donovan, includes increased beat patrols, surveillance cameras and improved alley lighting, among other areas.

The program is to be termed "Operation Impact."

In Germantown, officials will gather for a groundbreaking for the $30 million addition to Cambridge Major Laboratories, a supplier of chemical ingredients to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Gov. Jim Doyle is to attend.

In sports, the pride of West Allis, Chellsie Memmel, heads to Boston for the national gymnastics championships. Memmel, the 2005 world champion, has Olympic dreams this year.

And the Brewers closed out their nine-game home stand yesterday with their second consecutive sweep, this time of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who slithered out of town. Home stand record : 8-1.

Not too shabby.

No game for the Brewers today.

Instead, all eyes will be on the future, as the Major League Baseball draft gets under way. The team's fortunes will depend largely on this guy, who will be calling the shots as the team has six - count 'em, six - picks in the first two rounds.

Will there be a Ryan Braun (or two ... or three ...) in the bunch?

Stay tuned.

And check back for draft updates all day on JSOnline.

Finally, we offer today's sign of approaching summer in Milwaukee (the rain notwithstanding). It comes in the form of a massive wave of people descending on downtown Milwaukee carrying blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets with bottles of wine slipped inside.

Yes, it's the start of .

Pull up a blanket, Milwaukee.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 5:12 a.m.

Tornado watch until 11 a.m. today

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for southern and south central Wisconsin until 11 a.m. today.

The watch includes the entire Milwaukee metro area. Madison is also included in the watch.

Meanwhile, as you head off to work this morning, National Weather Service radar for the region indicates you will need to take an umbrella with you.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 0:58 a.m.
By Ryan Haggerty

Three unrelated shootings on north side

Milwaukee police were investigating three unrelated shootings that occurred on the north side Wednesday night.

A 26-year-old man was driven in a private vehicle to a local hospital after he was shot in the leg near N. 24th St. and W. Atkinson Ave. about 5 p.m., said Lt. Peter Pierce.

Police were called to the hospital after the victim arrived, Pierce said. The man was treated and released.

Police are still searching for witnesses and the scene of the shooting, Pierce said.

About 8:20 p.m., a 21-year-old man was shot multiple times in the torso in an alley in the 2700 block of N. 19th St., Pierce said.

The victim was in critical condition at a local hospital, Pierce said.

Just before midnight, a 30-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to her right knee while she was sitting on a porch in the 1900 block of N. 24th St., said Capt. Michael Dubis.

The woman told police she heard about five shots as she was hit, Dubis said.

Police had not determined a motive and did not have any suspects in custody in connection with the shootings.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 0:17 a.m.
By Ryan Haggerty

Policing plan paying off, captain says

A policing plan launched in March to reduce crime in 12 multi-unit housing areas on the city's northwest side has begun to make a difference, District 4 Capt. Eric Moore said during a community meeting Wednesday night.

Crime declined in eight of the 12 multi-unit housing areas over the plan's first two months when compared with the same period last year, Moore said while addressing about 100 people gathered at the Alexian Brothers Pavilion, 9225 N. 76th St.

Police have recovered 17 handguns and three assault rifles and investigated 83 properties for nuisance activity since the crackdown began in mid-March, Moore said.

Tenants of 21 of the nuisance properties have been evicted after failing to comply with orders from the police and the city, Moore said.

Moore said he and other District 4 supervisors would evaluate how to tweak the plan to improve conditions in the four multi-unit housing areas where crime increased.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said he was glad Moore and his officers had been willing to "take some risks" while implementing the plan, which began at about the same time as neighborhood-specific policing plans were unveiled in the other six police districts earlier this year.

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THURSDAY, June 5, 2008, 0:11 a.m.
By Ryan Haggerty

Alderman proposes to improve patrols

Donations from Milwaukee businesses and foundations will pay overtime costs incurred by Milwaukee police officers working extra beat patrols in certain south side neighborhoods, under a plan to be announced this morning by Ald. Bob Donovan.

Donovan, Police Chief Edward Flynn, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, additional aldermen and a representative of Mayor Tom Barrett will announce the initiative at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2235 W. Greenfield Ave.

In addition to the extra patrols, Operation Impact will pay for the installation of additional surveillance cameras and lights in alleys throughout the target area, which accounts for about 85% of all crimes in police District 6, Donovan said.

Operation Impact will cover an area bordered by W. Pierce St. on the north, W. Lincoln Ave. on the south, S. 16th St. on the east and S. 38th St. on the west.

Milwaukee businesses have already donated about $41,000 of the roughly $52,000 that has been pledged so far, allowing the extra beat patrols to begin later this month, said Donovan, whose 8th aldermanic district includes the target area.

"As a Milwaukeean, I'm very proud of the private interest and involvement we've received so far, with corporations, foundations and even mom and pop store owners contributing money and resources to help this initiative move forward," Donovan said.

Donovan said he is hoping to raise a total of about $150,000.

District 6 police officers who will be paid overtime with the collected funds will volunteer to patrol one of five zones within the target area, ideally on foot or a bicycle, Donovan said.

"We're looking to really connect with the community through these beat officers," Donovan said. "It's an opportunity to open up the lines of communication, maintain order in the neighborhoods and address quality of life issues that impact us all."

The plan will also involve area churches, neighborhood associations, landlords and residents, Donovan said.

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Past week's archive: Wednesday, 6/4 | Tuesday, 6/3 | Monday, 6/2 | Sunday, 6/1 | Saturday, 5/31 | Friday, 5/30 | Thursday, 5/29



 




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