(1/22/12) Here are the stories:
Former Governor Tommy Thompson gave a rousing speech support current Governor Scott Walker at a rally yesterday. More than a thousand people attended the event at a park in Wauwatosa. Thompson says Walker stood up to the union bosses, turned the state around and created opportunity. Thompson is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin currently. Just last Tuesday, Walker opponents said they had turned in more than 1-point-9 million signatures to recall the governor and five other Republicans. As of yesterday, the 300 thousand pages of signatures were being scanned into computers.
Firefighters say they found 66 year old Ellen Jerdee’s body in her Baraboo home as they put out a fire last Friday morning. Fire crews say there was no smoke showing when they arrived, but the windows of the home were stained black by the smoke inside. Jerdee’s hisband was staying with relatives at the time. A family dog also died. The Baraboo Fire Department and Sauk County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the cause of the fatal fire.
All those visits to the Kelley Williamson Mobil station in Madison have paid off for veteran Napolean Elvord. Three days after his winning numbers were called, Elvord found his ticket from Saturday’s drawing on a table in his home. When it was checked at the Wisconsin Lottery, it was found to be the big winner of the 14-point-3 million dollar Megabucks jackpot. Elvord opted to take the 10-point-2 million dollar lump sum payment, giving him a little less than seven million dollars after taxes. Elvord has been receiving dialysis for five years, so some of the winnings will be spent on health expenses. He also plans to move to his native state of Texas.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the Soo Locks stayed open three days past the traditional closing date this season. The shipping industry had requested the additional time, allowing for the movement of another 400 thousand tons of cargo. The final vessel cleared the lock last Thursday. Tonnage shipped through the Duluth Seaway Port was said to be down a little bit this year. An estimated four thousand cargo vessel carried almost 75 million tons of freight this time. The locks at the Upper Peninsula city of Sault Ste. Marie are scheduled to reopen next March 25th.
Americans living in the Upper Midwest are enjoying a respite from usually high heating bills this time of year. Unseasonably mild temperatures have kept natural gas, propane and heating oil use down for the season so far. One Michigan utility says its natural gas customers are paying about 20 percent less than they did last year. The break is especially welcome for families with a low or fixed income. Heating bills can eat up a significant portion of their monthly incomes.
Rescuers pulled a 40 year old man from the Yahara River Friday night when he jumped into the cold waters after being involved in a multiple car crash a few blocks away. Gregory Ostern has been tentatively charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He may face additional charges. Witnesses led officers to a bridge where they found him straddling a bridge railing. Ostern ignored efforts by the officers and jumped into the water. He was rescued by the Madison Fire Department Dive Team and taken to a local hospital. East Washington Avenue was shut down for a short time by the incident.