Latest Wisconsin news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CST
Students checked for mercury after scare at Green Bay school
(Information from: WLUK-TV, http://www.fox11online.com)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Students have left a Green Bay elementary school for the day after a mercury scare.
The students at Lincoln Elementary were dismissed at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the normal time, after being checked for mercury.
School officials say a group of fifth-graders had been playing with what was believed to be a vial of the highly toxic substance.
Principal Angela Hager says a student brought the vial from home. Six students were playing with the vial on the playground and brought it back into school.
WLUK-TV reports the building was evacuated until firefighters determined the cafeteria was safe and allowed students and staff in there.
Firefighters checked all the students and determined there were no immediate medical concerns. A hazardous material team also was called in.
Medications killed woman at Tomah VA
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An autopsy report shows a woman who died on the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds had ingested multiple drugs at once.
The Tomah Police Department said Tuesday that 54-year-old Linda Purcell died at the Veterans Assistance Foundation on the center’s grounds Sept. 25. Purcell had been staying at the foundation.
An autopsy report found that the cause of death was a “combined toxicoligic process involving multiple drugs.” Police Chief Mark Nicholson says that means Purcell took multiple medications at once.
The news release said the autopsy couldn’t determine that one specific medication caused Purcell’s death and investigators found no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing.
Inspectors for the VA in 2014 found doctors at the Tomah medical facility were over-prescribing opioid painkillers, leading to the “Candy Land” nickname by some veterans.
Elections Commission explains St. Croix recount problems
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Elections Commission says it is confident that voting machines in St. Croix County that had broken warranty seals are accurately tabulating and reporting results there.
The commission issued a statement Tuesday explaining why some of the machines had broken seals. It included an affidavit from a technician saying he broke them to service modems on the scanners.
The news comes as election officials across the state are recounting results from the presidential race at the request of Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
The commission says Stein’s campaign had representatives on site who verified the accuracy of ballots fed through the machines.
St. Croix County reported after the recount that Donald Trump gained one vote over Hillary Clinton. The recount is ongoing statewide.
WISCONSIN ROADS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Republican advocates for considering tax hikes
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee is asking when will be the right time to consider raising gas taxes and fees to pay for roads in Wisconsin.
Rep. John Nygren commented Tuesday during an Assembly committee hearing on the state Department of Transportation budget. DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb says its budget doesn’t call for any tax or fee increases because Gov. Scott Walker doesn’t believe this is the right time to do that to the state’s businesses or families.
Nygren is one of the Republican Assembly leaders who favor considering tax and fee increases. He says, “This is not something I’m excited about but we should consider all our options.”
He asks Gottlieb, “at what point in time are we going to have a conversation about the whole picture?”
UW TUITION-THE LATEST
The Latest: UW schools want 2 percent pay raise
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin System regents are set to vote on giving system employees a 2 percent raise in each of the next two fiscal years.
System officials told the regents in a memo that other public universities have been steadily increasing compensation at the rate of inflation or better annually, creating a pay gap with UW workers. According to the memo, UW-Madison faculty trailed peers salaries by 18 percent in fiscal year 2014-15 as adjusted for geographic cost of living differences.
The increases would be paid for through the state’s compensation reserve, a pot of money set aside in each state budget to cover unforeseen increases and salary and benefit costs.
The regents are scheduled to vote on the increases at a meeting Thursday. Regent approval would send the proposal on to the Legislature’s employment relations committee, which would have the final say on whether the raises would go into effect.
Democrats rip proposal to raise state park fees
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democrats are blasting a Department of Natural Resources report that proposes raising state park fees and selling naming rights to park facilities.
The current state budget removed all state support for the parks, leaving them to survive on admission, camping and trail fees. The move has resulted in a projected $1.4 million shortfall in the parks account.
The DNR sent the Legislature’s budget committee a report that examines raising admission and camping fees, charging more to get into more popular parks and selling naming rights.
The four Democrats on the committee sent DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp a letter Monday saying those options could make the parks unaffordable for families and selling names won’t close the deficit.
Hispanic population doubles in Wisconsin from 2000-2015
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — New state figures show Hispanics accounted for nearly half of Wisconsin’ population growth from 2000 to 2015.
The state Department of Health Services has provided a snapshot of the fast-growing demographic in Wisconsin. It shows the Hispanic population nearly doubled in size during those 15 years, growing by 95 percent. The non-Hispanic population grew by about 5 percent during the same period.
The approximate 380,000 Hispanics living in Wisconsin made up 6.6 percent of the state population in 2015.
While the state’s total population increased by 403,000 people from 2000 to 2015, Hispanics accounted for 46 percent of the growth, or an increase of 186,000 people.
The report from the Division of Public Health shows about 60 percent of Hispanics live in southeastern Wisconsin with 16 percent living in each of the northeastern and southern regions.
Mark Morgan named as executive director of Wisconsin GOP
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Mark Morgan has been named as executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.
Morgan’s appointment was announced Tuesday by state party chairman Brad Courtney. He replaces Mike Duffey.
Morgan served as political director and the Wisconsin state director for the Republican National Committee this year. Republicans scored victories across the board in Wisconsin, topped by Donald Trump being the first GOP presidential nominee to win the state since 1984. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson also won re-election to the Senate and Republicans made gains in the Legislature as well.
Courtney says Morgan will build on those wins heading into the next election cycle.