August 21, 2014

Johnson: ISIS must be defeated (AUDIO)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

While he is not pushing to send American troops into Syria and Iraq to deal with the terrorist groups known as ISIS, or the Islamic State, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) argues the threat posed by the group must be taken seriously.

Johnson is calling on President Obama to develop a plan and set up a coalition of willing western and Arab states to deal with ISIS. “We have to defeat ISIS,” Johnson says. Otherwise, he believes that the group will “not be contained” to Syria and Iraq.

Pointing to the beheading of journalist James Foley earlier this week, Johnson says it shows that ISIS is “brutal, they are barbarians, they are evil.” He says that the group has long indicated that, once it establishes a base of operations in the Middle East, it will use that to carry out attacks against the west. “We ignore it at our own peril,” Johnson warns.

AUDIO: Sen. Ron Johnson (1:03)

Johnson says the air strikes the U.S. has carried out to slow the advance of ISIS have helped, but he believes President Obama was largely pushed to act after the group seized control of a key dam that was in danger of failing. “His hand was forced there, but his hand is also going to be forced when we start seeing what a threat these guys represent.”

Johnson’s comments came during a stop in Barron County on Wednesday.

Audio courtesy of Mike Duncan, WJMC

Canvass backs Grothman win in 6th Congressional District primary

Sen. Glenn Grothman

Sen. Glenn Grothman

Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman had his primary win for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District confirmed Wednesday, with the canvass of last week’s primary ballots now complete.

The results posted by the state Government Accountability Board show the Campbellsport Republican winning the four-way primary for retiring U.S. Representative Tom Petri’s seat by 219 votes. State Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) remained in second place. The gap between the candidates is about one-third of one percent; the smallest margin in a Wisconsin congressional race since 1970.

Leibham says he and his campaign staff will review the canvass results, then decide whether to seek a recount. He has three days to decide. For now, Grothman will prepare to face Democratic nominee Mark Harris in November.

Meanwhile, a recount begins tomorrow in the 87th Assembly District in northwest Wisconsin. Michael Bub asked for the recount, after losing by 17 votes to James Edming for the GOP nomination for an Assembly seat given up by Medford Republican Mary Williams.

First human case of West Nile virus reported for 2014

File photo

File photo

The state has recorded its first human case of West Nile virus for the year.

The mosquito-borne virus was found in an Ashland County resident, although state health officials are offering no details about the person or their current condition. State Division of Public Health epidemiologist Diep Hoang Johnson says it’s a critical reminder though that the virus still poses a threat in Wisconsin and that “this disease can effect anyone, in any age group.”

Last year, 21 Wisconsin residents were diagnosed with symptomatic infections and two patients died from complications related to the virus. Johnson believes the number of people who become ill is actually much higher, but the cases just go unreported unless the symptoms are serious. A West Nile infection can cause a person to develop a fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, nausea, vomiting, rash, and fatigue. Because of the flu-like nature, many people may contract the virus without even knowing what they have.

The first reported human case comes about month later than last year, which Johnson attributes to the relatively cool summer keeping mosquito populations down.

Wisconsin ACT scores and participation increase

dpilogoWisconsin continues to have the nation’s second-best scores on the ACT college entrance exam.

Figures released by the state Department of Public Instruction on Wednesday show an average composite score of 22.2 for Wisconsin high school seniors, out of a possible 36. That is up from a composite score of 22.1 last year, but still behind top-spot Minnesota’s composite of 22.9.

The ACT is the predominant college entrance exam used in the Midwest, while schools on the east and west coasts mainly use the SAT test.

The ACT also released benchmark scores that would give students a 75 percent chance of getting a “C” or better in college courses, and a 50 percent chance for a “B.” One of every five Wisconsin high school grads in May failed to reach any of the benchmarks on the exam. While 75 percent met or surpassed benchmarks in English — only around half did the same in reading, math, and science. However, at least ten-percent of the students were just a point or two short in reading and science.

The number of Wisconsin students taking the ACT has grown immensely, with 73 percent of the Class-of-2014 taking the test. The state is requiring it for all public high school students starting next year.

Zelich pleads not guilty in Kenosha County murder

Steven Zelich

Steven Zelich

A former West Allis police officer has pleaded not guilty to the killing of a Cottage Grove, Oregon woman, who investigators say was killed in a Kenosha hotel room two years ago.

52-year-old Steven Zelich entered the plea Monday in Kenosha County court on charges of homicide and hiding a corpse. Prosecutors say Zelich killed 19-year-old Jenny Gamez in 2012 during a sexual choking game, then hid her body in a suitcase.

Gamez’s body, along with the body of 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minnesota, were found in suitcases left along a road in Walworth County this past June. Charges are still pending in the death of Simonson, who investigators have said died under similar circumstances last fall in Rochester Minnesota.

Zelich will be back in court next month in Walworth County, where he’s charged with two counts of hiding a corpse. A status hearing in his Kenosha County case is set for October 21st.