July 25, 2014

Home found for Sheboygan alligator



Still no word on how an alligator ended up in Sheboygan. Michael Clutter is a Department of Natural Resources Warden who found a placement for the four-foot long reptile after the animal was captured by sheriff’s deputies last Sunday, after a motorist spotted it near the Sheboygan River.

Small Scale Reptile Rescue is a Milwaukee area organization that works with shelters and animal control agencies to assist in the rehabilitation and finding suitable homes for abandoned and seized reptiles. The organization sends alligators to alligator farms but will not allow the general public to receive them. The organization transported the animal to the Chicago Herpetological Society this past Tuesday evening.

Clutter said media attention may help generate some leads, but so far they don’t know who had the gator or whether it escaped or was deliberately released. He speculates that it just became too much, for whoever had it. “They get too big and people don’t know what to do with them. So they cut them loose and they become everybody’s problem,” he said.

Anyone with information on the alligator should contact the DNR Tip Line – 1-800-TIP-WDNR. State law regulates the introduction, stocking and release of wild animals, and violators can face a forfeiture of $539 for the release of a wild animal.

Clutter said the gator would likely be a goner eventually: the reptiles can’t survive anywhere temperatures routinely get below freezing for extended periods.

Walker ad goes after Burke on outsourcing



Governor Scott Walker’s newest campaign ad focuses on outsourcing of Wisconsin jobs by Trek Bicycle, the firm owned by the family of opponent Mary Burke. Walker criticized the Democrat during a campaign stop in Wausau on Wednesday.

“They’ve taken state taxpayers dollars to in turn ship jobs overseas. When she’s talking about that, criticizing that of other companies, I think voters need to know that that’s something that Mary Burke has profited from a company, her own family company, that’s taken the taxpayers money and done just exactly that,” the Republican governor said.

The Walker campaign ad features a grandmother reading a bedtime story – one which features images of Burke holding bags of money. Burke has said she had nothing to do with Trek’s decision to create manufacturing jobs in China, although she still owns stock in the company.

“Scott Walker should be ashamed of himself,” said Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki. “Attacking a great Wisconsin company, that his own flagship economic agency held up as an example of a model business just last year, for political purposes is despicable. Trek makes more bikes in the US than any of its competitors, employs nearly 1,000 people right here in Wisconsin. It’s payroll has doubled over the last 20 years and it injects almost $100 million into the state economy every year.”

House approves Highway Trust Fund fix

WRN photo

WRN photo

Wisconsin Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner and Reid Ribble voted no Tuesday, as the U.S. House of Representatives approved emergency funding for transportation projects. The vote was 367-to-55 to approve $11-billion in new money to replenish the fund, which is supported by federal fuel taxes and is running on fumes. The federal tax on gasoline and diesel has not been increased in 20 years. Failure to find a funding solution could mean money for as many as 117,000 projects around the U.S. could start drying up at the end of July.

“The possible solutions to this problem are clear and present, yet Congress won’t act to make the tough decisions needed,” said Ribble, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I could not in good conscience support this ‘punt’ that sets up another manufactured crisis in a few months instead of fixing this problem once and for all.”

The bill would transfer almost ten-billion dollars from the federal government’s general fund, plus a billion from another trust fund. The general fund transfers would be paid for with higher customs’ fees, and a pension “smoothing” process that critics call “smoke and mirrors.” The Senate is working on its own package which would tap into a host of other federal pots of money as well.

Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri voted for the measure, but conceded that a long-term solution is necessary. “We need to stop the patches and budget gimmicks and come up with a viable, real solution on how we fund the Trust Fund,” Petri said.

Wisconsin Democrats voted for the measure. “I am disappointed Congress did not find a longer-lasting solution to reform the Highway Trust Fund and meet the obligation of funding the federal share of transit projects,” said Representative Mark Pocan. “Federal inaction and short-term patches hinder needed transportation and infrastructure investments, and increase the uncertainty and costs for state and local governments.”

A similar bill is pending in the Senate. Without congressional action, the Transportation Department says that by the first week in August the fund will no longer have enough money to cover promised aid to states, and the government will begin to stretch out payments.

Police identify puppy dumping trucker

Photo: WHBY

Photo: WHBY

A Missouri man has been identified as the person who abandoned a puppy behind a dumpster in Oshkosh last week.

The Oshkosh Police Department has made contact with the man, identified from surveillance photos at the Planeview Truck Stop. The puppy was located behind a dumpster by an employee at 11:25 a.m. on Thursday, July 10. The puppy was in a black plastic gift bag and had a broken pelvis.

The police department received information over the internet which lead the to contact a trucking company out of Missouri. According to a department press release, the man has admitted he left the dog behind the dumpster.

No charges have been filed and the investigation is still ongoing. A truck that was in the earlier photographs was mistakenly identified as the suspect vehicle, but had no involvement in the incident.

The puppy continues to receive care from a local veterinarian.

Wisconsin woman featured in anti-smoking ad (VIDEO)

A Wisconsin woman’s story of smoking while pregnant is featured in a new ad aimed at helping others to quit. Amanda Brenden of Eau Claire was a 24-year old college student and a smoker when she gave birth prematurely to a baby girl who weighed only three pounds. She hopes her failure to quit her addiction will serve as a lesson to other moms.

“I think that women don’t think that something bad is going to happen to them, and I wanted to share my story to let pregnant women know that it can happen to you,” Brenden said during a press event Monday at the Capitol in Madison. Quitting smoking can be a challenge for anyone, but it can be even tougher for pregnant women. Brendon admitted that she smoked as way of dealing with stress, so it was hard to give up when dealing with the added stress of pregnancy.

Dr. Kathy Stewart, a UW physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancy, said women may not get a lot of support. “If everyone else is smoking, if dad is smoking, if grandparents are smoking and you’re in a community where smoking is acceptable, you’re asking one person to change when it’s a really stressful time in their life,” she said. Wisconsin has a culture of substance abuse that can also work against quitting. “We have a very high drinking and pregnancy rate, and I think some of that goes hand in hand,” said Tommi Thompson of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation. According to research from UW-Milwaukee, 13 percent of pregnant women in Wisconsin smoke, compared to a national average of 10 percent.

Now seven, Brenden’s daughter suffers from asthma. “When I decided to be a part of this Tips campaign, I had to tell my daughter why she was born early, and get her permission to share this story,” she said. She credits the CDC campaign with inspiring her to finally quit smoking two years ago, with help through the WWHF First Breath program.