July 23, 2014

UW System president touts UW research

UW System President Raymond Cross

UW System President Raymond Cross

The President of the University of Wisconsin System called on technology business and education leaders to promote UW research.

Speaking at the Science and Technology Symposium held at UW-Eau Claire, UW System President Ray Cross said university-based research affects our daily lives in many ways.

Cross said the research is a major factor in the state’s economy, drawing nearly $790 million in federal and private investment last year. “Using a conservative economic multiplier the economic impact of that investment in university-based research for just one year was more than $1.4 billion.”

Cross called on the business and education leaders to help form a coalition to convince the public and lawmakers that supporting research is one of the most transformative investments they can make.

Dan Lea, WAYY

State home sales see first increase of the year

For the first time this year, the number of existing houses sold by Wisconsin Realtors was higher than the same month a year ago.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association says its members sold just over 7,700 homes statewide during June, which is 4.5 percent more than in June of 2013. The median sales price was $159,900, six-tenths of a percent more than the year before.

The group’s Dave Clark says June is typically the biggest month of the year for home sales in Wisconsin, accounting for almost 11.5 percent of all sales for the year. Clark says it’s a good sign that the housing market is headed in the right direction.

All parts of Wisconsin reported gains in sales. However, the improvement for June is still not going to completely erase reductions in sales during the first part of the year. Total home sales were down by almost five percent during the first six months of 2014.


Skydiver killed during jump in Racine County

One man is dead, following a skydiving accident in Racine County.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Department says a 44-year-old Racine man was pronounced dead at the scene, after landing in a road near Sylvania Airport. Officials believe his parachute became tangled with another male skydiver who was jumping with him. The other jumper survived with minor injuries after landing in some nearby trees.

Both had taken off in a plane for Skydive Midwest and were supposed to land at the airport, which is located just west of Interstate 94 in the Town of Yorkville.

The names of the skydivers have not been released.


Missing Manitowoc man and son found in Mexico

File photo

File photo

Authorities have located a Manitowoc man in Mexico, who police say fled the country with his son earlier this month to avoid reckless homicide charges.

Manitowoc Police Captain Scott Luchterhand says 57-year-old Timothy Miller, and his 14-year-old son Devin, were found safe and sound Thursday, just across the border from Laredo, Texas. Miller did not have legal custody of his son, and Luchterhand says he had been on the run since a visitation with the boy before the Fourth of July holiday.

Luchterhand says the FBI was instrumental in tracking Miller down and will assist with bringing him back to Wisconsin to face charges. He says it remains unclear how soon Miller will be extradited back to the United States.

Miller is charged in the February fentanyl-related death of 39-year-old Victor Gadzinski.


Madison survives ‘Operation Wisconsin Dawn’

Police block off streets during "Operation Wisconsin Dawn." (Photo: Bob Hague)

Police block off streets during “Operation Wisconsin Dawn.” (Photo: Bob Hague)

Hundreds of police, fire fighters, and other first responders descended on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus Thursday morning, after a report of a bomb explosion at Camp Randall Stadium. They worked to quickly secure the area and carry away “blood-spattered” victims caught in the blast.

The bomb was not real and the injuries to volunteers were fake as well, but the response was a real attempt to gauge how emergency personnel would respond in the event of a real explosion during a major public event. UW-Police spokesman Marc Lovicott says it was all part of a training exercise called “Operation Wisconsin Dawn,” a real-time response event where fire and police department were called in to respond from their normal day-to-day operations to a major catastrophe.

The event focused on a fictional “fun run” with a fake explosion taking place at about 7 this morning and the response efforts ran through most of the day Thursday. Lovicott says it was patterned after the Boston Marathon tragedy, and was full-scale test that was meant to be “as real as we can make it.”

Local, state, and federal agencies took part in the drill, including UW-Madison Police, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police, Madison Fire, State Patrol, Capitol Police, and the FBI.