September 2, 2014

Report: State added over 28,000 jobs during 12 month period

File Photo

File Photo

Newly released numbers by the state Department of Workforce Development show Wisconsin added 28,653 private-sector jobs during a 12 month period that ended in March of this year.

The figures are based on a report submitted by the state to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. It represents growth of about 1.3 percent during the reporting period.

The report also shows private-sector wage growth of about 4.2 percent year over year. Construction employment also increased during the time period, adding 3,815 jobs; a 4.5 percent increase.

It remains unclear how Wisconsin will stack up against the other states. The BLS will not release its full report until later on in September.

Police say Beloit man killed father with hammer

Peter Hemmy

Peter Hemmy

New details in the case of a Beloit man accused of killing his father and turning himself into police.

According to a criminal complaint, 30-year-old Peter Hemmy told police that he was upset Monday because his father Bruce told him that they were selling their house and that he would need to find somewhere else to live.

Hemmy showed up at the Beloit Police station just before 2:00 a.m. Monday and told police that he had just killed his father with a hammer, and that his mother and brother will still asleep in the home. When officers arrived at the home, they found Bruce Hemmy was already dead.

Peter Hemmy told police that he turned himself in because he regretted what he did and had nowhere else to go.

Hemmy’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 16th.


Homicide charge filed in death of Madison toddler

Raya Hansen

Raya Hansen

Prosecutors in Dane County have charged the mother of a one-year-old girl with homicide, after the child was hit and killed by a van.

The incident happened in February of 2013, when 33-year-old Raya Hansen was pushing the girl in a wheelchair along a busy Madison street at about 3:30 in the morning. Hansen told police she stopped to pick up the child’s bottle she thought had been dropped, when the wheelchair rolled into the street and was hit.

Hansen is now being charged with second-degree reckless homicide and child neglect resulting in death. Prosecutors say the woman was intoxicated on drugs at the time and was too impaired to care for the child.

Hansen is currently serving time at Taycheedah Correctional Institution for a sentence unrelated to the toddler’s death.


Survey shows support for wolf hunt

File photo: DNR

File photo: DNR

Most Wisconsinites support a wolf hunt in the state, but only a minority of people want to see the wolf population decrease from its current level. That’s according to some of the draft findings of a recent state Department of Natural Resources survey of how people feel about wolves.

The DNR mailed out surveys to almost 9,000 state residents, about half of which were returned and analyzed. DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says the goal was to answer critical questions about citizens’ attitudes towards wolves. “We wanted to determine what their tolerance was of wolves – were they favorable or unfavorable? And then also, critically, we asked questions about what they would like us to, with one of the primary questions being adjustments in the population size.”

Results tended to vary according to where people lived in relation to wolves. Within the area of the state considered to be wolf-range, 62 percent of respondents supported a state regulated hunting and trapping season. Outside of the wolf-range area, only 51 percent of residents did.

But favoring some kind of state-managed wolf hunt didn’t necessarily go along with support of the DNR’s current wolf plan, which calls for gradually reducing the wolf population from recent winter estimates of 660, down to 350. Outside of wolf-range, more than half of respondents said they want to see more wolves or maintain current population levels. Within wolf range that percentage was about 45 percent, and many said they didn’t know.

MacFarland says the DNR is working on a new wolf management plan, and the survey results do make a difference. “We manage the wildlife of the state for the citizens of the state, and information like this is critical. That said it’s not the only piece of information that’ll be used. It’ll be incorporated with all the biological information that we have.”

MacFarland says there will be more chances for public input later this year, when a draft of the new plan is put forward.


State office building damaged by fire set to reopen

GEF1 state office building.

GEF1 state office building. (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

A state office building will reopen to the public, after it spent most of the summer closed because of damage from a fire. The state Department of Administration says the GEF1 building, located just off the Capitol Square in downtown Madison, will have normal public business hours again starting on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

The building, which houses the Departments of Workforce Development and Children and Families, has been closed since May 16. A fire on the fourth floor of the building caused extensive damage, due largely to smoke and soot. The cost of repairing the damage is estimated at about $15 million. Insurance will cover all but about $3 million of the price tag.

Workers from both agencies spent most of the summer in other state office buildings. State officials say all but about 75 DWD employees, who occupy the area where the fire occurred, have already returned to the building. Repairs do continue in the area where the fire started and those staff members may have to wait a few more weeks to move back in.