The Journal Times from Racine, Wisconsin on February 4, 2000 · 15
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The Journal Times from Racine, Wisconsin · 15

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Racine, Wisconsin
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Friday, February 4, 2000
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15
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LocsHState nJUri Tim Fmtay. Fetxumy 4, 2000 QO eur Jtm R Buriiur O O Firm lured to ttY JH HOSS AmKkllod Piooo SOUTH BEND, lod Aa ai.kWk.Ul Uwsult Uks University of Notre Dame filed Thursday agaUiat several cum laiilPS, Including itvc architectural firm lilral lu overoe tike expansion o liieen Hay's limbrau Ku-kl, claUus lluit a series of design aikd construe Hon flaws at its renovated football stadium ralstxl coikcrrna about tike structure's Uitrgrlly Among tike problrma listed Ui tike complaint air safety coikcenia with concrete toppings 011 rami aikd con aRirses llirougliout Notre Dame Sta ilium, along with falling joints and premature rust on railings btx au&e of Bill raises penalty for 'straw buying' of weapons BY ANTHONY JEWELL Asmxutttod Press MADISON - The Assembly approved legislation Thursday that would increase the penalties for people who buy guns on behalf of people barred from gun owikership because of criminal records. The bill, sent to the Senate on a 97-0 vote, would rai.se the practice known as "straw buying" to a felony punLshable by up to five years in pnson and $10,0(10 in fines The crime is now punishable by up to nine months in prison. "It's very important tluit we work to keep guns out of the hands of known, violent criminals," said Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin. This will help do that." It is agaiast the law for felons to buy guns. One way people work around state law and instant background checks under the federal Brady Law is to have someone else buy the guns for them. The legislation was approved after a lengthy debate on another gun bill that would give gun manufacturers and dealers limited immunity from lawsuits when they sell weapons used to injure or kill people. Democrats blocked a final vote on the bill, but it is expected to be approved next week. Under the bill, gun makers and dealers could not be sued by individuals or governments for gun violence unless the gun was defective or negligently sold. The measure was originally proposed by Republican lawmakers shortly after two students went on a shooting rampage that left 15 people dead at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., last April. Supporters of the bill said it is necessary to stop frivolous lawsuits. Gun-drum said such lawsuits are designed to force gun companies to raise prices or go out of business. "This bill is about not holding the manufacturer of a legitimate, legal product responsible for someone's misuse of that product," Gundrum said. Opponents of the bill say it is not the Legislature's role to block access to the courts and argued that judges and juries should decide who is responsible for acts of violence on a case-by-case basis. "Why are we not more interested in protecting lives of our children than doing the bidding of a special interest group?" said Rep. Peter Bock, ID-Milwaukee. "We need access to the courts to make sure any industry, not just the firearms industry, is producing safe products." The bill is designed to prevent lawsuits against the gun industry, like those filed in 30 communities across the country. None of the suits have been filed in Wisconsin. Last month, the District of Columbia sued gun makers, seeking compensation for the costs related to treating gunshot injuries. In December, a Florida state judge threw out a suit filed by Miami-Dade County alleging guns created a public nuisance and threatened residents' safety. A Connecticut state judge dismissed a similar suit brought by the city of Bridgeport. And in October, a judge allowed Atlanta's suit to proceed and ordered the industry to open its files. CJ mmi imm oversee Lambeau Field expansion faces lawsuit for work slkuildy wuik A acimul spokesman said like problems puocxl jku UlUlkxtlate safety con crrna but coukl llueaten tike strut1 lure's long term integrity like university filed its original suit last August against Kllerue Meckel I in- aikd two South Bejul companies seeking unspecified damages hum tike $56 million project Problems with tike stadium began with Its Uiauguial gaiike on Sept 6, 1W7, wlirii water and sewage flooded tike lower com-ourse, foicUig fans to waitc tluixigh flooded walkways and renderum some restrooms ami con cession stamts Useless Still, wtven tike Green Bay Packers Jon Raduechel of the Wausau potholes with tar near the Wausau f ( - J . ' SI rf- Assembly passes measure giving tuition tax break to businesses BY ANTHONY JEWELL Associated Press MADISON Wisconsin businesses would be able to claim a 50 percent tax credit for money spent on employ-higher education tuition under legislation approved Thursday by tlie state Assembly. The bill, sent to the Senate on a 93-4 vote, would create a credit that applies to tuition paid for any degree-granting program at a higher-education institution. If a company were to pay tuition costs of $4,000 for an employee, for example, the credit proposal would allow the company to pay $2,000 less in taxes. Supporters said the proposal would help employers improve the workforce while keeping educated workers in Wisconsin, instead of losing them to other states. "It is the most significant thing done to address the brain drain problem in Wisconsin," said Rolf Wegenke of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. "More jobs in the future will require college degrees, and we simply don't have enough people with college degrees in Wisconsin. This will encourage more private investment Judge won't void Associated Press CRANDON A judge Thursday rejected a motion asking him to void an agreement between a northern Wisconsin town and the company seeking to open a zinc and copper mine near Crandon. Circuit Judge Mark Mangerson's decision comes weeks after he ruled that the Town of Nashville Board illegally held secret meetings with a mining company attorney that led to the 1996 agreement. In dismissing the motion on the LJ o mmmo announced lltey liad selected Kilcitje tiecket to oversee tike $2 million reil ovation and expansion of history l-amlw.au Field, Packers Preeklent Bob Harlan saki tike Kansas City, Mo based firm was selected, In part, for Us work at Noire Dame Stadium Notre Dante's project to atkl more than 2U.0U0 new seats, a I tew press box, lights and scoreboards to tike original stadium soutewhat mirror tike Packers' plans to reikovate Lambeau hVkl like Green Bay plan calls for a five-story ml brick aikd green wrought u-on atrium Ailed Tulelown on tlie east skte of l,anibeau Field tliat would Uk lude tike Packers Hall of Fame, a stadium club aikd retail POTHOLE REPAIRS Tom Loucks Associated Press Public Woit$ Department is renected in a truck's mirror filling Post Office Wednesday. by employers." If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Tommy Thompson, the proposal would take effect next year and cost the state an estimated $9 million a year. Some Democrats most of whom still voted for the bill had proposed instead spending $9 million on existing scholarship funds for needy students, saying 18- to 22-year-olds needed more help than people who have jobs. That attempt was turned back on a 65-32 vote. Republicans said that the Democratic proposal provided less money for students because it didn't provide incentives for employers to pay millions more in tuition assistance. "This is a public-private partnership," said Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, R-Waukesha. "This is the best way to leverage private money, because public money is limited." Republicans also stressed that the legislation was intended to help workers, not traditional students, by encouraging businesses to help with tuition. But Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said it was "nothing more than a new corporate tax break" that helps a pact between town, mining firm local agreement, Mangerson said he had already ruled on the issue, Forest County Deputy Clerk of Courts Leah Ziolkowski said. Attorneys for some citizens who filed the lawsuit against the town had contended the local agreement with Nicolet Minerals Co. was invalid because it was the product of meetings illegally conducted behind closed doors. The agreement essentially gives the town's support to the mining project in return for money to mitigate its downsides. Attorneys for the mining company Mliiti space lliat would be open year-rouikd like renovation, pi-nuked to begin next year aikl wrap up in 2UU3, would add about 10,000 ikrw seats, expaikd tlie coin mu se, add more women's restrooms and linjirove access for disabled people Stuart Smith, a spokesman for Ellerbe Bccket, would not say whrilker tike Packers knew of tike problems before hiring like firm last May to oversee tike expansion Packers spokesman Mark SclueelbeUi would only say tliat team executives knew of tike suit "That Is an issue between Notre Dame and tike arelutects We are putting all of our effort Into ensuring this At a Gtencc WHAT: A 50 percent tax cred-V it on employees' tuition costs. If a company were to pay tuition costs of $4,000 for an employ- ' ee, for example, the credit pro- ' posal would allow the company ? . to pay $2,000 less in taxes. ' HOW MUCH: Would cost the state an estimated $9 million a year. i . WHAT'S NEXT: After being t approved 93-4 in Assembly, goes to the state Senate. "who's-who of big-business interests in Wisconsin." Rep. Frank Boyle, D-Superior, said the bill is "another in an endless list of corporate welfare plans. It's a grant program for the very wealthy. Companies can already afford to pay their employees' tuition." Boyle and Pocan were two of the four representatives to vote against the measure. Democratic Reps. Spencer Black of Madison and Mark Miller of Monona were the others. contended that the judge, in dismissing the company from the open-meetings dispute in May 1998, had ruled that any "technical violations" committed by the town did not give rise to negation of the contract. Nicolet Minerals, a subsidiary of Rio Algom Ltd. of Toronto, is seeking state, federal and local permits to remove 55 million tons of mostly zinc and copper ore from an underground mine south of Crandon. Critics say the mine would harm the environment, while supporters argue that mining can be done safely and would provide badly needed jobs. Shortly after the agreement with Nashville was signed in late 1996, the three town board members who signed the deal were defeated for reelection. The lawsuit filed later alleged the secret meetings occurred between November 1993 and November 1996 in negotiations with the mining company's attorney. The Journal Times The only name you need to know for results, call 634-3331 design wurks," lie sakl Thursday Smith saki tike firm lias had 110 otlker problems during a 50 year relationship with Noire Dame, during which it designed many of tlie major buikhngs on campus, including tike tktkool library, basketball renter aikd residence halls It also Mprd with tike $58 million renovation of tike school's Main Building, toied by Notre Dame's trademark golden dome, wtikh was completed last fall "It makes it all tlie more unfortunate tliat we're Uivolved Ui this lawsuit with llkt-in because Noire Dame Stadium is a treiikeikkkus success," Smith sakl. "It's one of the true success stories in college athletics today " In BURLINGTON Driving class for seniors offered A 55Alive driving class for senior citizens will be offered from 8 a m until noon Feb. 16 and 17 at the Burlington Wellness Center, 300 McCanna Parkway. Tlie two-day class teaches defensive driving skills for people age 55 ami older The cost for the program Ls $10. To register, call 7(77-7185 or ( H)()0 ) 4'Ji-57J6. RACINE Atrium hosts open house Saturday The Atrium of Racine, a Lincoln Lutheran apartment community at 3900 N. Main St., is hosting an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. RACINE State grants will help build bike paths Construction of two bike paths in Racine will be paved with the help of grants totaling $535,316 in federal transportation aids. The state Department of Transportation announced the grants last week. One is for $471,316 for the Root River pathway, and the other is for $64,000 for a trail from Racine to Sturtevant. Twenty percent of both grants must be matched by local money. The Root River path will run from Main Street to Colonial Park. Acquisition of the properties will begin this year, with construction in 2001, according to Commissioner of Public Works Rick Jones. The city also received a state grant of $750,000 for the trail, and has earmarked $150,000 in federal block grant funds. Another $467,500 is being sought from Racine County, which has more than $900,000 available for acquisition of park land. The Racine-to-Sturtevant trail will run along the former railroad right-of-way north of 19th St. Construction is expected to begin this year. from Journal Times statf reports TOYS Space concerns From Page IB helping to consolidate the department, he said. Haas will propose his plan Monday to the Public Safety and Buildings Committee. "It's a good solution to the problem," Hilmer said Thursday. He said the Fire Department will use the annex space for things it needs nearby, such as spare tires, hoses and nozzles, and keep the hazmat trailer and FIRE Looking to future From Page IB "And boots I mean I got two pair of boots at home, and I got five or six coats," Fergus said. "I thought if this snow keeps up I'm going to have to go buy a pair of boots tomorrow." What is frustrating, said Anderson and Fergus is not knowing what survived, what items in the basement storage lockers can't be salvaged. They don't know the fate of the belongings which really can't be replaced the Christmas ornaments that Anderson had as a child or the high school photographs of Fergus' children. "You go to bed at 9, you get a couple hours, then you wake up, then all you do is lay there and think and wonder," Fergus said. "I think I could have handled it better if I could have at least walked in and seen, and not this wondering what's wrecked and what isn't." They said they can't really get on with their lives because they don't know if they'll be able to reoccupy their apartments. There's a lot of talk about the apartments' condition and what will happen to them, Anderson said. A spokeswoman for All Saints Healthcare System, which owns the apartment complex, said no decision has yet been made on its future. Both Anderson and Fergus are dealing with other effects of the fire. Fergus said she has been nauseous and still has some neck pains that she HELP Donations needed From Page IB toasters, silverware and dishes goods that people need to live or will need as they begin rebuilding their lives, Pat Crowell said. She said people with questions about making donations may call 632-3147. People may drop off donations at the headquarters at 1901 Washington Ave. in Racine between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Salvation Army also will take donations of money, Pat Crowell said. Several businesses are having special events this week to help victims of the fire. Fry said the Kmart stores on both Douglas Avenue and Green Bay Road have asked the Red Cross at Notre Dame But in addition to tike problems with concrete and railings, tike lawsuit claims KUerbe Bocket failed to design an adequate sewer and water system, causing tlie flooding at tike renovated stadium's unveiling It also claims tike firm failed to rvalue tliat tlie university's existing sewer system was inadequate to service tike renovated structure, resulting in flooding at several campus buddings like parties had agreed last fall to postpone legal action in lioprs of solving tlie matter through mediation by Jan. 3, but ttkose efforts failed Smith sakl tike company still hoped to resolve tlie case witltout a trial, wliile Notre Dame officials refused to comment on tike pending lawsuit. Brief equipment at the Rickman Court building. The building has enough space for the department to store other backup vehicles there, he said. Karkow said the plan sounds fine to him. He said he didn't mean to knock the boxing club by suggesting it move. "They've been good to us. The Fire Department has been good to us. What we really need is more volunteers." attributes to stress. Anderson is nervous about the possibility of another fire. "Every siren, I'm like, Oh, God, am I on fire?" Anderson said she thought of calling the Red Cross but hasn't. "It may be stupid of me, or whatever, but I feel like I shouldn't take away from someone that has less than me. They need the help more." Wendell Fry, emergency services director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross said his agency is seeking people who were in the fire. Fry said he has only 37 case files open. "And I don't know how many (people) to expect, but it just seems that the numbers might be a little bit low." Now that victims' lives may be settling a bit, it may be a good time for people to call if they have a need which the Red Cross can help meet, he said. (The Red Cross telephone number is 553-4060.) The Red Cross still has lodging if people need it and is helping people acquire medications they may need, Fry said. Both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army said they have counselors available. "I feel selfish for griping about what I don't have when I have so much still But it's just hard," Anderson said. But today at least Anderson and Fergus should take another step ahead. Anderson said she'll be counting the minutes. for canisters in which people may place donations. If you want to contribute to the relief efforts of either the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, be sure to note on your check that the money is to help the Diamondhead residents. The mailing address of the Red Cross is: 4521 Taylor Ave., Racine, WI 53405-4696. The mailing address of the Salvation Army is: 1901 Washington Ave., Racine, WI 53403. Journal Times photographer Liana J. Cooper contributed to tiiit report '

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