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Saturday morning Wisconsin headlines

Posted Saturday, December 28, 2013 --- 4:32 a.m.

WISCONSIN WARM SPELL

Wisconsin warms up, but bitter cold to return

SULLIVAN, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin is about to go from winter to spring and back again.

The National Weather Service says temperatures across Wisconsin poked above freezing on Friday. But the warm spell will be short-lived.

Highs will be in the 30s Saturday. But another blast of arctic air is expected to sweep across Wisconsin late Saturday night and overnight into Sunday.

Forecasters say by late Sunday afternoon temperatures will drop into the single digits before bottoming out well below zero early Monday.

Highs will struggle to reach above zero Monday and Tuesday. Below-zero lows are expected both nights.

The cold weather continues New Year's Day, with highs in the single digits but slightly warmer near Lake Michigan.

POLAR BEAR PLUNGE

New Year's Day polar plunges could be extra frigid

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- If you've never done a polar bear plunge before, this New Year's Day might not be the best day to start.

Temperatures are expected to be in the low single digits Wednesday across much of Wisconsin and Minnesota. That's about 25 degrees colder than usual.

That could present a challenge for the hardy swimmers who participate in a chilly New Year's Day tradition: jumping into frozen lakes or oceans.

Organizers say the conditions will be brutal. So while the events will go on as scheduled, participants who find themselves apprehensive should wait until next year.

J.R. Jarosh runs the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club in Door County. He says younger kids, older folks and those with health issues should especially take precautions when deciding whether to take a freezing plunge.

SPEED LIMIT

Senate may not take up bill raising speed limit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A proposal that would raise the speed limit on Wisconsin's interstates to 70 miles per hour may run out of gas in the state Senate.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells The Associated Press that the bill does not currently have enough support to pass. It takes 17 votes to pass in the Senate.

Fitzgerald said Friday that work continues behind the scenes to address concerns about the bill, and it may still come up for a vote next year.

The Assembly passed the measure in October on a 63-32 bipartisan vote.

The bill would give the state Department of Transportation six months to change interstate speed limits from 65 to 70. It would also allow for a lower 65 mile per hour speed limit for commercial vehicles.

DRUNKEN DRIVING

Senate may not vote on drunken driving bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Bills designed to toughen Wisconsin's notoriously weak drunken driving laws that passed the state Assembly with bipartisan support may be going nowhere in the Senate.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells The Associated Press he would prefer to spend money on setting up special drunken driving treatment courts statewide before considering the bills. He said Friday the courts would be a more effective way to tackle drunken driving.

One of the bills awaiting Senate action would make all second offenses misdemeanors. Under current law, a second offense committed more than 10 years after a first offense is considered a first offense.

Another proposal would require all first-time offenders to make an appearance in court. A third bill would ensure that court-ordered ignition interlock devices are promptly installed.

ASH BORER-JANESVILLE

Emerald ash borers found near Janesville

TOWN OF LA PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin officials say a new infestation of emerald ash borers has been identified near the southern city limits of Janesville.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the site is on private property at a home in the town of La Prairie.

According to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources report, woodpecker damage to ash trees was one of the initial signs of the infestation, and other trees in the subdivision also show woodpecker damage.

The spokeswoman tells The Janesville Gazette the report says the infestation likely started three to five years ago.

Rock is one of 21 Wisconsin counties under a quarantine order for the destructive beetle. Other Rock County infestations have been identified in Beloit, Janesville, Clinton and the town of Bradford.

FATAL SNOWMOBILE WRECK

Snowmobile crash kills Michigan man in Wisconsin

CAMBRIA, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating a snowmobile accident that killed a Michigan man in central Wisconsin.

The accident happened at about 1 p.m. Friday near Cambria.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says a 36-year-old man from Michigan was killed when the snowmobile he was driving crashed into a tree on private property. The victim's name and hometown were not released.

Authorities say speed and snow conditions may have been factors.

The DNR and the Columbia County Sheriff's Department are investigating.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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