Saturday morning Wisconsin headlines

Posted Saturday, March 1, 2014 --- 5:02 a.m.

GAY MARRIAGE

ACLU seeks preliminary block on gay marriage ban

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Wisconsin's gay marriage ban while the organization's lawsuit challenging the prohibition continues.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Feb. 3 arguing the ban is unconstitutional.

The organization filed a motion Thursday with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb seeking a preliminary injunction that would essentially invalidate the ban until the lawsuit is decided. In a brief accompanying the motion the ACLU argued they're entitled to a preliminary injunction because they'll likely win the lawsuit and the ban imposes irreparable harm on same-sex couples.

A spokeswoman for the state Justice Department, which is defending the ban, said the agency will respond in court. A hearing has been set for March 27.

KENOSHA CASINO

Walker seeks more time to decide on Kenosha casino

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker wants six more months to make a decision on whether to approve the Menominee tribe's Kenosha casino project.

If approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Walker wouldn't have to make a decision on the casino until after the November election.

Walker released a letter Friday co-signed by the tribe asking the BIA to extend the original deadline from Aug. 23 to Feb. 19.

Walker and tribal chairwoman Laurie Boivin say in the letter that more time is needed to "develop and analyze independent data, and facilitate discussions with the interested parties."

Walker has said he wouldn't approve the casino unless all 11 tribes agree to it.

But the Ho-Chunk and Forest County Potawatomi tribes have steadfastly opposed the proposal.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR-INVESTIGATION

Walker attorney named in John Doe court filing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for Gov. Scott Walker's campaign is named in a court order as an attorney in a case challenging the ongoing secret investigation into possible illegal campaigning.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Friday that Steven Biskupic is one of the attorneys named in a state appeals court order.

The order also reveals that eight unnamed parties are a subject of the secret probe.

The order makes clear that the prosecutor in the case is asking the appeals court to overturn a ruling in January to quash subpoenas and order the return of property to the probe's targets.

The Wall Street Journal reported the judge ruled some of the subpoenas don't show any probable cause that the targets committed any violations of campaign finance laws.

LAKE PEPIN ICE

Lake Pepin ice remains thick ahead of season

READS LANDING, Minn. (AP) -- It looks like it may be a while before the first towboats are able to make it into St. Paul to open the navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River.

Initial measurements on Lake Pepin Thursday showed the ice is 30 inches thick just two miles above Reads Landing at the south end of the lake between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The ice is 19 inches thick at the north end of the lake. But in between, the ice ranges from 23 to 27 inches thick.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take the next measurement on March 12.

KAGE Radio reports over the past 10 years, the Corps says the average opening on Lake Pepin has been March 21.

ORGANIC FARMING

Thousands of organic farmers gather in Wisconsin

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- Nearly 3,400 farmers, researchers and others are gathering in Wisconsin to talk about organic farming.

La Crosse Tribune reports the 25th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference began Thursday in La Crosse and goes through Saturday.

David Podoll has an organic farm near Fullerton, N.D. He says when he started farming 40 years ago, people criticized organic methods as antiquated or stupid. Podell says that attitude has changed and now even conventional farmers tell him that he's doing the right thing.

Podell is being honored at the conference as one of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service's farmers of the year.

WISCONSIN MINE-SPANISH CHARGES

Mine company president charged in Spain

(Information in the following story is from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com)

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The president of the company looking to open an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin faces charges in Spain for allegedly violating environmental laws at a Spanish mine he previously managed.

Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams and two others are accused of mismanaging and polluting groundwater at the large copper mine in southern Spain.

Williams is the former water director at Cobre Las Cruces mine, an open pit mine and processing plant near Seville.

A law firm retained by the mine's owners said Friday it believes Williams and the two other managers named by Spanish prosecutors will be cleared.

Gogebic is proposing to build a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties.

Williams declined to comment to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the legal proceeding.

MISSING TEEN-SENTENCE

Life in prison for man convicted in 1998 murder

OCONTO, Wis. (AP) -- A man convicted of killing a teenager 16 years ago has been sentenced in Oconto County to life in prison.

The body of 19-year-old Chad McLean was found in the Pensaukee River in March 1998, a month after he was last seen with Peter Hanson and Charles Mlados.

Judge Michael Judge Hanson told Hanson it was despicable that Hanson was silent as the McLean family languished and waited for justice in Chad's death.

The life sentence for Hanson comes 16 years to the day that McLean was reported missing by his mother. WLUK-TV says Judge ordered the sentence be served consecutively to Hanson's prison time for drug and child pornography charges.

Mlados will be tried for McLean's death in August.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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