Friday Morning Wisconsin News Headlines

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 -- 4:52 a.m.

WISCONSIN BUDGET

Wis. budget surplus grows to $484 million

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's budget surplus is projected to be higher than previously estimated.

The latest estimate by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released Thursday puts the surplus at $484 million. That is up from the $348 million projection made by Republican Governor Scott Walker's administration in November.

The higher surplus means Walker and lawmakers will have more money to play with when setting the next state budget that takes effect in July.

Walker on Tuesday said he was looking at an income tax cut of at least $340 million, in addition to putting more money into education. He releases his budget February 20th.

Republican co-chairs of the Legislature's budget committee say the numbers show the state's economy is improving.

WISCONSIN JOBS-MINING

Wis. Assembly reps plan to tour mine site

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A dozen members of the state Assembly plan to tour a potential mine site in far northwestern Wisconsin.

Republicans are pushing a bill to streamline state mining regulations in hopes of persuading Gogebic Taconite to dig a huge open-pit iron mine along the border between Ashland and Iron counties.

Representative Mary Czaja, a freshman Republican from Irma, is organizing a tour of the site for Friday morning. The site is outside Czaja's district, but aide Emily Loe says Czaja toured the site several weeks ago, found the visit productive and thought other legislators would benefit from seeing the area.

Loe says six Republicans and six Democrats have agreed to the visit. She says the visit is informal and the legislators will pay their own way.

REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

Agencies in 6 cites get refugee resettlement money

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Agencies in six Wisconsin communities will receive a total of $1.5 million to help resettle new refugees.

The state Department of Children and Families says the latest refugees arriving in Wisconsin are mainly from Burma, East Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nepal. To receive refugee status, a person must have a well-founded fear of persecution and not be able to safely return to their home country.

The state has funded refugee programs using federal money, beginning with the Hmong resettlement in Wisconsin. Local agencies provide a host of services to the refugees, including language and literacy classes, school enrollment, job information and mental health services.

The funding has been targeted for agencies in Appleton, Barron, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Oshkosh. About 1,000 new refugees are expected to settle in Wisconsin this year.

MADISON HOMICIDE

Police: Woman's death in Madison a homicide

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Madison police are treating a woman's death as a homicide.

The woman in her 30s was found dead in her apartment on Madison's far east side Thursday morning.

A police spokesman says there were signs someone broke into the apartment.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports a first-floor patio door was shattered.

According to the 911 center, a real estate agent reported finding the body.

Police have made no arrests. No other details were released.

It's Madison's first homicide of 2013.

CEMETERY THEFTS

Man arrested in Beloit cemetery thefts

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Beloit police say an Illinois man has been arrested in the theft of grave vases and military markers stolen from a Wisconsin graveyard.

Police in Roscoe, Ill., arrested 27-year-old Kristopher Kaehler Wednesday.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Kaehler in the theft of grave vases and military markers from Eastlawn Cemetery in Beloit, Wisconsin. The warrant charges Kaehler with criminal damage to a cemetery and theft of more than $10,000 in property.

Beloit police began investigating the thefts in late December. As of mid-January, police had recovered 181 vases and 112 military grave markers from area scrap yards.

Kaehler is being held in the Winnebago County Jail in Illinois, awaiting extradition. Online court records do not list a defense attorney.

AP-WF-01-25-13 0938GMT


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