Friday, May 17, 2013

Sen. Tiffany's E-update



May 17th, 2013

Recap From Session

On Tuesday afternoon, a significant wildfire began in the Town of Gordon in Douglas county, burning into the Town of Highland, destroying several dozen structures. This is the largest forest fire to hit northern Wisconsin in the last 33 years. Here is an aerial picture of the blaze.
 


The fire was declared 100 percent contained as of 9 p.m. on Wednesday with all public roads open. The size of the burned area is estimated to be slightly above 8,000 acres. The fire is contained but not yet fully under control. There remain some hot spots and the DNR Bureau of Forest Protection is working hard to extinguish them so they can begin the clean up phase. The fire started from a logging crew harvesting timber on industrial timber lands. A thorough investigation has demonstrated that no negligence was involved and there was no intentional setting of the fire.
 


Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the fire. This unfortunate incident underscores a concern that I have had for a long time--there is too much dead timber lying on the forest floor. Fires will happen from time to time, but they spread quickly when they have the necessary fuel. We have seen it happen more frequently out West, but our current forestry practices leave us just as vulnerable--there is twice as much mortality as harvest on US Forest Service lands. This overage timber is the perfect fuel to support and spread a wildfire.

My Column on Stewardship

Today I submitted a column to local media to share my thoughts on Stewardship in the Governor's proposed budget. I have received some calls and emails in support of this program but would like to shed a bit of light on how much it actually costs Wisconsin taxpayers. You can find the pdf here.

DOT District Updates

Here are some construction updates for highways in the district that will take place this week:
Langlade County

Highway: US 45
Location: South Langlade County line to WIS 47
Schedule: May 22 to July 2013
Description: Crews will resurface the highway.
Traffic impacts: The highway will remain open to traffic during construction. Motorists can expect to encounter lane closures and flagging operations.


Lincoln County

Highway: US 51
Location: intersection with Lincoln County C/North Star Road, town of Merrill
Schedule: May 13 to late September 2013
Description: Crews will construct an overpass of US 51 at this location, removing at-grade access to the freeway.

Traffic impacts: During construction, motorists on US 51 can expect to encounter single lane closures. Once construction begins, crews will permanently remove Lincoln County C access to US 51. The North Star Road access to US 51 will be permanently closed following improvements to the railroad crossing on North Star Road. Some nighttime closures of the freeway will be required to set girders for the new structure. When the freeway is closed, motorists will be detoured via County K. Railroad crossing repairs on North Star Road are currently expected to begin the week of May 20. When crews begin the railroad repairs, North Star road will be closed at the tracks for approximately one week.
The North Central Region of the DOT announced today the schedule for removing the springtime posted road weight restrictions for another district highway:
Posted road weight restrictions on the following highways will be removed at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 20:
• WIS 55, Forest County, from Argonne Road to Michigan State line.

Quarterly Deadline for WI No Call List is May 31st

The quarterly deadline for Wisconsin’s No Call List is May 31. All registrations that are added on or before that day will receive protections from unwanted phone solicitations and text messages beginning on July 1. The free No Call service is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The service covers Wisconsin consumers’ residential landline, VoIP, and cellular numbers and includes protections against unwanted text messages and telephone calls. Registrations are good for two years, but consumers can re-register their numbers at any time.
The list is updated four times per calendar year (January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1). The registration process is continuous, but those who sign up after the upcoming May 31 deadline will not be added to the list until October 1.

To add a number(s) to the list, residents can visit http://nocall.wisconsin.gov or dial 1-866-9NO-CALL (1-866-966-2255). The website and toll-free number are available all day, every day. Political calls, calls from non-profit organizations, and calls made in response to your written or verbal request or permission are not covered by the No Call law.
 
While the program seems important, it is actually redundant and costs the state roughly $192,000 annually. There is currently a federal No Call List (https://www.donotcall.gov/) which prevents the same calls and text messages from being received. On top of that, the registration does not expire. We need to be better stewards of taxpayer money in Madison, which is why I have authored Senate Bill 155. Wisconsin residents will continue to be protected by Wisconsin's more consumer-friendly laws but not have the confusion of having to add their numbers to multiple lists.

Inter-professional Healthcare Case Competition for Students

As the college school year comes to an end, you might know an ambitious student already looking for things to do next semester. Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) is delighted to announce a new statewide program for all Wisconsin college students:
The 2014 Inter-professional Healthcare Case Competition

Teams of 4-5 health profession students from different majors/degrees will work on the case together during the Fall of 2013 semester and compete for cash prizes when presenting their findings to a panel of health care professionals. The statewide competition event will be held January 9-10, 2014, in Wisconsin Dells. Room accommodations at the Kalahari Resort will be provided by Wisconsin AHEC.

Students are encouraged to form a team over the summer. Teams can apply online beginning September 3. For more information, please take a look at this pdf.http://www.ahec.wisc.edu/sites/default/files/IPHCCC-2014-promoflyer-REV.pdf

The contact person for this event is Jill Niemczyk, Northeastern WI AHEC; Phone: (920) 652-0238; Email: jilln@newahec.org

Energy Saving Tip
Here's a little tip we recently received about saving money on energy costs this summer. Considering what spring has been like, it might seem you'll never need your air conditioner again. Knowing Wisconsin weather patterns, you will, and now, when you don't have too much use for it, is the perfect time to get it ready for those hotter months. Outdoor units can use a good bath this time of year. Open the breaker, clear out last fall's leaves, and use a garden hose to flush away accumulated grime to obtain maximum efficiency.

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