Lockdown In All Minnesota Prisons
(AP) All 9,500 inmates in Minnesota's prison system were on a roughly 24 lockdown while authorities conducted a takedown of alleged members of the Native Mob gang. Authorities say the prisoners were confined to their cells from 4 a.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday and weren't allowed outside contact. Department of Corrections spokesman John Schadl says the lockdown involved all state prisons. U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jeanne Cooney says a recently unsealed indictment charges 24 alleged gang members with conspiracy to participate in racketeering and other charges. Some defendants were already in custody on other charges and had to be re-arrested. But six were arrested Tuesday. Six more remain at large. Schadl says the lockdown protected the safety of those making arrests and ensured word about the takedown didn't get out.
Thompson Has Name Recognition
(AP) A new poll shows ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson has the highest name recognition and the most favorable ratings in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race. But the Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows the public is largely unfamiliar with the candidates who want to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. The poll shows 49 percent think favorably of Thompson compared to 31 percent who don't. Other Republicans include former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, who has a 27 percent favorable rating and 18 percent unfavorable. Fifteen percent view Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald favorably, while 18 percent were unfavorable. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin had a 23 percent favorable rating compared to 21 percent unfavorable. The 701 registered voters were polled by phone Jan. 19-22. The poll has a 3.8 percentage-point margin of error.
Vinehout Looking At Run For Governor
A candidate from western Wisconsin could emerge in the recall election for governor. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, who represents the 31st Senate District, says she is seriously considering a run for governor.
Vinehout has served in the Senate since 2006. Vinehout says she expects to announce a decision in the next two to three weeks.
State Of The State Tonight
(AP) Gov. Scott Walker plans to announce he will create a new task force to eliminate waste and fraud in the state. In remarks prepared for his second State of the State speech Wednesday night, Walker touts a commission he formed last year to identify waste, fraud and abuse in state government. He says the commission identified more than $400 million in savings. The governor says eliminating waste, fraud and abuse is one of his top priorities. He says he will form the Waste, Fraud and Abuse Elimination Task Force and ask it to follow through on the first commission's report
La Crosse Home Sales Down for Year but Finish Well
Wasn't a banner year for home sales for 2011 in La Crosse county. Final numbers for the year from the Wisconsin Realtors Association finds last year's home sales in the county were almost 14 percent less than the year before. Much different from the rest of the state overall which saw home sales increase by two tenths of a percent from 2010. The median price for a purchased home went up slightly in La Crosse, outperforming the state as a whole which saw the median price for a home drop over six percent to 132 thousand dollars. Median home sale price in La Crosse county is right around 140 thousand.