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Citing new fees required by La Crosse city hall, the Oktoberfest board of directors says it has suspended plans for its three parades in the city for the fall of 2012. As part of a fee structure passed by the city council in the fall, parades, fun runs and other similar events have new fees and permits to pay to the city in order to offset things like police service. The bill for Oktoberfest for this year: $18,000. The board says its losses last year exceeded $40,000 without the fees and the organization isn't certain how it will be able to hold the parades with the new expense. Mayor Matt Harter, meanwhile, says he has yet to meet with anyone from Oktoberfest but believes some arrangement will be reached in order to keep the parades rolling this year.
Wisconsin's attorney general says he will appeal a judge's ruling to stop the state's new voter identification law. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will move quickly to bring the ruling before an appellate court. He says he is confident the law will be upheld. Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted the temporary injunction Tuesday. It stops the contentious law from being in effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary election. The Republican Party of Wisconsin has also filed a formal complaint with the state's Judicial Commission to investigate Flanagan for signing a petition in November to recall GOP Gov. Scott Walker. They say Flanagan failed to maintain impartiality.
The state Senate has passed a Republican bill that would make it easier for people to build piers and docks on state waters. Right now, the Department of Natural Resources issues either general or individual permits authorizing such an activity. General permits apply statewide to anyone engaging in the activity the permit allows. Individual permits are geared to specific projects in specific areas. The bill would grant the agency the authority to issue general permits for any activity that currently requires an individual permit. The Senate passed the measure 20-13 with no debate. It goes next to the state Assembly.
The state Senate has passed a resolution naming a day for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The resolution designates Dec. 12, 2012, as Aaron Rodgers Day. Rodgers, who wears No. 12, led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory last year and helped them to a 15-2 record this past season. The New York Giants defeated Green Bay in the playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl. The Senate passed the resolution Wednesday afternoon. The state Assembly passed the resolution last month.
Wisconsin lawmakers have honored the man who used cheese to create one of the state's most beloved cultural symbols. The state Senate voted unanimously on a joint resolution to honor entrepreneur Ralph Bruno and his hat-making employees at Foamation Inc. in St. Francis.
Bruno created the famous cheesehead hat in 1987 using stuffing from his couch. The hat has become a popular state symbol, frequently worn by fans at Packers games and other sporting events. The resolution also cleared in the Assembly Tuesday after some lawmakers donned the bright yellow foam cheesehead hats in Bruno's honor. Cheesehead hats are sold today in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries.