News Digest

Leibham takes lobbying job

Two days after resigning his state Senate seat five weeks ahead of when he was due to leave office, former state Sen. Joe Leibham took a job managing public affairs work for the law firm Foley & Lardner, to start Jan. 1.

In his new job, Leibham will be involved in lobbying the Legislature, the governor and state agencies on behalf of the law firm’s clients.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to work with the state’s largest law firm,” Leibham said in a press release announcing his new position. “I look forward to helping clients strengthen relationships with key government stakeholders to achieve their goals.”

“We are pleased to welcome Sen. Leibham as the new head of the firm’s government relations practice in Wisconsin,” Foley Chairman and CEO Jay Rothman said in a press release announcing the hiring. “Sen. Leibham brings deep legislative experience and intimate knowledge of how public policy is developed. He will help our clients effectively navigate the legislative, regulatory and political landscapes in Wisconsin state government.”

In his new role at Foley, Leibham will oversee the firm’s public affairs work with the state Legislature, the governor’s office and state agencies on behalf of clients.”

November traffic deaths down

A total of 48 people were killed in traffic crashes last month, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). Traffic fatalities last month were five fewer than November 2013 and equaled the five-year average for the month of November.

Last month was the fourth safest month of November in terms of traffic deaths since World War II. The safest month of November since World War II occurred in 2012 with 36 traffic fatalities, and the deadliest was in 1973 with 110 fatalities.

Six people died in crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26, to midnight Sunday, Nov. 30.

As of the end of November, 455 people have died in Wisconsin traffi c crashes this year, including 67 motorcycle drivers, seven motorcycle passengers, 35 pedestrians and four bicyclists. Traffic deaths through November were 41 fewer than during the same period in 2013 and 65 fewer than the five-year average.

“Although traffic fatalities this year are down about 8 percent compared with the same period last year, we know that far too many people continue to die nearly every day because of drunken driving and not wearing safety belts,” says David Pabst, director of the DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “To prevent traffic crashes during the upcoming holiday season, law enforcement agencies will be on the lookout for unbelted motorists and drunken drivers during the annual statewide Booze and Belts mobilization from December 12 to 20. We’re striving to attain zero preventable traffic deaths in Wisconsin. And there’s no better time of year to make progress toward that goal than right now.”

New state park stickers available

People looking for the a holiday gift that keeps giving throughout the year can give outdoor enthusiasts access to thousands of miles of trails, hundreds of nature hike opportunities, dozens of beaches, and some of the most scenic areas found in Wisconsin with a 2015 Wisconsin state park admission stickers or state trail pass.

2015 stickers and state trails passes went on sale Dec. 1 at state park facilities and Department of Natural Resources service centers statewide. State park properties will honor 2015 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails beginning Dec. 1, 2014.

The admission stickers are designed by high school students and the winning design is chosen in a statewide contest.

The winning design for the 2015 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a butterfly atop of a purple coneflower and was designed by Josie Tollaksen, a junior at Poynette High School. The winning design was selected from 167 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Due to a mistake made in printing the non-resident annual stickers, those stickers will not be available this year until after Dec. 12, 2014. Until then non-residents may call the Department of Natural Resources’ toll free customer service line at 1-888-936-7463 to purchase stickers and they will be mailed out as soon as they are received and well ahead of the holidays.

A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.

Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents - the same as last year. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.

In addition to park, forest and trail offices and DNR service centers, stickers and trail passes are available over the phone from the DNR call center. Phone customers can call the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, Dec. 15 to receive them for the holidays.

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also offers online sales of admission stickers and trail passes with a donation to the statewide friends group through the organization’s website

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