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News from around Wisconsin (8:37 p.m. 1/10/10)

Green Bay group shoots for world record igloo

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A group of friends in Green Bay has come up with a good way to kill some time in this Wisconsin winter: Build the world’s biggest domed igloo.

Jason Quarters tells WFRV-TV he got the idea because it’s “Wisconsin, it’s wintertime, there’s nothing much to do.” He and a group of five friends researched building the igloo, designed it and are now almost a month into its construction.

If their plans hold up Quarters said it will be the largest self-supported igloo dome ever. The current record was set in 2008 by a group of engineers and scientists in Canada.

The Green Bay group hopes to finish by the first week of February. Their plans call for an igloo that’s 14 feet tall and 27 feet across.

Information from: WFRV-TV, http://www.wfrv.com

Wis. juries to be warned of gadget use in trials

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin judges have a new set of jury instruction to caution jurors in criminal trials against using handheld mobile devices to look up facts or communicate about the case.

The rules were approved last month by a state legal committee, and are advisory. They will be officially published this spring but the Post-Crescent in Appleton reports that state judges already have them.

Some Wisconsin counties including Dane outright ban possession of cell phones while in a jury pool unless a judge says otherwise. The statewide guidelines don’t go that far but do urge judges to let jurors know that even if their mobile devices give access to information and communication, they shouldn’t be used for that.

Information from: The Post-Crescent, http://www.postcrescent.com

Milwaukee County may quell Halloween opportunists

HALES CORNERS, Wis. (AP) — Mayor and villages presidents in the Milwaukee area are using a January meeting to discuss Halloween protocol after complaints from some suburban residents that they’re getting gouged by out-of-town trick-or-treaters.

The Journal Sentinel reports that leaders in Hales Corners say some of their constituents handed out piles of candy when the village held its Halloween last Oct. 25. That was a few nights before other Milwaukee County communities held theirs, most on the traditional Oct. 31 date. Some residents suspect vanloads of sugar-mad outsiders descended on the village.

The Hales Corner village manager said a decade ago, all 19 cities and villages in the county held Halloween on the same night. Now officials there want the communities to consider going back to that when their leaders meet Monday.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Brewers pitch bill to catch ticket scalpers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attention annoying ticket scalpers outside Miller Park: The Brew Crew is coming after you.

The Milwaukee Brewers baseball club is lobbying Wisconsin lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it easier for the team to prosecute ticket resellers who bother fans outside the stadium.

Team officials say scalpers are using increasingly aggressive tactics, stalking potential buyers, pestering families as they enter the stadium and hopping on tour buses as they arrive at the park. They say they receive complaints nearly every game about the activity, which hurts their attempts to provide a fan-friendly experience.

The Brewers and city of Milwaukee in 2002 designated an area next to Helfaer Field, the youth baseball diamond outside Miller Park, as the only location for fans to buy and sell tickets. Anyone selling outside that zone are warned, and can eventually be cited for trespassing and kicked off stadium grounds.

The problem is that, under state law, municipalities cannot regulate ticket scalping as long as tickets are sold for face value or less. That means judges have thrown out citations that have been issued to a number of repeat offenders, said Tyler Barnes, the club’s vice president of communications.

A proposal by Sen. Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa and Rep. Josh Zepnick of Milwaukee would make clear municipalities could create and enforce such zones, regardless of the price scalpers are charging. Violators could be fined up to $500 and banned from venues until their cases are resolved. After a second citation, they could be permanently banned.

“We’re not going to allow people to take away from the experience of going to a game with your family because you are going to be harassed by heavy-handed sales tactics,” said Sullivan, a big Brewers fan who has a picture of Miller Park inside his Capitol office. “There’s a handful of specific, frequent flier violators on this.”

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