Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
Wisconsin wants break from Trump administration on ozone rules in advance of Foxconn development: Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Despite evidence that southeast Wisconsin is violating new and tougher emissions standards for smog, state officials are asking the Trump administration to set aside a recent federal finding and conclude the state is complying with the law. Falling short of that, the state Department of Natural Resources is recommending federal officials carve out narrow strips of land of a few miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline as violating the new standard for ozone pollution and declare the rest of the state in compliance. The state’s request to the U.S. Environmental Protection would weaken the impact of stricter regulations on factories and other large sources of air pollution — including Racine County where Foxconn Technology Group is planning to build a giant manufacturing campus. To justify their request, DNR officials are arguing that meteorological and air emissions data show that Illinois and Indiana are primarily responsible for pollution that blows north along the lake and creates smog. But environmental groups say the claim ignores Wisconsin’s own contribution of ozone pollution." Read more.
From the GOP with love -- Trump gets gift from Russia panel: Stephen Collinson of CNN writes: "Donald Trump's friends on Capitol Hill have delivered. The President is now wielding a powerful new weapon in his war of credibility with America's spy agencies over their view that Russia helped put him in the White House, after House Republicans suddenly shuttered their probe into election meddling. 'THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION,' Trump wrote in an exuberant tweet on Monday night. The committee stunned Washington most by taking direct aim at the assessment by US spy chiefs that President Vladimir Putin engineered the Russian election meddling operation specifically to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Trump. That finding squares with Trump's view that the Russia story is nothing but a hoax and a witch hunt designed by Clinton sympathizers to explain the Democratic nominee's shock election defeat in 2016." Read more.
ICE spokesman resigns, citing fabrications by agency chief, Sessions, about Calif. immigrant arrests: Meagan Flynn of the Washington Post writes: "The San Francisco spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned over what he described as 'false' and 'misleading' statements made by top-ranking officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan. The now-former spokesman, James Schwab, told news outlets late Monday that his resignation stemmed from statements by Homan and Sessions that potentially hundreds of 'criminal aliens' evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the immigrant community in advance. Schwab said he pushed back on that characterization — but said ICE instructed him to 'deflect' questions from the press. 'I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,' he told the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story. 'I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.'” Read more.
Deadly package bombings put Austin on edge: Madison Park and Ralph Ellis of CNN write: "Austin residents are being told to be vigilant about unexpected or suspicious packages at their door after a series of package bombs killed two people and critically injured a woman. Three package bombs have exploded in the Texas capital over 10 days. 'The evidence makes us believe these incidents are related,' Austin police Chief Brian Manley said. It's not known if the victims knew each other or if they were targeted, he said. Investigators have not discovered a motive, and Manley did not say if anybody has claimed responsibility. But the explosions have rattled residents who are wary of what Manley described as 'box-type deliveries.' The first blast happened March 2, killing Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old African-American man. House was the stepson of Freddie Dixon, a former pastor at a historic black church in Austin, The Washington Post reported. Dixon is friends with the grandfather of the second victim, a teenager who was killed Monday, according to the newspaper. A bombing early Monday killed a 17-year-old African-American male, whom CNN is not naming because authorities haven't identified him yet. A woman was also hurt in that blast with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said." Read more.
Officials can't confirm whether Wisconsin vet homes conduct active shooter drills: Leah Linscheid of WISC TV writes: "As crews investigate a deadly hostage situation inside the country's largest veterans home in California, News 3 has learned Wisconsin's Department of Veterans Affairs can’t confirm whether its own active shooter procedures have been fully practiced at some state veterans homes. Dan Zimmerman, secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Veterans Affairs, told News 3 all three of the state's veterans homes have specific active shooter training and protocol in place. In fact, Zimmerman said the homes invoked that protocol Friday, when an active shooter was reported 2,000 miles away in Yountville, California, though he didn't clarfy what that invocation would include, citing safety concerns. Zimmerman also couldn't say when the active shooter training plans were put in place for veterans homes, but he did say they are practiced with local law enforcement about three times a year. Documentation provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows a tabletop exercise – essentially a meeting about the plans – was held in November for Union Grove. A spokesperson for the department could not confirm whether at least two of the state’s three vet homes have ever practiced operations-based exercises, meaning a full-blown rehearsal of an active shooter training." Read more.
Wisconsin to test voter system vulnerability to Russia or other hacking: Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Wisconsin and federal officials plan to gauge how vulnerable the state’s elections systems are to hacking during a two-week test as soon as this spring. U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials will simulate hacking attempts, likely in May or June, to determine where the state’s weaknesses are. The program is being planned in conjunction with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the state Division of Enterprise Technology. The effort will also include a mock phishing campaign, in which Homeland Security officials will send 'simulated malicious emails' to election clerks and others to see how they respond, according to Elections Commission documents. The commission is being briefed Tuesday on the plan, which officials hope will help them quickly detect and thwart hacking attempts. The assessment will be conducted nearly two years after Russian agents targeted — but did not access — systems in Wisconsin, according to federal officials." Read more.