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WI: Week ends on solemn, and wintry, note

By   /   December 21, 2012  /   No Comments

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE: A man walks his dogs Thursday down the middle of a deserted street in downtown Madison, Wis. (AP photo)

 

By Kirsten Adshead  |  Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Wisconsin, it turns out, will have a white Christmas after all.

Call it what you will — Draco? Snowpocalypsemageddon? — the winter storm that swept Wisconsin on Wednesday and Thursday, dumping a foot or more of snow in some areas, virtually ensures that Santa will need some heavy boots Monday night if he’s going to go climbing around Wisconsinites’ rooftops.

In the meantime, the storm basically put the kibosh on activity around the state on Thursday, save for the creation of a few snow men, snow forts, snow balls and snow angels. Schools were closed. State offices were closed. People, for the most part, stayed home.

Before everyone heads home for the holidays, however, here’s what happened this week.

In memoriam …

Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed Friday  a day of mourning, in recognition of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy last week in Newtown, Conn.

A moment of silence was set to be observed at 9:30 a.m.

“Newtown and the State of Connecticut are still reeling from the terrible loss of life last Friday,” Walker said in a statement. “Governor (Dannel) Malloy has called for a Day of Mourning in Connecticut and asks that states across the nation also remember the victims and their families in a moment of silence. This is also a moment to honor the bravery of Sandy Hook Elementary staff and the first responders. During difficult times such as these, it is important that we stand together to support our neighbors, who are suffering.”

About that economy …

The Department of Revenue released its fall 2012 economic projections report Thursday.

DOR predicts “modest” economic growth for Wisconsin in the coming years, 2.5 percent in 2013 and 2.9 percent in 2014.

Employers are expected to add, on average, 3,000 jobs here each month, with the unemployment rate projected to dip to 6.8 percent next year.

New unemployment numbers for November also were released Thursday.

The monthly numbers have been criticized for being based on too little information and always have to be adjusted when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly report comes out.

Nevertheless, the Department of Workforce Development reported that seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in November, from 6.9 percent in October, and down from 7.1 percent in November 2011.

The national unemployment rate for November was 7.7 percent.

WEDC has problems, audit finds

Auditors recently found “material weaknesses” and less serious “significant deficiencies” within Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s internal controls.

Problems include unrecorded or improperly recorded financial transactions, lack of monitoring of loan transactions, inadequate documentation for some accounting journal entries and lack of enforcement of credit card transactions.

Many of WEDC’s problems uncovered by the audit have been reported by media in the past, including the quasi-governmental corporation losing track of $51 million in past due loans. And other problems, such as an allowance for $19.5 million in potentially uncollectible loans, were part of issues inherited from the old Department of Commerce.

WEDC Chief Operating Officer Ryan Murray said WEDC has been working with Schenck SC, the auditors, for the past four months and has begun to implement many of the policies to correct these problems.

Ryan Ekvall contributed to this report.

Contact Kirsten Adshead at kadshead@wiscconsinreporter.com.

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