Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Adam Payne is resigning effective Nov. 1, according to a letter he sent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers last Friday.
The former Sheboygan County administrator and conservation nonprofit executive said he’s retiring from three decades in public service to spend more time with his aging parents and four grandchildren, support his wife’s role as a caregiver and focus on his personal health.
“I was pleased and proud to help advocate for many of your key priorities, including water quality, parks, personnel, and providing more support for local units of government,” he told Evers.
Evers appointed Payne in December to a term that began on Jan. 3. Since then, he oversaw the organization’s efforts to address so-called forever chemicals, or PFAS, in drinking water and implement a new wolf management plan.
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He said he was grateful that the 2023-25 state budget provided $125 million to combat PFAS. Two weeks ago a GOP-controlled Senate committee approved a bill that would use that money to fund water-treatment facilities and drill and test wells, but Democrats have criticized the proposal for hamstringing the state’s ability to test and and enforce the cleanup of contaminants.
“I made it a priority to bolster opportunities for engaging our youth in the great outdoors, hunters’ safety, and strengthening our mentorship programs,” Payne told Evers.
His appointment followed clashes between Evers and the state Senate over the chamber’s unwillingness to confirm some of the governor’s appointees, including on the DNR’s policy board. Just last week the Senate fired four of Evers’ appointees to that board, leading the governor to appoint four replacements. The Senate never confirmed Payne.
Before serving in the DNR, Payne was the Sheboygan County administrator for over two decades. Before then, he was executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. He also spent five years at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, directing its Farmland Preservation Program.
As the House enters its third week without a speaker, nearly a dozen Republicans are vying to earn the support of their conference to wield the gavel, throwing the chamber into even more uncertainty. The conference is searching for a new speaker nominee after Rep. Jim Jordan on Friday became the latest to exit the race. The chamber has been without a speaker since House Republicans ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy earlier this month. Nine House Republicans are running for the position, announced House GOP conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik
The International Committee of the Red Cross says Hamas militants have released two hostages they had been holding captive in the Gaza Strip. It was the second time the group has freed hostages seized in its bloody Oct. 7 cross-border incursion into Israel. The hostages were identified by Israeli media as Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper of the Israeli kibbutz of Nir Oz. A U.S. official said Monday that Washington has advised Israel to delay a possible ground invasion to allow more time to try and secure the release of more hostages. Palestinian officials and witnesses say heavy airstrikes across Gaza demolished buildings, killing hundreds of people.
The White House says the dozens of U.S. technology hubs President Joe Biden is announcing will help communities across the country become centers of innovation critical to its competitiveness. Biden is designating 31 technology hubs that reach 32 states and Puerto Rico. The tech hubs are designed to help spur innovation in industries concentrated in these areas and to create jobs. The Democratic president announced the tech hubs Monday. The tech hubs are the result of a process the Commerce Department launched in May for cities to share $500 million in grants. The hubs tie into Biden’s economic message that people should able to find good jobs wherever they live.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey has returned to a New York City federal court and entered a not guilty plea to a charge alleging he conspired to act as an agent of the Egyptian government. The Democratic former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee entered the plea on Monday. Menendez stepped down from his powerful post on the Senate committee after he was criminally charged last month with other conspiracy counts. Those charges allege Menendez and his wife accepted bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for his assistance. Menendez has vowed to prove his innocence.
A manhunt for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Maryland judge continued for a fourth day Sunday as authorities completed a search of an area where the suspect’s car was found. Officials said Pedro Argote is suspected of gunning down Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson in his driveway Thursday, hours after Wilkinson ruled against him in a divorce case. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that the SUV Argote was believed to be driving was found in Williamsport, Maryland. The sheriff’s office said Sunday that a search of the Williamsport area has been completed and urged anyone with any information on Argote’s whereabouts to contact authorities.
In a movie match-up almost as unlikely as “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” Martin Scorsese took on Taylor Swift in cinemas over the weekend. And while the box office belonged for a second time to “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” got off to a strong start in Apple Studios’ first major theatrical gambit. After a record-breaking opening weekend of $92.8 million, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” took in an estimated $31 million over the weekend from 3,855 locations, according to AMC Theaters. “Killers of the Flower Moon” debuted with $23 million, marking the third best opening for the 80-year-old Scorsese. The $200-million film is the largest production yet from Apple Studios.
Three teams are one win from the World Series heading into Monday’s playoff doubleheader. First, the Philadelphia Phillies look to close out Arizona at home when they send Aaron Nola to the mound with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series. Then it’s a decisive Game 7 in the ALCS as three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the Texas Rangers face Cristian Javier and the defending champion Astros in Houston. Road teams are unbeaten in this Lone Star State showdown, only the second time in baseball history the home side has dropped the first six games in a best-of-seven postseason series.
Mac Jones threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki with 12 seconds remaining to lift the New England Patriots to a 29-25 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, making Bill Belichick the third coach in NFL history with 300 regular-season victories. Jalen Hurts rebounded from a pick-6 to hit A.J. Brown for the go-ahead touchdown on the next drive, and Philadelphia beat Miami. Complete Week 7 roundup:
Christopher Bell took his first lead with 15 laps to go and held off Ryan Blaney for a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway that locked him into next month’s NASCAR Championship finale. Bell, who entered the race below the playoff cutline, scored his second win of the season. He beat Blaney by 1.651 seconds and only led 26 of 267 laps during a chaotic race in which three playoff drivers did not finish. Tyler Reddick and William Byron finished third and fourth and are still vying for a spot in the Nov. 5 title-deciding finale. The remaining spots will be determined next week in the final race of the round of eight at Martinsville Speedway.