What you need to know: Thursday

It’s Thursday, May 21 and here is your day ahead:

In local news…

WEATHER: Thursday will be mostly sunny and milder. High temperatures will be around 70 degrees. Full forecast 


Fix it or fines: The clock is ticking on a manure digester contractor. The equipment exploded in August and the company that runs the digester, Clear Horizons, was issued nearly 90 violations. The company has until today to comply with state and federal regulations or face consequences. In February, Dane County issued a notice of default threatening to kick the company out for violations involving the explosion and manure spills. The chief operating officer issued a statement this week saying that the company is not violating certain laws, and that the company is working with both the DNR and Dane County staff to improve all operations and verify compliance reporting. More on this story


Changes not so simple: Madison’s City Council is ordering a review of how its police department runs, but making changes isn’t that simple. In its Tuesday night meeting, the council voted to create an ad hoc committee of community members to evaluate the policies and practices of the Madison Police Department. Members will then report back to the council, Mayor Paul Soglin and police Chief Mike Koval with recommendations for changes. Also on the table to be looked at is the department’s policy for use of force, but it may be the hardest practice to change because of a 1989 Supreme Court ruling. More on this story


Higher limits: Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that allows state transportation officials to raise the speed limit to 70 mph on some Wisconsin roads. Under the law, the Department of Transportation can raise the speed limit to 70 mph only on four-lane roads that have entrance and exit ramps. They can’t raise the limit on roads with at-grade access. DOT officials say they plan to raise the limit on freeway portions of the interstate system as well as portions of U.S. Highway 51, U.S. Highway 53 and U.S. Highway 41. More on this story


Changes: The Legislature’s finance committee is set to make changes to Wisconsin’s popular SeniorCare program. Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal calls for requiring SeniorCare enrollees in the popular prescription drug program to first sign up for the federal Medicare Part D drug program. SeniorCare would then fill in any additional coverage. Walker’s administration estimates the change could cut the cost of SeniorCare in half. More on this story


More details: Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre will appear at the Legends Game July 19 at Camp Randall Stadium. Donovan McNabb and Ron Dayne are among the players scheduled to appear. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tickets will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. June 3 at UWBadgers.com, by calling 608-262-1400 or in person at the McGinnis Family Athletic Ticket Office at 1440 Monroe St. Tickets range in price from $34 to $55. Family-of-four ticket packages are available for $112. Current UW students can purchase up to two tickets for $13 each. More on this story

In national news…


Historic meeting: A historic meeting takes place today in Washington, D.C. Talks between diplomats from the US and Cuba could lead to the re-opening of embassies in both nations. The discussion comes after President Obama recommended Cuba be removed from the United States’ list of states that sponsor terrorism. The president is required to give 15 days notice before the reopening of the embassy in Havana. More on this story


Final curtain: After more than an hour of tributes and laughs, David Letterman signed off his last show with poignant words: “That’s pretty much all I got … thank you and goodnight.” But there were no tears; just jokes, celebrations and celebrities. No moments of deep introspection; just his usual sarcastic, self-deprecating humor with a tinge of nostalgia. Rock band Foo Fighters crooned his favorite song, “Everlong,” the same number they performed for him when he returned from heart surgery. And as tributes poured in from the likes of President Barack Obama, Chris Rock and Tina Fey, Letterman quipped, “Do me a favor. Save a little for my funeral.” More on this story


Treasure trove: Osama bin Laden apparently did a lot of reading and writing during his final years spent hiding out in a compound in Pakistan. At least that’s what the release yesterday of 103 documents — taken during the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed him — seems to indicate. Bin Laden was still obsessed with killing Americans and urged other jihadist militants to abandon all but U.S.-related targets. At the same time bin Laden was focused on his family, exchanging letters with his many wives and children, and even expressing excitement about an upcoming wedding. The documents also hint at the size and nature of the bureaucracy of al Qaeda at the time and of the extensive digital library that bin Laden had assembled, a library that often included titles on terrorism by American think tanks. More on this story


Cleanup begins: The ruptured pipeline near Santa Barbara may have spilled as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. That’s the worst-case scenario estimate from Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, the company that owns the pipeline. An estimated 21,000 gallons made it into the Pacific Ocean. The cause of the spill is not yet known, but there were problems reported Tuesday morning at a pair of pump stations. More on this story


NSA ‘filibuster’: Paul did it again. Two years after his 13-hour drone policy filibuster, the Kentucky senator and 2016 GOP presidential candidate took over the Senate floor yesterday afternoon to rail against the NSA. The Senate is considering reauthorizing the section of the Patriot Act that involves the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata on millions of Americans. Paul slammed the collecting of the phone records, calling it symptomatic of a bullying, out-of-control government. Paul spoke for 10 hours, ending his unofficial “filibuster” just before midnight Eastern time. More on this story