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Op-ed piece draws Trump's ire

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump lashed out at an unknown “gutless” adviser and at The New York Times after the publication Wednesday of an opinion piece from the anonymous aide alleging that officials throughout the administration are working to thwart the president’s “ill-informed,” “impulsive” and “erratic” instincts and “amorality.”

According to the author, members of Trump’s Cabinet were concerned enough about his “instability” that early on they discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to start off a complex process to remove him from office.

Trump’s angry tirade over the piece, and his later suggestion that the author is treasonous, came amid increasing frustrations for the president, who has been fuming publicly about a forthcoming book, “Fear,” by journalist Bob Woodward. Using hundreds of recorded interviews, including of anonymous administration officials, Woodward paints a detailed portrait of Trump’s White House as a dysfunctional “Crazytown,” a pejorative he attributes to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

The latest attack on his fitness for office offered twin targets to Trump, a man who is prone to telling supporters he is a victim of a conspiracy between a “deep state” and media “enemies of the people” to destroy his presidency. Yet the published indictment from an official within his administration was an all but unprecedented act against an incumbent president.

In an essay titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” the author wrote of the president: “The dilemma—which he does not fully grasp—is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

“We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous,” it continued. “But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

The writer said that the early talk of invoking the 25th Amendment had been abandoned because “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

The New York Times posted a special editor’s note explaining why it took the “rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay.” It said the editorial page editors know the author’s identity but withheld it to protect the author’s job and to “deliver an important perspective to our readers.” Trump did not see it that way.

“Can you believe it? Anonymous,” Trump said at the White House, with sheriffs from around the country gathered behind him. “Meaning gutless. A gutless editorial.”

Later he sent out a one-word tweet in capital letters: “TREASON?”

Just after receiving an award from the group of sheriffs, Trump launched into defiant remarks that veered between exaggerated boasts of unmatched economic success and angry denunciations of the “failing New York Times” and the unnamed official.

“Nobody has ever done, in less than a two-year period, what we’ve done,” Trump said. “So when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons.”

“Someday, when I’m not president, which hopefully will be in about six and a half years from now, The New York Times and CNN and all of these phony media outlets will be out of business, folks,” he said, to applause.

“They’ll be out of the business, because there will be nothing to write and there will be nothing of interest,” Trump continued.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders put out an additional statement, denouncing the paper’s decision to publish “this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed” and calling it “a new low for the so-called ‘paper of record.’”

“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” she said. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”


Anthony Wahl 

Jimmy Coulter runs through his final set of a stair running workout at Monterey Stadium in the rain on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Coulter says he’s been doing the workout at the stadium everyday for the last 30 years, except for the occasional vacation day.


Local
top story
Alliant Energy has goats-for-hire plan for weed control

TOWN OF BELOIT

If the town of Beloit gives its blessing, Alliant Energy plans to hire a herd of goats to munch on buckthorn, garlic mustard and other invasive plants on a 10-acre plot at Alliant’s Riverside Energy Center.

Bob Newell, project manager for Alliant Energy and Wisconsin Power and Light’s West Riverside Energy Center expansion, said Alliant seeks a conditional-use permit allowing a contractor to bring in 80 to 100 goats to graze a weedy area on the property’s southeast end off South Walters Road.

Newell said the weed-eating goats would graze two or three times a year, for a week or two at a time, until all noxious and invasive plants are eradicated.

An environmental manager for the expansion project suggested the unorthodox plan as an environmentally friendly, efficient way to clear weeds from a wetland and river area that’s not friendly to weed-control equipment.

The manager “found an article about a firm that has goats that you rent. The goats come in and eat all of the noxious weeds and, of course, everything else, other remaining plants,” Newell said. “Other people have been using this technique as well, where instead of spraying weed killer and other harmful chemicals, they use a herd of 80 to 100 goats.”

The plan requires an amendment to an existing conditional-use permit for the Alliant property, which is zoned for industrial use, not grazing animals.

The town’s plan commission will consider the application Sept. 12, but the plan requires town board approval.

Newell said a local contractor could bring in the goats by late September or early October.

He was unable to name the contractor, but he said the company would place temporary electric fencing around the grazing area to keep the goats out of the wetlands and the river. The grazing area is removed from Alliant’s power plant operations as well as the expansion area.

Newell said goats’ biology makes them innate weed warriors.

“Goats are a great application for this work because they have flat teeth,” he said. “They grind up the weed seed, and they actually digest it. There are no seeds that are excreted (in the manure). That protects against regrowing of the weeds.”

According to Alliant’s conditional-use application, goats trample their own manure into the ground as they graze, which makes it less likely that manure would run off into the wetland and river.

The plant’s Capricorn workforce would be temporary.

Newell said the goats would be brought back three or four times a year until weeds in the grazing paddocks are fully cleared and Alliant can start seeding native plants and grasses.

He said research indicates the goat herd could knock out the weeds in about a year—around the time Alliant begins to ramp up operations at its expanded power plant.


Crime
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Bond set at $1 million for Mississippi carnival worker accused in attack

ELKHORN

A Walworth County Fair carnival worker from Mississippi is suspected of beating a woman with a hammer in what Police Chief Joel Christensen said is the most violent Elkhorn attack he has seen in his 30 years at the police department.

Terrence D. Leflore, 24, was arrested Monday at the Walworth County Fairgrounds on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault, robbery, first-degree reckless injury, aggravated battery and obstructing an officer.

Elkhorn police say Leflore of Jackson, Mississippi, admitted to assaulting the 21-year-old woman in her car at a public parking lot in the first block of South Lincoln Street, Elkhorn, at 10:11 p.m. Aug. 28.

Christensen said the arrest brought a sense of relief to the community.

“Any time there’s an attack like this, we utilize all our resources and exhaust all our personnel to focus primarily on an incident of this nature. We don’t have violent crimes like this in Elkhorn, and as a result we had to pool all our resources,” Christensen said.

At Leflore’s bond hearing Wednesday afternoon, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld called the attack a “violent assault.” He said the victim was found with a severe skull fracture, partially clothed and unconscious.

Leflore matched the attacker’s description, Wiedenfeld said. Though he first denied assaulting the woman, Wiedenfeld said Leflore later admitted beating her in the head with a hammer in an effort to rob her.

Leflore told law enforcement he removed the victim’s clothes and sexually assaulted her with the hammer, Wiedenfeld said.

A shirt stolen from the victim later was found in Leflore’s possession, and Wiedenfeld said Leflore’s cellphone showed internet searches for greyhound buses, information on fingerprints and blood and ways to identify if a person sexually assaulted someone else.

The woman had left work shortly after 9 p.m. Aug. 28 and did not immediately arrive home, according to an earlier police news release. Relatives began to look for her, and when they found her vehicle in a parking lot, a man fled the scene.

The woman was found in her vehicle.

The man fled on foot to the backyard of a home in the first block of South Jackson Street, the release states.

Christensen said investigators believe that fleeing man was Leflore.

Judge Phillip Koss set Leflore’s bond at $1 million. His initial appearance is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Monday, when a criminal complaint will be filed.

Leflore was employed by North American Midway Entertainment, the company that supplied the midway entertainment at the Walworth County Fair.

In a news release Wednesday, a company spokeswoman said Leflore had passed a criminal background check conducted by a third party before being hired. The release states the company runs background checks “on all employees and outside contractors before hiring.”

Larry Gaffey, Walworth County Fairgrounds general manager, could not be reached for comment.


The above story was corrected on Sept. 6 to reflect the following correction: Because of incorrect information cited in court, the age of the woman prosecutors say was sexually assaulted in Elkhorn on Aug. 28 was wrong on Page 1A on Thursday. Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said Thursday the woman is 21 years old.