UP: Motorists. Traffic fatalities in Wisconsin decline for the fourth straight year in 2009, to the lowest level since 1944. Last year, traffic accidents here claimed 545 lives, 42 fewer than in 2008.
DOWN: Madison. The state, blaming a budget shortfall, says it will shortchange the city in the payments it makes for city services, in lieu of property taxes. Madison will get just $8.8 million instead of $13.2 million.
DOWNER: Local prosecutors. The state proposes laying off or cutting the hours of assistant district attorneys, whom a state audit has found are already overworked. "The DAs' office is dramatically understaffed right now," Madison Police Chief Noble Wray tells the State Journal.
DOWNEST: UW animal research. A recent inspection of UW-Madison facilities by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds 20 violations, including depressed and vomiting dogs, a dirty operating room, and expired medications. And in five major studies, the university apparently failed to seek alternatives to painful experiments on animals.