ITEMS OF INTEREST

The Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Belden Water Power Company versus the United States, Justice Lurton writing the opinion, decided that the federal government had prior rights over riparian owners in the Sault Ste. Marie river in Michigan. The Sault Ste. Marie is a navigable stream in which the government had begun the erection of a dam, when it was sued for damages by the water power company as the owners of the riparian rights which, it was alleged, were violated by the government construction. The decision is far-reaching, for apparently it settles for good the question of the power of the government over intrastate streams and recognizes the authority of the federal government as superior to that of a state. This power has been questioned in many states and may have a direct bearing upon the Connecticut river improvement project, which has been held up for many years through considerations of local ownership.

The La Crosse Telephone Company and the Wisconsin Telephone Company have been ordered to make a physical connection between their toll lines or systems. This is one of the first contested cases of its kind to be brought before the railroad commission since the passage of the physical connection law two years ago. It is said by telephone men there that the case will be appealed to the state supreme court, and if beaten there, it will go to the United States Supreme Court. The commission gives the companies thirty days to comply with the order.

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