Thursday State News Briefs: Milwaukee native becomes cardinal
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee's Catholic Archbishop has high praise for Wisconsin native James Harvey - the long-time Vatican assistant who's being elevated to cardinal.
Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday that six prelates would be elevated in a consistory planned for November 24th. The 63-year-old Harvey was the only American to be promoted. He was raised in Milwaukee, and Archbishop Jerome Listecki said Harvey has always kept Milwaukee his home - and he makes sure he stays connected to his home archdiocese. Listecki called Harvey a "dedicated and faithful servant to the universal church," and he said the appointment was a tribute to the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Harvey will become one of 120 prelates who will elect the next pope when the time comes. Benedict is now 85. Harvey served one year as the assessor in the Vatican's Secretariat-of-State before he was named in 1998 as the prefect of the papal household. He organizes the pope's schedule, escorts visiting dignitaries at the Vatican, and joins the pontiff at his weekly general audiences. Harvey became an archbishop in 2003. As part of his new promotion, he'll become the Archpriest at the Basilica of Saint Paul's Outside-the-Walls. Harvey was born in Milwaukee in 1949, but he studied in Rome and was ordained there.
A man killed in a bow-and-arrow deer hunting accident near Wausau has been identified as 50-year-old Steve Raskie. Marathon County authorities said Raskie was hunting by himself on Monday, and relatives got concerned after he failed to come home. They conducted a search - and they found Raskie's body near his home northeast of Wausau. Officials said the bolt of his crossbow struck him in the jaw.
A 22-year-old man has died after being hit by a vehicle while crossing a street on Milwaukee's north side. Police said a vehicle driven by a 60-year-old woman hit the pedestrian just before seven o'clock last evening. The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. An investigation continues.
Authorities continue to investigate a two-vehicle crash in Dodge County that killed an elderly driver from North Fond du Lac. Sheriff's deputies said 83-year-old Eugene Belcha was on County Trunk "TW" near Theresa yesterday afternoon, when he pulled in front of an oncoming vehicle driven by a 21-year-old Lomira man. Belcha died at a Milwaukee hospital. 80-year-old Ruth Belcha was taken to a Fond du Lac hospital for treatment. The other driver was treated for minor injuries.
An 11-year-old girl from Delavan was killed in a one-car crash near Whitewater last night. Walworth County authorities said a 17-year-old girl lost control of her vehicle and hit a power pole on Highway 89. The driver escaped injury, but the 11-year-old and another 17-year-old passenger were trapped in the auto. Officials said that last girl was critically hurt.
State law requires a host of specialists to tell authorities about the abuse they see against children and the elderly. But no such law exists for pet abuse - and that's something veterinary leaders are trying to change. The issue has come up in Wausau, where a 20-year-old woman was charged this week with poisoning and killing her boyfriend's dog after it was treated for earlier injuries. The Wausau Daily Herald says 39 states - including Wisconsin - do not have laws that require people like veterinarians to report suspected abuse to law enforcement. Mary Kirlin of the Marathon County Humane Society said she gets several calls a week about suspected animal abuse - and passes the more believable calls on to police. She says pet abuse is more common than people think - and she believes it largely goes unreported. Wausau veterinarian Karla Sathre says it can be hard to report abuse cases, because many are hard to prove - especially when a pet owner seeks medical treatment. Sathre says Marathon County needs a humane officer, because the police have other things to do. Wausau police captain Dwayne Dachel told the Daily Herald that pet abuse calls are not frequent to his agency - but all of them are taken seriously.
A member of the Ho-Chunk Indian tribe has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, for taking over three-million dollars in a bribery scheme. Federal Judge William Conley also told 61-year-old Timothy Whiteagle of Black River Falls to spend three years under supervision when he gets out - and to pay almost $163,000 to the IRS. His attorney said the sentence was too harsh, and the government should have let the tribe handle the case. A jury in Madison convicted Whiteagle almost three months ago for bribery and tax violations. Prosecutors said Whiteagle was a consultant for businesses that provided ATM and check-cashing services at Ho-Chunk casinos - and for a business that wanted to provide housing and mortgages to tribal members. Officials said Whiteagle and others gave former Ho-Chunk legislator Clarence Pettibone cash and numerous gifts, in exchange for his votes on tribal contracts from 2002-through-'09. In July, Pettibone was sentenced to five years in prison in July for his role in the scheme.
Wisconsin authorities now say they think a man wanted in Wisconsin Rapids could be in Columbia County. They are searching for 31 year old Matthew Lee Fosnot, who was able to get through a police perimeter last night on 18th Avenue in Wisconsin Rapids. He is accused of trying to assault a woman. Police say Fosnot has reportedly made statements which indicate he is anti-law enforcement and would be willing to die in a gun battle. Anyone who has information about Fosnot is being asked to contact their local law enforcement. He drives a 1987 gray Toyota pickup, with ham radio antennas and the license plate AF-4896. Fosnot is considered to be armed and dangerous.
The Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products' company in Pound has been cited by the federal government for 16 workplace safety violations. The Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration has proposed fines of over $140,000. The agency inspected the plant in April. Many of the citations accuse the plant of exposing workers to amputation risks. The plant makes parts for containers and wood pallets. Northeastern Wisconsin Wood Products has 15 days to pay the fine, challenge the citations, or seek a settlement conference with OSHA. The agency added the company to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, after 18 previous citations which followed an inspection in January of last year. The firm challenged the citations, but they became final orders in March of this year.
Unemployment rates went down in all 12 of Wisconsin's metro areas last month. But seven of the 12 metros lost jobs in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis. The state released preliminary figures this afternoon. Madison had the lowest unadjusted jobless rate at five-percent, and Janesville had the highest at eight-point-nine. The estimates showed that the Appleton area gained the most jobs last month, with around 12-hundred from August. Eau Claire, Oshkosh-Neenah, Racine, and Wausau had smaller gains. Metro Milwaukee lost around 14-hundred jobs in September. Sheboygan, Janesville, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Green Bay, and Madison all lost between 300-and-800 jobs apiece. Also, all 72 counties had lower unadjusted unemployment rates than in August - and only Iron and Iowa counties had higher rates than the same month a year ago.
Windstream Communications says it was an unusual convergence of events which caused an interruption in phone service to businesses, government agencies and commercial phone users in three states, including Wisconsin. The company says at the same time a computer card failed, two separate fiber cable cuts worked together to cause the disruption. One of the fiber cables was cut at a road construction site at Interstate 894 and West Greenfield Avenue in West Allis. A company spokesperson says not all service was stopped, but it isn't clear how many customers were affected. Windstream doesn't provide residential services, but two Milwaukee-area school districts were impacted.
Members of a Manitowoc family are told the disappearance of their dead mother's rings was an accident, not a case of theft. Jean Stadal was wearing six rings when she died almost two weeks ago. They later went missing. A police investigation found a coronet's photo which showed the rings were on the dead woman's hand and were accidentally cremated with her body. A crematory official confirmed the mistake, saying staffers missed seeing them. Police say no charges will be filed because this was an accident, not a crime.
The Wisconsin Funeral Directors' Association will not be punished for now - but the group will not regain control of one of its trust funds that lost over $20-million. Those terms are part of an agreement that puts a legal action on hold. The state filed a securities' complaint against the Funeral Directors Association, after the group made risky investments in a fund which pays for prepaid funerals ordered to customers of individual funeral homes. The investments dropped the value of the trust fund from about 70-million dollars to less than $50-million. And it had funeral homes paying their own costs to provide pre-paid funerals, after a court-appointed receiver put the fund off-limits. The receiver, John Wirth, will continue to administer the trust fund. But under the new agreement, funeral homes will be reimbursed for at least part of their expenses for prepaid funerals - around 60-cents on the dollar for now. Earlier, Wirth fired Association Executive Director Scott Peterson, along with two investment advisers for the trust fund. Also, the association could be removed from the receivership - but they would have to continue cooperating with Wirth. A Dane County judge was to consider the stipulation at a hearing this afternoon.
The State Patrol has ordered the city of Neenah to stop using seven trucks which collect leaves that residents rake to their curbs. That's after one of the vehicles seriously injured a pedestrian earlier this month. 43-year-old Daniel Robinson was hospitalized in fair condition at last word. Neenah's leaf collection trucks have large metal vacuum vents that rise from the front grill, and suck the leaves toward the back of the truck. State Patrol officials say the vertical part of the vent blocks the driver's vision - and that violates state law. Troopers say they'll hand out warnings and citations if they see the front-loading trucks being used again - not just in Neenah, but in other Wisconsin communities as well. Neenah Public Works Director Larry Wettering says the units could be moved to the back - but it will take a while to work out, and the change will require two employees instead of one. For now, Neenah is raking leaves off the curbs into front-end loaders which transfer them to dump trucks. Officials say it's putting the city's leaf collection efforts 2-to-3 weeks behind schedule - and if residents can't wait, they can drop off leaves at Neenah's dump site.
A state appeals court today upheld the conviction of a man for shooting at Forest County sheriff's deputies 13 years ago. Robert Jacobson, who's now 31, was sentenced to 36 years in prison after a jury convicted him of three counts of attempted homicide. He was found innocent on three other charges of reckless endangerment, and seven other charges - including attempted battery to police officers - were dropped by prosecutors. Jacobson has raised a number of legal questions since his conviction, but he was never able to go free or get a new trial. In his latest appeal, Jacobson said prosecutors failed to correct false testimony which implicated him in the shootings - and the district attorney did not have enough evidence for a conviction. But this morning, the Third District Appellate Court in Wausau said Jacobson should have raised the issues long ago. And the court said his trial lawyer did challenge the alleged false testimony during a cross-examination. Attorney Robert Henak said he was disappointed in today's ruling - and he might ask the State Supreme Court to review the matter.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle that floated across the Pacific Ocean after the Japanese tsunami was being unveiled today at the Harley museum in Milwaukee. The bike's owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, said he wants it preserved at the museum to remember those who died in the massive storm in March of 2011. It's a 2004 FX-STB Soft-tail Night Train bike with rusty wheels and handlebars, Japanese writing, and the distinctive Harley logo on its fuel tank. The motorcycle was inside a large white container - and it floated over four-thousand miles to British Columbia in Canada, where a beachcomber found it while exploring the Haida Gwaii Islands. The bike made its way to Harley's headquarters, where it will be part of the Harley museum's permanent collection. Yokoyama, who's 29, lost three family members and his home in the tsunami - and he still lives in temporary housing. Harley offered to return the bike to him, but he said he wasn't ready to take it back.
The Powerball jackpot is at $100-million for the first time in almost a month. Nobody won the top prize last night, and nobody from Wisconsin won the second-or-third prizes. Ten players from the Badger State won 200-dollars each by buying the Power Play, and matching either four regular numbers or three-plus-the-Powerball. Just over 98-hundred other Wisconsin tickets won smaller prizes. Last night's numbers were 3, 18, 21, 23, and 50. The Powerball was four. Saturday night's jackpot is the largest since an Iowa couple won a $202-million prize on September 26th. The cash option for the next drawing will be just over $64-million dollars. In Mega Millions, the top prize is at $21-million for tomorrow night.