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Western Wisconsin News Briefs: Crash near Menomonie kills one, injures one

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MENOMONIE - A crash between two big rigs traveling eastbound on Interstate 94 near Menomonie has left one driver dead and injured the other one.

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Wisconsin State Highway Patrol troopers closed the interstate for five hours after the 1 a.m. crash as the investigated the accident and cleared debris from the road. The fatal accident happened about six miles west of Menomonie.

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A search will continue today - weather permitting - for two men who apparently disappeared after their canoe capsized on a choppy Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Rescuers spent just two hours on the water yesterday, hampered by high-and-rushing waters. Also, authorities don't exactly know who they're looking for. Eau Claire Police say they don't have any reports of missing persons. They've been checking license plates of vehicles at local boat landings, and that's been of no help. Police are also asking U-W Eau Claire if they know who might have gone canoeing without coming back. A kayaker saw two men cling to their capsized canoe on Tuesday - but when he threw a rope to them, the kayak tipped over and the canoe disappeared.

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A company that wants to build a wind energy farm in far western Wisconsin will get a second chance to do so. The state Public Service Commission had rejected a request by Emerging Energies to open a quarter-billion-dollar wind turbine facility in Saint Croix County. But since then, the company submitted new evidence that it can meet the state's noise limits for the high-tech windmills. So today, the PSC voted 2-to-1 to grant the firm's request for a new hearing. Commissioner Ellen Nowak voted no. Chairman Phil Montgomery and fellow Commissioner Eric Callisto voted yes. Tim Osterburg of Emerging Energies told the panel it found a way to comply with a 45-decibel noise limit at night, so nearby houses are not affected. Osterburg said it would reduce the planned amount of electricity produced by up to four-and-a-half percent, depending on types of turbines that are used. Even with the reduction, he said the project could still be profitable.

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The La Crosse Catholic Diocese will try to get the Vatican to name a late former central Wisconsin priest as a saint. If canonized, Father Joe Walijewski would become only the fourth saint born in the U-S, and the 11th from North America. Walijewski founded an orphanage in Peru, and he created parishes in Bolivia. He also served in a number of Catholic parishes in central Wisconsin in places like Stevens Point, Mosinee, Thorp, and Almond. Walijewski died in 2006 at age 82. Yesterday, about 250 people attended a service in La Crosse to honor him, and to kick off the campaign to pursue sainthood. The regional church has formed a panel of priests and lay people to round up facts about Walijewski's life. They'll collect documents and interview a host of acquaintances - and they'll present their package to Catholic officials in Rome for their consideration.

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