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WISCONSIN NEWS BRIEFS: Another law signed by Gov. Walker another lawsuit pending

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MADISON - A long legal battle may be in store for the state and civil liberty groups. Governor Scott Walker signed a bill yesterday that would require an ultrasound before an abortion. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming the new law is unconstitutional.

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The law would go into effect on Monday, but the court could place a temporary block to the law, at least until the lawsuit is settled.

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The Experimental Aircraft Association has filed a petition in court to reverse fees issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, for air traffic controllers and staff at this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh. E-A-A filed the dispute in the U-S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. The FAA says the $447,000 fee is not a new user fee but to help with costs due to sequestrations – but EAA calls the move a “double taxation” and are asking the court to reverse the decision and to return money already paid. An agreement was reached by the two groups in June. The week-long event in Oshkosh begins on July 29. 

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Authorities say a cash reward for information in the death of a snapping turtle has increased. The reward, offered by Global Conservation in Watertown, is now over $10,000. Authorities believe someone beat a female snapping turtle at a Delevan golf course on June 10, it later died at a rehabilitation center for wildlife. The Walworth County Sheriff’s office say they are following leads and hope someone will provide the information they need to make an arrest.

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A Wisconsin-based company has issued a voluntary recall of their brand of cheese. Crave Brothers in Waterloo is recalling their Les Freres, Petit Frere and Petit Frere with Truffles after several people became sick with a bacterial infection. An elderly person was reportedly killed in Minnesota on Thursday, after allegedly eating tainted cheese. Product made before July 1 or earlier are part of the recall. Any customer with those cheese products are asked to throw them away immediately and bring in a receipt for refund.  

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Expect to see new Wisconsin tourism ads this fall, starring Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The Department of Tourism says the ads will run in Milwaukee, Chicago and the Twin Cities starting August 1. Nelson will also write a monthly blog during the football season at TRAVELWISCONSIN.com The commercial is directed by Wisconsin native David Zucker. 

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The National Weather Service can tell you almost anything about this year’s wet weather – except for why it’s happening. Rusty Kapela of the National Weather Service in Sullivan says there’s no single answer for why last year was ultra-dry – and this year is ultra-wet. Kapela said it cannot be blamed on an El Nino or a La Nina weather pattern. All he can say is that weather patterns change from year-to-year. Parts of far southern Wisconsin were in an extreme drought at this time last year, when much of the Badger State was gripped in a heat wave for weeks. This year, temperatures are mild – and until July began, it just seemed to be getting wetter by the day. Madison is among the places with record precipitation for the first half of the year – about three-inches more than its previous record with 31 inches. With six months to go, both Madison and Milwaukee are close to their year-long averages of about 34 inches of liquid precipitation, both rain and melted snow. Wisconsinites enjoyed clear weather today for the most part, with highs in the 80’s. Rain is possible from tomorrow through at least Tuesday.

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A man killed in a go-cart crash at a Wisconsin Dells attraction was identified today as 45-year-old Wade Wiese of Charlotte, Iowa. Lake Delton Police are calling it a freak accident. Officials said Wiese lost control of his go-cart on a corner. It struck the protective bumpers on the side of the driving surface, and then tipped on its side. At that point, the man’s head struck a wooden post. Wiese suffered a severe head injury. The mishap occurred Wednesday night at Alligator Alley. That’s next to Extreme World, where Teagan Marti was severely injured in 2010 when she fell 100-feet to the ground on a thrill ride. 

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A northwest Wisconsin man has died from a July Fourth accident on a fishing boat in Alaska. State troopers said 55-year-old Lewis Byerly of Frederic in Polk County pulled up an anchor with a motorized winch – and his arm got caught in the chain. The winch pulled him into the machinery. Byerly was one of two people on the fishing boat Anna Lane. The mishap took place about a mile-and-a-half from the shore of Ninilchik (nih-nill’-chek) on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The Coast Guard is also investigating the incident, along with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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A storage of spent fireworks may have caused a blaze early Friday in which a garage was destroyed near Beloit. Town-of-Beloit fire-fighters said the garage was engulfed in flames when they arrived just after 3 a.m.. Officials said there was minor damage to the home where the garage was located, plus a neighbor’s house. Total damage was estimated at $10,000. No one was hurt.

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Authorities are investigating the death of a motorcyclist at a busy suburban intersection south of Wausau. Marathon County sheriff’s deputies said a pick-up truck had just left the Highway 51 freeway, when it collided with a northbound motorcycle on Business-51 in Rothschild. It happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The biker died at the scene. The pick-up driver, a 16-year-old girl, was not hurt. A sheriff’s team reconstructed the crash scene. Deputies said speed-and-alcohol were possible factors.   

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The head of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore says it might be a week-or-two before Sand Island re-opens. The island was closed to overnight camping on Monday, when a bear stole people’s food at campsites. Then on Wednesday, a bear jumped in-and-out of a boat where food was left in a cooler. That was along a beach on the island. Lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumenaker said the animal is assertive – and he’s not afraid of going where people are. If confronted, the bear will run away – but Krumenaker says he won’t be gone for very long. Cameras have been installed to monitor the bear activity on Sand Island. Krumenaker said the closure might be longer than other similar closings on the Apostles in the past. He said other islands have re-opened too early, and they had to close again when the bears returned. Also, he said the federal budget sequester leaves the islands with fewer workers to educate campers on storing food to prevent bears from visiting. 

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The state school superintendent says it will not be easy to follow Republicans’ orders, and get the statewide private school choice expansion going by the start of classes in September. Tony Evers tells the Wisconsin Radio Network his department will hustle over the next two months to get information out to schools that have never dealt with the 20-year-old choice program. He says that alone will create confusion. Evers, an opponent of the choice concept, says applications will also have to be prepared and taken. The Department of Public Instruction must then review those applications to decide which schools will take part. Milwaukee has had private school choice since the early 1990’s, in which limited numbers of low-income students get state tax vouchers to attend private schools. Racine was added two years ago. The governor and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature approved a limited statewide expansion of choice as part of the new state budget. Republicans say it will give students in poor-performing schools a chance for a better education, while critics say it takes much-needed funding away from public schools. Evers sides with the latter group. This fall’s expansion is limited to 500 students in the 25 districts outside of Milwaukee and Racine that get the most applications. The following year’s limit is a-thousand students.

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Milwaukee’s Koss Corporation and its lawyers will share eight-and-a-half million dollars, after Koss settled a lawsuit it filed against its former accounting firm. The maker of stereo headphones accused Grant Thornton’s accountants of gross negligence, for not warning Koss that its former vice president Sue Sachdeva (satch-dee’-vuh) was stealing them blind. Sachdeva was sent to prison for 11 years for embezzling 34-million dollars from Koss. It was American Express that blew the whistle in 2009. The credit card issuer told Koss that Sachdeva was paying personal bills with company funds. By then, she had been doing it for six years. Koss stockholders wanted a federal judge to make Grant Thornton liable for at least part of the huge loss – but the court wouldn’t do that. The accounting firm later tried to have Koss’s negligence suit dismissed, but the courts wouldn’t do that, either.

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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