WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Hunting accident near Boyceville sends one to hospital
BOYCEVILLE - A hunting accident near Boyceville sends one man to the hospital in critical condition.
A spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says 52-year-old Brian Kohnke, of Menominee, was involved in a deer drive with 20 hunters… a term used to flush deer into firing lanes. Kohnke was one of five bystanders, and was shot in the stomach when a deer ran by. DNR says the investigation is ongoing. Kohnke was flown to a Saint Paul, Minnesota hospital.
Fire officials in western Wisconsin say no one was hurt during a hospital fire yesterday afternoon. The Bloomer Fire Department says hot embers from a welder ignited combustible materials, damaging parts of an administrative wing. While the building to the hospital was unaffected, smoke forced 12 patients to move to another part of the hospital. Fire officials say the offices suffered fire, smoke and water damage, no damage estimate was given.
The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office says a man was killed while attending to his disabled vehicle near the Town of Vernon yesterday evening. Authorities say the 48-year-old man was struck and found dead outside of his vehicle, which was parked on the shoulder of the southbound lane of I-43. The collision is under investigation… authorities say the driver who struck the victim was being interviewed. The victim’s identity has not been released.
One expert says he is concerned with the amount of pollution from large dairy operations and the impact on the environment and to the public. Gordon Stevenson, a former regulator with the Department of Natural Resources, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that liquid manure will become a source of large-scale contamination of groundwater, including E-coli and campylobacter. While manure has been a staple of fertilizing for hundreds of years, he says that larger operations are taking a risk when storing and hauling in liquid form. Stevenson adds that it’s only a matter of “when” the state has the first Walkerton, Ontario incident referring to a contamination in 2000 where over two-thousand people became ill and seven died.
Black Friday shoppers were out in full force throughout Wisconsin, even after the early store openings on Thanksgiving. The Outlet Shoppes in Oshkosh report more shoppers than normal for the day after Turkey Day. Manager Keith Holschbach said some of the 43 stores in the outlet mall were open since eight last night -- and while traffic counts were much higher than in previous years, they continued to be strong this morning. At Mayfair Mall in suburban Milwaukee, shoppers said there was a more subdued atmosphere than in the past. Linda Fadden of Milwaukee said the early Thanksgiving Night openings quote, "deflates the hustle-and-bustle of Black Friday morning." Meanwhile, folks in western Wisconsin were close to enough to be among the crowds at the Mall-of-America just south of Minnesota's Twin Cities. Mall spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt said around 50-thousand people walked through the doors by 10 last night. She said there was a lull between six-and-seven this morning -- but another busy round came after that. Schmidt said clothing appeared to be the most popular things for shoppers. Smaller retailers say expect a lot of business during Small Business Saturday -- and Web retailers look forward to Cyber Monday.
Holiday bargain-hunters are not the only ones hitting the stores on this Black Friday. A Walmart in Milwaukee was targeted by protestors this morning, demanding that the world's largest retailer stop paying what they call "poverty wages." Jennifer Epps-Addison, the head of Wisconsin Jobs Now, said people are tired of it and quote, "We are trying to raise awareness of it." About 50 protestors took part in the Milwaukee rally, including members of several unions. Epps-Addison said two other Walmarts in southeast Wisconsin would be the targets of similar rallies today. Similar events are taking place around the country. In neighboring Minnesota, custodians protested outside a Target store in downtown Minneapolis as Black Friday shoppers filled the aisles. Hundreds of low-wage workers and demonstrators were expected at a Saint Paul rally sponsored by several advocacy groups and unions.
Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams is downplaying federal concerns in Spain about alleged pollution at a mine he helped manage there. Media reports said Williams is one of three officials of a Spanish company under investigation for a build-up of arsenic in an aquifer due to a new technology at his former mine in southern Spain. Williams says the allegations are being stirred up by mining opponents in that country. He joined Gogebic Taconite in 2011, a year after the company started expressing an interest in its proposed new iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Williams told the AP he needs more information about Spain's investigation before he could determine whether it would have any effect on the northern Wisconsin project. Retired state geologist Tom Evans said troubling arsenic levels are not unusual in waters near mines -- but it's not known if it could be an issue with the Gogebic project. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin mine's opponents have jumped on the reports of the Williams investigation. Amber Meyer Smith of Clean Wisconsin says it's "very concerning," and state regulators should examine it. A lawyer for the Midwest Environmental Advocates says it raises credibility questions, but it's not known what the impact would be. The state DNR says it's aware of the Spanish probe. Spokesman Bill Cosh promises a thorough review regardless of what happens with that case.
A number of Wisconsin veterans have been stifled in their efforts to apply for special new driver's licenses. The DOT says it's ready to start sending out the licenses on time on Monday -- but the Green Bay Press-Gazette says there's been confusion about the application process. To qualify, veterans must get certification of their military status from the state Veterans' Affairs agency by going online as WisVets.com, before going to the DOT for the licenses. Kathy Marschman, the assistant deputy veterans' secretary, said the Web site was not clear at first about the certification process -- but that's been fixed. Now, she says the problem is an overload of phone calls to the state's call-center. Marschman says there have been more calls than expected -- around 300 a day. The special driver's licenses display a military certification, as proof that veterans are eligible for discounts and other favors. Jon Lidonne of the Outagamie County Veterans Service office said state officials gave him no official guidance on how to proceed. The new licenses were announced with great fanfare on Veterans Day. Marschman says people shouldn't judge the process until after the licenses start going out on Monday.
A Madison area company has been ordered to stop selling pork to Wisconsin restaurants. The Wisconsin State Journal reported today that Fox Heritage Farms of Fitchburg was given a letter from the state agriculture department just over two weeks ago. It told chef Dan Fox and his business to stop selling quote, "misbranded multiple-ingredient meat products, specifically pork." The report also said Fox did not have the correct license to sell meat. Ag official Steve Ingham said his agency's investigation dealt mainly with unlicensed meat production. Fox Heritage Farms reportedly sold meats to restaurants in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. A Madison-and-Dane County health official told the State Journal she previously investigated claims that Fox fed table scraps with animal products to pigs, in violation of state law. Fox would not comment on the state's enforcement action.
A Wisconsin state senator wants to prohibit minors from getting sex-conversion therapy. Madison Democrat Fred Risser is seeking co-sponsors for a bill to prohibit licensed mental health providers from seeking to change the sexual orientation of anyone under 18. Risser says similar bills have been proposed in Minnesota, New York, and Maine -- and they've passed in California and New Jersey. Risser tells the Wisconsin Radio Network it's unproven that a doctor can use psycho-therapy to change a youngster's sexual orientation -- and it could cause the person problems for a lifetime if it's tried. Risser calls it a scam, and doctors who try it could be found guilty of criminal misdemeanors under the senator's bill. Risser says that to his knowledge, sex-conversion therapy is not a widespread practice in Wisconsin -- and he wants to keep it that way.
An autopsy was scheduled on a man who died after a head-on traffic crash in Walworth County on Thanksgiving. Sheriff's deputies said a car driven by 52-year-old Jeffrey Peiffer was going south on Highway 120 in the town of Lyons, when it crossed the center line and slammed into an oncoming car. Peiffer died at the scene, and authorities said he was not wearing a seat belt. The other driver, a 69-year-old man from Wauconda, Illinois, was taken to a hospital in Oconomowoc after being critically injured. That man's passenger, a 40-year-old suburban Chicago woman, was taken to an Elkhorn hospital with undisclosed injuries.
A Milwaukee man has pleaded innocent to a federal charge of sex trafficking in South Dakota. Thomas Alexander Roberts faces life in prison if he's convicted. The U.S. Attorney's office in Sioux Falls said the 33-year-old Roberts transported an adult woman from Wisconsin to South Dakota earlier this month, to have her engage in prostitution and illegal sexual activity. Roberts was still in custody at last word.
One person was killed and two others were injured in a traffic crash early today in Sheboygan County. Sheriff's deputies said a car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it briefly hit a shoulder, went back onto the roadway, and rolled over numerous times. It happened around two this morning in the town of Mosel, northwest of Sheboygan. Sheriff's deputies said one person was dead when they arrived at the scene. Another had what they called "incapacitating injuries," and a third person had minor injuries. No names were released. The mishap remains under investigation.
A 24-year-old man is in custody for a hit-and-run crash that killed a toddler in Milwaukee. Police said today that the suspect was picked up at his Milwaukee home on Thanksgiving night. An investigation into the incident continues. Police said a rental truck had just turned onto a south side street before hitting 18-month-old Ariana Matosek and her 21-year-old mother Cheyenne Jackson. Officials said Jackson was holding the toddler in her arms when she was struck late Wednesday afternoon. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody earlier, but police said he was let go when it was determined that he was not driving the rental truck at the time. The girl's mother was still hospitalized at last word with non-life-threatening injuries.
Transportation issues for Wisconsin's Indian tribes will be discussed at a conference next month. The DOT's seventh annual Tribal Transportation Conference is set for December 17th-through-19th at the Ho-Chunk casino and convention center near Wisconsin Dells. Road building experts will join tribal, state, and federal officials in discussing a host of concerns. They'll deal with safety, preserving history and cultural resources, and funding for programs.