WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: NW Wisconsin blanketed by snow after storm
SULLIVAN - Over three weeks into spring, most of northwestern Wisconsin seems more like Christmas than Easter. The National Weather Service in Sullivan says about a foot and a half of snow fell during yesterday’s storms.
Several school districts – including Ashland, Birchwood and Hayward – cancelled classes on Friday, while energy companies say they are working to restore power to some nine-thousand customers. Chippewa Valley and Eau Claire reported about eight to nine inches of accumulation.
Almost 2,200 electric customers in Wisconsin were without power Friday, in places where both freezing rain and snow have caused problems. Xcel Energy's Web site reported abou 1,300 customers out in the Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and Thorp areas. The Wisconsin Public Service utility had almost 880 customers in the dark. Just over 700 of those were in the Wausau area. Wisconsin Power and Light reported scattered outages in the south central part of the state. Far northern Wisconsin has had pure snow -- and a lot of it. Almost 18-inches fell near Superior from yesterday through Friday morning. Fifteen-inches fell at Hawthorne, 14-and-a-half near Poplar, 11-inches at Gile along Lake Superior, and 10-and-a-half inches near Stone Lake in Sawyer County. Other parts of the state were getting a rain-snow mix, freezing rain, and light showers. It's all supposed to head east later this afternoon and tonight.
A three-month-old baby from southern Wisconsin has been found unharmed in Michigan. Sauk County authorities said the baby's non-custodial father has been arrested for taking the youngster. He awaits extradition proceedings in Paw Paw, Michigan. The infant was taken early yesterday, while a relative was baby-sitting. Sauk County officers worked with state police in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan to locate the missing pair. They were found yesterday afternoon in Manttawan, Michigan, and the baby was not hurt.
A Waukesha woman is due in court Monday for allegedly practicing dentistry without a license, and hurting one of her teenage patients. Naomi Aguilera is charged with felony child abuse, and a misdemeanor count of being an unlicensed dentist. According to prosecutors, a 13-year-old boy had pain and bleeding in his gums after Aguilera installed braces. The boy's mother later took him to a licensed dentist, who found cement under the child's gums. Officials said the 36-year-old Aguilera offered reduced rates for her services, and she made her clients pay in cash.
The second-ranking Democrat in the Wisconsin State Assembly will leave at the end of the year. Assistant Minority Leader Sandy Pasch of Shorewood becomes the 16th of the 99 Assembly members not to seek re-election to her current post this fall. Pasch said she needs to take care of her father, who's now in his 90's -- and she's getting tired of the partisan fights with majority Republicans. Pasch is a psychiatric nurse, and she served on a task force that recommended a series of bills to improve mental health care throughout the state. Those bills were approved, but she still believes she can have a greater impact outside of the Legislature than within it. Pasch said she would continue serving in her Assembly leadership post until her term ends early next January.
Four Wisconsin public school principals have been honored by the state. Lisa Rettler of the Asa Clark Middle School in Pewaukee has been named a principal of the year -- along with Asta Sepetys of Wisconsin Heights middle-and-high school, Richard Appel of Chilton Middle School, and Dodgeland elementary principal Jessica Johnson. State Superintendent Tony Evers said all four are quote, "in the fore-front for personalizing learning, advancing technology, and using data to improve staff and student outcomes." He calls those steps critical in making a difference for Wisconsin youngsters.
Authorities have identified a driver killed in a box truck explosion near Green Bay on Thursday afternoon. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says 59-year-old Gerald Throw was killed when the truck’s load shifted and pierced the compressed natural gas system, causing the explosion. The passenger, 29-year-old Jose Perez of Green Bay, was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
A Waukesha mother has been charged with child abuse and practicing dentistry without a license. According to the criminal complaint, 36-year-old Noemi Aguilera is accused of running a make-shift dentist office out of her living room to place braces on children. Authorities say one of the children complained of pain and bleeding gums after Aguilera placed braces on him. A proper examination determined the 13-year-old had cement placed under his gums. Aguilera is also accused of using unsterilized equipment and charging low cash rates for the unlicensed services.
Victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese say the church's re-organization plan to get out of bankruptcy is quote, "morally repugnant." The creditors' committee used those words in a response filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to the church's plans to keep operating while compensating millions to sex abuse victims. The creditors urged the court to reject the church's plan, saying it's not in the best interest of those who whom the archdiocese owes compensation. On April 17th, Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley will hear arguments on whether the plan's disclosure statement provides enough information for the creditors to make informed decisions about the church re-organization. The creditors say the disclosure is not enough.
Authorities confirmed today that the body of a hiker found in the Colorado mountains was that of a doctor from Indiana who used to work in southern Wisconsin. Thirty-nine-year-old James McGrogan of Chesterton, Indiana vanished March 14th, after he drifted away from a group hiking to a back-country hut. Skiers found his body yesterday north of Vail, Colorado. Officials said an autopsy must still be performed to see how he died. McGrogan used to work in hospital emergency rooms in Beloit and Stoughton from 2006 until recently, when he moved to Indiana to work at a hospital in Mishawaka. The other hikers in his party said McGrogan had adequate food, water, medical supplies, and other tools that included a GPS system. The group searched for five days but could not locate him.
Federal lawmakers from Great Lakes states are asking their colleagues to add funding for programs designed to cleanup and preserve the lakes. Michigan Democrat Carl Levin chairs the U.S. Senate's Great Lakes Task Force. He and other panel members wrote the chairs of the Senate appropriations committee, urging them to fund quote, "critical Great Lakes programs." President Obama's 2015 federal budget included $275-million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That's down from the $300-million allocated in recent years, and the initial investment of $475-million back in 2009.
Governor Scott Walker says he's reviewing large pay raises given to eight Wisconsin prison wardens recently. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel learned that the wardens got raises of up to 13-percent last month, to put their salaries close to 100-thousand dollars a year. Walker noted that state agencies do not go through his office in granting pay raises. But he said the correctional raises were quote, "obviously an area of concern," and he wants to see the documentation. The Journal-Sentinel said the Corrections Department circumvented the government's salary rules by transferring wardens from one institution to another. The agency gave the newspaper one of its prior memos, comparing the wardens' previous salaries to those of other state workers and officials -- including the heads of the state's secure psychiatric facilities. The wardens' pay hikes came at a time when other state workers received one-percent raises. The wardens were given the one-percent hikes as well.
UW-Madison officials say three cases of the mumps do not appear to be related. The University Health Services office said yesterday that three Madison campus students came down with contagious disease that's spread either through the air -- or from contact with saliva or infected droplets. Officials said flu-like symptoms often appear 16-to-18 days after a person is infected, often followed by cheek-and-jaw swelling. The UW urged everyone in Madison to wash their hands on a regular basis, and stay home if they get sick. People are also being encouraged to check on their MMR vaccines, and make sure they're up-to-date.
More people are buying organic foods. Organic Valley of La Farge reports an eight-and-a-half percent sales increase from last year. The world's largest farmer-owned organic co-op had sales of $930-million dollars in 2013 for organic milk, butter, produce, and other items. The figures were released at the co-op's annual meeting in La Crosse. Eric Newman, the group's vice president of sales, said overall milk sales are declining as more people drink almond milk and other choices. Still, he says Organic Valley is the No. 1 seller of organic milk in China -- and the co-op sells 50-percent of the organic milk in the U.S. Newman also says Organic Valley has growth in other products like cheese, butter, and vegetables.