WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Paralyzed Polk County deputy dies
ST. CROIX FALLS - A sheriff's deputy from northwest Wisconsin has died, after he was shot and paralyzed while confronting a gunman almost 23 years ago.
50-year-old Michael Seversen will be buried with full law enforcement honors on Saturday, the anniversary of the shooting. A 2 p.m. funeral is planned at the high school in Saint Croix Falls, where he died at his home on Monday. Seversen was a Polk County officer when he and a Burnett County deputy approached a shooting suspect who was wanted in Chisago County, Minnesota. The suspect, Robert Reineccius, was shot and killed by the officers. Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson said Seversen had some recent medical concerns -- and although more than two decades have passed, Seversen's death is still classified to be in the line of duty.
Authorities continue to investigate a head-on crash in which a semi-truck driver from Superior collided with a pick-up. The semi-driver was a 58-year-old man who was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The pick-up driver died in the crash. He was 25-year-old Benjamin Snyder of Wrenshall, Minnesota. The mishap occurred yesterday morning southwest of Duluth. Saint Louis County authorities said Snyder's pick-up crossed a center and struck the semi, which had a crane attachment. Snyder died at the scene.
Leaving Las Vegas can be hard if you lose your shirt at the casinos -- and it was even more stressful this week for 160 passengers flying home to Duluth-Superior. An Allegiant Air flight returned to McCarran airport in Vegas soon after takeoff, when a swarm of bees clouded the windshield and got suck into the engines. Passengers told WDIO-TV of Duluth that the plane's cabin smelled like it was on fire -- and the pilot told them he was turning around because a bird struck the aircraft. Actually, it was thousands of bees that got vacuumed into the engines. The passengers were put onto another plane, and it landed at Duluth International Airport late Monday night about an-hour-and-40-minutes behind schedule.
The former mayor of both Superior and Duluth has been sentenced to 20 days in jail for his third Wisconsin drunk driving offense. Herb Bergson, who now lives in Waunakee, pleaded guilty in Dane County this week to a misdemeanor count of three-time OWI. A plea agreement gave him a 20-day jail sentence plus two years of probation. Bergson is also losing his driver's license for three years, and he has to pay almost 19-hundred dollars in fines. He must also complete court-ordered treatment and stay sober during his entire sentence. Bergson was first convicted of drunk driving after he slammed into a bridge near Spooner in 2005, while going to a convention during his tenure as Duluth's mayor. Last fall, he was given a 22-day jail sentence for a second OWI.
The Oneida Indian Tribe is hosting a four-day summit this week to teach Native Americans to grow and preserve their own food. About 350 people are taking part in the second annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit in Ashwaubenon, near the Oneidas' Green Bay area headquarters. Conference organizers say it's important to have self-sufficient food systems for cultural reasons -- and to fight common Native American health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Ho-Chunk tribal education project manager Woodrow White said tribes used to have very large organic gardens -- and they've gotten away from that. White said he often encourages youth groups to invest in their soil -- and many young people are interested in it. In White's words, "Food is medicine -- If It's grown well and wisely, your health is right on." For years, the Oneida tribe has run a food production outfit that includes an organic farm, bison herd, cannery, and retail store. The cannery is also a classroom and community kitchen.
Children with repeated seizures can use a marijuana oil extract to get relief, under a bill signed today by Governor Scott Walker. The Republican governor signed 55 bills into law at his State Capitol office. Walker says the FDA would have to approve the use of the cannabidiol extract before it can be made available in the Badger State. Lawmakers of both parties got behind the measure, passing it unanimously in the Senate and by a voice vote in the state Assembly.
A new report shows that Tom Barrett's campaign fund paid a $20,000 penalty this year, for taking too much from special interests in his 2012 recall campaign for governor. Milwaukee's Democrat mayor lost by seven percentage points to the Republican Walker. It was Barrett's second straight bid for the governor's mansion. State law limited gubernatorial candidates to just over $700,000 after the recall contest had been scheduled. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said the Barrett camp received almost $721,000 and political adviser Patrick Guarasci called it quote, "an error made completely by accident." He blamed the mistake on the intensity of the recall drive against Walker. Guarasci called it a year-long campaign that was waged in a matter of weeks. The Journal-Sentinel said the settlement was mentioned in a court filing connected with a John Doe probe into alleged illegal campaign activities involving Republicans and outside groups in the recall contests.
____________________Wisconsin's largest company is about to get bigger. Johnson Controls of suburban Milwaukee said today it would acquire Air Distribution Technologies, a maker of building ventilation equipment from Richardson Texas. Johnson will acquire the firm from Canada's pension plan for a total cost of one-point-six billion dollars. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of July. Johnson Controls is the state's largest firm based on sales. It's been selling off its automotive electronics business in recent months, with the goal of investing more in its building ventilation and high-tech battery businesses. ____________________
Spring began almost a month ago, but you wouldn't know it by looking at your fellow Wisconsinites. Most still have their winter coats out, as they shiver through record cold temperatures. Six places in central and northern Wisconsin had their coldest afternoon highs on record yesterday. It only got up to 28 degrees in Rhinelander, breaking the mark of 29 for the date in 1935. Stevens Point and Oshkosh had their coldest high readings for April 15th since 1904. Similar marks were broken in Marshfield and Merrill at 32 degrees, and at Antigo with 29. Land O'Lakes was the state's cold spot this morning, with eight-above at seven o'clock. Most places were in the 20's and 30's. Today's highs are expected to be in the 30's statewide, with up to 16 inches of snow in the far north. Some of it should melt tomorrow, when highs in the 40's are projected statewide. The 50's are supposed to return to southern Wisconsin by the weekend._____________________
Eight rivers in the southern half of Wisconsin have either gone over their banks, or will do so within the next couple days. The National Weather Service says the more rapidly-responding waters have crested, after their levels rose due to last weekend's heavy rains. Slower-responding rivers like the Rock are still going up. In most cases, minor flooding is expected. Moderate floods are possible in a couple spots. The Wisconsin River at Portage is still eight-inches over its banks -- and more water might be on the way in a few days, due to heavy snows today and tomorrow at the mouth of the river in northern Wisconsin. Flood warnings continue on parts of the Baraboo, Fox, Milwaukee, Wolf, and Chippewa rivers. Two warnings remain on the Kickapoo River at Gays Mills and Stueben, after two other spots on the river had their warnings canceled. The Mississippi River is getting closer to within its banks. It's about three inches below the flood stage at Wabasha, and almost two-feet below its banks at Prairie du Chien. Northern Wisconsin is getting another major snowstorm today, while a snow-and-rain mixture is falling on-and-off in central Wisconsin. Rain is possible later in the south._______________________
A Sheboygan County man will spend 30 days in jail for driving drunk into a utility pole, causing a power line to fall and injuring an eight-year-old boy. 65-year-old John Krizenesky of Elkhart Lake must also spend two years on probation. He pleaded guilty earlier to a felony count of causing injury by drunk driving, and he struck a plea deal which kept him out of a state prison. Authorities said Malachi Blanke of Manitowoc was catching grass-hoppers in the front yard of his grandparents' house last July, when Krisenesky hit a utility pole and the power lines sagged onto the youngster. It happened along a county road in the town of Rhine, just west of Highway 57. The child was burned over 20 percent of his body, and reports said he needed 10 operations to repair his chest, hip, and arms. The driver had a blood alcohol level of point one-one-nine, almost one-and-a-half times the minimum for intoxication of point-zero-eight._______________________
Just when you thought there is Green Bay Packers' everything in Wisconsin, there's something new -- a dating site for Mister and Ms. Cheesehead. Kelly Davis said like-minded men and women have logged onto Green Bay Packers Lovers.com for the last few weeks. The site now has 190 women as members, along with 174 men. It seeks to end the anguish of a Packer fan being in a mixed relationship with someone who bleeds Minnesota purple or Chicago navy blue. Davis says the Web site has forums, a full chat page, and places to send and receive messages and winks. Of course, there's a link to Packers' merchandise on Amazon.com Davis says the site is for anyone looking for true love, a long-term relationship, or just fun and friendship.