WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Sky-diving planes collide over Superior
SUPERIOR - Two sky-diving planes collided at Superior last evening, while divers were conducting a tandem jump.
Officials said all nine skydivers were either jumping, or getting ready to jump, when the collision occurred around 6 p.m. The planes were 12,000 feet in the air at the time. Everyone appeared to have escaped serious injury. The Duluth News-Tribune said the lead plane broke in three, and its pilot parachuted to safety before his plane crashed. The other plane landed at the Richard I. Bong Airport at Superior without incident, after its five divers had already jumped. Both aircraft were owned by the firm of Skydive Superior. Sky-diving instructor Mike Robinson said the cause of the mishap is not certain -- but the trailing plane appeared to get in the wash of the front aircraft's wings, and it may have caused them to bump together. Robinson said both wings fell off the first plane. The fuselage landed at a fairgrounds' property. One wing reportedly landed near an airport runway, and the other near a golf course.
At least one school district in western Wisconsin is working to keep frac-sand out of its classrooms. New Auburn District Administrator Brian Henning said his schools are using higher-quality air filters, to avoid getting fine silica sand that's being mined at four locations within several miles of the schools. The new air filters cost around $1,500 for the year -- double of what the New Auburn district is accustomed to spending. Dust scrapings from the new air filters were sent to a lab in Madison for testing -- and a small amount of silica sand was discovered on the filters. Wisconsin has over 100 frac sand mines, where silica sand is being removed for use in domestic oil-and-gas drilling equipment.
Thousands of Wisconsinites who buy health insurance on their own may soon have to buy more expensive and comprehensive coverage under Obamacare. Wisconsin has about 180,000 people who get coverage on their own, and not through another employer. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says many will have a chance to renew their current policies for at least one more year -- but thousands no longer have that option. WPS in Madison has started to send cancellation notices to around nine-thousand of its customers. The firm said they did not renew their existing policies early -- and they're not in plans which are grandfathered-and-exempt from the new quality requirements of the Affordable Care Act. U.S. Senate Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has introduced a bill allowing Americans to keep current plans if they prefer. Johnson says he wants President Obama to keep his repeated promise that if Americans like their current health plans, they can keep them.
A suburban Milwaukee man was among the passengers evacuated from the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, when a gunman opened fire and killed a federal security worker. Leon Saryan of Greenfield told both national-and-Wisconsin reporters he was going through a security check when he heard shots -- and he was rushing down a concourse when the gunman asked him if he was from the Transportation Security Administration. Saryan said no, and the man moved on. ATSA agent carrying Saryan's shoes at the checkpoint was wounded, but officials say the agent will survive. Law enforcement eventually shot the gunman, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia of LA. He was hospitalized in critical condition at last word.
The invasive New Zealand mud-snail has been spotted in Dane County. The state DNR says it's the first time the snail has been found in an inland stream in the Midwest. Scientists from UW-La Crosse recently confirmed that the New Zealand mud snail was found in a water sample taken from Black Earth Creek last year. The sample was part of a routine monitoring for invasive species. The same type of snail was spotted earlier in the Great Lakes, and waters in the western United States.
A national Hispanic women's group will hold its spring convention in Wisconsin next year. The League of United Latin American Citizens said its national gathering would take place in Milwaukee next March 28th-and-29th. Up to a thousand members are expected to attend. Group president Margaret Moran says her members will benefit from visiting a state that has seen a large growth in its Latino population in recent years.
A mild October has turned into a more normal November in Wisconsin -- at least for now. Much of the Badger State is below freezing this morning. Ashland was the state's cold spot with 21-degrees at five o'clock. The eastern part of the state had light rain and drizzle yesterday, and it was cloudy and cool everywhere else. Still, the afternoon highs were generally 3-to-7 degrees above normal, in the 40's. A slight warm-up is expected today, as southerly winds move in. Highs are expected near 50 every day through Tuesday. A dry day is predicted for today, but rain is possible tomorrow and Tuesday, with a chance of snow on Wednesday as another cooling wave moves in.