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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: More anti-abortion bills proposed

A state lawmaker says aborted fetuses should be treated like human beings after they die. Assembly Republican Garey Bies  of Sister Bay is proposing a bill in which abortion doctors would have to arrange for burials, cremations, or medical donations for fetuses at least 10 weeks old. Bies said Michigan passed a similar law after an abortion doctor there was caught throwing fetuses in the trash. Bies told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he does not know of any such cases in Wisconsin. He did not believe the doctor mandate would add much more to the cost of abortions. Bies also said at least some women might be discouraged to get abortions if they were forced to consider their babies’ deaths in human terms. However, the bill does not require the patient to be informed or consulted about the disposal arrangements, so the mothers do not have undue burdens placed on them. Assembly leadership did not say whether the bill would be added to the fall calendar. It’s the latest in a series of anti-abortion bills proposed by state Republicans. Both houses have passed a bill requiring abortion candidates to get ultra-sounds, and to make abortion doctors have admitting privileges at hospitals. Governor Scott Walker has promised to sign the measure, which critics say would force the Planned Parenthood Clinic at Appleton to close because it does not have doctors with hospital admitting privileges.

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The head of Milwaukee’s largest public employee union is leaving to take a national post in that group. Rich Abelson has spent the last 16 years as the director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. He tells the Journal Sentinel he’ll become the head of the AFSCME judicial panel on July first. The committee rules on various disputes within the union. Abelson has spent the last eight years as a part-time member of the panel. He’ll move to Arlington Virginia for his new post. Abelson has long criticized the Act-10 law which virtually ended collective bargaining in AFSCME and most other public unions throughout Wisconsin. The law continues to be challenged in the courts, and Abelson said he doesn’t like leaving in the middle of a fight. He said he looks forward to the promotion, but calls the move from Wisconsin “bittersweet.”

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A flood warning is in effect until 1:30 this afternoon for parts of southwest Wisconsin that got torrential rains during the weekend. The National Weather Service issued the warning for Vernon, Crawford, Richland, and northern Grant counties. No injuries have been reported – but local authorities report mudslides, road closings, and rivers over their banks. Water levels were starting to recede yesterday, but forecasters expect more rain for the southwest region later today, and possibly through Wednesday. The Weather Service says the area got 3-to-9 inches of rain during the weekend. Counting Friday night, TV reports said Boscobel in Grant County got up to eight-inches of rain early Saturday, and another 5-to-6 inches later in the day. Wisconsin Power-and-Light only reports one outage in southwest Wisconsin this morning, that being in Grant County. The Kickapoo River is over its banks in four locations in southwest Wisconsin, by more than two feet at Gays Mills. Moderate flooding is reported there, as well as at Stueben in Crawford County. Only minor floods were expected along two over waters over their banks – the Pecatonica River at Blanchardville, and Spring Creek near Lodi. The Weather Service also has flood warnings out on the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien and the Fox River in Kenosha County – both of which were at or below their flood stages at last word. 

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A trial is scheduled to begin today for one of five people charged in the death of a Milwaukee rap artist. His co-defendants say 19-year-old Ashanti McAlister pulled the trigger and killed 22-year-old Emily Young on New Year’s Day. A second defendant, Billy Griffin, was found innocent last week of homicide. Victor Stewart and Devin Seaberry have struck plea deals. The fifth-and-final defendant, Ron Allen of Milwaukee, has a trial set for October seventh. The murder victim was known as Evon Young before she changed genders. Her stage name was “Yung L-T.” According to prosecutors, a disagreement was brewing among the group over a burglary of Griffin’s house last August, and the five accused Young of helping in the break-in. Some of the defendants told police that Young’s body was burned in a trash bin, and the remains were shipped to a landfill. Police spent almost two weeks looking for the remains at the dump, but they found nothing. 

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A Green Bay man died, and his five-year-old son was rescued after their van plunged into the Kewaunee Harbor on the edge of Lake Michigan. Authorities said the 40-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle before it went in the water around 8:30 yesterday morning. Nearby campers responded quickly and saved the young boy. Police said he was conscious and alert when officers arrived. The boy was checked out at a Green Bay hospital, and was later released to his family. Meanwhile, rescuers used sonar equipment in their search for the driver. His body was found around seven last evening. An autopsy was planned in Green Bay. The victims’ names were not immediately released, pending notification of relatives.

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The U-S Navy continues to investigate an accident in Guam that killed a diver from eastern Wisconsin. 22-year-old Navy diver Robert Dotzler of Kiel (keel) apparently drowned last Wednesday in an operation at a naval base harbor. The Navy Times said Dotzler was watching other divers from the surface in a “snorkeling-like role.” When they surfaced, several divers noticed that Dotzler was missing. He was found at the bottom of the harbor. He was unconscious when he was pulled from the water, and he died later at a naval hospital. Dotzler had been assigned to the U-S-S Frank Cable since 2011. He was stationed at a training center in Florida before his assignment in Guam.

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An 11-year-old southern Wisconsin boy will show off his healthy lunch dish at the White House next month. Liam Kivirist of Browntown in Green County was among 54 winners in the second annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge put on by First Lady Michelle Obama. She’ll host a reception on July ninth for the young contest winners. Liam said he noticed that last year’s winners included a host of wraps, pestos, and noodle dishes – but no chili. So he and his mother worked on a chili that combines normal ingredients with things like garden-grown peppers, garlics, onions, and tomatoes. He then added quinoa for protein, and pumpkin for a sweet touch. The White House contest required its entries to have each of the main food groups. Fruits and vegetables had to make up about half the entrees.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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