WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Residents returning to their homes in Slinger after two trains collided and derailed
Dozens of residents returned home in Slinger this morning, after two trains collided and derailed. Officials in the Washington County village evacuated more than 100 homes last night. That was after a freight train struck cars on another train at an intersection of two tracks owned by separate railroads. Three engines and ten cars of both trains derailed. Two crew members suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Patrick Waldron of the Canadian National Railway said one of its trains -- with three southbound locomotives and three cars with frac-sand -- derailed and hit cars from a Wisconsin-and-Southern train that had lumber, steel, and plastic pellets. Hanke said some of the lumber spilled. Homes south and east of the derailment were evacuated as a precaution. Hanke said there were concerns that the spilled diesel fuel would start on fire -- which it didn't. Slinger is a village of over five-thousand residents, about 30 miles north of Milwaukee.
Much of Wisconsin will have its stickiest day of the summer. Heat advisories will be in effect through this evening in parts of the northwest -- where some places could get their first 90-degree days of the year. The National Weather Service says the heat index could reach 100 in the Saint Croix River valley. Lots of people will try to find swimming holes to cool off -- but that could be a problem on the east shore of Door County, where the Weather Service has issued a beach hazard statement for dangerous swimming conditions on the shores of Lake Michigan. Waves of 2-to-4-feet are possible along the Eastern Door through nine tonight. Things are expected to cool off tomorrow, after a low-pressure system brings thunderstorms to the northwest half of Wisconsin tonight. Highs tomorrow are expected to drop to the 70's-and-low-80's, but another round of storms is due in late tomorrow -- and the Weather Service says those storms could be severe.
A fire broke out overnight at a restaurant inside Milwaukee's Miller Park baseball stadium. Crews were called around two a-m to Friday's Front Row Sports Grill just behind the left-field wall at the foul pole. Deputy fire chief Aaron Lipski said the blaze appears to have started in the kitchen of the restaurant, and spread through duct work. Nobody was hurt. The cause remains unknown. There was flooding in several meeting rooms -- and the ballpark's elevators and escalators are not working down the left-field line. Brewers' executive vice president Rick Schlesinger said most of the damage was caused by water from the fire-fighting efforts and the ballpark's sprinkler system. The Brewers are supposed to open a three-game series against Cincinnati tonight at Miller Park. Schlesinger says the game will go on -- and fans can use escalators and elevators in other parts of the stadium.
A former lodge for utility employees is being sold in far northern Wisconsin. Integrys, the parent company of the Wisconsin Public Service utility, is selling 200 acres of its former Awassa Lodge along Lake Content in the Vilas County community of Saint Germain. Kerry Spees of Public Service said the site was a retreat for employees -- but the firm decided a couple years ago that neither the lodge nor the acreage was needed. The land has since been sub-divided into 23 lots, most along the lakefront. A firm began marketing the property last week, and an auction will take place September 18th in Saint Germain. Also, Integrys is negotiating with a single buyer for another 235 acres of the lodge site that's not adjacent to the lake. Spees said the land could have been sold a few years ago, had it not been for plunge in the real estate market during the Great Recession. There's also a small amount of land on Big Saint Germain Lake. For more information, go to the company's Web site at IntegrysGroup-Dot-com.
Wisconsin's busiest freeway interchange is re-opening today, after most of it was shut down during the weekend. Interstate-94 was closed for 54 hours just west of Milwaukee, for construction work that's part of a one-point-seven billion dollar re-building of the Zoo Interchange on 94 at the Highway 45 freeway. Mike Pyritz of the state D-O-T said all of the scheduled work was completed on time -- and there should be no more traffic delays than usual as the road was to re-open at 5:30 this morning. Pyritz could not say how many vehicles were diverted to detours -- or had avoided the interchange altogether. He said there were no accidents yesterday, after a minor crash occurred Saturday on one of the detour routes. During the weekend, a new railroad bridge was installed over the Interstate -- part of an old southbound bridge on Highway 100 was torn down -- and a large storm sewer was put in underneath the freeways.
For the first time in seven months, Wisconsin milk production is up from the year before. The U-S-D-A said the Badger State made two-point-three billion pounds of milk in June -- six-tenths of a percent more than the same month of 2013. The state's increase was still below the national jump of one-point-nine percent. But Wisconsin had six straight months of declines until its May milk production equaled that of the previous year. The long and cold winter was a major reason for the monthly drops in output. Wisconsin had just over one-and-a-quarter million cows producing an average of 18-hundred-25 pounds of milk last month. That's still 63 pounds below the national figure, which was the highest since the U-S-D-A began keeping track of it in 2003. The Badger State remains in second-place behind top-producing California. The Golden State had a one-point-seven percent hike in its June milk production.
Parents in northeast Wisconsin stand to lose up to 30-thousand dollars in advance tuition payments, after a private school in De Pere shut down. The six-year-old Wisconsin International School blamed declining enrollment and shortfalls in fund-raising for the Chapter-Seven bankruptcy it filed earlier this month. A bankruptcy judge is scheduled to meet with creditors and school officials one month from today. School officials told parents they were planning to enroll 120 students this fall, 30-percent fewer than last year. They also said their fund-raising fell 30-percent short of what they budgeted. The bankruptcy filing said the school had around 50-thousand dollars in assets and 550-thousand in liabilities. In Chapter-Seven bankruptcy, a business closes and sells its assets. A trustee pays whatever claims can be covered. Two families might be out 29-thousand dollars in advance tuition. The bankruptcy filing also says school board president Todd Thiel could be out 17-thousand dollars in tuition payments. Former school director Mary Vanden Busch is owed more than 15-thousand dollars in wages.
A 134-year-old school bell was returned to a central Wisconsin village over the weekend. About a hundred people attended a ceremony where the bell was rung to dedicate a new community center in Birnamwood, 25 miles east of Wausau. The bell dates back to 1880. It summoned youngsters to Birnamwood High School until it closed in the 1970's. Since then, a teacher from that school kept the bell at her home in Antigo. A couple other people stored it later, and residents say they're glad it's now back where it belongs.
The Powerball jackpot is back at 40-million dollars, after a ticket sold in California won 60-million on Saturday night. A Wisconsin player won the ten-thousand-dollar third prize, by matching four regular numbers plus the Powerball. Lottery officials have not said where that ticket was sold. Almost 84-hundred Wisconsin players won smaller prizes ranging from four-dollars to 200. Saturday's numbers were 10, 17, 25, 45, and 53. The Powerball was nine, and the Power Play multiplier was two. The jackpot was growing since July 9th, and it rolled over just three times. It returns to the minimum for the next drawing on Wednesday night. In Mega Millions, the top prize is 58-million dollars for tomorrow night.