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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Water crews are finally getting a breather

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News Ellsworth,Wisconsin 54011 http://www.piercecountyherald.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/Wisconsin_55.jpg?itok=4YUdEhWI
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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Water crews are finally getting a breather
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

MILWAUKEE -- Water crews are finally getting a breather, after a winter filled with broken mains and frozen pipes throughout Wisconsin.  In Milwaukee alone, about 660 water service lines burst from December through March 28th.  That's almost twice as many as the previous winter.  Milwaukee water users will end up spending almost one-point-seven million dollars for outside crews to inspect and repair broken water mains.  That's four times as much as the year before.  Milwaukee will also spend 655-thousand dollars for the overtime spent by city employees on all water services connected with the cold.  City water superintendent Carrie Lewis said some of her crews worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week to help the water flowing.  In parts of northern Wisconsin, residents were urged as recently as last week to keep a small amount of water constantly running in their homes to keep their pipes from freezing.  That's because there's still a lot of frost in the ground.  In that situation, building owners not pay for their extra usage.  

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Wisconsin might scale back its effort to fight the tree-killing emerald ash borer, and do more to control other invasive plants and animals.  On Wednesday, the state Natural Resources Board will consider a package of new strategies which include restrictions on almost 100 foreign species.  The emerald ash borer would be downgraded from a "prohibited" status to "restricted."  D-N-R pest specialist Andrea Diss-Torrance says most communities fighting the wood-hungry beetle are now working to manage the pest instead of trying to eradicate it by cutting down ash trees.  That's how widespread the ash borer has become.  It's now in 19 Wisconsin counties.   The D-N-R's package would also prohibit 50 other invasive species for the first time.  They include the "killer algae" seaweed from the Mediterranean, and killer shrimp from eastern Europe.  Thirty-two species would be added to the restricted list -- including a couple that are popular in landscaping.  Seventeen plants which are sold at nurseries would be among those affected.  Stores would get 3-to-5 years to sell out their current inventories.

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After years of investigations, authorities are about to announce new developments in the killings of two teens from two decades ago.  Racine County sheriff's officials have arrested a 36-year-old Illinois man for the slaying of 18-year-old Amber Creek in 1997.  They'll say more during a news conference tomorrow.  In Fond du Lac County, officials say they might have enough evidence to tie a 60-year-old Kenosha truck driver to the 1990 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Berit Beck of Sturtevant.  The man was not in custody as of yesterday.  Sheriff's officials plan to say more later today.  A search warrant affidavit shows that photographs of the trucker's hands are being evaluated, along with other evidence in the Beck abduction.  She was heading to a computer seminar in Appleton when she vanished.  Her body was found in a ditch near Waupun.  In the Racine County case, Creek was a ward-of-the-state in Illinois when she disappeared in early 1997.  Her body was found three weeks later by a pair of hunters checking out land at a marsh in Burlington.

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Those getting court-ordered treatment in three Wisconsin counties are being sent to assisted-living facilities with operational problems.  The Green Bay Press-Gazette says Oconto, Kewaunee, and Shawano counties continue to send poor-and-sick people to four facilities which got numerous state citations for resident abuse since 2000.  The newspaper said staffers at those living facilities have drugged and restrained residents, and did not separate people with violent records.  Complaints of abuse were substantiated in 2006-and-'13.  State officials said they notified the counties each time they took enforcement actions against the living facilities -- but the three counties did not stop using those places.  Shawano and Oconto counties recently renewed contracts to keep using the centers this year.  A Kewaunee County official said he's "exceedingly reluctant" to keep working with one center.  Shawano County attorney Tony Kurdus said the county quickly removed two people from one living facility after learning about abuse.  He said it helped prevent the abuse from continuing.  An Oconto County offical would not comment.

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Churches, charities, and neighborhood groups are banding together to have their say on a proposed new arena in Milwaukee.  The Common Ground coalition will decide tomorrow whether to oppose tax money for a new arena unless 150-to-250 million dollars are saved for better schools, parks, and playgrounds.  The  N-B-A is trying to get Milwaukee to build a new arena for the Bucks that would replace the 26-year-old B-M-O Harris Bradley Center.  The building is also the home of Marquette men's basketball team and numerous concerts.  A committee of the Milwaukee commerce association has been meeting with a consultant on a proposed funding plan.  Besides the arena, the plan hopes to shore up other cultural and tourist attractions in Milwaukee.  The goal is to make it more politically palatable, after some of Milwaukee's suburban counties have already come out against public money for a new city arena.  Common Ground says kids deserve better facilities just like the Bucks do.  A study last summer showed that two-thirds of youth athletic and recreation facilities were rated as "terrible," poor, or fair.

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More of us are eating yogurt -- a trend that's about to create more jobs in southwest Wisconsin.  Schreiber Foods of Green Bay is about to build a new distribution facility in Richland Center, where the company now has two yogurt plants that provide about 400 jobs.  U-W experts say yogurt is big business.  The university's center for Dairy Research says 83-percent of American households buy yogurt.  Three-fourths of those people are repeat customers.  Schreiber Foods has 35 plants and distribution centers throughout the globe -- including a plant in Green Bay which makes processed cheese, and a cream cheese factory in West Bend.

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A Waukesha County man has died, after a car crushed him while he was working on the vehicle.  Authorities said the victim was a 56-year-old man from the town of Lisbon.  His name was not immediately released.  Sheriff's deputies said the man was working on the car at his home, when it apparently fell on top of him.  He was alone at the time.  His wife found him late yesterday afternoon.  Rescuers tried but failed to resuscitate him at the scene.  

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It was ten years ago on Wednesday when Michelle Witmer of New Berlin was killed in Iraq.  She was the first female Wisconsin National Guard soldier to die in combat.  Yesterday, a ceremony was held on a street that was renamed in her memory.  It's located on Milwaukee's north side, and it runs past the Richards Street Armory where the 20-year-old Witmer was based.  Her father John said many of today's younger soldiers might not know who his daughter was -- and now, they will know.  

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