WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Wheeler native doing "extraordinarily well" after falling 45 feet from a bridge project in La Crosse
An injured construction worker is said to be progressing "extraordinarily well" after he fell 45-feet from a bridge project near La Crosse. His employer said 19-year-old Logan Goodell of Wheeler in Dunn County is getting stronger every day as he continues his hospitalization. Roger McBride of Ames Construction said Goodell is working to rebuild his energy and strength, and he's determined to make a full recovery. Goodell was injured November 6th while working on bridge improvements along Interstate-90 over the Mississippi River at the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. He was installing concrete forms when he fell into a temporary enclosure that keeps a section of the river-bottom pumped dry, so support piers can be installed. Goodell was wearing a harness when he was rescued. Minnesota's Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration continues to investigate the mishap.
Wisconsinites are shivering on this day before Thanksgiving, as wind-chill factors are below zero in much of the state. At five this morning, Sheboygan had gusts of up to 30-miles-an-hour, and Sturgeon Bay had gusts of 28. The coldest wind-chills were in places with much lighter winds. Chill readings ranged from eight-below at Medford and Marshfield to nine-above at Ashland. Actual temperatures ranged from plus-three at Sparta to 19 in Sturgeon Bay -- much warmer than the all-time lows for Thanksgiving. Rhinelander's coldest Thanksgiving morning was 11-below in both 1929-and-'85. A gradual warming trend is expected through Black Friday. Meanwhile, places along Lake Superior are getting pounded with snow. Gile in Iron County had eight inches as of late last night. Hurley had seven inches as of 2:45 this morning. Much lighter amounts were reported further from the lake in the far north -- about 1-to-2 inches in Vilas County. Forecasters say the Lake Superior Snow Belt will get more of the white stuff today. Another system could bring up to an-inch of snow to the state's mid-section later today and into tomorrow.
A Milwaukee man escaped a life prison sentence yesterday, by reaching a plea deal that convicted him of a lesser homicide charge. 21-year-old Homer Washington pleaded guilty to stabbing 57-year-old Clarence Charles to death during an argument at the victim's apartment in suburban Shorewood on July 16th. It was Shorewood's first murder in over 20 years. Washington was originally charged with first-degree intentional homicide, but he was able to bargain the charge down to first-degree reckless homicide. He faces up to 40 years in prison when he's sentenced on January 21st.
School bomb threats have been a problem in Wisconsin ever since the 1999 Columbine school shootings in Colorado. Now, the Middleton-Cross Plains District hopes to do something about it, by hammering home the costs of such an action. On Monday, officials showed students and parents a video of two high school staff members talking to each other about the costs of a bomb threat to a school system. It's meant to remind people that such threats are no joke. Middleton High School had a bomb threat just last Friday, and students were sent home. Superintendent Don Johnson tells W-K-O-W T-V the district spent 10-thousand dollars for lunches the youngsters never ate. Bus drivers were paid overtime to get the students home early. The local Crime-Stoppers program is offering a reward for helping find those responsible. Johnson said the day would not be made up, but the district would have to use one of its allotted closing days due to heavy snow. The video also reminds students that a bomb threat could lead to an expulsion plus adult felony charges.
A Milwaukee tavern owner who died in June left 50-thousand-dollars in her will for the city's police department. 92-year-old Paula Gorde said the donation should be used for a new squad car or some other police vehicle. Milwaukee Police said the gift was in honor of Gorde's late husband, who was a prisoner-of-war during World War Two. For many years, Gorde owned Paula's Tap -- and she often provided shelter above the bar for abused women-and-children in her neighborhood. Milwaukee Police Lieutenant Mark Stanmeyer says it's not uncommon for people to leave money for the department in their wills. He says the gifts are always appreciated.
If you're flying home for Thanksgiving, you shouldn't have too much trouble with bad weather at your destination -- but officials suggest that you check your airline just in case. Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport reports only one delayed incoming flight from Atlanta this morning, and virtually all departures for today are being listed as "on time." The Triple-"A" says about 63-thousand Wisconsinites will fly home for Thanksgiving. It's considered one of the busiest travel days of the year, but the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison expects business to be similar to a Monday -- which normally has a lot of business travelers. Officials expect the Madison airport to handle around 25-hundred passengers on Thanksgiving Eve. Pat Hogan says the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport will be busy. He recommends getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight takes off.
A Middleton woman has been sentenced to two years in a federal prison, for stealing over one-and-a-half million dollars from a medical group in Janesville. Prosecutors said 55-year-old Brenda Werfal took the money while working as the office manager for Specialty Billing Services. Officials did not say how she was caught. Werfal handled insurance payments to the Southern Wisconsin Emergency Associates, a group of doctors and physician assistants. Records showed that she took almost 14-thousand dollars to cover her own medical and tax bills. There was no indication of where the rest of the stolen money went. Werfal was ordered to re-pay one-point-one million dollars in restitution. It's not known whether she has already repaid the other 400-thousand that was taken.