Tuesday State News Briefs: Bomb closes Planned Parenthood officeWisconsin News
-- A Planned Parenthood clinic near Appleton is closed yesterday after a home-made bomb started a fire that caused minor damage to a patient exam room.
APPLETON - A Planned Parenthood clinic near Appleton is closed yesterday after a home-made bomb started a fire that caused minor damage to a patient exam room.
Authorities were called around 7:40 last night to check an alarm at the clinic, located in the town of Grand Chute just west of Appleton. Police said the bomb was put on an outdoor window sill. It exploded, and the fire burned itself out before fire-fighters could get there. The device was made from a plastic bottle and chemical agents. No one was in the building when it was set. Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said his department did not know of any recent threats against the Planned Parenthood clinic. And they had no indication that the facility was at risk. They’re still investigating and looking for a suspect. Teri Huyck, the head of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the clinic would re-open tomorrow.
A suspected pipe bomb found in downtown Milwaukee overnight was actually a fuse for a power line – and police said it was not explosive. A witness called police around 1:20 this morning, after seeing a person remove a box from the trunk of a vehicle. It was left on a street outside a downtown apartment building. A six-block area was closed while police used a robot to remove the device. The streets were re-opened in time for Milwaukee’s morning rush hour.
A new report said death rates did not go down, after a six-year experiment that rewarded hospitals for improving their quality of care. Wisconsin’s largest hospital chain, Aurora of Milwaukee, was among the top performers in the project. It received almost two-million-dollars in extra Medicare payments for achieving benchmarks during the program. But in general, researchers at Harvard said the experiment showed how difficult it is to measure quality – even though it’s vital in making sure that Americans get more value for their health care dollars. Starting this fall, the federal health care law is scheduled to start giving financial incentives to hospitals which are based on their quality. The study in which Aurora Health Care participated measured 33 procedures for Medicare patients – like whether patients were given antibiotics within a prescribed time limit before-and-after surgery. But John Toussaint of the Theda-Care Center for Health-Care Value in Neenah says patients care much more about outcomes than the processes which were highlighted in the study. But experts say outcomes are much harder to quantify.
One person was hurt in a fire overnight in downtown Fond du Lac. Fire-fighters were still at the scene at last word, and there was no immediate word on how the blaze began. It started around two this morning in an apartment above JJC Interiors on Fond du Lac’s Main Street. Thick was pouring from the building, and the odor spread beyond the Highway 41 freeway a couple miles to the west. Officials said the injured person suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
Another step has been taken to increase the content of ethanol in gasoline. The federal EPA said yesterday that it would let manufacturers of the new “E-15” fuel register as suppliers. Corn giants like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill have registered to sell fuel made with 15-percent corn-based ethanol. The EPA says ethanol producers in Wisconsin and 11 other states have also registered. The Renewable Fuels Association says the E-P-A’s move is the most significant in a three-year effort to get E-15 approved for sale. The group says Wisconsin and other states which have started the regulatory process could get their product on the market by this summer. But the American Fuel and Petro-Chemical Manufacturers has challenged the move in court. Its president, Charles Dreyna, says the government should not rush E-15 to the market with a lawsuit pending. His group says E-15 could damage vehicles and gas-powered equipment such as lawnmowers. The government says it could be used only in vehicles 2001-or-newer.
Milwaukee Police spent the night checking out a suspected pipe bomb that was placed near a downtown book store. Officers closed a six-block area around Second Street and Wells at 1:20 this morning. The device was left outside. A bomb squad joined police at the scene. There was no immediate confirmation about the explosive status of the device – or what it might have contained. No injuries have been reported.
Two Spanish literary master-pieces will be highlighted during a symposium this month at UW-Madison. The event will honor the “Book of Good Love” written in the 14th century – and “Celestina,” which was written in the 15th century. Maria Rosa Lida de Malkiel will also be recognized. She’s an expert on medieval Hispanic studies – and she wrote some of her most important critical work about the two books. International experts will attend the UW’s symposium, which will feature discussions, lectures, and dramatic readings. The public can attend for free. The symposium will take place April 15th-through-17th at various locations throughout the Madison campus.
In Door County, an 80-year-old woman landed a twin-engine plane after her husband became unconscious at the controls and died. It started around five yesterday afternoon, when a Cessna declared an emergency about six miles south of Sturgeon Bay. The woman is not a pilot – but she had no choice but to take over, after her 81-year-old husband lost consciousness due to a medical emergency. Door County officials said a certified pilot flew alongside the woman to coach her. But things got more complicated when the plane’s right engine ran out of fuel and lost power. A few moments later, the woman made her final approach and landed at the Door County Cherryland Airport. The woman suffered minor injuries in the landing, and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Her husband was pronounced dead at the hospital. Their names were not immediately released. The F-A-A is investigating.
It will soon be against the law to use text messages to make sales pitches in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker signed a bill today which extends the popular do-not-call list to text messages. Currently, telemarketers cannot call people on their landlines or cell phones unless they’re from political campaigns, non-profit groups, or companies that people have done business with in the past. The author of the new law, Senate Republican Van Wanggaard of Racine, said it will save people money on their cell phones – because in most cases, they have to pay for those solicitations. Also today, Walker signed bills to home brewers give away their beers-and-wines to people outside their homes in things like home-brewing clubs and beverage competitions. The governor also signed bills that require immediate treatment to youth athletes with concussions or head injuries – an easing of restrictions to build docks-and-piers – new measures to encourage hunting and fishing – the creation of wolf hunt in Wisconsin – and several public education reforms.
woman who died in a three-car crash in Racine County this morning has been identified as 42-year-old Michelle Schuechtermann (shook-ter-man). Authorities said her vehicle was hit by an oncoming car, after that vehicle had struck a third car. One of the other drivers was seriously hurt, and was taken to a hospital. The other driver was not hurt. The crash happened around 6:25 this morning in Caledonia.
Michigan Technical University has shipped four seismometers and four specialized sound sensors to Clintonville. The idea is to help experts better understand what might be causing the rumbling and booming in that Wisconsin city over the last two weeks. The equipment is on loan. Readings will be taken and forwarded to the National Earthquake Information Center. Residents started reporting the sounds and shaking March 18th. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 1-point-5 earthquake that date. The reports started to trail off under another big boom last Tuesday. No injuries or major damage has been tied to the events.
More than six dozen cows were killed in a barn fire west of Wausau. Fire-fighters from three departments were called around 10 last night to the Kenneth Reuter farm near Edgar in the Marathon County town of Rietbrock (reet-brock). Officials said the barn was engulfed in flames when units arrived. The barn was a total loss, and 73 Holstein cows died. The cause of the blaze is still being investigated.