(Update) Morning State News Briefs: Fatal crane collpase in Oshkosh explained by witnessesA crane collapsed on a bridge near Oshkosh because a highway girder was being lowered too quickly – or because the crane changed positions. That’s according to employees who saw the accident, which killed construction worker Joseph Bidler of Green Bay.
OSHKOSH - A crane collapsed on a bridge near Oshkosh because a highway girder was being lowered too quickly – or because the crane changed positions. That’s according to employees who saw the accident, which killed construction worker Joseph Bidler of Green Bay.
Winnebago County sheriff’s deputies released a report on the incident today. It happened July fifth on the Highway 41 bridge over Lake Butte des Morts. The 35-year-old Bidler died, and a 29-year-old Plymouth man was hospitalized with serious injuries. An employee of Spancrete told deputies that he saw the 52-ton girder beam drop too quickly. He said the crane’s boom had buckled, and he yelled at workers to run for safety. Another witness said the crane had to be re-positioned – and it moved slightly before tipping forward.
A 38-year-old woman was found dead this morning on the first day of Rock Fest at Cadott in northwest Wisconsin. Rescuers were called to a campsite on the festival grounds, and they found that the person had died. Chippewa County sheriff’s officials said there was no immediate word on the circumstances of the woman’s death. Rock-Fest features over two dozen performers including Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, and Poison. It runs through Sunday.
A man killed in an accident at a Tomahawk packaging plant has been identified as 47-year-old Dennis Gougeon of Ontonagon, Michigan. He and a 29-year-old Ontonagon man were working as contractors on Tuesday when they were burned by fly-ash at the Packaging Corporation of America plant in Tomahawk. Fly-ash is produced when coal is burned. The survivor was taken to the UW Hospital burn center in Madison, and was transferred to a unit in the Twin Cities. It’s not known what caused the mishap. The U.S. Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration is among those investigating. Three workers were killed at the same plant in 2008, when a storage tank with recycled fibers was ignited.
Wisconsin is getting more rain than it’s had in a long time. The National Weather Service said Wausau set a new rainfall record for today with one-point-six inches between one-and-four o’clock this morning. The same system brought one-point-four inches to the Green Bay suburb of Ashwaubenon. Yesterday, two-point-seven inches of rain fell at La Farge in southwest Wisconsin. Dodgeville had two-point-two inches. Racine and Kenosha had just over one-point-eight inches. And Madison and Milwaukee had around an inch. In many cases, the rain came so quickly that it ran off instead of soaking in – and that doesn’t help farmers who’ve been hit hard by this summer’s drought. One National Weather Service official said greener lawns would be the biggest beneficiaries. Today, isolated thunderstorms are moving out of east central Wisconsin. And then forecasters expect dry weather into the weekend, with a slight chance of rain tomorrow.
One person was injured, and a hardware store had one of its walls collapse as severe thunderstorms rumbled through southern Wisconsin last evening. The National Weather Service said a tree fell on a person’s head in Mount Horeb, causing minor injuries. Winds were gusting to 71-miles-an-hour at the time. In Sauk City, authorities said the side of an Ace Hardware store blew down, and a number of trees fell there. In Rock County, two-inch hail went through the roof of a farm house – and lightning started a utility pole on fire. Both those incidents happened near Orfordville. Street flooding was common in south central Wisconsin last night, and in another round of storms in southwest Wisconsin late in the afternoon. Winds hit 72-miles-an-hour in Prairie du Chien. There was a rock slide on Highway 35 near Lynxville in Crawford County. And parts of that region had up to one-and-a-half inches of rain. Almost four-thousand electric customers lost their power in the storms, but fewer than 100 were still out as of 5:15 this morning. Madison picked up more than an inch of rain. But Jake Wimberley of the National Weather Service said it was enough to make lawns a bit greener – but it would not provide much relief for farmers-and-gardeners suffering from a summer-long drought. Eastern Wisconsin was expected to get some rain today – but forecasters say it will be dry throughout the rest of Wisconsin, with highs in the 70’s-and-80’s.
The numbers of Wisconsinites filing for bankruptcy keep going down. Federal court officials said just over 14-thousand state residents filed for bankruptcy in the first six months of this year. That’s down four-point-seven percent from the same time a year ago. And for the first time in six years, bankruptcies were down for the last calendar year. They dropped about 10-percent throughout 2011. Milwaukee investment strategist Brian Jacobsen it helps that weekly earnings are up, and credit conditions are better. Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney James Miller says the big problem now is that small businesses are giving up, after hanging on as long as they could during the Great Recession. He said those who used personal assets to guarantee their loans are the ones most vulnerable right now.
Nobody won the Powerball jackpot last night, so it goes up to $110-million for Saturday. A ticket sold in Janesville won 10-thousand dollars by matching four regular numbers plus the Powerball. Just over 11-thousand Wisconsin players won smaller prizes. Last night’s numbers were 2, 5, 20, 23, and 57. The Powerball was 3. Saturday night’s cash option is just under $75-million. The current jackpot has been building since June 23rd. It has rolled over seven times. In Mega Millions, the top prize for tomorrow night is $37-million dollars.