Morning State News Roundup: West Nile Virus cases increasing through the stateWisconsin News
-- More than two dozen Wisconsinites have gotten sick from the West Nile Virus, in what continues to be a bad year for the mosquito-borne illness.
More than two dozen Wisconsinites have gotten sick from the West Nile Virus, in what continues to be a bad year for the mosquito-borne illness. The state Health Services Department has confirmed two human cases, plus 23 probable cases that must still be confirmed by the U-S Centers for Disease Control. Wisconsin has recorded two deaths from West Nile. Both are still being listed as probable cases for the moment. A 78-year-old Greenfield woman is reported to have died from the disease, as well as a 71-year-old woman from Waukesha County. In confirmed, they would be Wisconsin’s first human deaths from the West Nile Virus since 2008. Milwaukee County has reported 15 of the human cases, and Waukesha County has had four. Dane County has had two. And Polk, Barron, Dodge, and Kenosha counties have reported one case each. A dozen people in Wisconsin have been hospitalized from the condition. The virus was also responsible for the deaths of 26 birds in the state as of yesterday. Meanwhile, other states have had it far worse. Neighboring Minnesota reports 60 cases and one death. The C-D-C reports 134 deaths nationwide due to the West Nile Virus this year.
A memorial service will be held tomorrow morning in La Crosse for a photography store owner and his son who were murdered at their downtown shop last weekend. Police had nothing new to report yesterday about the shooting deaths of Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J. Officers are still looking for suspects in the shootings, which occurred last Saturday at May’s Photo. Paul’s widow Sherri Petras found the bodies, and a nearby diner called 911 after seeing her running from the store and calling for help. The memorial service will take place at 11 a-m tomorrow at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in La Crosse. A family friend ordered green-and-white memorial bracelets to sell, with the proceeds to go to the Petras family memorial fund. Proceeds from the fund will create memorial benches at Mount La Crosse and the Pettibone Boat Club. A.J. Petras was a star snow-boarder for the combined ski team at La Crosse Aquinas, Onalaska, and West Salem high schools. And both A.J. and his father were avid boaters.
Wisconsin’s poverty rate has held steady for the last two years. The U-S Census Bureau says about 13-percent of the state’s residents lived in poverty in 2011 – the same percentage as in 2010. Almost 726-thousand Wisconsinites lived below the poverty line last year, including 237-thousand children. The poverty line is considered to be about 22-thousand-dollars in annual income for a family-of-four. Milwaukee remains one of the nation’s 10 most impoverished big cities. Almost three of every 10 city residents lives in poverty, about the same as the year before. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he sees no joy in the fact that poverty has not gotten worse than in 2010. Barrett said quote, “I want to see improvement. This is something we deal with on a daily basis.” Ken Taylor, head of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said it’s imperative that lawmakers not cut federal programs to help lift poorer families above the poverty line. Joe Volk, the C-E-O of Milwaukee’s Community Advocates, said his group saw a “slight uptick” this year in people asking for food-and-utility assistance. But he said the increase was far less than in the previous three years during the Great Recession. He said officials must not leave low-income people behind as the economic recovery moves forward.