State News Roundup: Sand mining opponents believe industry regulations are too laxWisconsin News
-- Opponents of frac-sand mining told the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board that its regulations on the industry are too lax.
Opponents of frac-sand mining told the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board that its regulations on the industry are too lax. The board held a listening session in Eau Claire last night, after it discussed various D-N-R policies earlier in the day and toured a frac-sand processing plant in Chippewa Falls. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram said all but one of the 16 people who spoke at the listening session focused on silica-sand mining. Trempealeau County resident Dani Johnson asked if the D-N-R’s standards are really protecting people. Speakers cited concerns about air quality, and the dust that’s blown off large sand piles. Critics say the dust contains particles that can cause lung diseases to those exposed for long time periods. The industry insists that silica sand does not pose health risks in open air. The D-N-R studied frac-sand mining last year, and its findings on potential health threats were mainly inconclusive. The D-N-R’s Pat Stevens said his department is hard-pressed to study the matter further, due to limited staff and a lack of funding. The D-N-R said it monitors dust blown from sand facilities, but many residents say the agency’s not doing enough.
A community vigil will be held in Argyle tonight for the three young brothers killed in a house fire on September seventh. Residents will gather in the village park to remember seven-year-old Allen Wand, five-year-old Jeffery, and three-year-old Joseph. Their mother, Sharon Wand, was critically burned in the blaze. And reports say the family will not hold a funeral for the youngsters until their mother can be there. Sharon also lost an unborn child in the fire. Her two-year-old daughter escaped. The children’s father, Armin Wand-the-Third, and his brother Jeremy are charged with 13 criminal counts. They’re due back in court November 13th, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order the two men to stand trial. Prosecutors said Armin Wand set the blaze in order to collect 156-thousand dollars in life-and-renters’ insurance on the family and their home, so he could get a fresh start.
It’s been eight days since a woman’s body was found in a burning car in western Wisconsin. And Monroe County authorities are still trying to determine who the person is. They do say the victim is not the car’s registered owner. The burned-out vehicle was found by a passer-by last Tuesday near a radio tower north of Norwalk. Sheriff’s lieutenant Robert Conroy says the woman’s body was found in the back seat of a car that was found to be a 1998 two-door Pontiac Grand Prix with Minnesota license plates. The State Crime Lab is conducting tests to determine the woman’s identity, and how she died. Conroy says it could be at least a week before the results are known. For now, authorities are treating the case as a homicide.
The mother of a man who drowned in the Sheboygan Harbor this summer is asking the city to create a memorial to remember those who’ve lost their lives on Lake Michigan. Deanna Tracey proposed a plaque in remembrance of her 21-year-old son David Diener and 37-year-old Kurt Netzer. Both were swept into the harbor by high winds and waves on August 11th, while they were attempting to retrieve fishing gear. Members of the Sheboygan Public Works committee hesitated to go along with a memorial. Alderman Bill Wangemann said a list of all the people who’ve died on Lake Michigan would quote, “grow to Manitowoc and back.” The panel ordered the city’s public works director to talk with Tracey about various options. She also asked that life rings be installed along the piers at the harbor. Officials say it’s not possible because it’s federal property. But Mayor Terry Van Akkeren said there’s a close spot on city-owned land where the life rings could be placed. No action was taken on that request, either.
The second annual Wisconsin Science Festival begins tomorrow. It’s headquartered at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery at U-W Madison. Workshops, films, lectures, and other presentations are planned throughout Madison and in several Wisconsin cities through Sunday. Children’s museums in Milwaukee, La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Eagle River will have events – along with the Pewaukee Public Library and the U-W campus in Fond du Lac.