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WISCONSIN NEWS BRIEFS: Milwaukee patient diagnosed with drug resistant bacteria

MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Department of Health says a Milwaukee hospital will take all the necessary precautions, involving a patient diagnosed with a drug-resistant super-bug.

A spokesperson for the department says CRE is a drug-resistant strain of bacteria that’s commonly found in the gut. CRE can spread to the urinary tracts and bloodstream, where it can be deadly. The Department of Health says common hospital practices, such as hand washing and isolation, prevent the transfer of bacterial infections – including CRE. The department also says cases of CRE are mainly in patients in constant medical care, but that the deadly bacteria is very rare – only 33 cases in the state since the Department of Health began tracking in 2011. Mount Sinai Medical Center officials announced today that a patient is infected with CRE and did not get the infection at the hospital.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Odyssey Program has received a pair of grants to assist 30 new students entering the program. The grants are from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation for $66,000, and the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment for $28,000. Entering its eleventh year, the Odyssey Project offers a free college starter course for adults at the poverty level, starting with a two semester evening humanities course. The director of the program says those students often go on to graduate with a college degree.


Governor Scott Walker says a plan to increase milk production in the state has received positive reviews. The “Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30-by-20” plan has distributed nearly $200,000 in grants to over 40 recipients across the state. The state’s dairy industry employs more than 146,000 people and contributes more than $26.5 billion dollars to Wisconsin’s economy. 


It’s expected to cost around two-million dollars to clean up the Milwaukee County Courthouse, after a basement electrical fire closed much of the facility nine days ago. County Comptroller Scott Manske said a restoration firm that was hired for the cleanup mentioned the estimate. He’s not sure exactly how the figure was determined. Manske said the county would pay clean-up bills as they come in – and disputes over the amount covered by insurance would be argued later. County Executive Chris Abele says he’s optimistic that most of the damage will be covered by the state’s Local Government Property Insurance Fund. He expects the fund to cover all costs except for a $75,000 deductible. The electrical fire spread smoke throughout the courthouse and its adjoining Safety Building. The lower three floors of the courthouse remain closed today.


The firm that’s considering a new iron ore mine for northern Wisconsin could finish its exploratory drilling by the end of the week. State DNR officials said today that Gogebic Taconite is expected to finish its eighth and final test hole by the end of Friday. The company’s next step in the review process is to remove large rock samples from five sites on the four-mile-long property. The DNR is waiting for more details on that phase. It’s not certain when that work would begin.


A Stevens Point woman was due in court around mid-afternoon, for last month’s disturbance at the Gogebic Taconite mining site in Iron County. Meanwhile, Governor Scott Walker said today there’s no place for that type of behavior. The Republican Walker said he spoke with the Iron County sheriff, and believes local law enforcement can keep things under control. The governor said quote, “cooler heads will prevail.” 26-year-old Katie Kloth is charged with a felony count of robbery by force, two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage, and a misdemeanor theft charge. Prosecutors said she and a group of mining protestors caused about two-thousand dollars in damage to Gogebic Taconite’s equipment, when the firm began its exploratory drilling for its proposed iron ore mine. Officials said an employee’s cell phone and camera were damaged. The incident prompted the company to hire a military-style security firm with assault rifles. Those guards were pulled back after it was learned that it did not have a state operating license. The Iron County district attorney has said he would look into possible charges for using the unlicensed security company. Gogebic Taconite has used less intimidating guards since then.


Milwaukee County court officials are just starting to catch up with trials and other proceedings that were delayed by the courthouse basement fire nine days ago. As a result, jury selection was delayed until this afternoon for 76-year-old John Spooner. He’s the man charged with killing his 13-year-old neighbor, Darius Simmons, in May of last year, after claiming that the teen broke into his house and stole his guns. Spooner is white and the victim was black – and the case has been compared to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, whose alleged killer George Zimmerman was acquitted during the weekend. An attorney for the Simmons family, Jonathan Safran, tells the Journal Sentinel that the Spooner case is clearly different than the Zimmerman case. That’s because Spooner has not claimed self-defense. He has pleaded insanity, which means he can either be sent to prison or to a mental institution, depending on what the jury rules. 


Antique auto parts were harder to find over the weekend at the Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet in Waupaca County. As usual, tens-of-thousands of people attended the 41st annual show held Thursday through yesterday in Iola. But show officials and vendors said the selling-and-trading of classic car parts were not nearly what it used to be. Ford Model-“A” expert Dick Knapp tells the Stevens Point Journal there are fewer parts available for old cars – so there’s less merchandise to sell. Also, show spokesman Mitchell Swenson said the in-person sales have been reduced by the growing numbers of car lovers who buy their parts online. There were spots for over four-thousand sellers at this year’s Swap Meet – but some long-time vendors are no longer showing up. Others are down to selling accessories like sunglasses.   


Governor Scott Walker says he’s confident that the federal courts will uphold a new state law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Federal Judge William Conley blocked the measure last week, pending a hearing on Wednesday in his Madison courtroom. Planned Parenthood and the Affiliated Medical Services both said the hospital admitting requirement is unconstitutional – and it would cut into their ability to offer abortion services. Planned Parenthood said it would force the Appleton clinic to close altogether, since it does not have abortion doctors with hospital privileges within 30 miles as the measure requires. The abortion bill also requires women to have ultra-sounds before their procedures. That part of the law has not been challenged, and it went into effect last Monday.


Two people were rescued from Lake Michigan near Milwaukee, after they jumped into the water as their fishing boat trolled away. Another boater called the Coast Guard early yesterday afternoon, after seeing an 18-foot boat with fishing lines in the water and nobody inside. The Coast Guard said the two went for a swim, while forgetting to shut off the trolling motor. Officials sent out a rescue boat from Kenosha and a helicopter from Waukegan, Illinois. The Coast Guard also sent out a radio alert, which a boater answered. That person rescued a man, who said his wife was still in the water. The rescue chopper found the woman, and crews pulled her out. The Coast Guard said both were wearing life jackets at the time, and they were in good condition. As of mid-day today, officials have not released the victims’ names or hometowns.


Wisconsin drivers will pay double-the-fines for traffic offenses they commit around garbage trucks. Governor Scott Walker signed that measure into law this morning in Watertown, where a crash that injured a sanitation worker sprung local lawmakers into action. That victim, Mark Friend, was on hand for today’s bill-signing ceremony. A car struck Friend in January, while the victim was depositing track into his garbage truck. Most of his left leg was amputated, after he got pinned against his unit. Friend actually pushed for a tougher law before the mishap. It adds to a previous state law which increases traffic fines for accidents and traffic violations around highway maintenance and construction workers.


Manitowoc County authorities said today that a man who died in a collision of two trucks apparently caused the crash. 46-year-old David Hoyer of Reedsville died in the mishap, which occurred yesterday morning at the intersection of County Trunk “K” and a town road. Sheriff’s inspector Gregg Schetter said a straight truck driven by Hoyer was going south when he failed to yield the right of way from a stop-sign. The truck collided with an east-bound semi coming from his right. That driver, an 18-year-old Greenleaf man, was taken to a hospital. There was no immediate word on his condition. Part of a liquid load was spilled at the scene, along with fluids from both trucks. The state DNR helped Manitowoc County highway crews clean it up. An investigation into the crash continues.


An alderman in Green Bay says it should be against the law to wear saggy pants. Dave Boyce has proposed an ordinance which will be taken up tonight by a city committee. He says those who wear low-riding pants with exposed underwear make the home of the Packers look bad. Boyce says it’s demeaning and offensive to see people dressed that way. WLUK-TV says the city’s legal staff has warned Boyce that it might be a difficult law to enforce. But if nothing else, he says businesses could refuse to let shoppers with saggy pants on their properties. Earlier this month, the New Jersey beach town of Wildwood adopted a similar ban on saggy pants. The fines range from $25-to $200.