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WESTERN WISCONSIN ROUNDUP: UW-Stout names new chancellor

A technical college president in northwest Wisconsin will become the next chancellor at U-W Stout.  Robert Meyer's appointment was announced yesterday, after the university's Board of Regents gave its approval. Meyer will start his new job August 16th as he replaces Charles Sorenson, who will retire after 26 years at the Menomonie campus.  Meyer has spent the last six years at Indianhead Technical College in Shell Lake. He's no stranger at Stout, where he spent a quarter-century in various roles.  Among other things, Meyer was the head of Stout's Technology Transfer Institute, an assistant chancellor in state-and-federal relations, technology college dean, and associate dean of outreach.


A man who provided the heroin that killed a La Crosse County man is not mentally-competent to be sentenced.  A judge made that determination yesterday in the case of 28-year-old Malachi Hankel.  His attorneys say Hankel suffers from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, and his medications have altered his mental state to the point in which he's still not thinking clearly.  Hankel struck a plea deal in February that convicted him of reckless homicide in the heroin overdose death of Thomas Tremain.  The victim died last fall at his home in the town of Barre.  Hankel is currently at the state's Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison.  A La Crosse County judge will hold another review hearing June 30th on Hankel's mental condition. 


A northwest Wisconsin school district brought in extra counselors yesterday to help people grieve after their own counselor died in a lawn-mowing accident.  Clear Lake junior-senior high school counselor Adam Moen was killed last Saturday in Prairie Farm.  Barron County authorities said the 34-year-old Moen lost control of his riding mower on the top of a hill, and it landed on top of him.  His five-year-old son was also on the mower, and he was treated at a hospital and later released.  Moen spent six years at Clear Lake as a counselor and baseball coach.


Most of Interstate-94 near Eau Claire was still closed this morning, after a Fed-Ex semi-truck tipped over and started on fire.  It happened around 11:45 last night near the Highway 37 exit.  The State Patrol said the truck was going east when it hit a guardrail.  One trailer was disconnected, and a second one was ignited.  That trailer was engulfed in flames when fire-fighters arrived. Early reports said the trucker was not seriously injured.   Debris from the crash was thrown into the westbound lanes of I-94, so the entire freeway was closed on Eau Claire's west side for about three hours.  The right westbound lane re-opened around three a-m, but the other lanes in both directions remained closed as of 6:30.  Eastbound traffic was using a detour at Highway 312.  


A search for a missing fisherman on the Saint Croix River enters its fourth day. Twenty-one year old Tou Hu Vang of Coon Rapids Minnesota was swept away in the river's strong currents on Sunday evening.  He was trying to save his eleven-year-old nephew Calvin Vang, who slipped into the river off a large wet rock and was later saved by bystander Ken Hawj of Saint Paul.  The search has been hampered by fast currents on the Saint Croix in the area of Taylors Falls Minnesota and Saint Croix Falls Wisconsin.  Vang disappeared on the Minnesota side, where Chisago County authorities have had dragging nets snagged -- and the currents have made it dangerous for rescue boats.  Sheriff Rick Duncan tells K-A-R-E T-V in the Twin Cities that searchers have checked virtually all of the upper river close to the drowning site.  So now, rescuers are starting to scan the top of the river, with the expectation that a body will surface.


A northwest Wisconsin couple won a million dollars playing Powerball in Louisiana.  57-year-old Donald Marek and his wife JoAnn are from Frederic in Polk County.  They were baby-sitting their grandchildren near New Orleans last week, when they bought a Quick Pick Powerball ticket at a Race-Trac convenience store in suburban Slidell.  It matched all five regular numbers but not the Powerball in last Wednesday night's drawing -- and it netted the Mareks 700-thousand dollars after taxes were deducted.  Donald Marek says he'll put the money toward the couple's retirement.  The store got ten-thousand dollars, or one-percent of the gross prize, for selling the ticket.