STATE CRIME AND GOVERNMENT ROUNDUP: Officials confirm sixth case of listeria that's linked to cheeses
Health officials have confirmed a sixth case of listeria that’s linked to three award-winning Wisconsin cheeses. The U-S Centers for Disease Control said the latest case was reported in Texas. That’s after five other listeria cases were reported in early July, when Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese of Waterloo recalled its Les Freres, Petit Frere, and Petit Frere with Truffles. All three have won awards from the American Cheese Society. One person in Minnesota died from the small outbreak. Another had a miscarriage, and three others were hospitalized after eating contaminated cheese. Besides Minnesota, cases were reported in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. No cases were reported in Wisconsin. Government regulators are reviewing Crave Brothers’ corrective actions before allowing production to resume.
Jeremy Wand was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for helping burn down his older brother’s house in Argyle, and killing three kids inside. Judge Thomas Vale gave the 19-year-old Wand a chance for a supervised release starting in 35 years, when he’ll be 54. Earlier yesterday, the judge rejected Wand’s request to withdraw his guilty pleas to five Lafayette County charges connected a blaze at Armin Wand’s house last September. Three of Armin’s sons were killed, along with his wife Sharon’s unborn daughter. Sharon Wand – who had serious injuries while escaping the fire – recently recanted her statements to police, and said the Wand brothers had nothing to do with the incident. In court yesterday, Wand did another flip-flop and told Jeremy quote, “I hate you for what you did.” Armin Wand was earlier given three life prison terms plus 105 years for his role in the fire. Officials said he did it to collect the insurance money, and he offered Jeremy just 300-dollars from that check. Sharon Wand asked Jeremy quote, “Why would you do something this terrible for 300-dollars?”
A northeast Wisconsin man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend while she was working at a gas station. 56-year-old Richard Heyer of Crivitz was sentenced yesterday to life with no chance for a supervised release. The defense asked for the minimum 20 years before a release could be considered. They also asked for a mental health commitment, but the judge said any such treatment would be left up to prison officials. Authorities said Heyer shot 51-year-old Ann Schueller once in the back at a Citgo station in Wausaukee a year ago on Monday. Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey said the murder was planned, and done in cold blood. Heyer also wounded himself in the shooting incident.
Two northern Wisconsin House districts get some of the highest totals of Social Security benefits in the nation. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said the Seventh-and-Eighth congressional districts each pull in two-point-three billion dollars in benefits a year. The committee’s Dan Adcock says the average congressional district gets around a billion dollars a year, and his group was surprised to see the Wisconsin districts get so much. In the North’s District-Seven, the benefits go to 167-thousand people who are retired, children, and those getting death-and-disability benefits. In the Fox Valley’s Eighth District, about 142-thousand recipients get benefits. The committee says the economic impact of Social Security benefits is considerable, especially in northern Wisconsin – and Congress should consider that when it acts on a proposed cut in cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.
A statewide network of people’s medical records is starting to take shape, almost three years after it was first created. The network’s C-E-O, Joe Kachelski, says the system is very close to going “live,” as more hospitals add their data. The Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network is a privately-run, non-profit venture. The purpose is to give doctors throughout the state access to the records of as many Wisconsinites as possible. Advocates say it will be a big help for emergency room doctors who often have very little data about patients from out of their areas. In the future, officials say the network could provide information about medications and other things to let doctors make better decisions, coordinate care better, and reduce duplicated tests. The network was founded in December of 2010 with start-up funds from the federal economic stimulus program. It replaced a smaller network that was started two years earlier. The state Health Services Department oversaw the initial planning by a group known as “Wired for Health.” The Salt Lake City firm of Medicity helped design the network.
Fewer Wisconsinites are seeking unemployment benefits. The state’s Workforce Development Agency said yesterday that initial benefit claims are at their lowest since 2007. Secretary Reggie Newson said it’s another sign that Wisconsin’s economy is getting better. First-time claims for jobless benefits have stayed below eight-thousand-a-week for five weeks in a row. The last time that happened was in 2005 – and it’s only the second time it happened since 2000. The state’s weekly unemployment claims first dropped below eight-thousand during the week ending July 20th – the first such drop since September of 2007.