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District defies law with 'Indian' team name; White House will release anti-carp plan today; more state news

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District defies law with 'Indian' team name; White House will release anti-carp plan today; more state news
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

MADISON -- A state Assembly Republican plans to introduce a bill next month to repeal the 2009 law which forces schools to drop Indian team names if they’re found to be discriminatory.

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Rep. Steve Nass of Whitewater has talked before about repealing the law. His policy adviser Mike Mikalsen admits it would be an “uphill struggle” to get lawmakers to go along. The new proposal comes after the Mukwonago School Board voted on Monday night to ignore a state appeals court ruling which upheld the 2009 law, and keep using the schools’ long-standing “Indians” nickname and logo.

The law sets up a system in which anyone opposing an Indian name can file a complaint with the state – and the Department of Public Instruction must hold a hearing and then decide if the name is discriminatory. If so, the offending school district must change the name or face fines of up to $1,000 a day.

Two Mukwonago parents challenged the law in court. A circuit judge sided with the parents, but an appeals court overturned the ruling and put the law back into place.

On Tuesday, the head of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council condemned Mukwonago’s decision to keep the “Indians” name. Mike Allen said such names are inappropriate, and they contribute to stereotypes and improper understandings of Indian culture.

Anti-carp plan expected from White House Wednesday

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Obama White House will announce a new $50 million plan Wednesday to keep the invasive Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. Among other things, it would beef up an electronic barrier in a canal about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

The long-running barrier is designed to attack the bloated fish that travel from the carp-infested Mississippi River. A new segment of the barrier would be added to replace a 10-year-old demonstration model. Two of three segments would operate at any one time.

Also, the Illinois DNR would design and build a mobile electronic device that can be used to herd Asian carp away from unwanted gathering spots. Water sampling efforts would also expand.

John Goss of the White House Council on Environmental Quality tells the Associated Press that the new strategy continues an aggressive effort to keep Asian carp at bay while a permanent solution is sought.

The Army Corps of Engineers has promised to release that plan by the end of the year – two years ahead of schedule, after pressure from Congress.

Food-borne infection sickens four Wisconsinites

Federal health officials now say that over 250 people in six states have come down with an apparent food-borne stomach illness. Wisconsin had four of those cases at last word.

The cyclo-spora infection has been reported in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Connecticut, and Georgia. The four Wisconsin cases were confirmed late last week in Grant, Brown, and Milwaukee counties. The state had none of the 50 new total cases reported Tuesday.

Officials are trying to determine the source of the illness. In the past, it’s been linked to imported fresh produce.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said most of the cyclo-spora cases occurred from mid-June to early July – and more illnesses are still being investigated. Officials say the cyclo-spora infection is normally spread when people consume food or water that’s contaminated with feces.

Wisconsin only had five total cases in the previous five years.

Committee: mining protesters should be prosecuted

HURLEY -- Legal action has been recommended against mining protestors who’ve been camping on Iron County forest land longer than their two-week permit allows.

In Hurley Tuesday, the County Board’s Forestry Committee voted 5 to 0 to pursue both civil and criminal charges against a camp organized by the Lac du Flambeau Indians. The full County Board will meet next Tuesday night.

District Attorney Marty Lipske will be asked to spell out the supervisors’ legal options. The camp has been running since mid-May, close to where Gogebic Taconite is doing exploratory work for its proposed iron ore mine – much of which would be on public land.

Officials said the group could have opted for an occupancy permit longer than two weeks, but it didn’t. The Wisconsin County Forests Association says the occupancy of county forest land violates state laws – but Lipske tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the case is not as cut and dried as it seems because of the Indians’ long-standing treaty rights.

A group of state legislators have promised to introduce a bill limiting public access to areas near mining work. A last-second effort to put such a limit in the new state budget failed.

The camp had nothing to do with a theft and vandalism case last month in which a protestor wearing a mask was criminally charged.

One media report said the campers helped identify the defendant.

ME speculates boy died within 90 minutes

BALSAM LAKE -- A medical examiner said two-year-old Isaiah Theis was not locked in a car trunk for very long before he died there last week. The toddler was last seen by his family around 7:30 last Tuesday night.

Dr. Quinn Strobl said that by 9 p.m.-- 90 minutes later – Isaiah was already dead, or he had suffered irreversible damage. Temperatures were in the 90’s last week in northwest Wisconsin.

She said it was a tragic example of how intense a sealed car can heat up.

The vehicle was waiting to be serviced at a home auto repair business run by Isaiah’s father. The family says it appears that the child took the keys, entered the vehicle, and wound up in the trunk where he died from an elevated body temperature with the keys close by him.

Polk County sheriff’s officials have not confirmed that explanation – although they did confirm that Isaiah had the keys with him.

A funeral service for Isaiah Thies was to be held Wednesday St. Croix Falls.

Packer shareholder meeting expected to draw 17,000

GREEN BAY -- About 17,000 people are expected to attend the annual stockholders’ meeting of the Green Bay Packers Wednesday. They’ll get a rosy financial report which shows that the NFL’s only publicly-owned team made record revenues, net income, and operating profits last year.

General manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy are also expected to talk about this year’s team, which will go for its fifth straight playoff appearance and its second Super Bowl title in the last four years.

The meeting normally lasts about two hours. Afterward, stockholders and their guests can take tours of the new $143 million renovation of Lambeau – including two new decks of seats in the South End Zone.

The improvements were funded in part by the team’s newest stockholders.

Over 250,000 people bought shares during an offering more than 18 months ago.

Kwik Trip cancels 'Lunch with Ryan'

To the lucky individual hoping to win lunch with Ryan Braun this summer – sorry, it's off.

The Kwik Trip convenience store chain has canceled a contest in which one winner was to have lunch with the Brewers’ slugger at Braun’s Graffito Restaurant in downtown Milwaukee.

Kwik Trip of La Crosse ended its marketing agreement with Braun, after he accepted a 65-game drug suspension on Monday. Meanwhile, Todd Sutton of Denver says he no longer expects Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers to pay up on a big bet Rodgers made that Braun was clean.

Sutton, a flight nurse, criticized Rodgers a year ago for insisting that his friend and business partner Braun never took performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodgers bet Sutton his entire salary for 2012 that Braun would be found clean and exonerated. On Tuesday, his tweet went viral on the Internet, amid speculation of whether Rodgers would really give Sutton his $8.5 million salary for last season.

Sutton now tells USA Today he won’t demand payment – but he’d still like one of his game checks. Rodgers has not responded.

Former probation agent in trouble again

WAUSAU -- A former state probation agent convicted of stealing painkillers from criminals could be facing new charges for a recent family disturbance near Wausau.

Kim Hoenisch was arrested last Tuesday, after she allegedly got into a fight with her sister at their mother’s house in the Marathon County town of Berlin.

Hoenisch is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12th, after she pleaded no contest to entering homes of offenders she supervised and taking their painkillers. Now, prosecutors are considering charges for the recent family fight. They’ll also decide whether to hire a special prosecutor to avoid a possible conflict-of-interest due to Hoenisch’s past work as a probation agent.

Sheriff Scott Parks tells WSAU Radio in Wausau that she may have violated the bond from her drug case – but officers don’t normally hold people in that instance, because they don’t always know all the details of previous court matters.

Parks said Hoenisch was released on a signature bond following her arrest, and that’s the case for a majority of such incidents. The sheriff said Hoenisch left her mother’s house after the fight, and officers stopped her vehicle a short time later.

A court date of July 30th was set to consider possible charges in the new case.

-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau

Sixty-year anniversary of Korean conflict remembered

It was 60 years ago Tuesday when the fighting ended in the Korean War. A permanent peace treaty was supposed to follow, but it never did.

To this day, Wisconsin Adjutant General Donald Dunbar says many of us don’t know the history or significance of the Korean conflict – but we do know it took a heavy toll.

Wisconsin sent 132,000 men and women to what’s been called “The Forgotten War.” Eight hundred and one Wisconsin troops were killed, among 36,000 Americans in all. Another 4,200 Wisconsin residents were wounded, among 103,000 U.S. victims.

Tom Sedivy of Minocqua fought in the Army’s Second Infantry Division above the 38th Parallel, still the line of demarcation between North and South Korea.

He remembered that when the truce was announced, more firing began as enemy troops on the other side of a valley shot their guns in the air and cheered. Sedivy arrived the year before the truce. He said a major turning point was when United Nations troops joined his company.

Dunbar said UN forces underestimated the entry of Chinese troops into the conflict – and a long stalemate and tense conditions resulted before the armistice was finally signed in 1953.

-- Ken Krall, WXPR, Rhinelander

Two killed in collision near Cambridge Tuesday

CAMBRIDGE -- Two men were killed and a woman was injured, when two vehicles collided near Cambridge.

The accident happened about 5 p.m., Tuesday on Highway 73 and CTH P-Q about 20 miles east of Madison.

Sheriff’s officials said a car was going west on P-Q when it drove through a stop sign and collided with a pickup truck coming from the north. The 20-year-old driver of the car and his 20-year-old male passenger were killed. The 63-year-old truck driver was flown to a Madison hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. All three were from Illinois.

Names of those involved have not been released. The crash remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, a man killed in a freeway crash near Milwaukee has been identified as 38-year-old Benjamin Jones of Big Bend.

Authorities said Jones was driving a pick-up truck that rammed into a semi-truck Monday morning on southbound Interstate 894 in Greenfield.

The man was trapped in his pick-up underneath the semi – and that’s where he died despite efforts to treat him there. An investigation continues.

Chinese students learning about Ho-Chunk culture

BARABOO -- A group of high school students from China will take part in a multi-cultural celebration in Baraboo on Sunday.

he non-profit group “Rivers as Bridges” will hold the event at the Ho-Chunk tribal House-of-Wellness.

Tribal youngsters and others from Wisconsin will join the Chinese students at an event that features music, dancing, food, games, and traditional clothing that honors both Chinese and Ho-Chunk cultures.

The “Rivers as Bridges” group was created earlier this year, to bring young people together from the Mississippi and Yangtze river regions. The event is part of a 16-day visit by the Chinese teens to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.

Jury seated in man accused of camera store killings

LA CROSSE -- Attorneys were expected to make their opening arguments this morning in the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch, who’s accused of killing a camera store owner and his son in La Crosse.

Lawyers questioned over 40 potential jurors yesterday, before settling on a panel of 15.

Twelve jurors will eventually decide the fate of the 40-year-old Lepsch, who’s charged with two counts of homicide, armed robbery by force, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Paul Petras, 56, and his 19-year-old son A.J. were murdered last September at May’s Photo in downtown La Crosse. Prosecutors said Lepsch stole around $20,000 of camera equipment, because he needed money to pay a $60,000 judgment in a theft case from 10 years ago. Lepsch is from Dakota, Minn. His trial is expected to run for the next 10 days.

Ship forced to cancel from Duluth festival

DULUTH -- After being pummeled by bad weather, one of the tall ships scheduled for Duluth’s tall ship festival this week has canceled its appearance.

The schooner Halie & Matthew recently survived wind, waves, a lightning strike and an on-board fire on the Great Lakes. While no one was injured, necessary repairs won’t be completed in time to finish the voyage to Duluth.

“It is with profound regret that the tall ship Halie & Matthew cannot fulfill its obligation to appear at Tall Ships Duluth 2013,” Capt. Bruce Randall said in a news release.

The 118-foot-long, two-masted gaff-rigged schooner had sold more than 1,000 tickets for two-hour sails. About 70 percent of those tickets can be redirected to other tall ships in the fleet or a refund can be requested.

Tall Ships Duluth 2013 starts Thursday.

-- Duluth News-Tribune

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Steve Dzubay
Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer since 1995. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.
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