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'Engines are revving louder', says Obama to Labor Day crowd; most schools back in session; 11 more Wisconsin stories

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

MILWAUKEE -- President Obama told an estimated 6,000 people in Milwaukee Monday that his efforts to help workers are paying off.

The Democratic president spoke for just over 30 minutes at the city's annual Labor Fest -- where he also appeared in 2008 and 2010.

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Obama renewed his push to raise the minimum wage, saying he'd continue the same hard sell to Congress that he once used to court his wife Michelle. As he put it, "I just wore her down."

Republicans continue to reject Democratic calls to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, both nationally and in Wisconsin. Obama said congressional Republicans oppose "almost everything."

The GOP says it's a job-killer. Congress is not expected to act on the minimum wage before the November elections.

The president spoke more aggressively to the Milwaukee crowd about the nation's economic gains than he had in the recent past. He said that "by almost every measure," the U.S. economy and American workers are better off than when he took office. In his words, "the engines are revving a little louder."

Gov. Scott Walker, House Democrat Gwen Moore, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and County Executive Chris Abele greeted Obama when he arrived at Mitchell International Airport. Walker's Democratic challenger Mary Burke met privately with Obama.

Most schools back in session Tuesday

Most Wisconsin public schools were starting fall classes Tuesday morning.

Almost 880,000 youngsters attended nearly 2,300 school buildings in the last school year. Exact enrollment numbers won't be known until later this month.

Gov. Scott Walker was expected to be on hand for the first ringing of the bell at a school in Milwaukee.

State school Superintendent Tony Evers says the new year holds a lot of promise. New tests will be given on the state's tougher Common Core standards for math and English. A new teacher evaluation system will also be used statewide.

Former top Walker aid Tom Nardelli, dead at 70

MILWAUKEE -- He was an Army Reserve officer, radio traffic reporter, shoe salesman, Milwaukee alderman, and top aide to Gov. Scott Walker. Tom Nardelli died Monday at his home in Menomonee Falls from a heart aneurysm. He was 70.

Nardelli graduated from Milwaukee Riverside High School. He spent 25 years in the Army Reserves, where he retired as a lieutenant colonel.

He did traffic reports on WTMJ Radio, and he sold shoes before being elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in 1986. Nardelli spent 18 years as an alderman.

Walker named him his chief of staff in the Milwaukee County executive's office in 2007. When Walker was elected governor, Nardelli joined him in Madison as the head of the state Safety & Buildings Division. He retired from public service six months later.

Walker called Nardelli a "wonderful public servant and dear friend."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he dedicated his life to public service and brought a level of "enthusiasm and passion to public policy."

It was Nardelli who first suspected that thousands of dollars were taken from a Milwaukee County veterans' fund. It resulted in convictions after a John Doe probe into the county executive's staff.

Funeral services for Tom Nardelli are pending.

Marine sanctuary designation could fuel tourism

Communities along Lake Michigan from Port Washington to Two Rivers can apply to become marine sanctuaries.

The designations could bring more protections for natural resources, and more research into various shipwrecks in the big lake.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designates marine sanctuaries. There's only one along the Great Lakes -- the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Mich. It has a visitor center which attracts 80,000 people a year.

Manitowoc County officials say they could get tourism and educational benefits from a marine sanctuary status. Officials say the new application area covers 875 square miles of Lake Michigan, with 33 known shipwrecks and possibly many more.

The NOAA expects the first applications for the new status this fall.

Above-normal temps, rainfall characterize August weather

August wasn't as traditionally hot as some years, but National Weather Service in La Crosse said the city's average high was 83 degrees, and the average low was 64. Still, La Crosse did not have a high above 90 last month.

The mercury hit 90 on two days in late August but there were no records broken during the month.

On Labor Day, thunderstorms rumbled through parts of the Badger State -- mainly in the western half. Oxford had winds up to 40 miles an hour. Parts of Barron County had almost two inches of rain Sunday night and early Monday. River Falls recorded 2.14 inches through the weekend. An Ellsworth resident recorded 6.25 inches in his rain gauge.

In Superior, quarter-sized hail fell early Monday evening.

A couple waves of low pressure are supposed to move through Wisconsin the next two days, bringing new chances of rain and thunderstorms and highs in the 70's-and-80's. Forecasters said severe weather is possible on Thursday.

Man shot, killed on Madison's west side

MADISON - A man shot-and-killed in Madison over the Labor Day Weekend has been identified by police as Darren Goodwan, age 25.

The Madison man was found early Saturday along a west side street. He was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Police officials said they had several good leads at last word, but no arrests were made.

Weekend 'cycle crash claims Watertown man

OOSTBURG -- A Watertown man killed in a weekend motorcycle crash in Sheboygan County has been identified as 52-year-old Clyde Olson.

Sheriff's deputies said the rear of the bike wobbled and lost control. It overturned on the roadway, and came to rest in a ditch.

Olson was pronounced dead on arrival at a Sheboygan hospital. The accident occurred Sunday afternoon on CTH V near Oostburg.

Tumble from parking ramp leaves student in coma

MILWAUKEE -- A Minnesota college student remains in a coma, some 18 days after he fell from a parking ramp in Milwaukee during a night of drinking.

According to the Mankato Free Press, Giovanni Quiroz of North Mankato got separated from friends on Aug. 16 and he couldn't call them because he didn't have his phone on him.

The group waited for 30 minutes and then went to a friend's house under the assumption that Quiroz would catch up to them. Instead, they learned that he fell from a parking ramp about two blocks away.

The Mankato Free Press reported that Quiroz's family and friends are heartbroken and they want to know the circumstances from that night.

Appeals court upholds man's child-abuse sentence

A federal appeals court has upheld a 30-year prison sentence for a man convicted of transporting a 13-year-old girl to Wisconsin to have sex with her.

Archie Whalen, 47, of Maine was convicted of taking the girl from her home at Owensboro, Kentucky to Sturgeon Bay in 2009.

An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities found the girl a day later.

Officials said Whalen met the youngster in Maine, when she and her mother lived there for a short time.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld both the conviction and the prison sentence, which Whalen is serving in Marion, Ill.

Four injured in brawl at soccer match

FRANKLIN -- Suburban Milwaukee police are looking for a soccer player who kicked an opponent unconscious during a brawl triggered by fans at an adult league tournament.

It happened Sunday at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex. Police in Franklin released details Monday.

They said one team's fans were taunting another. Players from each team went into the stands to try and cool things down but they only made the situation worse, as they joined the altercation.

Four people were injured -- two security guards and two players, including the one who was kicked unconscious. That player was taken to a hospital, and his condition was not disclosed.

Police said the kicker might face criminal charges. No arrests were made as of Monday. The three others who were injured were treated at the scene.

Coast Guard rescues kayaker sickened by high waves

MILWAUKEE -- A kayaker was rescued Monday while he was just 30 miles short of crossing Lake Michigan from Milwaukee to Muskegon.

Media reports said Matthew Frymire, 31, of Grand Haven Township in Michigan activated an emergency beacon, after 10-foot-high waves got to be too much for him.

Rescuers in a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the beacon and reached Frymire two hours after the first distress signal. Officials said he suffered "extreme sea-sickness."

Frymire departed from Milwaukee on Saturday.

Victim fights back; shoots, kills would-be robber

MILWAUKEE -- An armed robber was killed in Milwaukee Monday, after one of his intended victims pulled out a handgun and opened fire.

The incident happened about 5:30 a.m. in a parking lot just south of Milwaukee's downtown. Police said four people tried to rob the victims when the shooting occurred.

One media report said the dead robber was 16 years old. The other three suspects ran off.

Officials said they arrested several people. They did not say whether the shooter was among those in custody.

Police said the robbers were involved in several other hold-ups -- including two early Monday at Marquette University.

Girl chews up dad's pot-laden chocolate bar; charges pending

CHIPPEWA FALLS -- A Chippewa Falls man is due in court next month, after his daughter ate an entire chocolate bar laced with 22.5 doses of marijuana.

Jason Hetke, 38, is charged with felony reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor counts of child neglect and marijuana possession. Prosecutors said the pot-laced bar came from Colorado.

Authorities said the girl who ate it appeared intoxicated in school. When a police officer and a school official examined her, they could barely detect a pulse. Police later executed a search warrant and found a bag with the "Colorado Bar" label, and another bag with butane hash oil, a concentrated form of the main THC ingredient in marijuana. The chocolate bar wrapper read, "Extremely potent. Do not eat all at once."

The girl told officers she found the bar in her father's dresser.

Chippewa County court officials said Jason Hetke will make his first court appearance Oct. 28th.

Marijuana-infused foods are legal in Colorado, but they cannot be mailed within that state or shipped elsewhere.

Last year, postal inspectors seized almost 500 pounds of marijuana from packages, nearly nine times as much as in 2010 before Colorado legalized pot.

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