Fourth drowning victim found two weeks after accident; Man allegedly drives home with tricyclist stuck in windshield; More state news
After two weeks of searching, the body of a La Crosse man was found yesterday afternoon in the Mississippi River at Winona, Minn.
Authorities were just about to suspend their search for Andrew Kingsbury, 29, until the spring when underwater cameras found his body in 10 feet of water around 3:45 p.m.
He was in a car that plunged into the Mississippi Jan. 5 after the vehicle went out of control on a curve in Winona. The car, its driver and a male passenger were pulled out the same day. Another man's body was found the next day.
The driver, a 36-year-old woman, was with three childhood friends from Minnesota. Kingsbury had moved to La Crosse, and the others were still living in Minnesota.
Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said Kingsbury's body was found about 700 feet downstream from where the vehicle plunged in. Had he not been found yesterday, Brand said the search would have been temporarily halted. That was after two rescuers fell into the frozen water and were hurt during the two-week search attempt.
Thirty-one rescue agencies from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa put in an estimated 1,400 hours to search for Kingsbury. Most volunteered on their own time.
Man allegedly drives home with tricyclist stuck in windshield
A 20-year-old man is facing criminal charges after he allegedly struck a newspaper delivery tricycle in Manitowoc -- and the tricyclist was stuck through the car's windshield until the driver got home.
The driver was allegedly drunk at the time. Police said he ran through a stop sign and hit another vehicle along the way.
The tricyclist, Steven Gove, 56, was delivering the Lakeshore Chronicle when the incident happened on Saturday night. Gove told WLUK TV in Green Bay that driver never knew Gove was stuck in the windshield until he got home and asked who he was.
Gove told him, "I'm the guy you hit on the bicycle ... I went through your windshield."
He said the driver then "freaked out" and tried locking Gove inside the car. Gove said he calmly got out and walked down a street, and police found him about a block away. Gove was treated at a hospital for minor scrapes.
The alleged drunk driver was treated for a significant hand cut. Police say they're still trying to find the driver of the car the suspect hit.
Walker’s proposed tax cut faces obstacles in Senate
There might not be enough votes in the Wisconsin Senate to approve the type of large-scale tax cut that Gov. Scott Walker has been talking about.
At least two Republicans say they'd rather use a projected $1 billion surplus to avoid a structural deficit in the next budget starting in mid-2015.
We learned last week about the projected surplus, and Walker says he wants to give most of it back to taxpayers.
But with only a three-vote majority, Republicans would not be able to approve a major tax cut if more than one GOP senator strays from the party line -- and that's already happened.
Green Bay Republican Rob Cowles said he's "urging caution," considering the deficits from the recent past. Ripon Republican Luther Olsen said voters are telling him to be smart and, "Don't just pander for the next election."
At last word, Wisconsin's fiscal obligations will create a $725 million shortfall in the next budget. Walker says he's not too concerned, and neither are Assembly Republicans. GOP Finance co-chair John Nygren said it's been proven that tax cuts generate enough economic growth to wipe out structural deficits in subsequent budgets.
‘Czar’ proposes online deer registrations; bars protest
Deer hunters and the businesses they patronize are both crying foul over a plan to end deer registrations at places like bars and gas stations.
On Wednesday, the state Natural Resources Board will consider a proposal to start registering catches over the phone and online. It's among the dozens of suggestions from James Kroll, the governor's "Deer Czar," to boost hunting in Wisconsin.
It was proposed in the name of efficiency, but bars fear it will take away business, and hunting groups say we'll loss some of the tradition and camaraderie among hunters after they turn in their tags and swap stories over a cold one.
The phone and Internet registrations would begin this fall, and the conversion would be complete by 2015. It would save $182,000 the Department of Natural Resources now spends to run 626 deer reporting stations.
DNR staffers also say it would count the harvest faster and make it more convenient for hunters.
A few randomly selected hunters would still register in person so parts of their animals could be tested for chronic wasting disease.
Agency staffers say bars could set up Internet terminals to help hunters register, but tavern owners say those people will just register with their smartphones someplace else.
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress generally supports Kroll's recommendations, but some members think more hunters will simply not register their kills.
Some hospitals already seeing doctor shortage
We keep hearing that Wisconsin will have a severe shortage of doctors by 2030.
Well, 2030 is now for some expectant parents after two small-town hospitals said they would no longer deliver babies.
Rusk County Memorial Hospital in Ladysmith said 11 days ago it would stop performing routine child births in March, forcing parents to drive about 30 miles to Rice Lake or even further.
Over the weekend, we learned that Neillsville Memorial Hospital in Clark County would stop delivering babies Feb. 15 except for emergencies. Those mothers will have to go another 25 miles or so to Marshfield or Black River Falls or 50 miles to Eau Claire.
About 30 infants were born at Neillsville last year, and 58 at Ladysmith.
Four University of Wisconsin institutions recently announced a physician training program. The Medical College of Wisconsin plans satellite campuses in Green Bay next year and Wausau in 2016 to train more rural doctors for the northern two-thirds of Wisconsin.
Back in 2011, the Wisconsin Hospital Association warned that the state would have a severe doctor shortage by 2030 unless more are trained.
Police seek car that hit woman in wheelchair
MARSHFIELD -- A reward is being offered for information about a hit-and-run driver who struck and injured a woman in a wheelchair in Marshfield.
Christine Tauscher, 43, was thrown from her chair and suffered broken ribs and a head injury. The incident happened Friday night at an intersection along Peach Avenue, a major street just east of a large shopping area on Marshfield's northeast side.
Police said the woman was legally crossing the street when she was hit by a vehicle that never stopped. It was described as an older white vehicle with a license plate that possibly begins with the letters "G-E." The vehicle has possible damage to its front passenger side.
Fewer resort to bankruptcy protection
Fewer Wisconsinites are filing for bankruptcy as the economy improves.
Almost 23,000 state residents sought protections in federal bankruptcy court last year. That's down by almost 10% from 2012 and 25% lower than in 2010 when the Great Recession was just starting to loosen its grip.
Three-fourths of last year's Wisconsin bankruptcy filings were under Chapter Seven, the kind that wipes out credit card, medical and utility debts.
Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney James Miller said most of the blue-collar workers who've lost their jobs or are under-employed have already filed for bankruptcy. Also, Miller says many people have reduced their credit card debt.
However, more folks are leaning on high-interest payday loans as it's become harder for them to get new credit cards.
Still, Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyer Robert Waud said business appears to be getting back to what it was before the recession.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says bankruptcies due to job losses are getting more historically proportionate to the other major reasons for personal bankruptcies -- major medical expenses and divorce.
Madison attorney Claire Ann Resop said lenders appear to be more willing to work with troubled borrowers than they did during the recession.
Assembly takes up bill to limit employer access to Facebook
Workers and job applicants would not have to worry about their superiors snooping into their Facebook accounts under a bill that's up in the Assembly tomorrow.
The lower house will consider prohibiting companies, landlords and colleges from asking their people to give them the passwords for their social media accounts.
The Senate unanimously approved the measure last November. Gov. Scott Walker said he'll sign it if it gets to his desk.
Some companies have said they need to enter their employees' private accounts to make sure they're not giving out trade secrets or other proprietary information.
Others call it an invasion of privacy. Assembly Democrat Melissa Sargent of Madison said she's heard from job applicants who fear being snubbed if they don't give up their data. Privacy advocates say colleges are forcing student athletes to give their personal passwords to school officials in the name of preventing NCAA violations.
Employers can still check what their workers post publicly on social media -- plus any communications from company or school owned computers. The bill also lets them investigate when employees send proprietary data to places where the government already bans snooping, including personal email accounts.
Child with cancer flooded with greeting cards
A five-year-old Wisconsin boy with a rare type of childhood cancer has been deluged with hundreds of greeting cards.
Colin Cahill of Milton is undergoing a long treatment program for neuroblastoma. He was diagnosed last November when a tumor was discovered. Cancer spread around both his kidneys and into his spine.
A relative, Holly Kutz, told the Janesville Gazette she wanted to do something positive for Colin so she told the youngster's story on Facebook and sought greeting cards.
People from as far away as Japan and England responded. The Secret Service sent photos of President Obama's pets. The Green Bay Packers sent a bunch of things, including a greeting from Aaron Rodgers.
All told, Colin has received about 500 Christmas cards. His mother, Kristie Briggs, said all of them have made her son smile.
Meanwhile, Kutz hopes to attract another 300 cards for the youngster for Valentine's Day. She wants to continue getting him greetings throughout the year as he faces more chemotherapy, surgery and a possible bone marrow transplant.
State insurance covers most of the expenses. The Milton community has gotten behind the family as well. The Cove Bar held a New Year's Day meat raffle, and the place was said to be packed.