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Car-bus crash injures 13 volleyball players; Ryan rips Obama on Islamic threat; more Wisconsin stories

PULASKI -- A car passenger was killed and 14 others were injured Tuesday evening, when the auto collided with a school bus with volleyball players from Pulaski High School.

The accident happened around 9 p.m. on the Hwy. 29 expressway at Highway 156 near Pulaski.

Shawano County sheriff's deputies said the bus was going north on 156 when the westbound car on 29 struck the rear corner of the bus. The bus then veered into a ditch. A 24-year-old woman from Athens in central Wisconsin was killed.

The victim was in a car driven by a 27-year-old man from Marathon City. He was hospitalized in critical condition at last word.

Thirteen Pulaski students were injured on the bus, and at least eight were taken to hospitals by ambulances. Their conditions were not immediately disclosed.

The students were returning from a volleyball match at Seymour High School, in which the varsity and junior varsity teams played.

Pulaski school officials say counselors were to be available Wednesday for students needing help in coping with the mishap. An investigation continues.

Sen. Johnson labels militants 'evil barbarians'; Ryan advocates robust response

MINNEAPOLIS -- U.S. Senate Republican Ron Johnson says the Islamic State militants are evil barbarians who must be defeated.

Johnson was campaigning with GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden in Minnesota Tuesday, when the Islamic State released a video that showed the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff. It was the second such incident confirmed by the White House, the first being the death of Marquette graduate James Foley last month.

McFadden, who's running against Democratic Senator Al Franken, said the U-S should continue targeted bombings in Iraq and possibly Syria. He does not support a ground invasion.

Johnson did not say what type of intervention he favors.

Meanwhile, House Republican Paul Ryan of Janesville says the U.S. needs a comprehensive and thorough campaign to defeat the Islamic State.

Ryan was answering questions at a luncheon in Milwaukee Tuesday when he was told about the reported beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, which the White House later confirmed.

Ryan asked for a prayer and a moment of silence. He then said the Islamic State is filling a "vacuum" created by what he called poor decisions from the Obama administration in Syria and Iraq.

Ryan also said the president should never have told reporters that the U.S. didn't have a strategy for dealing with the Islamic State, which he called "al-Qaida 3.0" and a "terrorist organization unlike any we've seen before."

Ryan also pushed back at President Obama, who a day earlier in Milwaukee blamed Republicans for delaying efforts to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Ryan said a higher Earned Income Tax Credit would do more to keep people in the workforce than raising the minimum wage.

Ryan pointed to a Congressional Budget Office study which said a hike in the minimum to $10.10 per hour could lead to the loss of a half-million jobs nationwide.

"Let's focus on economic growth ... Let's focus on job creation," said Ryan.

Late August rains boost crop outlook

Wisconsin's major farm crops are in better shape, thanks to a heavy dose of much-needed rain.

Officials say 71 percent of the state's corn is in good-to-excellent condition, along with 72 percent of the soybean crop. Both figures were in the 60's for most of the summer.

Chippewa County had 5.5 inches of rain last week. Buffalo County had five inches, Portage County four, and Vernon County three. Much of it soaked into the ground.

Seventy-eight percent of Wisconsin farm fields now have adequate top-soil moisture, and 11 percent have a surplus. That's quite a contrast from mid-August, when 45 percent of the state's fields were short or very-short of moisture.

The corn and soybean crops are both maturing at rates slightly behind the averages for the past five years. The oat harvest is behind, at 73 percent. All but five percent of that crop should be in by now.

Prosecutor: Stabbing attempt after traffic stop led to officer shooting

STEVENS POINT -- A Plover police officer struggled with a man who approached him with a knife, just before the officer shot and wounded him during a traffic stop.

That's what prosecutors said in an attempted homicide complaint against the shooting victim, Brett Lieberman, 33, of Manawa. He made an initial court appearance by video Monday in Portage County. He's due back in court Oct. 6, when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial.

Plover officer Andy Hopfensperger stopped Lieberman on Aug. 8th for driving erratically.

Officials said Lieberman jumped out of his pick-up truck, ran at the officer with clenched fists, and pulled a knife as he got closer.

Prosecutors said Lieberman grabbed the officer and stabbed downward and Hopfensperger blocked each stabbing attempt.

The officer yelled at the suspect several times to get him to stop. Eventually, officials said Hopfensperger pushed the man away, drew his handgun, and shot several times while believing that Lieberman was intending to kill him.

Charges sought against man who fired gun near football game

MEDFORD -- Police are asking prosecutors to charge a 19-year-old man who allegedly fired shots near a high school football game that was stopped as a precaution.

Officers were called Saturday afternoon to a report of shots fired near Medford High School and Holy Rosary Catholic School.

The nearby football game went under a lockdown, and was resumed later with Medford losing to Chippewa Falls 22-14.

Nobody was in either of the school buildings, but officials said people were in the Holy Rosary church preparing for a Saturday service. Harrison Davis of Medford was arrested Saturday evening in neighboring Chippewa County. Online court records show that Davis was under a deferred prosecution agreement, in which a disorderly conduct charge from April would have been dropped if the defendant was to stay clean.

A court hearing is set for Sept. 23 to review the agreement in light of the new arrest.

Teen who was shot, killed had criminal history

MILWAUKEE -- Police have arrested five teens who were apparently in a group that committed dozens of robberies over the holiday weekend -- including one in which a robber was killed.

Police said a 15-year-oldMilwaukee boy was one of four people who tried robbing a group early Monday just south of the city's downtown. One of the intended victims, a 30-year-old West Allis man, shot the 15-year-old to death.

The shooter was released from custody Tuesday, and was ordered to meet with the district attorney's staff later on possible charges.

Police have not said who was killed. They did say the dead boy had previous arrests for armed robbery, auto theft, and fleeing from officers. He was also wounded in another Milwaukee shooting incident on Aug. 1.

Body found by hiker is that of Elkhorn man

ELKHORN -- Walworth County authorities have confirmed that a body found Aug. 17 was that of a missing Elkhorn man.

Russ Delorme was reported missing on Aug. 1. His vehicle was found a week later in a parking lot.

Sheriff's deputies conducted several searches before a hiker found Delorme's body in a wooded area of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Officials believe the death was self-inflicted.

'Slender Man' stabbing victim is back to school

WAUKESHA -- The 12-year-old victim of the "Slender Man" stabbings is back-to-school in Waukesha.

The girl started seventh grade Tuesday at her middle school.

Family spokesman Steve Lyons told WITI TV it's been a summer of doctor appointments, treatment by specialists, surgeries, and recovery and she was eager to get back with her classmates.

The girl was stabbed 19 times on May 31 during an overnight sleepover.

A pair of 12-year-old girls face adult charges of attempted homicide. Authorities said they plotted the stabbings for months, to win approval from the fictional online character Slender Man.

The victim's family has managed to keep her name out of the media -- no small feat, since the Slender Man revelation triggered worldwide publicity. It didn't stop thousands of people from showing their support by sending one of the girl's favorite things -- purple hearts.

One of the teen suspects was found mentally incompetent to stand trial for now. She's getting mental health treatment for up to a year before her case is re-evaluated.

ALS fundraiser draws spotlight to veterans' affliction rates

The Ice Bucket Challenge has not only raised awareness and funding for ALS, it's also making veterans more aware of a disease which affects them more than the general public.

Oneida County Veterans Service Officer Tammi Walters says veterans have a 60 percent greater chance than non-veterans of being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a progressive neuro-degenerative condition which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Walters says veterans with ALS can get help from the Veteran's Administration, and those who are diagnosed should contact their county veterans' service offices immediately.

Walters says those with at least 90 days of service can be found 100 percent service-disabled.

She says ALS is a service-connected disability regardless of when or where veterans served. Spouses and dependents could also qualify for benefits. More information is available from county veterans' service offices.

-- Ken Krall, WXPR, Rhinelander

Historical sites popular with state tourists

MADISON -- Wisconsin's historical sites are more popular this year. The State Historical Society said attendance is up at all but one of its 11 locations.

Total attendance from January through mid-August is up nearly five percent ovethan the r the same time a year ago. Officials credit a more comfortable summer and a number of events, including the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Prairie du Chien at Villa Louis, new exhibits at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, and a chance to ride historic bikes at Old World Wisconsin.

The First Capitol near Belmont was the only site to see a drop in attendance, of almost 12 percent.

Officials say there's construction taking place, and the site is not promoted as much as the others.

Students invited to watch high court in action

MADISON -- For the 19th year, Wisconsin school classes are being invited to watch the State Supreme Court in action. The "Court with Class" program has been run by the state's highest court and the State Bar Association since 1996. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson says the goal is to give students more insight on how the Wisconsin justice system works. She says a lot of emphasis is put on the U-S Supreme Court, but most of the judicial work is done in the state courts and not the federal ones.

Abrahamson says students get to see important cases that have statewide legal significance, as well as importance for the litigants themselves. Students get an overview of the case in plain English plus a chance to ask questions of one of the justices. Thousands of youngsters have gone through the program. Abrahamson says youngsters get a vital exposure of how the law works. It runs through the court's entire session through June.

Learn more about the program here:

-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau