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Not long ago I raved about a first novel written by a neighbor down the road in Lake Elmo, Minn.
The Wisconsin State Patrol reported March 6 it has recovered the body of 26-year-old Mohammed Malin, the other victim of a fatal semi-truck crash that happened Tuesday morning when the truck left the snow-covered roads, slid down an embankment and landed in the Red Cedar River near Menomonie. Emergency workers recovered the body of driver Batrodin Siyad, 25, the day of the accident. Both men were from Minneapolis and were close friends and coworkers. Siyad's funeral was held Feb. 6, and Malin's funeral was held Feb. 7.
Robyn Ochs will be speaking at UW-River Falls on Thursday, March 14, for several lectures. Ochs is an educator, speaker, workshop leader and activist who advocates for the rights of people of all orientations and genders to live safely, openly and with full legal equality. Her work focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities, and mobilizing people to be powerful allies to one another within and across identities and social movements.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it will not investigate any further into a weekend freeway crash in Kentucky that killed six Wisconsinites. The Kentucky State Police continues its probe into the March 2 accident on I-65, about 50 miles south of Louisville. Officials said a semi-truck driver from Michigan might have been distracted just before his truck rear-ended an SUV that was returning to Wisconsin from a vacation in Florida. James Gollnow, 62, of Pella in Shawano County was driving the SUV.
Friends and family of the Nick and Colleen Jahnke family of River Falls are holding fundraisers to help send the family on a Florida vacation. Nick has been battling brain cancer and is still undergoing treatment. Saturday, March 9 --Breakfast & Bloody Mary's, 9 a.m.-noon at Mainstreeter's Bar & Grill, 212 S. Main Street. --Meat Raffle, 1-4 p.m. Johnnie's Bar, 116 N. Main St. River Falls --Texas Holdem' Tournament, 5 p.m. Kilkarney Hills Golf Course, River Falls $50 Buy in with 50/50 Payout, 163 Radio Rd.
Honor Flight is a documentary about four living World War II veterans and a Midwest community coming together to give them the trip of a lifetime. Volunteers race against the clock to fly thousands of World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorial constructed for them in 2005, nearly 60 years after their epic struggle. The trips are called "Honor Flights" and for the veterans, who are in their late 80s and early 90s. It's often the first time they've been thanked and the last trip of their lives. The 24-hour journey is full of surprises that deeply move all who are involved.
Four anti-smoking groups say a surcharge on health insurance is the wrong way to try and get those hooked on cigarettes to quit smoking. Governor Scott Walker's budget would require state employees to sign affidavits promising that they don't smoke or get hit with a $50-dollar-a-month surcharge on their health plans. Against the fee are Smoke-Free Wisconsin, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. They say there's very little evidence to prove that financial penalties or incentives cause smokers to quit.
As state senators debate a proposed northern Wisconsin mine, a new report says an Indian tribe that fears pollution from the mine has other water-quality problems of its own. The federal EPA says the Bad River tribe near Ashland has had dozens of water quality violations at its sewage treatment plant. The conservative Media Trackers' group first reported on excess E-coli and phosphorus in the Bad River sewage plant - and it pointed to signs of possible fecal contamination and the harming of aquatic animals.
Guido is back. The seven-foot costume of the famous Italian racing sausage, one of seven sausage characters that race during Brewers' games, was stolen from a festival in Cedarburg 12 days ago. Around 8 p.m. Feb. 28, two men plopped the costume onto a bar at TJ Ryan's in Cedarburg. They then fled quickly, and bartender Jen Mahony called police. When they're not racing, the characters make numerous public appearances. Guido's costume is owned by the Klement's sausage company and is $3,000. Several food companies offered rewards for the return of Guido.
Don't be surprised if there's an effort to raise Wisconsin's ultra-low fine of $10 for not wearing a seat belt. Assembly Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton said she would look into the idea, after Gannett's Wisconsin daily newspapers found that the state's annual "Click It Or Ticket" campaign is not working. Last year, the DOT spent around $300,000 to get Packers' star Donald Driver to encourage us to buckle up. But it didn't help, as officials said the compliance rate for Wisconsin seat-belt use held about steady at 79%. More folks did buckle up in 2010 than the year before.