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Sunday's State News

(4/8/12) Here are the stories:

The National Weather Service has issued a fire watch for most of the state today.  An extremely dry air mass and gusty winds are working together to form what the meteorologists called “critical fire conditions.  The greatest threat of fire will be between one and 8 p.m. today.  Even before today’s weather conditions were part of the situation the Department of Natural Resources had rated the Wisconsin fire danger as high, or very high.  The mild winter has combined with snow totals below normal and record warmth last month to leave grass and brush very dry in all parts of the state.  That is the main reason the threat of fire is so high.


About 130 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard 1157th Transportation Company are expected to spend nine months in Afghanistan.  They leave their Oshkosh base later this month on a convoy-security mission.  It’s the fifth time since 1990 the company has been called to active duty.  The soldiers have been training for the mission in Mississippi since February.  The soldiers were given a week’s leave, then will report back to camp tomorrow for final preparations.


Members of the public will have a chance to share their opinions of a sandhill crane hunt at the Conservation Congress spring hearings tomorrow in Madison.  State Representative Joe Kleefisch of Oconomowoc introduced a bill that winter authorizing the hunt.  At the time, he called the cranes the rib-eye of the sky.  Bird lovers fought back, stopping the measure in its tracks.  Hunt supporters say the crane population has rebounded and are eating corn seeds and young stalks in the fields.  The fact that Wisconsin is home to the International Crane Foundation has been a factor so far.  Tomorrow’s hearing is only advisory in nature, but approval by the Congress would give state lawmakers a stronger argument when the hunting bill comes up again.


A Janesville man still listed in critical condition in a local hospital has been charged with drunken driving for a fourth time.  The 47 year old suspect may have collided with a deer near the Town of Avon at about 2:15 a.m. yesterday.  The Rock County Sheriff’s office reports the man suffered severe head injuries when he hit the deer and was thrown from his motorcycle into the other traffic lane.  He was airlifted to the hospital for treatment.  Crash scene investigators say speed didn’t appear to be a factor in the accident.


Organizers say a program urging schools and hospitals in the Ashland area to buy more produce from local growers will provide a financial boost for them.  Northland College started the program, which has a goal of buying at least 10 percent of its produce locally this year, 25 percent next year and an ultimate target goal of buying 80 percent of its produce from local farms.  WPR news is reporting Northland hopes to get Ashland Memorial Hospital to join the program, as well as local public school districts.


An Illinois court has sentenced a 23 year old Milwaukee man to 55 years in prison for attempted murder.  Dontrell Thompson was accused of driving to Champaign and shooting 29 year old Tony Brock at Marketplace Mall last May.  Investigators say Thompson shot Brock to get revenge because Brock allegedly mistreated Thompson’s cousin.


The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health says bills passed by the state Legislature and signed by the governor have turned back the clock on women’s health, safety, wellness and economic security.  Governor Walker signed an estimated 50 bills late last week, including three which prohibited what are called “webcam abortions,” and requiring doctors to perform physical exams before performing an abortion.  Other bills prohibit coverage for abortion costs through plans sold through health care exchanges, repealing the Health Youth Act, which had mandated sex-ed curriculum in schools.  One bill repealed the Wisconsin Pay Equity Enforcement Law.


Clara Ricci says she never expected to live to be 100, and now she’s celebrating 101.  The Merrill woman is celebrating another birthday today.  Ricci was born in 1911, got married in1928 and was married for 63 years.  Her husband died 21 years ago.  Ricci has five children, 18 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great-grandchildren.  She credits having a good attitude for her longevity.  She says she enjoys playing cards, swimming and riding her three-wheeled bicycle.  





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