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Sunday State News

(6/24/12) Here are the stories:


Flood damage in Duluth is expected to top 100 million dollars, with standing water still causing problems on the city’s west side.  Superior isn’t problem free yet and local officials are anticipating a visit from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker next Tuesday.  About 500 homeowners in Douglas and Bayfield counties have suffered significant damage to structures according to state Senator Bob Jauch.  It’s expected to take three and a half to five million dollars to repair flood damage done to 14 buildings on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus.  An estimated eight to 10 inches of rain fell in Superior and Douglas County over a two-day period last week.


Several hours before 85 year old Leo J. Driscoll was shot and killed by a SWAT team, his apartment manager had wrestled one gun from his hands.  To avoid a possible conflict of interest, the fatal shooting is being investigated by detectives from Vilas County.  When SWAT officers entered Driscoll’s apartment they found him holding a rifle.  Several officers are on administrative leave while the case is wrapped up.  Police were responding to a call from that apartment manager Friday morning.  He said Driscoll had threatened him with the gun, but he managed to get it away from him.  Driscoll’s girlfriend told police he had several other firearms in the apartment.  About 40 residents were evacuated for a day, finally allowed to return home yesterday morning.  Driscoll had no previous criminal record in Hurley, where the shooting occurred.


The Town of Beloit fire truck was on its way to a fire when it hit a tractor.  Fire Chief Dennis Ahrens was reportedly trying to pass the slow-moving tractor when it turned into the fire truck’s path.  The 35 year old Orfordville man on the tractor wasn’t hurt, but the fire truck was heavily damaged and the fire chief was treated for back pain, then released.  The Rock County Sheriff’s office investigated the accident.


The emergency management director in Clark County says there had been no sign of fatigue or deterioration of that county road which washed out last week.  A 50-foot wide section of the road collapsed in a flash flood Wednesday night on County Road M.  Two vehicles plunged 12 to 15 feet into the ditch and became partially submerged, leaving three people dead.  County officials say the culvert underneath the road had showed no signs of erosion last week when a mowing crew was working in the area.  It’s expected to take about a month to fix the road.  


For a third time in three days authorities were looking for a possible drowning victim in lake waters in Marathon or Lincoln counties.  Rescue crews were called to the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir Friday to look for a 21 year old man who jumped into the water off a moving boat.  He never surfaced.  Crews were also continuing to search for 48 year old Paul Locher of Kronenwetter.  Locher had left his home last Wednesday for a fishing trip on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir and failed to return.


Dunn County officials are considering whether to extend a silica sand mining moratorium as they work on regulations for that industry.  Sand in that part of Wisconsin is used in an oil development process called hydraulic fracturing.  The Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee is to consider an extension for two or three months at its meeting next Tuesday.  The current moratorium expires at the end of July.  


How bad did Wisconsin’s early warm spell wind up hurting this season’s cherry crop?  Producers harvested six and a half million pounds of cherries last year.  This year they say they will be lucky to produce a half-million pounds.  Temperatures in the 70s and 80s in March fooled cherry trees into waking up, thinking it was spring and coming out of dormancy much earlier than normal.  When cherry blossoms and buds popped out on braches, the mercury then dropped back below freezing and destroyed the crop.  Growers are estimating up to 97 percent of their crop was lost.  


Family members tell a Milwaukee television station the 23 year old man who set a dog on fire is mentally ill and may finally get the help he needs.  His victim, Remy, is a six month old dachshund.  Last Friday, the small dog was at home in his plastic kennel when a man who lives there set that kennel on fire.  The man lives with his mother and she found the fire when she returned home.  The suspect is in custody right now.





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