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(7/29/12) Here are the stories:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says rainfall to the north has helped keep water levels on the Upper Mississippi River near normal levels.  The drought has had a dramatic effect on the river near Memphis, where the big river is as much as a dozen feet below normal and dredges are being used to keep shipping channels open.  No problems on the Upper Mississippi.  Near Winona, the river is at five and a half feet, off from a spring high of nine feet.  However, hydrologists with the National Weather Service say the average height for river waters this time of year there is 4-point-7 to five feet.  The lock-and-dam system has also played a role in keeping those levels as high as they are.

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A Friday afternoon spill of crude oil has dumped about 12 hundred barrels of oil into a Wisconsin field near Grand Marsh.  That pipeline carries the oil to Chicago-area refineries.  Employees noticed a drop in pressure at about 2:45 p.m., shut down the flow and sent emergency crews to the area.  Enbridge Energy Partners reports the spill was contained in a field which is mostly on the pipeline’s right of way.  The spilled oil is being removed and the site cleaned up.  A top company official says the spill recovery is a priority for Enbridge.

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The Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office is determining the cause of death for a 57 year old patient at the county Behavioral Health Division, but foul play isn’t suspected.  The staff had found the man to be unresponsive in his room at about 3 a.m. yesterday.  Sheriff’s detectives and medical personnel were called in to the facility.  Efforts were made to resuscitate the patient, but he was declared dead by doctors at a nearby hospital.  The man was said to be the only person in the room.

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A Sheboygan priest will be honored today at a national gathering of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.  Father James Connell has become a strong advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse.  He has criticized bishops and the church at large for the way the crisis was handled.  He will receive the Millstone Award at a ceremony in Chicago.  Connell has been working for the last two years with fellow priests in what is believed to be there first effort to pastor victims and help parishes heal the problems created by the abuse scandal.  Father Connell says he had an epiphany after SNAP had criticized the way he handled a case – and he has been speaking out on behalf of survivors ever since.

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The Rock County Sheriff’s Office says the 16 year old driver of an SUV was killed when he hit a tree.  Noah J. Morris of the Town of La Prairie was a member of the Clinton FFA.  He had exhibited the grand champion barrow at the Rock County 4-H Fair last Wednesday.  Emergency responders say Morris wasn’t breathing when they arrived and he was pronounced dead on the scene at 7:35 a.m. yesterday.  Morris had been westbound on Rock County Highway J when he hit an embankment and his SUV went airborne before slamming into the tree.  He as wearing a seatbelt at the time.

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Reedsburg police are calling the death of a man and his girlfriend a murder-suicide.  It happened Friday night.  Investigators think 24 year old George R. Snake shot 23 year old Cheyenne T. Fiddler to death, then killed himself.  Fiddler was from Red Wing, Minnesota.  The bodies were discovered by a friend who entered the home at about 7 p.m.  The two had been dating and Fiddler had moved into the Reedsburg home recently.  Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the shooting, which apparently happened after an argument between the two.

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Ten extra Madison police officers were working the downtown area Friday night, then another 20 extra police personnel were on the streets last night.  Officers were riding bikes and horses, as well as walking the beat and observing activities in their squad cars.  Just last week police had to use pepper spray on a big crowd, stopping several fights, in the busy 600 block of University Avenue.  That’s why police were out in force this weekend.  One Madison squad car was parked across the street from Wando’s bar, where the fights had started a week ago tonight.  At least three people were injured.  Authorities blame big groups of people under the drinking age, who come down to the area and just hang out.  When officers approach, police say the young people are often confrontational.

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A Minnesota man faces charges in two states after stealing a vehicle, fighting with a K-9 officer and running away from pursuing police.  Duluth police say they were called to a home at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.  The owner had seen somebody stealing his SUV and followed it across the Oliver Bridge into Superior, Wisconsin.  After being stopped by Superior police, the suspect wrestled with a police dog for a short time, then ran away.  He left his wallet behind.  That evening at about 10:30 p.m. a Duluth officer spotted the man and he was caught while trying to climb a tree.  He’s being held at the St. Louis County Jail.  

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Of the 125 positions eliminated by Harley-Davidson, 83 of the displaced workers were in the motorcycle maker’s Milwaukee office.  Those workers are getting what is called preferential consideration for new jobs at other company locations.  The positions eliminated were in information technology.  A company based in India has signed a five-year contract to handle information technology services for Harley-Davidson.

 

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