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Baldwin urges federal help to motivate researchers; big chill leaves us looking for summer; wolf-hunt lottery tomorrow and more

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Baldwin urges federal help to incent researchers;

MADISON -- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says America is in danger of losing its next generation of scientists, unless the federal government does something.

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The Wisconsin Democrat met Tuesday with students and officials at medical school research facilities in Madison and Milwaukee. Baldwin explained a bill she plans to introduce this fall to have the National Institutes of Health create policies that support researchers, and provide incentives for younger scientists.

Baldwin said funding has been flat for almost a decade at the NIH – and the health agency stands to lose $1.5 billion due to this year’s federal budget sequestration.

As a result, Baldwin says the average age of medical researchers receiving grants has risen from 36 in 1980 to 42 now. She says it’s getting less likely for medical grads to obtain research grants after college. Because of that, Baldwin fears that the current generation will abandon its work, and future high school grads will pursue other career options instead.

Her planned legislation would not increase direct funding to the NIH, but it would require policies for mentorships and incentives to support researchers.

Most in Wisconsin delegation oppose government shutdown to block Obamacare

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Most of Wisconsin’s federal representatives are against shutting down the federal government to block funding for the Obama health reform law.

Congress will have to act to keep the government going beyond Sept. 30th.

Texas Senate Republican Ted Cruz has talked about a temporary shutdown to push through a resolution to stop next year’s funding for the Affordable Care Act.

Wisconsin Senate Republican Ron Johnson, who won his seat three years ago by opposing Obama-care, disagrees that a government shutdown is necessary. He said he favors almost anything else that could delay or prevent the major parts of the health act from taking effect in January as scheduled.

Both Johnson and Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville say Obama-care would continue to be funded as an entitlement, even if the government is halted.

Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin said she’d do everything possible to avoid a shutdown. She accused Republicans of “manufacturing crises that in recent years have led to slow growth for our economy.”

Fond du Lac House Republican Tom Petri said a shutdown would be great if it would reform the government – but he doubts that would happen.

Near-frost leaves Wisconsinites wondering what happened to summer

SULLIVAN -- It got down to the freezing mark in Tomahawk Wednesday morning, with 32 degrees at 5 a.m.

Readings were in the 30’s as far south as Stevens Point. Monroe was the warm spot with 55.

The National Weather Service said a high pressure system from southern Canada brought cooler temperatures into the Badger State Tuesday. Afternoon highs were about 10 degrees below normal.

Antigo tied an 11-year-old record Tuesday for the coldest high temperature for the date, at 63. Rhinelander and Sturgeon Bay tied similar records with 64.

The high pressure system is expected to move to the southeast of Wisconsin by Wednesday night – and we’re expected to get dry and mostly clear weather into the weekend, with slowly warming temperatures. Afternoon highs could be back to normal by Saturday, in the 80-degree range.

Lottery is Thursday for 2,100 wolf-hunting permits

MADISON -- Over 1,200 people will soon find out if they’ll be able to hunt for wolves in Wisconsin this fall.

The DNR will hold a lottery Thursday to decide who receives just over 2,150 hunting and trapping permits. The winners will be notified by mid-September. Those who don’t get permits this time will have their chances improved in next year’s lottery.

The DNR has set the quota at 275 wolves for the season that begins Oct. 15th.

However, Chippewa Indians have claimed 24 animals as part of their centuries-old treaty rights – which means that hunters can take 251 wolves. About 5,000 fewer people applied for wolf permits this year, than during the inaugural season in 2012.

Reward is being offered to find anti-semitic culprits

ALGOMA -- A $1,500 reward is being offered to find those who recently put up six anti-Semitic signs in Algoma in far eastern Wisconsin.

The Anti-Defamation League offered the reward, as the FBI and local police investigate the matter as a hate crime.

Elana Kahn-Oren of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation told Wisconsin Public Radio that the signs appeared in late July and were quickly taken down. She said the signs had messages like, “Jew go back where you came from” and “Kill the Jews, Keep Algoma clean.”

Local officials issued a statement that Algoma would not tolerate signs which are discriminatory or threatening.

Porn suspect claims FBI pressured him toward self-incrimination

WEST ALLIS -- A West Allis man, who said the FBI wanted him to incriminate himself by decrypting his computer drives, has been charged with handling child pornography.

Federal investigators said they managed to decrypt two of Jeffrey Feldman’s nine hard drives without the defendant’s help. So Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney in Milwaukee charged Feldman with two federal counts of receiving-or-distributing child pornography, and one count of possessing it.

The case has been closely watched by those concerned about protecting people’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in a digital age.

Defense attorney Robin Shellow said the charges appeared to be in timed in a way that would pressure Feldman into decrypting his other seven hard drives. The government was expected to file a legal brief Wednesday, explaining why a decrypting order would not violate Feldman’s Fifth Amendment rights.

FBI agents arrested the 46-year-old Feldman at his workplace at Rockwell Automation – something his lawyer criticized -- after he promised to turn himself in upon being charged.

Charges expected against Plover man accused of assault, murder

Charges could be filed next week against a Plover man accused of sexually assaulting and killing his neighbor, and then setting her body on fire in an abandoned car.

A Portage County judge set bond at $1 million Tuesday for 32-year-old Jose Flores Aca. He’s suspected of killing his neighbor, 36-year-old Jamie Koch, at the apartment complex where they both lived. Koch's body was found eight days ago in a burned vehicle in neighboring Waupaca County.

Portage County District Attorney Louis Molepske Jr. expects to file charges of homicide, hiding-and-mutilating a corpse, and sexual assault, but until an investigation is complete, the D.A. says it’s too early to say what the final charges might be.

Molepske says it’s possible that Flores Aca would be deported if he’s convicted. An initial appearance on the pending charges is set for Sept. 3rd.

A private funeral service was planned for Koch, with a public memorial service later.

-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau

Cyclospora outbreak linked to bagged salad mix from Mexico

MADISON -- Wisconsin health officials now say they’re investigating 19 cases of the rare stomach illness Cyclospora. It’s possible that only six of the cases are linked to a national outbreak in which 535 people apparently got sick from eating a bagged salad mix made in Mexico.

State epidemiologist Justin Kohl says it’s plausible that not all of Wisconsin’s cases are from the same source. He tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that doctors are becoming more aware and vigilant about Cyclospora – and as a result, many of the state’s cases may not be related to an outbreak that has covered 18 states.

Six Wisconsin cases of Cyclospora were reported a few weeks ago. Three were in Grant County, with the rest in Milwaukee and Brown counties.

The FDA said it found clusters of illnesses from those eating a salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico, served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.

The same thing was not found in any of the other states. Texas has the most cases with 215, followed by Iowa with 153. Most of Iowa’s cases were in the Cedar Rapids area.

Rhinelander shooting said to be accidental

RHINELANDER -- A 46-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition, after being shot at a home in Rhinelander.

Police said Tuesday that a 23-year-old man was suspected of shooting his uncle. Someone at the house called police, but the suspect fled. Oneida County sheriff’s deputies arrested him a short time later outside of Eagle River.

The shooting victim was taken to a Marshfield hospital with a wound to the abdomen. No charges have been filed, and no names were immediately released.

A family member told WMQA radio in Minocqua that the shooting was an accident.

-- Mike Michalak, WMQA, Minocqua

Alleged crime spree by Waupun cop ended near Spooner

A crime spree allegedly committed by Waupun Police Lieutenant Bradley Young may have started earlier than was first reported. Police officials now say the 43-year-old Young admitted breaking into a Piggly Wiggly store in Waupun last Sunday or Monday and took $3,000.

The state Justice Department is investigating the incident – which may have occurred on the same day that the rest of the two-day crime spree began.

Authorities said Young broke into a restaurant and stole a pick-up truck in Green Lake last Monday, and then drove to northwest Wisconsin where he crashed the truck in a police chase in Barron County. Officials said he ran off and stole a vehicle near Rice Lake last Tuesday, and was captured later in the day at a cabin west of Spooner.

Young is charged in both Barron and Green Lake counties with nine criminal counts. He’s scheduled to enter pleas September 18th on two Barron County charges of vehicle theft and fleeing officers. Authorities say they still don’t know a motive for the incidents.

The Green Lake charges also include two other grocery store break-ins Young allegedly committed earlier this summer in Markesan and Berlin.

Woman dies attempting rescue of teen who lost his hat

GREEN BAY -- A woman who died after falling 40-feet from a cliff near Green Bay was identified Tuesday as April Janssen, 34, of De Pere. The accident occurred late Monday afternoon at Fonferek Glen Park in Ledgeview.

Authorities said Janssen was trying to help an 18-year-old De Pere man who fell about 10 feet as he tried to reach a hat that another person had lost. At that point, Janssen lost her footing as both people got close to the edge, and she fell.

The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Brown County officials issued a statement yesterday urging people to exercise caution as they enjoy the park’s natural beauty. Signs at the park warn visitors of steep cliffs, rugged terrain, and falling rocks.

Two rescued after sailboat capsizes on Lake Superior

BAYFIELD, Wis. -- Two men were rescued Monday in Lake Superior after the sailboat they were on capsized, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard station in Bayfield received a call from a 911 dispatcher about 2:30 p.m. about a report of a capsized 17-foot sailboard near Madeline Island.

“Both men did the right thing by wearing their life jackets,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Harris said in a news release. “The men were also wearing wetsuits, which would have greatly helped their chances of survival if we had not found them right away.”

The Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., issued an urgent marine-information broadcast, asking those on the water to report any sightings to the closest Coast Guard unit and help if possible.

A crew from Station Bayfield found the two men and took them out of the water, towed the sailboat and brought the men to Madeline Island Marina.

No injuries were reported, and the men’s names were not released.

-- Duluth News-Tribune

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Steve Dzubay
Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer since 1995. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.
(715) 426-1054
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