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Tickets shape up for August primaries; 12-year-old girls facing attempted murder counts; more state news stories

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The only Republican who's running for Wisconsin attorney general has unveiled a new plan to fight heroin abuse if he's elected.

Waukesha County prosecutor Brad Schimel says the state is falling behind in addressing the matter, in spite of an aggressive campaign last year by outgoing Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Schimel proposes extra training for local law enforcement and prosecutors on heroin abuse. He also wants to form new partnerships that involve police, parents, teachers, and doctors -- and create a coalition with Wisconsin's neighboring states to share resources and solutions.

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State Assembly Republican John Nygren of Marinette, who led the charge to pass six heroin-related bills in the Legislature this spring, joined Schimel as he unveiled his plans in Green Bay and Madison. All four candidates to replace Van Hollen have said that heroin is the state's Number-One law enforcement problem.

Schimel filed his nomination papers for attorney general before yesterday's deadline, as did Democrats Susan Happ, Jon Richards, and Ismael Ozanne. The Democrats will square off in an August 12th primary.

Throng of candidates pursue bids for state treasurer, secretary of state

The Wisconsin state treasurer and secretary of state have lost nearly all of their powers -- but that's not stopping a dozen people from running for those jobs this fall.

Long-time Secretary of State Doug La Follette and four others filed nomination papers for that office by Monday's deadline. Seven people filed for the state treasurer's post. The state Government Accountability Board will decide next Tuesday whether all those candidates have enough valid nominating signatures to get on the ballot.

Governors and lawmakers from both parties have stripped duties from both the secretary of state and treasurer's offices in recent years, for a variety of reasons.

Some candidates have said they would fight to restore the powers. But one dropout said it would be futile as long as Republicans remain in charge of state government.

La Follette is the only Democrat to file for secretary of state. Two Republicans filed -- outgoing state Representative Garey Bies and Marc Bradley, along with Libertarian Andy Craig and Constitution Party candidate Jerry Broitzman.

Republican State Treasurer Kurt Schuller is not running again. Filers for that seat are Republicans Matt Adamczyk and Randall Melchert, Democrats Dave Leeper and David Sartori, Ron Hardy from the Green Party, Constitution candidate Andrew Zuelke, and Libertarian Jerry Shidell.

Former Senator George resurfaces for possible Congressional bid

Former state Senator Gary George emerged Monday as a last-minute candidate for Congress against Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore.

George was among hundreds who filed nomination papers for partisan offices just before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline. If their petitions have enough valid signatures, George and Moore -- who served together in the Wisconsin Senate -- will be on the ballot for the August 12th primary.

George served in the Wisconsin Senate until 2003, when voters in his Milwaukee district recalled him. A year later, he was convicted of conspiring to commit public fraud. George spent four years in prison for accepting illegal kickbacks from a former Milwaukee social services agency.

George says there needs to be a greater urgency in returning "jobs and hope to every corner of Milwaukee County."

There's also a Republican primary for the Milwaukee House seat. David King and Dan Sebring both filed.

Six candidates filed papers for the open Sixth District U.S House seat vacated by Tom Petri. Five Republicans filed -- state lawmakers Glenn Grothman, Joe Leibham, and Duey Strobel, along with Nancy Olson and Tom Denow, both of Oshkosh. Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the only Democrat who filed for that post.

Pre-teens facing attempted murder rap in mate's bizarre stabbing

Two 12-year-old Waukesha girls are in jail under $500,000 bonds, after they were charged as adults Monday in the stabbing of a 12-year-old classmate.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier are both charged with attempted homicide, after police said they stabbed the victim 19 times. She was hospitalized in stable condition at last word.

The victim was found lying on a sidewalk last Saturday with wounds to her torso, legs, and arms. A sheriff's deputy found the alleged attackers a few hours later as they walked along Interstate 94.

A knife with a five-inch blade was found in Weier's backpack.

According to prosecutors, the girls said they planned for months to kill their middle school classmate when they got together at Geyser's house for a sleepover on her birthday. Officials said the defendants wanted to pay homage to the fictional character "Slender Man," the leader of a hierarchy on a Web site Creepypasta Wiki, which is devoted to horror stories.

Defense lawyers say they'll try to move both girls into juvenile court, where they could face delinquency proceedings in anonymity.

If convicted as adults, their current charges would net them up to 65 years in prison each.

Appeals judges question $55 million for cemetery maintenance

CHICAGO -- A federal appeals court has questioned a claim by the Milwaukee Archdiocese that it needs $55 million to maintain church cemeteries.

A three-judge panel held a hearing Monday in an effort by the Catholic Archdiocese to keep its cemetery trust fund away from creditors in the church's bankruptcy case. Most of those creditors are victims of sex abuse by former priests in the ten-county Milwaukee Archdiocese.

Federal Judge Rudolph Randa had previously ruled that the cemetery funds were off limits.

Victims' attorneys told the appellate panel that Randa should not have ruled on the matter because he has relatives buried in one of the Catholic cemeteries.

Trust fund attorney Brady Williamson said Randa's family bought the burial plots almost 40 years ago, and Randa has not had any involvement in the matter since then.

Still, Judge Ann Claire Williams said she found the issue "troubling," and Randa should have made his involvement known before his ruling. Judge Robert Dow questioned whether the church needs all $55 million in the cemetery fund and whether some could be diverted to other purposes.

It's not known when the appellate court will make its ruling.

Rains have passed but run-off still poses some flood threat

The heavy rains are over, but western Wisconsin still has a couple of flood warnings.

The Kickapoo River was expected to fall Tuesday morning at Viola, but it won't crest until Thursday at Gays Mills. Both rivers were below their flood stages at last word and if there's any flooding, it's likley to be minor.

Likewise, the Mississippi River at Wabasha is expected to reach flood stage by Friday, with minor flooding projected, according to the National Weather Service.

Parts of western Wisconsin received up to 3.75 inches of rain during the weekend and into Monday.

The Weather Service now says that strong winds tore down trees and branches along a mile-long stretch of Racine County Trunk "L" near Mukwonago on Sunday night and a house that was under construction had one of its sides blown off.

For the rest of the week, mostly dry weather and mild weather is expected with highs generally in the 70's in most of Wisconsin each day. There's was a chance for more rain overnight Tuesday, but no severe thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Reducing state's coal-fired emissions is biggest hurdle to EPA rule compliance

Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources has already met with officials in neighboring states, on how they can work together to meet the federal government's new order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that Wisconsin would have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

The proposed national reduction is 30 percent, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Wisconsin's target is about in the middle of the pack.

A public comment period will take place before the EPA finalizes its rule next June. Officials say Wisconsin is near the halfway point in meeting the EPA's requirement -- and the biggest challenge now is to get utilities to reduce emissions from their coal-fired power plants.

The DNR says it plans to meet with utility leaders. The Wisconsin Public Service utility says it's too early to say what this all means -- since nothing's required before at least 2017.

Federal officials say states will be given a lot of flexibility in meeting their targets.

Utilities are expected to convert coal-fired plants to natural gas with greater use of things like solar power and wind energy farms. Wisconsin lacks wind assets, but former DNR Secretary Matt Frank tells the Journal Sentinel that the state has other ways to cut its emissions. Among other things, he notes that the state's forests emit large amounts of carbons -- and they can be tapped as part of cap and trade agreements which provides credits for off-setting emissions.

Fallen acrobatic pilot was ex-military, Delta crewman

MENOMONIE -- Forty-seven year old William Cowden of Menomonie, who died during an air show Sunday at Stevens Point, previously flew F-16's with the North Dakota Air National Guard. He retired in 2006 with the rank of major. Cowden later flew commercially, as a pilot with Delta Air Lines.

He told reporters before Sunday's air show that he performed stunts for four years in the plane that crashed.

Airport manager Jeff Overby said Cowden had over 24 years of experience as a military and commercial pilot. He was scheduled to perform at the Air-Fest in Menomonie later this month. The F-A-A and the National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating Sunday's crash.

Trial underway for boyfriend who fatally abused toddler

STEVENS POINT -- After two years of delays, a trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday for a central Wisconsin man accused of killing his girlfriend's two-year-old son.

Twenty-eight year old Reymundo Perez is charged in Portage County with reckless homicide and felony child abuse in the death of Felix Espinosa-Villa.

Authorities said Perez threw the toddler to the ground twice, because he would not stop crying. The youngster died two days later.

The incident was reported in October of 2011 at the mobile home of Perez' girlfriend in Bancroft. The trial has been delayed five times due to scheduling conflicts in getting expert witnesses to testify. At a hearing last December, prosecutor Veronica Isherwood said the child's mother is concerned, because the case has been pending longer than her son was alive.

Perez has been in jail since his arrest. He was moved to the Waupaca County Jail in January, after being at the Lincoln County Jail in Merrill. His trial is scheduled to last for eight days, running through June 12th in Stevens Point.

-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau

Heroin overdose likely killed Oshkosh woman

OSHKOSH -- Oshkosh Police continue to investigate the death of a 22-year-old woman from an apparent heroin overdose.

A 22-year-old Oshkosh man was arrested on Saturday. He's being held for violating a previous probation, while prosecutors consider new charges.

The victim's mother tried to contact her on Friday night and when she couldn't, police were called and officers found the body in her bedroom.

Meanwhile, a central Wisconsin man is scheduled to go on trial in early September for allegedly supplying the heroin that killed a man in Marathon County.

Thirty-one year old Lucas Zuehlke of Coloma is charged with five felonies in the death of Thomas Knickerbocker, 30, in March, 2013.

A three-day trial in Zuehlke's case is set to begin September second in Wausau. Police said Zuehlke sold $100 worth of heroin to his girlfriend, who then reportedly gave the drug to Knickerbocker.

He was later found dead by his young daughter.

The girlfriend, 34-yera-old Nycole Creed of Wausau, has a status conference set for August 19th on charges of delivering heroin and felony bail jumping.

G-E cutback will cost 90 jobs next year

MILWAUKEE -- G-E Health-care plans to cut 90 jobs from its facilities in Milwaukee next year.

The company told state officials that it's scaling back Life Care Solutions, a unit of the Milwaukee-based G-E Health-care. Layoffs are expected to begin next March 30th, and continue through March of 2016.

Two presumed drowned after Lake Michigan boat fire

The Coast Guard ended its search Monday for two people missing and presumed drowned after a boat caught fire on Lake Michigan near Chicago.

A former Green Bay woman died in the incident, and another man survived but has given conflicting stories of what happened.

Reports indicated that four people jumped from the burning boat on Saturday night on Lake Michigan, while it was en route between Chicago and New Buffalo Michigan.

One was found dead on Sunday. She was identified yesterday as 26-year-old Ashley Haws of Chicago, who used to live in Green Bay.

The man who survived was confused due to hypothermia. At first, he said up to six people were missing -- but as he became more coherent, he said only two were still unaccounted for. The Coast Guard said it's likely that they did not survive frigid cold waters on the lake.

Officials also wonder why the boat never issued a distress call, or tried to alert other boaters that something was wrong.

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