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Archbishop labels $21 million bankruptcy settlement a 'rebirth'; drowning reported Tuesday at Interstate Park; 9 more Wisconsin stories

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki calls the proposed settlement of its bankruptcy case a "rebirth."

Victims of the priest sex abuse that triggered the bankruptcy say it's nowhere near enough.

The two sides have announced $21 million dollars in payments for over 300 of the 575 victims who filed claims in the 4.5-year-old case. A court appointee will determine how much each person receives and Judge Susan Kelley will act on the settlement Nov. 9. The action follows three days of negotiations last month.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the average payment per victim is $44,000 -- compared to $300,000 before legal fees in 11 other Catholic dioceses which filed for bankruptcy.

Creditors' attorney Jeff Anderson says many victims were treated unfairly by "hardball legal tactics."

Listecki says the church will turn the page and "embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness, and love."

Vos: Change election agency before 2016 vote

MADISON -- The state Assembly speaker wants the Wisconsin elections' agency to be revamped by the 2016 fall elections.

Republican Robin Vos said Tuesday it's clear the Government Accountability Board is not working the way it's supposed to and he wants to see political appointees carry out campaign finance laws and have ethics violations considered by another agency.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said the changes could disrupt the 2016 presidential vote, but Vos says there would be no change in the way elections themselves are run.

Majority Republicans have gone after the GAB for its involvement in the secret John Doe probe of the Walker recall election that the Supreme Court recently ended.

Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that lawmakers will try again this fall to put limits on prosecutors' abilities to have John Doe investigations.

Vos also wants to at least double the amount of money donors can give to state candidates, in an effort to put state campaign finance laws in line with recent court rulings.

Walker makes Top 10 for GOP debate

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Gov. Scott Walker has made the field of ten GOP candidates who will stage their first presidential debate Thursday night in Cleveland.

Fox News said it chose those with the highest average showings in five national polls.

Walker will be joined on stage by Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson.

The other seven Republican hopefuls will take part in a forum Thursday afternoon -- Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore.

Walker has been near the top of most polls.

Trump was the front-runner in the five polls which determined the prime-time debate lineup.

Walker's personal debt shows he's a 'regular American'

Gov. Scott Walker's presidential campaign is making no apologies for his credit card and student loan debt.

The Republican governor's latest financial report shows at least $100,000 in student loans for his two college age sons and he recently owed $10,000 to $15,000 on a credit card with a 27.25 percent interest rate.

AshLee Strong of the Walker camp called her boss a "regular American" who has given "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in salaries back to taxpayers.

Walker has one of the most modest finances among the 17 GOP White House hopefuls, many of whom are millionaries.

Walker gave up $375,000 in salary during his years as the Milwaukee County executive.

As Wisconsin's governor, he earns $147,000 a year.

Four hospitalized with fungus contracted while tubing

NEW LONDON -- Reports indicate that four people have been hospitalized with a fungal infection apparently contracted while tubing down the Wolf River in northeast Wisconsin.

It's been several days since blastomycosis was first reported in the New London area.

Outagamie County health officials say the disease had not been confirmed as of Tuesday.

Media reports say the state health department has gotten involved along with health agencies from Appleton and Winnebago County.

Officials say it's almost impossible to confirm the river as the source of the virus as blastomycosis is usually contracted by breathing in fungal spores from soil.

State officials this week said there have been 23 blastomycosis cases in Wisconsin this year -- a pace that's about normal for a full year.

Suspect in Catholic church burglary charged

WAUSAU -- The first of three suspects has been charged in a central Wisconsin church burglary.

Derek Pranke, 33, of Wausau is accused of breaking into St. John's Catholic Church in Edgar on July 19 and stealing $23,000 in Scrip cards -- gift cards that charities sell as fund-raisers.

Authorities say Pranke was caught on surveillance video using one of the cards at a Wausau store.

Two other people are under arrest and awaiting charges.

Pranke faces Marathon County felony charges of burglary, theft, and damaging religous property and a misdemeanor count of concealing stolen property.

He was jailed under a $5,000 cash bond, and is due back in court next Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau

Drowning reported on St. Croix near Interstate Park

CENTER CITY, Minn. -- A 20-year-old man drowned Tuesday afternoon in the St. Croix River on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Authorities say Rico Davis swam to a part of the river that's 8 feet deep northwest of Nevers Dam on the Minnesota side and he struggled to keep his head above water.

Friends tried getting Davis to shallow water, but they couldn't drag him until he became unresponsive. Rescuers tried reviving him but were unsuccessful.

The incident occurred late afternoon in Chisago County, where Davis was from.

Read a history of the Nevers Dam here: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/destinations/state_parks/wild_river/nevers_...

Judge tosses school sex discrimination complaint over music choice

MILWAUKEE -- A judge has thrown out a sex discrimination complaint from a Marshfield High School dance instructor fired for staging a controversial dance routine at a football game.

A state administrative law judge said Lisa Joling was not let go because of her gender. The judge did not buy Joling's argument that male teachers allowed suggestive music at other school events and got away with it.

A dance team's performance to the Robin Thicke song "Blurred Lines" raised concerns in 2013.

The judge said Joling's termination was based on a belief that she displayed an "egregious lack of judgment" in choosing a song the district found inappropriate, offensive, and degrading to women.

Joling has three weeks to decide whether to appeal the ruling to the state's Labor and Industry Review Commission.

Osceola firm plans to appeal OSHA penalties

OSCEOLA -- The Kapco metal stamping firm says it will "vigorously appeal" eight federal workplace safety citations.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed almost $208,000 in fines, after a 19-year-old woman lost part of a finger on a spot-welding machine in early February at a Kapco plant in Osceola.

OSHA called two of its alleged violations "egregious and willful," after another worker had part of a finger amputated from an accident on the same machine a year earlier.

Paul Pueschner, Kapco's operations manager in Osceola, said the firm disagrees with OSHA's findings.

He said the firm has complied with industry standards and pro-actively allocated "vast resources" to exceed many safety protocols.

Man wanted for Fond du Lac toddler death arrested in Texas

DALLAS, Texas -- A man wanted in the death of a 14-month-old boy in Fond du Lac is under arrest in North Texas.

Daniel Griffin of Bellwood, Ill., is in the Dallas County Jail, awaiting extradition after he was apprehended Tuesday at a Dallas area motel.

He faces charges of reckless homicide and two counts of child abuse in the death of Airrealle Smart's toddler and the abuse of his twin brother.

Police said Griffin stepped on the youngster in Fond du Lac last month, as Smart watched.

She's accused of negligence in the death.

Tri-Angels park opening soon

RIVER FALLS -- A new park constructed to honor three young sisters killed by their father in 2012 opens in 10 days.

Their mother, Jessica Peterson, led a $550,000 fund drive for the new Tri-Angels Playground.

Peterson got a close-up look at the park Tuesday and offered her appreciation to the many volunteers and financial gifts that made it possible.

Among other things, the park reflects the interests of Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia Schaffhausen -- who were killed by their father Aaron.

Jessica has since re-married with two children of their own, 15-month-old daughter Trinity and a newborn son.

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