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Sheriff’s sale set for Schaffhausen house; Worker dies in tugboat accident near La Crosse; More briefs

The house in River Falls where Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three daughters will be auctioned off in a sheriff’s foreclosure sale on Aug. 13.

Schaffhausen defaulted on a mortgage he took out last March. That was two months after he and his wife divorced and he moved to North Dakota – and four months before he killed his daughters Amara, Sophie and Cecilia.

Schaffhausen stopped making payments on the mortgage in January 2012, leaving $181,000 unpaid.

He’ll be sentenced July 15. In April a jury rejected his insanity defense. He had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted arson.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser is planned July 20 for a playground in honor of the Schaffhausen children. A motorcycle run will start in River Falls and make several stops, ending with a poker game.


Worker dies in tugboat accident near La Crosse

A southwest Wisconsin man was found dead Wednesday in a tugboat that crashed over the roller gates of a Mississippi River lock near La Crosse and tipped over.

The body of 22-year-old Tyler Trussoni of Genoa was recovered from the second deck of the Megan McB about nine hours after the incident was first reported.

Two other Wisconsin men had minor injuries. They were treated at a La Crosse hospital.

The mishap occurred on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi at Lock and Dam No. 7 at Dresbach, just northwest of La Crosse.

Over a half dozen area rescue teams took part. Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said they could not enter the boat due to the high waters inside so a specialized diving team from the boat’s owner, Brennan Marine of La Crosse, recovered the body.

Trussoni was an employee of Brennan. He worked there for about three years.

The Dresbach Dam is the same place where 11 people were rescued in May after their rented houseboat went over the roller gates. Four people died at the same location in 2007.


150 National Guard members home from Afghanistan

Almost 150 Wisconsin National Guard troops are back in the U.S. after spending nine months in Afghanistan.

Members of Prairie du Chien’s 229th Engineer Company are still being debriefed at Fort Bliss, Texas. They’re expected home soon.

Officials said the unit helped improve the mobility of U.S. troops in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province. The soldiers worked on improvements to military bases and combat outposts, and they built new and improved roads and chopper pads.

The troops were well- qualified for those jobs. The Guard said many have construction and engineering jobs in their civilian lives.

The company conducted almost 600 missions while in Afghanistan, earning 23 combat action badges.


Man dies when ATV hits tree

A man was killed on the Fourth of July when his all-terrain vehicle struck a tree in central Wisconsin.

Jackson County authorities said the man was riding on a county forest road near City Point about 30 miles east of Black River Falls when he lost control of the ATV about 2 p.m. yesterday.

Officials said he was not wearing a helmet. He died at the scene. His name and age were not immediately released.


AirVenture takes FAA to court over $447,000 fee

The Experimental Aircraft Association has asked a federal appeals court to drop a $447,000 fee from the Federal Aviation Administration to provide service at its convention in Oshkosh.

The FAA has traditionally provided air traffic controllers for free at the annual AirVenture show, where 10,000 planes will gather at the end of this month.

This year, the free service went out the window when the automatic federal spending cuts took effect in March. And for the first time, the FAA billed the Oshkosh group to have 87 controllers handle all the air traffic going in and out.

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said he understands why the federal agency would want to “augment its congressional appropriation.” However, he said the new fee “unlawfully circumvents congressional approval and standard due process.”

The head of the FAA said his agency has to raise revenues somehow to make up for a $384 million overall budget cut.

AirVenture paid part of its bill last month and promised to pay the rest after the week-long show. The EAA said it is paying both under protest.


Fireworks show ends abruptly after worker injured

A fireworks show in suburban Milwaukee was cut short after one of the people setting off the big boomers suffered a broken leg.

The show in Hales Corners started just before 9:30 last night as scheduled, but it stopped after just four rounds.

Early reports said one of the fireworks exploded on the ground. Police called it a “minor malfunction.”

The show never resumed after that. Other details were not immediately available, including the condition of the injured worker.


Go-cart driver dies at Dells track

Authorities in the Wisconsin Dells area continue to investigate the death of a go-cart driver.

A 45-year-old Iowa man was killed late Wednesday night at the Alligator Alley track. Lake Delton officers said the man had a severe head injury after his cart went out of control and struck a wood post on a side of the track. No other go-carts were said to be near him.

A med-flight team from University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison responded, but rescuers could not save the man. He died at the scene.

The man’s name was not immediately released. Officials said he was visiting the Dells with relatives from DeWitt, Iowa.

Alligator Alley is located next to the Extreme World amusement park in Lake Delton where Teagan Marti fell 100 feet to the ground from the Terminal Velocity ride three years ago.



Last year’s gasoline spill worse than reported, says newspaper

A gasoline pipeline spill from last July caused more pollution in Washington County than what’s been reported.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the total number of residential wells near Jackson that were polluted with petroleum compounds has risen to 65.

Department of Natural Resources hydrogeologist Marty Nessman said 23 wells were not included in the state's official list of polluted wells because they had so little pollution that the exact amounts could not quantified.

The paper also said 12 of those 23 wells do not have carbon filters which the pipeline's owner provided for 77 other well owners. Filters were only given to those homes close to where the largest contamination took place.

The pollution was caused after 55,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a West Shore Pipeline Company line last July 17. The company has paid for numerous tests, temporary water supplies and other measures.

Over 200 families in the area have filed suit against West Shore and Buckeye Partners, saying the firms were negligent in failing to prevent the gas spill. Next year, over 100 properties will get village water from nearby Jackson. Officials expect to bill West Shore for the extensions.



24 Wisconsin counties designated natural-disaster areas

Two dozen Wisconsin counties have been declared natural-disaster areas after heavy rains and snows resulted in crop losses.

The designation means that eligible farmers in the affected counties can get emergency federal loans and other assistance. The counties are generally located in west-central Wisconsin and the eastern half of the state.

Gov. Scott Walker asked for the federal disaster declaration late last month. He said farm fields in the affected areas kept thawing and refreezing during a winter that last much longer than normal, followed by torrential rainstorms. The governor said the crop losses ranged from 30% to 70% in some areas.


Madison-area tot drowns at state park

A three-year-old Madison-area girl drowned on the Fourth of July at Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo.

Relatives pulled the toddler from the water and then called authorities about 5 p.m. yesterday.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the girl was unresponsive when she was pulled from the south shore of Devils Lake. Two doctors and a nurse who happened to be visiting the park performed CPR. Ambulance and med-flight personnel also tried saving the youngster but could not.

She died just after 6:05 p.m. Her name was not immediately released.


State’s cheese production keeps climbing

Wisconsin cheese production keeps humming along at a faster pace than the rest of the country.

According to new federal numbers, the state pumped out 244 million pounds of cheese in May. That’s 4.4% more than a year ago, which is higher than the national increase of 3.9%.

Wisconsin remains the nation’s largest cheese-maker. Its May production increase was double that of second-place California. The Golden State made 198 million pounds for a 2.2% increase.

Nationally, about 954 million pounds of cheese were produced in May. Wisconsin’s output of American cheese jumped by 6.5% from the year before. Cheddar production was up by just over 5%.