News 6/20/2010

Campbellsport Man Dies from Electrocution

A 29-year-old Campbellsport man was killed yesterday morning after being electrocuted. Fond du Lac authorities were called to a home on Pine Road in the town of Empire where are group of people were helping pour a concrete floor in a garage. They say Nicholas Klotz was helping smooth out the concrete with a long pole when he raised it and came in contact with a 7200-volt power line. Klotz was taken to St. Agnes Hospital where he was pronounced dead. A 47-year-old man and his 26-year-old son were also taken to the hospital but were later treated and released. Also on scene were Mt. Calvary EMS, Eden First Responders, Fond du Lac Fire Department Paramedics, Alliant Energy, and Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Columbus Pool Closes after More than 20 Get Sick from Chlorine

The Columbus Area Aquatic Center was closed yesterday afternoon after more than 20-people became sick due to high-chlorine levels. Authorities were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m. Columbus officials say a mechanical problem released undiluted chlorine into pool. The chlorine vapor was visible and staff members quickly evacuated the 275 people in the pool. Many of the people affected suffered wheezing and shortness of breath. They were taken to an area outside the aquatic center where they were treated by EMS. All were eventually taken to hospitals for further treatment and none suffered serious injuries. The pool will remain closed until at least tomorrow.

WI and CA Partnering in Stem Cell Research

Wisconsin has signed an agreement with California to help scientists in both states to combine forces on stem cell research. In signing the deal Governor Jim Doyle was joined by two leading UW Madison stem-cell researchers — Dr. Tim Kamp and Dr. James Thomson. Doyle says it’s not a competition in which Wisconsin tries to beat California. Instead, it’s about joining forces to cure people with debilitating diseases. Wisconsin is a leader in stem cell research. UW-Madison scientist James Thomson was the first to derive stem cells from human embryos. California has similar agreements with New York, Maryland, and seven foreign countries. Scientists are working together to find cures for Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and other diseases.

Jobless Claims Increase in Wisconsin

When the numbers came out last week, the state of Wisconsin was reporting one of the biggest increases in the number of people making jobless claims. The U.S. Labor Department reports the number of those filing first-time claims jumped by 12 thousand nationwide. Joining Wisconsin at the top of the list were Ohio and Illinois. Another government report showed consumer prices falling sharply in May. That was the biggest decline in nearly a year and a half. Gasoline prices fueled the drop — they were down five percent.

State Gets Good Ranking for Number of Frivolous Lawsuits

When it comes to the burden imposed by personal injury lawsuits and related litigation, Wisconsin fares well in the latest rankings by the Pacific Research Institute. Lawrence McQuillan is director of business and economic studies. McQuillan says the tort climate is an important factor in the overall business climate of a state. Paul Gagliardi with the trial lawyers group Wisconsin Association for Justice says this state has never been known for frivolous litigation. PRI ranked Wisconsin ninth in the “tort threat.” McQuillan said the state has good caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits, although Gagliardi points out that such punitive damages are not allowed at all in Wisconsin. One note of caution from McQuillan – the legislature has not addressed tort reform in recent years.

H1N1 Victim Lives On

Emily Eaton died a year ago from the H1N1 flu but a charity formed in her honor will help her spirit live on. The IRS has granted the Emily’s Path charity tax exempt status. Dale Eaton, her father, formed the charity with his wife after receiving financial support from relatives, friends and doctors that cared for her. Emily had a form of autism, but instead of being shy and reserved, she was very social. Her father says he wanted to form something that would “continue that spirit with children like her.” Emily’s Path is dedicated to bringing happiness to children who are facing challenges in their lives. Among its donations already made are the purchase of therapeutic toys for a play group of disabled children and paying the summer camp tuition of a child whose father got a job overseas.

Son Who Stabbed Father Expected to Live

A Green Bay man accused of stabbing his father is expected to recover from his own injuries. The 21 year old man allegedly stabbed his dad in the back, then tried to slit his own throat. The incident happened last Wednesday. Police say the two got into a fight in their home on the east side of Green Bay. When police responded to a call, the man with the knife refused to drop his weapon, then cut his own throat. Officers rushed him to the hospital for treatment. He was in the intensive care unit Friday, but is expected to survive.

Manure Digester Approved for Dane County

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk says the county faces challenges – how to keep the lakes clean while growing the dairy industry and providing a source of good jobs. Falk says the purchase of a manure digester is one of the answers. The county board approved spending 12 million dollars on the project Friday night. Milwaukee-based Clear Horizons will own, operate, and partially finance the digester. The rest of project will be paid for through a federal stimulus program, while the state contributes another 3-point-3 million dollars. Falk says taking the phosphorous out of the manure will keep it out of lakes and rivers. Ground will be broken on the project in a month. Prior to the vote the county extensively studies the manure digester on the Crave Brothers Farm in Waterloo. On the farm the digester is responsible for powering all of their cheese making factories and providing electricity to more than 500-homes around the farm.

False Child Abuse Reports Investigated

Investigators accuse a social worker in Racine of filing false reports of child abuse. Todd O’Brien is accused of filing the reports saying he had visited children who were victims of abuse. When his supervisors followed up, they say they found out that O’Brien had not visited six of the alleged victims. One was reportedly in juvenile lock-up when O’Brien reported he had visited the youth. If convicted, O’Brien could get up to 18 years in prison for making false claims.