- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014
Bridges key piece to toting big soybean harvest

STOCKLAND, Ill. (AP) - A no-frills concrete bridge on the edge of Stockland, Illinois, represents just the kind of headache the nation’s soybean farmers hope a multimillion-dollar campaign and a little creative thinking will cure.

The 50-feet concrete span and hundreds like it in soybean-growing states can’t handle the weight of fully loaded grain trucks that’ll be bringing an expected record harvest to grain elevators this fall. That means those who use the often small, obscure bridges will have to make more trips and spend more money.

Hauling soybeans to Stockland Grain Co. from the west means crossing the Stockland bridge. It’s restricted to 29 tons or 58,000 pounds; a fully loaded grain trucks weighs 80,000 pounds.

“Basically, it’s probably doubling the freight (cost),” Stockland Grain owner Sonny Metzinger said from his business about 100 miles south of Chicago.

Since farmers’ profits are dropping this year alongside crop prices, bridge-infrastructure needs have come into sharper focus. Most soybeans wind up on a rail car or barge to reach their ultimate destination, but just about all of them leave the farm in trucks that roll over small bridges.

“This matters a lot all of the sudden,” said Scott Irwin, a professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Illinois.

Soybeans are one of the country’s largest and most valuable crops - $41.8 billion in 2013 - and are grown in about 30 states for animal feed, food additives and other uses. That money is of particular importance in rural counties in states such as Iowa and Illinois, the two largest producers. But those counties have small, often dwindling populations and the bridges are lightly used outside of hauling crops to market, which makes them a tough sell to state and local policymakers.

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Body of WWII soldier passes through Wisconsin

VIROQUA, Wis. (AP) - A body of World War II soldier mistakenly buried in a German ossuary is finally on his way home, but not before making a stop in Wisconsin.

A horse-drawn funeral carriage delivered Pfc. Lawrence S. Gordon to a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Viroqua Friday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1ubkqH3https://bit.ly/1ubkqH3 ).

“It’s a unique opportunity to honor one of our fallen after all these years,” said Gordon Hellwig, a member of the honor guard from Coon Valley.

Viroqua’s connection is that it produced Staff Sgt. David L. Henry, who served with Gordon.

Henry’s grandson, Middleton filmmaker Jed Henry, was working on a documentary about his grandfather when he learned about Gordon and helped solve the mystery of Gordon’s location.

After the public reception with several dozen area residents, the carriage, a bagpiper, Wisconsin National Guard members and Wisconsin Patriot riders slowly processed down Main St. to a waiting transport vehicle at the fairgrounds, which will take Gordon about 1,600 miles back to Eastend, Saskatchewan, Canada. That’s where he was born and raised before moving to Wyoming to work on a ranch. Gordon enlisted in the U.S. Army while in Wyoming.

Gordon is going to be buried Wednesday in his Canadian hometown on the 70th anniversary of his death.

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State investigates Plover police-involved shooting

PLOVER, Wis. (AP) - The state’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating a police-involved shooting in Plover.

Stevens Point Journal Media reports (https://spjour.nl/1yhJtpA) an officer shot a 33-year-old Manawa man multiple times following an altercation during a traffic stop on Highway 54 at about 6:50 p.m. Friday. In a news release, Plover police say the man had been pulled over for driving erratically.

Plover Police Chief Dwayne Wierzba says the officer suffered no injuries and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The other man has been hospitalized.

The department didn’t identify the officer but noted the officer has been employed by the department since 2006.

Highway 54 was closed afterward for the investigation and didn’t open for traffic until around 5 a.m. Sunday.

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New Sheboygan museum owes $300k in unpaid mortgage

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) - The Military Heritage Museum and Education Center is having financial difficulties and owes more than $334,000 to a bank.

Court records indicate the museum currently owes Bank First National a principal sum of $316,728 in unpaid mortgage since April 2, plus more than $17,300 in interest and other fees, according to Sheboygan Press Media (https://shebpr.es/1uA26ELhttps://shebpr.es/1uA26EL ).

The museum had its grand opening in August of last year. Bank First National’s attorney filed the motion for foreclosure in June. After the filing, museum officials failed to appear in court or file a response.

The museum’s executive director, Larry Hinkelman, told The Associated Press Saturday they had “some personnel setbacks” and someone was “supposed to be raising money and it just wasn’t happening.” They’ve chosen to pay other bills during the cash strapped time, he said.

They are looking for a new developmental director to help fundraise and they have a plan in place to raise the money, or they will take out another mortgage, he said. He’s confident they will be able to stay afloat.

“We are very proud of the museum,” he said.

Another hearing is scheduled for Monday in Sheboygan County Circuit Court.

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