- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Jury deliberations begin in Wis. doctor trial

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) - Jury deliberations began Tuesday in the trial of a Wisconsin pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen male patients during medical exams.

Dr. David Van de Loo, a former adolescent and sports medicine specialist in Eau Claire, is facing 16 charges that include multiple child sex assault counts. Prosecutors accuse him of having sexual contact with 15 boys under the guise of medical exams, but Van de Loo and his defense attorneys told jurors that all the contact was medically appropriate.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before recessing Tuesday evening, the Leader-Telegram reported (https://bit.ly/Msb06ohttps://bit.ly/Msb06o ). They are expected to resume their discussions Wednesday morning.

In her closing argument, Assistant Attorney General Karie Cattanach said Van de Loo was sexually motivated when he touched the boys.

“He’s doing it because he enjoys the power and control he has over these children,” Cattanach, one of two prosecutors arguing the case, told jurors. “This is sexual in every way, shape and form.”

She added later: “Show these kids they did nothing wrong.”

Defense attorney Stephen Hurley said none of the alleged victims were lying during their testimony. But he argued that over time, the Mayo Clinic Health System, the boys’ parents and the media led the boys to believe they had been sexually assaulted.


Wis. DNR grants mine company air permit exemption

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says a company planning a huge iron mine near Mellen doesn’t need an air permit to take bulk mineral samples.

Gogebic Taconite asked the DNR for a permit exemption in December. The DNR on Tuesday released a letter to company President Bill Williams agreeing that sampling activities are exempt from air permit and construction permit requirements. The letter noted the company has estimated air emissions should be within acceptable limits.

The company will have to maintain records of actual emissions for at least five years, however.

The letter was dated Monday.


Anti-abortion groups boycott Girl Scout cookies

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Anti-abortion groups angry over what they see as the Girl Scouts’ support for abortion-rights advocates, including Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, have launched a cookie boycott.

The groups have taken issue with tweets and Facebook postings that link to articles recognizing Davis, who shot to political stardom last year with a filibuster of abortion limits, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another Democrat who supports abortion rights.

“It’s very clear that they are not citing any pro-life leaders with any praise, even though their official stand is they are not taking any position on abortion,” said John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco and organizer of the so-called CookieCott 2014.

The Girl Scouts do not endorse politicians or take stands on political issues, spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said Tuesday. The posts were meant to encourage people to get involved in discussions about the top newsmakers of 2013, which many people were referring to as the year of women, Parisi said.

“We think it is appropriate for us to encourage conversation about what makes a female leader,” she said.

One tweet from the Girl Scouts of the USA asked for nominees for woman of the year and linked to a Huffington Post discussion on the subject in which Davis was mentioned prominently. A post on the organization’s Facebook page linked to a Washington Post list of influential women that included Sebelius.

“Why link it? Why not just ask who inspired you this year?” said Ann Saladin, a conservative activist and former Girl Scout who lives in St. Louis.


Long winter brings salt shortage, steeper prices

CHICAGO (AP) - As piles of snow grow taller during this seemingly endless winter, the mounds of salt for spreading on the nation’s icy, slushy roads are shrinking, forcing communities to ration supplies or try exotic new ice-melting substances.

Cities have already gone through most of their salt well ahead of the time they traditionally really need it - when the coldest part of winter gives way to temperatures just warm enough to turn snow into freezing rain and sleet and roads into ribbons of ice.

“If we don’t get the salt, at some point people are going to be sliding all over the place like what you saw in Atlanta,” said Julius Hansen, public works director in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, citing last week’s television images of thousands of motorists getting stranded on ice-covered roads in the South.

So far this year, Glen Ellyn’s snow-removal crews have responded to 31 storms.

“In an average winter, we have 20,” Hansen said.

A community the size of Glen Ellyn, population 27,000, might use 50 to 100 tons per storm. A bigger community such as Waukesha, Wis., which has about 70,000 residents, could use 300 tons or more. The same storm in Chicago would call for more than 13,000 tons.

Demand is so high that salt gets more expensive every day. Communities are trying to decide what do to. They could buy a little more salt now, when it costs twice or three times more than earlier in the season, and hope it doesn’t snow too much more. Or they could wait until it does snow more and risk paying even higher prices.



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