- Associated Press - Thursday, July 17, 2014
Hailstorm damages crops on Wisconsin peninsula

SEVASTOPOL, Wis. (AP) - A severe hailstorm caused significant damage to crops in northeastern Wisconsin, farmers and researchers said.

Matt Stasiak, an agricultural researcher, tells the Door County Advocate (https://gbpg.net/1r3AffZhttps://gbpg.net/1r3AffZ ) the hail crushed cherry trees, grapevines, winter wheat, corn and other crops in Sevastopol (seh-vas-TOH’-pahl) Monday night.

“A lot of foliage was stripped right off the cherry and apple trees,” he said. “I saw some corn that had been ripped down to the stalks.”

Stasiak also said five or six unfinished experiments at the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station were ruined. His team will have to wait until next year to repeat them.

A farmer tending to 60 acres of corn said the storm reduced the crop to one foot tall from four feet. The farmer said he remembers a similar hailstorm that hit the area 51 years ago, but it didn’t leave behind “snowbanks” like the one on Monday night.

An orchard manager said about 10 of her 15 acres of apple trees were ruined.

The sheriff’s department says the grape-sized hail was about 3 to 4 inches deep in some spots. Snowplows were used to clear hail from roads.


Judge gives group more time on probe records

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A federal judge has given the Wisconsin Club for Growth three more weeks to work on an agreement over making public documents related to an investigation into whether Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign and conservative groups broke campaign finance laws.

The conservative group is working with prosecutors and two unnamed parties to reach a deal on what documents to release. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa had given the parties until Thursday to reach an agreement.

Wisconsin Club for Growth asked Randa for more time on Wednesday, saying the Thursday deadline is “infeasible” due to the work required to review the 3,000 pages of documents in question.

Randa agreed later Wednesday afternoon, setting a new deadline for Aug. 7.

No one has been charged in the probe.


Wausau man sues over firing for legal gun in car

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - A Wausau man with a concealed-carry permit has sued his former employer for firing him, allegedly over having a gun in his car at work.

Ethan Shepherd contends window and door maker Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. Inc. violated Wisconsin’s concealed-carry law when it fired him.

Shepherd’s lawsuit was filed last week in Marathon County Circuit Court. President Nik Clark of Wisconsin Carry Inc. told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1nxDKFJhttps://bit.ly/1nxDKFJ ) his group is paying the upfront costs of the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that in March, someone from the human resources department of the Wausau-based company asked Shepherd if he had a concealed-carry license and a firearm in his car.

Shepherd answered yes to both questions. He was then asked if he had shown his gun to anyone at work, and he said he had - inside his own car, after work. Shepherd was then fired.

The lawsuit contends Shepherd’s firing violates a section of Wisconsin’s 2011 concealed-carry law, which bars employers from prohibiting employees with a permit from storing a weapon in their vehicle, even if it is parked on company property.

Clark said when Kolbe officials were first contacted about Shepherd’s incident, they said he had his gun outside his car, which Shepherd denies.


Wisconsin boy’s car truck death ruled an accident

CENTURIA, Wis. (AP) - The death of a 2-year-old boy found in the trunk of a car on his family’s property in rural Centuria was ruled an accident after investigators determined he took his father’s keys and climbed into the vehicle, the Polk County district attorney said Wednesday.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (https://bit.ly/1rrup7uhttps://bit.ly/1rrup7u ) DA Dan Steffen characterized the death of Isaiah Theis as “a perfect storm that led to a real tragic ending.” No charges will be filed because there was no evidence of intent or recklessness.

The boy’s body was found last July in the trunk of a car on his family’s property in the northwestern part of the state, near the Minnesota border. The discovery was made by the car’s owner nearly 27 hours after Isaiah was last seen playing with his brother in their home. The cause of death was probable hyperthermia.

About 2,500 people participated in an extensive search for the boy, but the car was not checked because authorities didn’t believe he would be able to unlock the doors and climb in on his own.

Steffen said numerous forensic tests and a re-creation of events were conducted until authorities determined Isaiah’s death was accidental. The investigation found the boy, whose father was a mechanic, used the car keys to open the trunk.

The family’s pastor said at the time that Isaiah’s father worked on cars on the property and the family believed the boy had taken the keys from his father’s shop.

“He spent a lot of time with dad in the shop, and if he saw you do something once, he could repeat it easily,” the Rev. Rick Van Gundy said.

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