- Associated Press - Sunday, April 26, 2015
Wisconsin organ registry grows from zero to 2.6M in 5 years

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin has seen the number of organ donors rise since relaunching the state’s donor registry in 2010, according to a published report.

Five years ago, Wisconsin had zero registered organ donors as the state transitioned into a new system that includes legal consent for the lifesaving medical procedure.

Now, about 2.6 million residents are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors. But there are still some 2 million eligible residents who have not signed up, Gannett Wisconsin Media (https://gbpg.net/1Dqht4xhttps://gbpg.net/1Dqht4x ) reported.

Nationally, Wisconsin is slightly above average in the percentage of residents on its registry. Advocates hope outreach efforts, especially during Donate Life Month in April, will push the state’s rate closer to 75 percent.



Gannett Wisconsin Media is teaming up with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to help build awareness of the need for organ donors in Wisconsin. Cobb, a registered donor since he was 16, toured the hospital in late March and recorded a number of video public service segments for the program.

“I want to raise awareness and make people more interested in finding out how they can help, and hopefully we can get more donors added to the list,” Cobb said during that visit.

About 59 percent of people in Wisconsin 18 and older are registered as organ, tissue and eye donors, according to figures from Donate Life America. That places the state 23rd in the nation. The rank is a little higher, 19th, when residents older than 15.5 years are included in the statistics. State law allows teens to register as part of the process of receiving their driver’s license.

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1 killed, 2 hurt in Milwaukee shootings

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee police are investigating two shootings that left a 23-year-old man dead and two other people injured.

Police say the Milwaukee man who died after shot about 9 p.m. Saturday while inside a minivan parked at a gas station.

The Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1JHL3Yvhttps://bit.ly/1JHL3Yv ) reports the man died at the scene. Investigators continue to try to identify suspects and a motive.

About an hour before that shooting, police were called to a shooting that injured two people outside of a home on Milwaukee’s south side. A 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man were wounded about 8:10 p.m. Saturday as they sat inside a car.

Police say the two were taken to a hospital and are expected to survive. Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.comhttps://www.jsonline.com

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Wisconsin lawmaker targeting drunken driving again

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin lawmaker is trying again to increase penalties for drunken driving in the only state in the nation where first-time offenders face tickets, not jail time.

Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said he plans to introduce seven bills that would increase punishments for drunken driving offenses, including a measure that would require first-time offenders to appear in court.

“It will make an impression to offenders that this is the road they’re going down,” Ott said. “Hopefully standing in front of a judge will help them change their path.”

Current law doesn’t require a court appearance on a first offense, but does require it on subsequent offenses.

After hearing about cases of drunken drivers who rack up multiple offenses, Ott said he was spurred to action.

Ott said he also decided to reintroduce half a dozen other bills that died in the Legislature last session. It’s not clear whether they will face a similar fate this year, but the same Republicans who were in charge last session didn’t take a position Friday on the proposals.

Among them are bills that would increase the minimum sentence for drivers who injure or kill another person in an accident; eliminate a rule that reduces penalties for offenses that occur more than 10 years apart; increase minimum sentences for fifth- and sixth-time offenders; and close a loophole for offenders with suspended licenses who drive without an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into a device similar to a Breathalyzer to start a car. The device must be in place for at least a year.

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2 Wisconsin climbers at Mount Everest survive earthquake

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Two Wisconsin men climbing Mount Everest have survived an avalanche set off by a powerful earthquake in Nepal that has killed more than 2,500 people.

Benjamin Breckheimer, 30, who grew up in Menomonee Falls, was trying to become the first wounded warrior to climb Mount Everest, according to his mother, Mary Lyons. Breckheimer, who now lives in Port Charlotte, Florida, was wounded by a homemade bomb in Afghanistan in 2009.

Lyons, who lives in Menomonee Falls, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1HJarzHhttps://bit.ly/1HJarzH ) that her son called her at 4 a.m. Saturday. Lyons says her son said the situation was “pretty bad” but that he was OK and would call in a few days.

“He didn’t talk for very long, I believe, because other people needed to use the phone also,” Lyons said.

Breckheimer, who left three weeks ago for Nepal, has climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia and attempted climbs of several other peaks, including Mount Rainier and Mount Kilimanjaro, working with Mountain Gurus, an adventure travel company in Seattle.

Andy Land, 52, a hospice nurse from Fond du Lac, and the rest of his climbing team led by International Mountain Guides in Ashford, Washington, all survived the earthquake, the company said Saturday.

“The team called from base camp (around 1 p.m. Nepal time) to let us know there’s been an earthquake, but that everyone on the IMG team (members and Sherpas) in all camps are OK,” Eric Simonson, an IMG partner, posted on the company’s website.

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