- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015
More than 380 in US sickened by cilantro-linked infection

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 380 people in 26 U.S. states have been diagnosed with a stomach illness tied to Mexican cilantro contaminated by human waste, two federal agencies said Tuesday.

It’s the fourth consecutive summer in which the intestinal infection cyclosporiasis has been reported in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the cause of the latest outbreak, which appears to have begun after May 1.

The FDA said it suspects the contamination came from “contact with the parasite shed from the intestinal tract of humans” in the growing fields, contaminated water or harvesting, processing and packing activities. It causes diarrhea, nausea and fatigue which can last several weeks to a month or more if untreated.

Preliminary results indicate cases in Texas and Wisconsin can be traced to cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico, which was supplied to restaurants at which some of those who became ill dined, the FDA said Tuesday in an updated posting on its website.

Georgia reported clusters of the illness to the CDC. Federal officials said people were sickened in 26 states but declined to name the others.

Previous U.S. outbreaks of the illness have been linked to imported fresh produce, including cilantro from the same region in Mexico which was the subject of a partial ban imposed by the FDA on July 27.

Cilantro imported from the state of Puebla was linked to outbreaks of the stomach illnesses in the United States in 2012, 2013 and last year, the FDA said.


Victim advocates decry Milwaukee archdiocese settlement plan

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee would pay $21 million to more than 300 victims of clergy abuse in a settlement plan decried by advocates for those abused by clergy as paltry but praised by the archbishop as a “rebirth.”

Milwaukee is one of 12 Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide to file for bankruptcy in the past decade over a flood of abuse claims. The settlement announced Tuesday is among the smallest per-victim payments yet in these cases.

The actual amount each victim receives will be determined by an appointee of the bankruptcy court. A judge overseeing the case will review the deal at a Nov. 9 hearing.

“This settlement represents for us in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee a new Pentecost, a day of rebirth that renews our focus on word, worship and service,” Archbishop Jerome Listecki said.

But attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents people who have filed 350 of the 570 bankruptcy claims, called the archdiocese’s treatment of abuse victims “harsh and hurtful.”

“This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics,” Anderson said. “The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”

The settlement was reached after three days of negotiations in July between the archdiocese, the creditors’ committee and attorneys for abuse survivors, the archdiocese said.


Audio contradicts Walker aide’s description of raid

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A newly unsealed audio recording made by law enforcement officers as they raided the home of a former longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker contradicts her description of how the search warrant was executed.

The audio file was submitted to federal court in response to a lawsuit Walker’s former aide Cindy Archer filed against prosecutors who led the John Doe investigation. The file was unsealed Monday and posted online Tuesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported on its contents.

Archer previously said police officers yelled at her, threw a search warrant at her and did not explain her constitutional rights during the 2011 raid.

But an officer can be heard taking more than five minutes reading Archer the warrant and later her Miranda rights. That officer and another one also engage in small talk with Archer and her partner about the house and home improvement projects. At various points, laughter can be heard.

The audio also reveals that Archer was permitted to step outside and have a cigarette and cup of coffee, contradicting her claim that she was not allowed to do that.

“I’m sort of doing you a courtesy by letting you get a coffee and smoke a cigarette just because I imagine being woken up at six in the morning by a bunch of people in black suits is not the way you want to wake up in the day,” Milwaukee County District Attorney investigator Aaron Weiss says to Archer.

“Thank you,” she says in response.


Playground in memory of 3 slain Wisconsin girls set to open

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) - A mother has gotten her first up-close look at a playground built in memory of her three young daughters killed by their father in northwestern Wisconsin in 2012.

The Leader-Telegram and KSTP-TV report the playground built for Jessica Peterson’s daughters Amara, Sophie and Cecilia is set to open Aug. 15 in River Falls. The universally accessible facility named the Tri-Angels Playground cost about $550,000, and Peterson says volunteers and donations made its construction possible.

Peterson says the playground has equipment specific to her daughters, including a microscope and slides that look like shoes.

The girls’ father, Aaron Schaffhausen, is serving three life sentences for their deaths. Peterson has married again, and has a 15-month-old daughter named Trinity and a newborn son named Flint.

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