- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015
Marquette University remembers slain alumnus James Foley

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Marquette University in Milwaukee is remembering an alumnus who was held hostage and killed last year by the Islamic State group while working as a journalist in Syria.

Hundreds of supporters attended a mass of remembrance Sunday for James Foley at the Church of Gesu on the university’s campus. Father Fred Zagone unveiled and blessed a portrait of the journalist during the mass, before leading a procession to Marquette University’s Alumni Memorial Union, where the painting was hung outside the union’s chapel.

Foley’s parents traveled from New Hampshire to attend the service.

A 5K run honoring Foley is taking place on the Marquette University campus Saturday and a rosary for peace ceremony will be held Sunday to commemorate his 42nd birthday.

Foley was kidnapped by Islamic State militants in 2012 and beheaded last August.

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Some want to swap ad hoc victim tributes for lasting shrines

MILWAUKEE (AP) - On what would have been his friend’s 18th birthday, a solemn teenager stared at a slumping display of helium balloons and a giant stuffed doll tied to a tree.

The decorations had been up for weeks as a memorial to Breanna Eskridge, who was gunned down outside her grandmother’s Milwaukee home. Jamel Russell came this day to mourn.

Such improvised tributes are part of the landscape in tough neighborhoods across the U.S., symbolizing a complex knot of emotions that community activists and city officials must navigate as they grapple with whether to remove them. To some, they’re eyesores, reminders of gang disputes, drug sales and sadness. To others, they’re an important acknowledgment of loss and mourning.

In Milwaukee, victims’ advocates are leading a push to make these ad hoc memorials into something more lasting. Community organizer Camille Mays has been working with local officials to establish publicly funded individual tributes to replace the makeshift shrines.

“Something that can promote life and growth and peace,” she said.

Collective tributes to victims of gun violence are fairly common. Boston has established a peace garden to memorialize its homicide victims, and Dayton, Ohio, for the past quarter-century has dedicated one day a year to honor the people lost to violence there.

But Rhonda Barner, who has worked as a survivors’ advocate for decades, said she knows of no city that does what Milwaukee is considering by honoring homicide victims with individual memorials. The closest match she has found is in Florida, where road markers recognize certain traffic deaths with an inscription bearing a victim’s name.

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Fixing Wisconsin Capitol dome: 200 feet up, a ‘fun project’

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Nearly 200 feet up, out of view of the school children on field trips and the thousands of other tourists to Wisconsin’s state Capitol, there’s a problem.

Inside the outer dome, beyond the interior one seen from the rotunda and adorned at the top with the “Resources of Wisconsin” mural, plaster is peeling away from the bricks laid in place more than 100 years ago when the Capitol was built. The plaster is deteriorating due to a moisture problem caused by humidity changes, leaking water and non-breathable oil-based paint.

The problem has been known for years, and now work is underway to fix it.

“It’s pretty much a plaster repair project but it’s 200 feet in the air in the most prominent building in the state,” said Laura Davis, the lead architect on the project. Davis, with Isthmus Architecture in Madison, has been working on Capitol projects since 1992.

The repairs mark the end of a series of rehabilitation work that began at the Capitol in the 1990s, costing more than $141 million.

This last project will largely be done out of sight - except for one 6-foot patch of peeling plaster about 160 feet inside the dome top, known as an oculus, that will require some acrobatics high above the ground to repair.

Despite being mostly hidden from view, Davis said the plaster repair work is still exciting inside what she calls “the state’s living room.”

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Body of Italian saint to be displayed at Madison church

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The body of an 11-year-old Italian girl killed more than a century ago and declared a saint will be on display this week at a Wisconsin church that bears her name.

Maria Goretti was stabbed in 1902 by a neighbor during a sexual assault. She forgave her attacker on her deathbed and said she hoped she would be with him forever in heaven.

In 1950, the Roman Catholic Church declared Maria Goretti a saint. Starting Friday morning, the body of the young saint is scheduled to be available for public veneration at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Madison for 22 hours. The church will remain open for people to file by her glass-sided casket.

Thousands are expected, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1ZspBjXhttps://bit.ly/1ZspBjX ) reported. Each person will be limited to 15 seconds in front of her casket.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our church,” said Monsignor Michael Burke, parish priest.

Although none of her remains will be visible, her wax-encased skeleton is largely complete, according to the Catholic Church. Touching the casket is said to bring healing.

“Healing, to me, can be as much emotional as physical,” said longtime church member Ed Felten, 77. “I believe with all my heart that this is going to change people’s lives.”

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