Wisconsin farms continue to get badly-needed moisture after the nearly summer-long drought.
Officials say 38-percent of farm fields have adequate-or-surplus moisture - 10-percent more than a week ago. Showers were spotty across the Badger State last week, but some places got up to three-inches of rain. Southern Wisconsin continues to be the driest, where all or parts of 12 counties were still listed as being in an "extreme" drought last week. Even the hard-hit corn crop is getting a little better. Forty-percent of is poor-to-very-poor, three-percent less than a few weeks ago. 34-percent of Wisconsin corn is rated good-to-excellent. Soybeans also continue to improve, and almost three-fourths of the crop is fair-to-excellent. But spider mites have become a problem in a number of counties. 59-percent of pastures in Wisconsin are rated poor-to-very-poor, down from over 60-percent the past few weeks. Parts of northeast Wisconsin were hit with thunderstorms yesterday. Quarter-inch hail was reported near Marinette with wind gusts of 48-miles-an-hour late yesterday afternoon. Dry weather is predicted statewide today, with highs near 80. The next chance for rain is tomorrow.
A six-year-old Appleton area boy with a rare skin disease has been released from a hospital after his second stem-cell transplant. His father says Charlie Knuth of Darboy is staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis, close to the hospital where he received his operation in mid-July. Kevin Knuth says Charlie's skin is doing well, 30 days after his transplant. But the youngster needs to see his doctors each day at the University of Minnesota Hospital - and it could be almost two-and-a-half months before there's any consideration to send Charlie home. He has a rare skin condition called EB, which causes painful blisters among other things. Charlie's skin got stronger after his first stem cell transplant in late 2010. Wisconsin's Medicaid program had initially refused to pay for the operation, calling it experimental. But officials changed their minds after pressure from the family and their elected representatives.
A UW-Milwaukee graduate is one of four people to receive Fulbright Fellowships from the U.S. State Department. Albulena Shabani graduated from UWM just over two years ago. Shabani will investigate the effects of the 1999 war in Kosovo on women in that region. The other recipients are from Michigan State, the University of Pennsylvania, and UCLA. They were selected in a merit-based process. The fellowship recipients each get a one-year grant, plus recording equipment for their projects.
A 44-year-old man has been arrested for giving false information to police, when he told authorities that another boater fell from his craft and into Lake Michigan in Racine County. The man told officers just after three this morning that he swam for an hour before getting to shore at Wind Point. And after authorities found an empty boat, a five-hour search began for the 49-year-old man presumed to be missing in the water. The boater was found safe on land a little before eight o'clock. And Racine County deputies said the following actually happened: The two men went boating on Lake Michigan Sunday night, but they had engine trouble and could not get back to shore. The older man went to get help, and when he returned, the younger man was not in the boat. The younger man had gone to Wind Point Police and allegedly gave misleading information. During that time, the other man swam to shore and fell asleep. A reporter covering the disappearance found the older man unharmed on land. Racine sheriff's investigators said alcohol apparently had something to do with the incident.
A Madison man has pleaded guilty to a reckless homicide charge for providing the heroin that killed a woman just over two years ago. A charge of delivering heroin was dropped as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors also agreed to ask a Dane County judge to sentence Harris to no more than five years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set. Authorities said Harris supplied the heroin that killed Angeline Price at a Madison motel in June of 2010. Officials said Harris was on a monitoring program for previous drug-dealing convictions.
A Michigan couple began a 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan this morning, after they delayed their departure by a day. Jeff-and-Sara Tow started swimming from Two Rivers at 7:50 a-m. They plan to reach the lighthouse at Ludington State Park in western Michigan tomorrow afternoon. The Tows were planning to start yesterday - but the threat of thunderstorms delayed the start of their journey. The couple, from Grand Rapids Michigan, said they suffered from post-partum depression after the births of their two children. And they want their swim to raise public awareness of the condition. You can find links about the Tows' trip and post-partum depression on their blog at ThroughTheBlue-Dot-Org.