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News from around Wisconsin (8:20 a.m. 11/2/09)

Wisconsin highway fatalities down 11 percent so far

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — With two months left in the year, Wisconsin continues its trend of fewer people being killed in highway crashes.

The Department of Transportation reports that as of late last week, 441 people have died in accidents — or 57 fewer than at the same time a year ago. That’s an 11 percent drop.

Last year, traffic crashes on Wisconsin roads and highways killed 587 people — 150 fewer than in 2007 and the lowest total in 64 years.

Traffic safety experts have attributed the decline in fatalities, in part, to reduced driving because of the poor economy.

The drop in deaths is dramatic compared with another era. The Transportation Department says that from 1964 through 1973, more than 1,000 traffic deaths occurred each year in Wisconsin, including 1,168 in 1972, the deadliest in state history.

US Youth Games to visit Milwaukee in July

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The US Youth Games are coming to Milwaukee this summer.

Eight hundred and fifty boys and girls, ages 15 and under, from across the country will compete in Olympic-style events at various venues around Milwaukee July 14 through July 17.

US Youth Games and Milwaukee Public Schools representatives will make the announcement Tuesday at a news conference.

Participants will be housed at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

The Milwaukee Public Schools Recreation Division will be the event organizer. The games were created in 1967 by former New York Mayor John V. Lindsay to showcase inner-city youth’s skills.

Wisconsin camp serving Chicago youth in danger

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — In northern Wisconsin, a kid born in Texas, raised by his single mother in a gang-infested Chicago neighborhood found a way out.

Peter Garza found it canoeing on a lake and sleeping among the pine trees at Camp Getschow. The camp Garza attended in the early 1970s has catered to poor, at-risk kids in the Chicago area for more than 60 years, but its future is in jeopardy. Fundraising needed to keep it running has lagged. Developers are starting to eye the pristine property along Blaisdell Lake near the Chequamegon National Forest.

Garza and other former campers are seeking ways to help. Even people who know nothing about the camp near Loretta in northwest Wisconsin’s Sawyer County are won over by stories from those who went there and are trying to come up with cash to save it.

“I couldn’t even fathom them losing that camp,” Garza said. “It just changes your life.”

A Chicago-area boarding school runs the camp. Private donations mostly cover the tuition for the camp and Glenwood School, which was founded in 1887 by Abraham Lincoln’s son.

Glenwood School serves about 200 children in the Chicago suburbs of Glenwood and St. Charles. The school says more than 75 percent of its students live in poverty and 91 percent come from single-family households.

Like many non-profits during the recession, Glenwood has struggled with finances. In 2007, a nearly $3 million budget hole that put the St. Charles campus in jeopardy was plugged after a last-minute campaign.

Police: 1 dead, 1 hurt in shootout in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee police are investigating after a gun battle erupted Saturday night that left one man dead and another man seriously hurt.

Police say it started about 9 p.m. near North 42nd Street and West Hampton Avenue when the occupants to two vehicles began firing.

When officers arrived, they found a bullet-riddled automobile nearby with a man in the backseat. He had been shot several times, including once to the head. He was declared dead at the scene.

The 21-year-old driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital by a witness. The driver had gunshot wounds to his arms and chest. He was in stable condition, but isn’t cooperating with investigators.

While several homes and vehicles were hit by bullets, police say no other injuries were reported.

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