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News from around Wisconsin (10:59 p.m. 11/14/09)

Mourners grieve for soldiers killed at Fort Hood

KIEL, Wis. (AP) — The hundreds of people who lined the main street of a small Indiana city Saturday fell solemnly silent as a white hearse passed by on its way to the church. Mourners streamed into a Wisconsin gymnasium to remember a soldier who once promised to take down Osama bin Laden.

Across the country, many stood before several flag-draped coffins during funeral services for several of the 13 victims of the Nov. 5 shootings in Fort Hood, Texas.

In Plymouth, Ind. Sheila Ellabarger had placed two foot-high American flags in the grass where she watched the procession for Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow. She said her children went to school with DeCrow and his wife — his high school sweetheart — and she knew other members of his family.

“He was killed by a terrorist in my mind but he was still killed in the line of duty. We owe him a debt of gratitude, him and his family and the other soldiers. We owe them our lives, our freedom,” Ellabarger said.

During services in Norman, Okla., snapshots from U.S. Army Spc. Jason Dean Hunt’s recent wedding were projected near his casket. The 22-year-old was described as a loving husband and family man as well as a soldier who left a legacy of selflessness and service.

“We may never find out the reason for what occurred on that fateful day at Fort Hood, Texas,” said Ross Ridge, the deputy commanding general at Fort Sill, Okla. “The military community are all grieving here today over the loss of this dedicated soldier.”

The high school gymnasium in Kiel, Wis. was filled Saturday for Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger’s funeral. A visitation had been held there Friday where the 29-year-old was remembered as a determined, energetic young woman.

Pope names new leader for Milwaukee archdiocese

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Vatican named Bishop Jerome Listecki, a retired military man who has been outspoken in promoting Catholic issues in political arenas, as the new archbishop of the Milwaukee diocese on Saturday.

The Vatican said Listecki, 60, will lead the archdiocese of some 675,000 parishioners and 211 churches, according to a statement from the Milwaukee archidiocese. He will succeed Timothy Dolan, who was named archbishop of New York earlier this year.

Listecki said in a statement he was “humbled” by his selection as the archdiocese’s 11th archbishop, and his only regret was leaving the Diocese of La Crosse, which he has led since March 2005. The Chicago native will be installed as archbishop in January.

Dolan said he was excited about his replacement, calling him a good friend and an effective, generous bishop.

“Pope Benedict XVI has chosen wisely,” Dolan said in a statement.

Listecki, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, has been more outspoken on political issues than his predecessor. He once admonished House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her interpretation of Catholic teachings on the beginnings of life, and earlier this year criticized the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor Barack Obama.

He also testified before a Wisconsin legislative committee last month, arguing against a bill that would make it easier for victims of clergy sex abuse to sue their perpetrators.

Family of slain UW-Madison student takes out ads

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The family of a Madison college student who was killed last year isn’t giving up its efforts to find her killer.

Relatives of Brittany Zimmermann have placed ads on a Madison billboard and inside Metro Transit buses. They’re hoping the ads will encourage anyone with information on her 2008 death to come forward.

Zimmermann was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was stabbed in her apartment while calling 911. The operator didn’t send police to investigate and said she didn’t hear the scream or sounds of a struggle that are audible on the call.

Jean Zimmermann of Marshfield says Sunday would have been her daughter’s 23rd birthday. She says the ads are the greatest gift she could give under the circumstances.

Police haven’t identified a suspect.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

Military general: Krueger symbol of America’s best

KIEL, Wis. (AP) — A military general says a Wisconsin soldier killed in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood represented “everything that’s good and right with America.”

Major Gen. Richard Stone says Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger was a model soldier who died while protecting American freedom.

Stone spoke Saturday during Krueger’s funeral service at Kiel High School, where roughly 1,000 people gathered in the gymnasium.

Stone was Krueger’s commanding officer when Krueger was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2003.

He recalled a day when eight American soldiers died. Krueger comforted him and said, “Sir, we’re just going to get through this.”

The 29-year-old Krueger was among 13 killed in the Nov. 5 shooting at the Texas base. She was preparing for a second deployment to Afghanistan.

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