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News from around Wisconsin at 5:28 a.m. CDT

  • July 10, 2013 - 6:35 AM

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Winnebago County authorities say the body of a skydiver has been found in an Oshkosh-area lake.

A dive team began searching for the skydiving instructor after wind pushed him off course and into Lake Butte des Morts on Tuesday. The instructor was making a tandem 10,000-foot jump with a student.

Officials say the student swam to shore for help about 12:30 p.m. and was not injured.

The sheriff's department says the instructor's body was found shortly before 5:30 p.m. His name has not been released pending notification of relatives.

DEERBROOK, Wis. (AP) — The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down several times near Deerbrook as strong storms moved through central Wisconsin.

The weather service says law enforcement observed the tornado lift off and touch down several times as it moved east around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

But a Langlade County sheriff's dispatcher says it's a rural area of fields and woods, and there was no damage apart from some tree debris, and no injuries.

The weather service later issued tornado warnings when spotters reported a confirmed tornado in Waushara County near Plainfield about 5:45 p.m., but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries there, either.

The storms also downed trees and power lines in Lincoln County, where Wisconsin Public Service reports about 1,000 customers lost power.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Groups of up to 20 people can gather in the state Capitol without a permit, a federal judge ruled, striking down portions of the current policy requiring permits for all activities as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights.

Monday's ruling came in a case brought in February by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the Capitol access policy enacted by Gov. Scott Walker's administration. The policy was revised in December 2011 following massive protests over Walker's proposal that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

The current policy required permits for any organized activity in the Capitol, even if it's only one person. Three or fewer people gathered "for the purpose of actively promoting a cause," such as lobbyists meeting with a lawmaker, are exempt.

U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a preliminary injunction on Monday requiring that no group of fewer than 20 people can be required to get a permit for Capitol access. He also said the policy's preference for "cause-promoting speech" was an unconstitutional content-based restriction on speech and cannot be enforced.

"The current permitting requirement sweeps in an enormous amount of ordinary activities that are unlikely to present any significant disturbance in the Capitol," Conley wrote. "It thus unnecessarily creates a chilling effect on the speech of the majority of individuals who are willing to follow reasonable conduct standards and co-exist harmoniously with tour groups, permitted events and other legitimate state activities."

He didn't rule on the constitutionality of the entire permit policy, but said the provisions he identified as unconstitutional "raises the question of whether the rest of the Access Policy can be salvaged." A trial seeking to permanently block those rules from being in place was scheduled to begin Jan. 13, but Conley scheduled a conference call to discuss the case with attorneys on Wednesday.

Wisconsin Department of Justice spokeswoman Dana Brueck praised the ruling for recognizing that the state has made "good faith efforts to keep the Capitol open for all users."

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Officials in Milwaukee say the courthouse there will be closed for the rest of the week — if not longer — after a weekend fire.

Scores of workers were at the courthouse Tuesday, trying to clean up debris and smoke damage from Saturday's fire.

County official Julie Esch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/186ruebhttp://bit.ly/186rueb ) that every inch of the building must be cleaned before the courthouse reopens.

The adjacent Safety Building also is being cleaned after the fire, but county officials say it will reopen Wednesday. All criminal court cases, including those that were scheduled for the Courthouse, will be heard at the Safety Building or the Criminal Justice Facility.

The cause of the fire has still not been determined.

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