TOMAHAWK - Tim Iding went to the Philippines expecting to spend time with his fiance Loneta's family, and do some diving. Instead he found tragedy.
Iding, who prefers to go by Shortcut, hadn't been to the Philippines since his final days during the Vietnam War. He was a diver for a salvaging boat during the war.
He decided to visit his fiance's family in the Philippines when Typhoon Yolanda hit.
"You hear tornadoes where people say it sounds like a train," Shortcut said. "It didn't sound like that, but the wind you could hear."
They had a 72-hour warning before the typhoon hit. They stayed in a sturdy, cement room during the storm. Shortcut said the back of the building took the brunt of the storm. Winds reached nearly 230 miles per hour
"Everything was getting kinda blown from the mountains over the top of me and towards the ocean," Shortcut said.
Shortcut and his fiance Loneta, who goes by Loni, made it through the storm untouched. They found out a few days later that her entire family made it too.
But people around them weren't so lucky.
"These people the next morning, still everybody is in shock," Shortcut said. "You've got families sitting around, with their house gone."
According to the government, the death toll has passed 5,200 people. Filipinos look to their government and aid organizations for help. They're getting food and water in the hardest hit cities like Tacloban. But Shortcut worries about remote areas, like where his fiance's family lives.
"But to try to get these people relief efforts, to these small villages and up into the mountain," Shortcut said. "I don't know how something like that is going to get done."
He used all of his vacation and diving money to buy people food and supplies. But then he had to come home.
"I had to come back," Shortcut said. "If I'd of had more money I would of stayed there and I wouldn't be back here right now."
Even through all of the turmoil from the typhoon, Shortcut says the scariest part of the adventure was the ferry he had to take to get to his plane. He couldn't go to the Tacloban Airport because it had been hit hard by a storm surge.
So he had to take a ferry on a 12-hour ride to Cebu City to get a flight home. He says the ferry had at least 500 people on board, and was overloaded. Based on experience at sea during Vietnam, Shortcut believes the boat would have capsized in rougher seas.
"This is really happening and if there would have been a swell out at sea that night that thing would have went down, guaranteed," Shortcut said.
But he made it back to Tomahawk. His fiance is staying with her family until they get back up on their feet. They'll get married sometime when she gets back.
After all of this he knows they can weather any storm.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
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