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Wisconsin connections to the Boston Bombing

Wisconsin connections to the Boston Bombing

A Stoughton woman running her third Boston Marathon on Monday, shares her story.

Bev Fergus tells our news partners at NBC 15, "It was a perfect day for a race."

But what started as perfect ended as anything but.

"I was running with a friend, another woman from Madison, up until mile 21. I was almost sprinting at that point. There's probably, tens of thousands of people just screaming for you.”

But screams of excitement quickly turned into terror.

"I was racing to the finish line and it felt like it was 100 yards to the end when the first blast happened."

Watch the rest of her story here, thanks to NBC 15.

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A double-amputee who makes prosthetic limbs in Wisconsin knows what victims of the Boston Marathon bombing are going through.

Francis Manning says hearing about Monday's explosions _ and people whose limbs were amputated _ reminded him of his accident and the challenges he faced.

When Manning was 18, both of his legs were mangled when he tried to jump on a moving train in 1988.

Manning spent a year in a wheelchair before his legs healed enough to make prosthetics a possibility. He now has two prosthetic legs.

He tells WKBT-TV that victims of the marathon bombing are going to have to learn to walk again if they're missing a limb.

Manning now helps others who have lost limbs. He builds prosthetics in La Crosse and mentors fellow amputees.

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4/16

Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn used to be the Massachusetts secretary of public safety, so he watched with special interest as emergency officials responded to the Boston Marathon explosions.

Flynn says the response was "seamless'' and showed evidence of thorough planning and preparation.

He says he's following the investigation closely to see if he can apply any lessons learned in Milwaukee. He says it's too early to say whether his department will make any changes, until authorities learn more details about the Boston situation.

Flynn says Milwaukee events such as Summerfest and sporting events are generally safe because patrons' bags are checked. He says it's more difficult to plan for outdoor events that aren't enclosed, such as the Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Rally each summer.

Flynn held the Massachusetts position from 2003-06.

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President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ordering flags to half-staff at all federal buildings, military posts, and installations until sunset on April 20, 2013, in remembrance and mourning of the tragic events in Boston.

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In accordance with the President’s proclamation, the flags of the United States and State of Wisconsin will be flown half-staff at all buildings, grounds, and military installations of the State of Wisconsin equipped with such flags beginning Tuesday, April 16, 2013, and ending at sunset on April 20, 2013.

Yesterday, Governor Walker issued the following statement regarding the tragedy in Boston:

There is no explanation for the kind of evil that seeks to destroy.  Our hearts go out to the victims of the bombing today in Boston.  Tonette and I join our fellow Americans in sending our prayers and deepest sympathies to those injured and the families of those killed.

More on this story can be found in the following links here.

Governor Scott Walker has ordered all state flags be flown at half-staff to honor victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Walker issued the order Tuesday after President Barack Obama ordered flags be flown at half-staff at federal buildings.

Both orders call for flags to remain at half-staff until sunset on Saturday.

The state Assembly on Tuesday also unanimously passed a resolution honoring victims of the attacks.

Three people were killed and more than 170 injured Monday when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Walker is currently in China on a trade mission.

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The organizer of a marathon this weekend in Wisconsin says the deadly Boston Marathon explosions don't seem to deterring registrations.

The Adenaline Marathon on the Eisenbahn Trail is in West Bend on Sunday and it's expected to attract 275 runners for the marathon and other races.

Organizer Mary Simon says they've had about 20 people register on Monday and Tuesday. She says she was pleased to see people were continuing to register.

One of those was 49-year-old Amy Kaftan, of West Bend, who registered Tuesday for the half marathon. She says she never had a second thought about not participating.

Sean Ryan, race director of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon next month, says he doesn't expect participation to be affected. He says runners are resilient physically and psychologically.

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UW-Madison police say they are stepping up security at next weekend's Crazylegs race.

Campus police met with organizers of the event Tuesday morning to discuss participant and spectator safety and security.

The meeting was planned well before the Boston bombings but in light of yesterday's events, the discussion took on added weight.

Officials declined to discuss any specific changes to security but say safety is their priority, especially at large events when crowds get into the thousands.

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Wisconsin marathon organizers are planning to step up security in light of the deadly Boston Marathon explosions.

The Pine Line Marathon in Medford is expecting 300 people to its marathon and other races April 27.

Sue Emmerich, president of the Medford Area Chamber of Commerce, says there will be increased security generally and there will be more bag checks.

She says they may not be in a big metropolitan area like Boston, but they are still taking precautions.

Organizers at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee on Oct. 6 are also thinking about security.

Spokesman Matt Braun says they will review their crisis plans, discuss the matter with law enforcement along the route, look at upgrading security at the start and finish lines and consider increased bag checks.

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A Neenah woman was among those injured in the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Linda Witt was watching her son cross the finish line at Monday's marathon when she was knocked to the ground by an explosion. Witt tells WBAY-TV (http://bit.ly/12j1rek ) she was hit by debris and was covered in blood and pieces of human flesh. She suffered a loss of hearing and was taken to a hospital. The FBI interviewed Witt about what she saw.

Witt has been released from the hospital and plans to return to Neenah Thursday. She says although she saw some gruesome injuries, she also saw a lot of people rally together to take care of one another.

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Race records indicate many Wisconsin runners finished the Boston Marathon before two explosions near the finish line.

Participants from Madison, Janesville, Sun Prairie, Middleton, Verona and Beloit all clocked official times, according to the Boston Athletic Association website.

"I looked down back towards the finish line and saw smoke and I thought 'that is so close,' and then the second one went off and that's when it became very unnerving," said Charlotte Reddeman from Poynette.

Reddeman finished about ten minutes before the first blast. After the incident she says she was instructed not to travel in large groups.

Madison runner Judy Gundersen was finished and on the subway during the explosions. Before her stop the train was evacuated. She says it took her and other runners time to figure out what was happening because they did not race with their cell phones.

McFarland's Paul Webber finished the race before the explosions with two other local runners. He says from about a third of a mile away the explosions sounded like artillery rounds.

NBC 15 checked in with several running stores and clubs. Many groups are scrambling to make sure their friends are safe, but none were aware of any casualties from Wisconsin.

The Crazylegs Classic 8k race in Madison is scheduled for a week from Saturday on April 27. Staff say they have a previously-scheduled meeting with campus and Madison police on Tuesday.

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UPDATED Monday, April 15, 2013 --- 5:59 p.m.

From our news partner, WSAW in Wausau:

About a dozen runners from central Wisconsin were at the Boston Marathon Monday.

One of them, an athlete from Marshfield named Justin Goetz, tells us he finished the race with his wife and 9-month-old son waiting for him at the finish line.

Thankfully, he finished before the first explosion went off, and his family made it safely back to the hotel before they heard about what happened. Justin wasn't able to call us, because cell phone service is still cut off in much of the Boston area, but he told us this via Facebook:

"Luckily, we were long gone from the finish line area when the explosions occurred. We first heard what had happened after we had returned to our hotel room. We are fairly shaken from what has happened today and our thoughts go out to those who were killed and injured.

This is a sad, sad day. The Boston Marathon stands for so much that is good. Runners accomplishing their lifelong goals, families cheering them on, and countless volunteers helping them achieve those goals. Not to mention the charity runners who are using the marathon as a way to raise funds for different purposes.

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Posted Monday, April 15, 2013 --- 5:33 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A runner from Madison says his hotel room shook with the force of the blast at the Boston Marathon.

David Meixelsperger finished the race about 90 minutes before the explosion Monday.

He sent an email to customers of his Madison running store and friends in the running community letting everyone know he was safe, but that he couldn't send or receive calls on his cellphone.

The fiance of Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson's brother also ran the race. Larson says Kristen Kamm finished 25 minutes before the explosion.

Larson says he saw his brother post on Facebook that they were both OK following the bombing. He later spoke with him by phone.

Larson says he's "very, very relieved."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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SHOREWOOD, Wis. (AP) -- A Milwaukee-area woman whose daughter was running in the Boston Marathon says her daughter is upset and confused but not hurt.

Mary Beth Aasen, of Shorewood, says her daughter, 20-year-old Maggie, was near the 23rd mile of the race when officials began diverting runners.

Two people were killed and scores injured Monday when two explosives detonated near the end of the race.

Aasen says Maggie wasn't hurt but she was worried about her friends and unsure how to get back to Boston College, where she attends school.

Aasen says she and her husband had been using a cellphone app to track their daughter's progress in the race. She says they could see Maggie was still moving after a friend texted them about the explosions, and that was a relief.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

 

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