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Byline: Paul Gores
Jul. 14--Fettered by unmanageable debt and a languishing economy, Wisconsin consumers and businesses filed for bankruptcy at a record pace in the first half of 2003.
Bankruptcy filings surged nearly 20 percent through June, rising from 12,651 in the first six months of 2002 to 15,129 this year, records from U.S. Bankruptcy Court show. If the trend continues, the state will see its third consecutive year of record bankruptcy filings.
The six-month figures for Wisconsin also showed a big spike in Chapter 11 filings, which usually involve efforts by troubled businesses to reorganize, for the first time since the economy began sagging three years ago.
Chapter 11 filings rose more than five-fold -- from eight …