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State’s corn planting way behind schedule; Rain, snow showers cover state; 10 more state briefs

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Almost one of every five acres of this year's corn crop has been planted throughout the nation -- but in Wisconsin, it's more like one of every 100 acres.

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The National Ag Statistics Service said 1% of the Badger State's corn crop was in the ground as of Sunday. Ten percent has normally been planted by this time in the past five years.

The cold wet winter and spring have gotten farmers behind. Spring field tillage is only 9% complete. That's 5% more than a week ago, but the average is 33% by now.

Only 13% of the Wisconsin oat crop is in the ground. That's normally 47%.

A crop reporter in Juneau County says the weather continues to frustrate everyone, and things are not expected to get much better this week with rain and some snow in the forecast.

Farmers do have one piece of good news. Winter wheat is getting greener, and 55% of it is rated good to excellent.

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Rain, snow showers cover state

All of Wisconsin will get more April showers today, but they could be snow showers in the far north, enough for another inch or two of the heavy white stuff.

Hawthorne in Douglas County picked up a half inch of snow and sleet as of early last evening. The rest of Wisconsin got a quarter to a half inch of rain for most of yesterday. Stueben in the southwest had just over 1 1/4 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service said a slow-moving low pressure system brought several bands of showers into the state. That will continue through Thursday. Forecasters say today will be the roughest weather day with snow in the north and thunderstorms possible throughout southern Wisconsin.

Rain showers are predicted statewide tomorrow and Thursday with a chance of rain continuing into the weekend. Temperatures will stay colder than normal with highs in the 40's and 50's and lows ranging down into the 30's statewide most nights this week.

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Volunteers treat stolen dog for severe burns

MILWAUKEE -- A stolen dog that was burned and left in the cold in Milwaukee has received a type of surgery that's normally performed only on people.

Beatrice, a five-year-old black Chihuahua mix, was stolen from the backyard of Karen Burns' house on March 13. Eleven days later, the pet was found with singed eyebrows and whiskers and burns over 90% of her body.

Yesterday, an hour-long operation installed pigskin over the dog's burns. Once they heal, the pigskin will come off. A surgeon and a veterinarian donated their time. The foot-long piece of pigskin was also a gift.

The veterinarian, Marla Lichtenberger, said people wanted to help because they were moved when hearing what happened. Without the donations, she said it would have cost almost $10,000 for the services and vet bills.

Police said they believe a 21-year-old man burned the dog. He's being held on unrelated charges while prosecutors review the matter.

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Woman arrested for drunk driving at charity run

WEST BEND -- Police said a West Bend woman drove drunk on a state trail at a charity running race for a group that fights alcohol abuse.

No runners were close by at the time, but director Mary Simon of Elevate Inc. said it's still ironic.

The story was first reported on an athletic blog called "The Active Pursuit." A West Bend police community service officer was keeping the peace at Sunday's event when three people on a nearby street were trying to prevent the 33-year-old woman from getting behind the wheel.

Officials said she entered the trail from a dead-end street, and she apparently didn't know about the race when she drove about 200 feet on the trail then backed into a sign telling motorists not to drive there. Officers said the woman was just trying to get home.

She was cited for first-time OWI and improper backing.

About 400 people took part in quarter, half and full marathons. Simon said most people were done by the time of the incident, but a few late finishers went around police officers who were ticketing the woman. Elevate was formed when two service groups in Washington County merged.

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Two Rivers man suspected of killing wife’s son

A $250,000 bond has been set for a Two Rivers man suspected of killing a son of his wife.

Jesse Moreno Jr., 54, appeared at a bond hearing yesterday on a TV hookup from jail. He's due in Manitowoc County Circuit Court next Monday. By then, prosecutors expect to file charges.

Police said Koyoko Perry, 34, of Two Rivers was stabbed early Sunday. He then tried to drive away from the scene, but police said he ended up striking two vehicles in the driveway of a house. Perry later died from his injuries.

An autopsy was performed yesterday, and the results are expected to be released later today. Police are not saying more about what happened, but they confirm that Moreno is married to Perry's mother.

A charge of first-degree intentional homicide has been recommended. If Moreno posts bond, a judge said he cannot see his wife or two witnesses to the stabbing incident.

--Damon Ryan, WOMT, Manitowoc

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Jurors will decide if killer should be released from institution

A jury in Stevens Point will decide whether a man found insane when killing his grandfather a quarter century ago should be released from a mental institution.

Online court records show that Steven Feck's case will be considered by a six-person jury Thursday.

The 50-year-old Feck was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he stabbed his grandfather Elton Favell, 76, to death with a pair of scissors at the victim's mobile home in Stevens Point in 1989.

Feck is seeking a release from the Winnebago Mental Health Institute under a law that was in effect at the time. It allowed juries to decide whether committed suspects can get community treatment instead of being institutionalized.

Under the current law, judges make those decisions. Prosecutors say Feck is still likely to re-offend. They say the risk is too high to grant his release.

--Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau

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DPI urges joint school-community safety regulations

Wisconsin's education agency is encouraging schools to adopt new safety regulations.

The Department of Public Instruction is highlighting measures developed jointly by education and emergency response leaders. The proposals include the creations of local and statewide crisis response teams, safety planning teams for each school and training so school staffers know what to do in the event of emergencies.

Other recommendations include controlled access to schools, managing visitors and new security technology like surveillance cameras and two-way radios.

Wisconsin schools are already required to have their own safety plans and to review them every three years. The education and emergency response team proposed model policies for schools and local communities to adopt together.

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Charter picks up 1.4 million Time Warner customers

Wisconsin's two largest cable TV companies are about to become one.

Charter Communications said yesterday it will acquire most of Time Warner's operations in the eastern half of Wisconsin and will become the main carrier in virtually all of the Badger State.

UW-Madison telecommunications Professor Barry Orton says the acquisition should not affect cable rates in and of itself. He says rates will keep going up, mainly because of programming and what he calls "the ridiculous amounts of money we give to actors, sports figures and directors."

Charter Communications tried but failed to acquire all of Time Warner Cable in February. Now, Comcast is buying Time Warner, and Charter is about to pick up 1.4 million customers that Comcast plans to shed to avoid regulatory issues.

Charter says Time Warner customers will get the same services they receive now -- cable TV, Internet and phone service.

Orton notes that Charter will continue to have limited competition from satellite and AT&T's U-verse. He told the Journal Sentinel that the biggest impact should be a reduction in the total numbers of jobs. Charter has around 1,900 employees and Time Warner about 2,000.

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Man who fled police found dead in Wisconsin River

WISCONSIN DELLS -- A missing southern Wisconsin man has been found dead in the Wisconsin River at Wisconsin Dells.

Mitchel Blanchard, 21, of Pardeeville was last seen early Sunday, running away from police officers who were investigating a fight at Captain Brady's Showboat Saloon in the Dells. Officials said the chase ended when Blanchard ran into a wooded area.

His family called 911 later on Sunday to report his disappearance. Officials said his vest was found near the river on Sunday. Rescuers found his body near a dam on the river about noon yesterday.

An autopsy has been scheduled. Media reports said Blanchard attended his sister's wedding several hours before the Wisconsin Dells bar fight.

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Long, cold winter hurt wine producers too

Wisconsin winemakers are among the latest to feel the aftermath of our extremely cold winter.

Phillipe Coquard said he's not crying wolf just yet, but it appears that 30-50% of his grape crop is lost at the Wollersheim Winery near Sauk City. Coquard told the Wisconsin Radio Network that the buds are swelling now, and he'll soon get a better idea of the extent of the damage to the grapes.

Coquard said winemakers in the state are used to rough winters, but this one was especially bad. He said wineries have had colder stretches, but nothing like the 10 to 12 below temperatures and winds that stretched out for almost three straight weeks.

Coquard said grape damage is widespread across the northern United States, also affecting wineries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

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Police use stun gun to subdue UW-Madison student in dorm

UW-Madison police used a Taser stun gun to arrest a student after he reportedly caused a disturbance at a campus dormitory.

Officers were called to Sellery Hall around 4:20 p.m. yesterday.

Police said the housing staff asked the student several times to leave, but he wouldn't do it. Officials said the man got combative once officers arrived, and he got into a struggle with officers before being subdued by the stun gun.

He was taken to a hospital to be checked out. One officer suffered a minor hand injury and was given hospital treatment.

Police said they'll ask prosecutors to charge the man with battery to a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

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Renovations interrupt pick-up area at Mitchell International

MILWAUKEE -- If you need to pick up somebody at Wisconsin's largest airport, don't plan to use the road near the baggage claim area -- not for a while, anyway.

Officials at Milwaukee's Mitchell International say the current road is being replaced, and a new glass canopy will cover the lanes. It's part of a major renovation at Mitchell. The baggage claim area is among the last to be modernized.

Motorists who pick up passengers are urged to use the hourly parking area instead. Free parking has been extended to one hour to allow enough time to pick up those who fly in.

Interim airport director Terry Blue said all traffic along the terminal will follow the check-in areas, and they'll get congested if drivers circle the roadways while waiting for passengers to arrive. It's been almost 30 years since Mitchell's baggage claim area was remodeled.

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