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State unemployment rate drops; cheaper gas to fuel Memorial Day travel; teen vying for Legislature; eight more state news stories

MADISON -- Unemployment is down in Wisconsin. 

State officials report a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.4 percent for April, down 1/10th of a point from the previous month. 

The numbers of Wisconsinites who are either working or looking for jobs held steady last month, while 3,200 fewer people were listed as unemployed compared to the previous month. Also, state officials say more than 35,000 private sector jobs were added in Wisconsin during 2015, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent. 

It's not known how the growth compares to other states until the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its latest quarterly job census on June 8.

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Two percent increase expected in state Memorial Day travel

MADISON -- If you're planning a Memorial Day weekend trip, you'll have more company on the highways. 

The Wisconsin AAA organization says more than 755,000 state residents plan to go somewhere during a holiday period that's now less than a week away. 

That's an increase of 2.2 percent from last year. The AAA's national prediction of 38 million travelers is the most since 2005 and the second-highest on record. One reason is low gas prices, even though they've been rising lately. 

Triple auto group says the average statewide price of regular unleaded was $2.26 per gallon as of Thursday -- seven cents more than last Thursday, but 16 cents cheaper than this time one year ago.

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Teen running for state Assembly

CEDARBURG -- A Cedarburg High School junior isn't old enough to vote, but that's not stopping him for running for the state Assembly. 

Seventeen-year-old David Pelikan is running as an independent and would be the youngest lawmaker ever if he's elected. 

Pelikan turns 18 a month after the election, meaning he would be old enough to take office by the time he's sworn in. That's if he wins. 

Pelican says he's running "to end the excessive conflict that we have in our state." If elected, he would be the youngest legislator ever in Wisconsin.

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Ryan denies vote pressure as House rejects LGBT protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville says he had nothing to do with Republicans changing their votes at the last minute to prevent legal protections from being approved for gays and transgenders. 

When time ran out to vote on an amendment to a defense bill, C-Span showed that it passed 217-206 -- but a short time later, the final vote was revised and the measure was defeated 213-212. 

Democrats shouted in protest, yelling "Shame, Shame" -- but Ryan says he does not know if his GOP leadership team pressured its members to change their minds Thursday. Ryan says he personally opposed the amendment, saying protections for LGBT persons should be left to the states. 

All four other Wisconsin Republicans voted against the legal protections, while all three of the state's Democrats voted yes -- and according to the Capitol news outlet The Hill, none of the state's Republicans changed their votes.

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NFL to repay military for tributes; Packers' share uncertain

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Football League says it will return almost $724,000 that teams received from the military to honor troops at games. 

It's not known how much, if anything, the Green Bay Packers' share will be. U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of Arizona, criticized pro sports leagues last fall for what they called "paid patriotism." 

The Packers received $600,000 from the National Guard from 2011 through '14 in a marketing campaign to promote the Guard and recruit and keep members. It did not have a campaign last season, but the Packers still had its own events to promote the military, saying they're very popular among fans -- and they included tributes to individual troops during timeouts at Lambeau Field home games.

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Bucks: hacked

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin's pro basketball team says one of its employees was conned into giving personal and tax data of its players and others to a scammer. 

The Milwaukee Bucks say they're investigating the security breach, in which an identity thief impersonated team president Peter Feigin with a false e-mail address -- and a Bucks worker believed it was Feigin and provided W-2 forms, salary data, Social Security numbers, and more. 

The Bucks put out a statement after the Yahoo Sports Vertical column first reported on the incident Thursday. The breach happened April 26, and the Bucks learned on Monday that they were victimized. 

They plan to give credit monitoring and identity restoration services to employees who want it -- and they've reported the scam to federal authorities, the National Basketball Association, and its players union.

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Madison man charged in 130 tax identity thefts

MADISON -- A Madison man has been charged in a large tax identity theft scheme. 

Forty-one-year-old Juan Tamez Diaz was arrested Thursday, and he later made an initial court appearance on 63 counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. 

A grand jury says Tamez Diaz netted $456,000 in falsely obtained tax refunds by filing 130 returns using other people's names between 2009 and last year. Officials say he used both personal and employer information to come up with fake W-2 to file with the false returns.

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No charges against deputy in Kenosha County police shooting

KENOSHA -- No criminal charges will be filed against a Kenosha County sheriff's deputy who shot a man to death in Paddock Lake last October. 

Sheriff David Beth said Thursday that deputy James Campbell was cleared in the death of 47-year-old Darren Fude. The sheriff says Campbell and other officers were investigating a motorcycle accident when they knocked on a door and Fude opened it while holding a shotgun. 

Beth says the weapon was pointed at Campbell, and Fude shot the officer six times after ignoring orders to drop it. Officers then tried and failed to save Fude's life.

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Medical college to address lack of psychiatrists

WAUWATOSA -- The Medical College of Wisconsin says it wants to alleviate a severe shortage of psychiatrists in the northern part of the state. 

The Milwaukee area school says it will begin residency programs in July of next year for seven psychiatrists to be trained at its new campuses in Green Bay and Wausau. The programs were recently given initial accreditations. 

Medical College psychiatry chairman Jon Lehrmann says it's difficult for people to see a psychiatrist in metro Milwaukee, and it's almost impossible in northern Wisconsin. The Kaiser Family Foundation says the state only meets 20 percent of people's needs for mental health care, second worst behind only South Dakota.

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GOP leader: Senate may rejection elections appointee

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Senate might say no to confirming the first director of the new state Election Commission. 

GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells the Wisconsin State Journal that some of his members have concerns about Michael Haas. That's because he headed the elections division for the outgoing Government Accountability Board, which Republicans eliminated partially due to its involvement in the John Doe probe involving the recall contest against Gov. Scott Walker. 

Also, Fitzgerald says Haas might resign soon after the November presidential election, which Haas disputes. Members of both parties on the Election Commission chose Haas, who would begin his new post onJune 30.

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Sheboygan police look for missing girl

SHEBOYGAN -- Sheboygan Police have been looking for a missing 9-year-old girl. 

Michelle McKinney was last seen about 6:30 last (Thursday) night after she apparently ran off from the DeLand Receiving Home. Police Lt. Bill Adams says officers do not believe that Michelle was abducted, so a statewide Amber Alert is not being issued for her at the moment. 

Officers have been checking leads. Police are asking Sheboygan residents to check their yards and vehicles as they head out Friday morning to help find a 4-foot, 6-inch African-American girl weighing 84 pounds.

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