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Wisconsin roundup: Recount cost jumps to $3.9M; state deer harvest totals lowest since '82; 6 more state news stories

MADISON -- Independent Rocky De La Fuente has dropped his part of the request for a recount of the Wisconsin presidential ballots, leaving the Green Party's Jill Stein to keep it going.

The state Elections Commission has raised its cost estimate for the statewide recount to $3.9 million, and De La Fuente says it's "cost prohibitive." Stein has raised almost $6.6 million for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania -- and she paid $3.5 million to Wisconsin on Tuesday, as officials say she'll eventually be billed for the final cost.

The Elections Commission cited a spreadsheet error as the reason for the higher cost figure -- and the recount will begin Thursday after a judge said no to Stein's demand that all ballots be counted by hand. Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey Rihn heard both sides of that issue on Tuesday evening, and she ruled there was not evidence to show that a hand recount would uncover clear and convincing evidence of fraud or the alleged computer ballot hacking, which the state denies. Meanwhile, De La Fuente says he'll pursue recounts in Nevada and Florida -- and he's paying $14,000 for a new tally in five Nevada precincts that will determine if a statewide recount is necessary.


State gun deer harvest lowest since 1982

MADISON -- Wisconsin hunters shot their fewest number of deer since 1982, and the number of hunters who bought gun licenses was the lowest since 1976.

The DNR issued preliminary numbers Tuesday indicating that 196,785 deer were taken in the nine-day gun season that ended Sunday. The number of deer taken was down 0.06 percent from last year, while almost 599,000 people bought gun licenses which was down about 2 percent, marking the first time in 40 years the numbers fell below 600,000.

Almost 99,000 antlerless deer were shot, down 6.2 percent while the buck harvest rose by 5.7 percent statewide. Hunters in the Northwoods shot 30 percent more bucks, one sign that the deer herd is recovering in that region. The DNR also confirmed an earlier report that no one was shot to death in the woods, and there were five non-fatal hunter injuries including two in Taylor County and one each in Waukesha, Oconto, and Ozaukee counties.


Supreme Court: OK for deputy to enter garage to catch drunk driver

MADISON -- The State Supreme Court says it was OK for a central Wisconsin sheriff's deputy to enter a man's garage to arrest him for his ninth drunk driving offense.

On a 4-3 vote Tuesday, the justices reversed an appeals court decision that threw out Richard Weber's conviction. A Wood County deputy tried stopping the 51-year-old Arpin man in 2012 while he was swerving across a fog line and driving with a broken taillight. Weber proceeded to enter his driveway, walk into his garage, and go up a set of stairs to get into his house -- but deputy Calvin Dorshorst grabbed one of Weber's arms before he could open his house door, and arrested him.

The Supreme Court said the officer's actions were reasonable because he believed a crime was committed -- but Justice Ann Walsh Bradley said the court's majority reduced people's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.


Trump adds U.S. Rep. Duffy to transition team

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- President Elect Donald Trump has added Wausau House Republican Sean Duffy to his transition team.

Duffy is one of five new members of the team's executive committee, bringing the total to 20. Duffy was an outspoken supporter of Trump during the campaign -- but he told CNN two weeks ago that Trump needs to restructure his use of Twitter, saying it's not "very presidential" to tweet criticisms of the news media during the early morning hours.

That was when Trump slammed the New York Times for reporting turmoil in his transition team. But he later met with Times editors and reporters in an apparent effort to smooth out his rocky relationship with the paper.


Trousers back in play for man after Packers victory

MERRILL -- The Packers' Monday Night victory at Philadelphia has made lots of Cheeseheads happy, including a Merrill man who can wear long pants again. Glenn Seefeldt vowed to wear shorts both outdoors and inside, as long as Green Bay's losing streak continued.

It ended at four games -- but Seefeldt told WAOW-TV he'll keep wearing the shorts for now, saying they bring good luck to the Packers. Apparently, his legs are now used to the nearly constant 20 to 40 degree temperatures the Merrill area has had in recent days. That bare skin could get colder and wetter, as light snow showers are in the forecast for Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday, with little or no accumulation expected.


Salmonella outbreak linked to Wisconsin bull calves

MADISON -- An outbreak of salmonella that's resistant to several drugs has been linked to dairy bull calves sold in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says 21 people in eight states were infected from Jan. 11 through Oct. 24 -- and Wisconsin had the most cases with 12 in eight counties. Of the 21 total cases, eight people were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The CDC says it identified the likely source of the infections as dairy bull calves from Wisconsin livestock markets -- and state Veterinarian Paul McGraw has urged farmers to take precautions, so people don't give salmonella to their animals. Neighboring Minnesota had two cases along with South Dakota -- and neighboring Iowa was among five states with one case each, stretching as far away as California.


Higher loan loss reverses drop bank profits

WASHINGTON -- Wisconsin bank profits fell by an average of 11 percent from January through September, compared to the same period the year before.

The FDIC says the Badger State's 227 banks earned a total of $811 million in the first nine months of 2016 -- $100 million less than at the same time last year. One reason is that banks added money to the reserves that cover their loan defaults, as reserves grew from $48 million last year to $132 million so far this year.

The FDIC says Wisconsin had $48 million in shaky farm loans -- and Associated Bank of Green Bay more than tripled its loan loss reserves as low oil prices have affected its loans to energy companies. Still, state Bankers Association CEO Rose Oswald Poels says the health of the banking industry remains strong, and lending is up among community banks.


Culver's serves up new CEO

PRAIRIE DU SAC -- Wisconsin's home grown Culver's restaurant chain will have a new man in charge on New Year's Day.

The company that's based in Prairie du Sac has named Joseph Koss as its new president and CEO, replacing Phil Keiser who died Oct. 15. Koss has been the chief financial officer since 2000 for the restaurants that are best known for their frozen custard and butter burgers.

Co-founder Craig Culver says Koss has been an "outstanding leader" after joining the firm in 1997 as a controller -- and he'll bring a "broad breadth of experience" in all aspects of its operation. Culver's has almost 600 mostly franchised restaurants in 24 states, with more than 20,000 employees.