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Wisconsin roundup: Wisconsin pooch claims top-dog honors at Westminster; GOP bill would restrict recounts; 6 more state news stories

NEW YORK — A German shepherd from southern Wisconsin is the big winner at the Westminster Dog Show in New York.

Rumor, a 5-year-old female from Kenlyn Kennels in Edgerton, won the "Best in Show" award Tuesday night in the 141st annual event at Madison Square Garden. Kent Boyles and Pamela McElheney both own the kennel facility, and Boyles was the handler for Rumor at the show.

He said the victory was "unbelievable," noting the dog was a house pet for many months after winning prizes at dog shows throughout the country — and she returned to the show ring just last month. Rumor is the only second German shepherd to win Westminster's top award. Almost 3,000 dogs entered.


GOP bill would restrict recounts

MADISON — Wisconsin Republicans want to restrict recounts so only those who lose extremely close elections can ask for them.

Senate elections panel chairman Devin LeMahieu says he never again wants to see what happened in December — when the Green Party's Jill Stein was granted a statewide recount of the presidential contest. LeMahieu is among three lawmakers seeking cosponsors for a bill to only let candidates who lose by 1 percent or less ask for recounts, and Stein has not commented.

She finished a distant fourth in the White House contest last November, and she convinced donors to cover her cost for the Wisconsin recount of less than $2 million — and GOP Gov. Scott Walker later accused Stein of using the process to build a list of donors for future contests. LeMahieu tells he echoes that opinion.


Low turnout likely for next week's primaries

MADISON — Less than one of every 10 Wisconsin adults are expected to vote in next Tuesday's primaries, in which the race for public school superintendent is the only statewide contest.

The Elections Commission is not predicting a turnout for this one — but three similar primaries since 2001 only attracted about 6 percent of eligible voters. State Superintendent Tony Evers is challenged by consultant John Humphries and former Beloit Superintendent Lowell Holtz — and the top two vote getters will advance to April, along with primary winners for circuit judges in Manitowoc, Polk, and Trempealeau counties plus other local government and school board posts.

Only five school referendums are up next week, as opposed to the 65 school funding and borrowing questions that await voters in April. Tuesday's largest project is for a new field house and fitness center at Waterford High School, with $12.2 million in bonding.


Judge upholds anonymity in state Trump immigration suit

MADISON — A federal judge in Madison has agreed to let a Syrian refugee stay anonymous, as he tries to resume the process of seeking asylum for his family.

The Dane County resident asked for anonymity so his wife and 3-year-old daughter would not be endangered while still in Aleppo — and federal Judge William Conley ruled Tuesday that the plaintiff's right to protect his family outweighs the public's interest in knowing who he is. The man was granted asylum in the United States last year, after military regimes tortured and imprisoned him.

His lawsuit says he was almost finished with the process of obtaining asylum for his family when President Donald Trump imposed a ban on Syrian refugees as part of an executive order in late January. Meanwhile, Conley told the defendants in the case to be ready to explain the status of the man's asylum application by Friday.


Walker defends self insurance for state employees

MADISON — If lawmakers refuse to let the state run its own health insurance plan, Gov. Scott Walker says they still must come up with the $60 million the change would save.

Walker's two year budget package would eliminate a network of 17 private HMOs that now provide health coverage for 250,000 state employees and their families, in favor of a self insurance program. The state's Group Insurance Board endorsed the change last week — and the Republican Walker says the projected savings would help pay for an increase in state aid to public schools.

Legislative leaders have balked at the plan, saying it would hurt private insurers that now cover large numbers of state workers. Walker says the argument does not make sense, because people who know what they're doing will still have to provide coverage to the public workers.


Prosecutor: La Crosse officers justified in shooting suspect

LA CROSSE — The chief prosecutor in La Crosse says two officers were justified in shooting a suspect who approached them while swinging a chain.

La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke says city police officer Ryan DeFlorian and county sheriff's deputy Brandon Stoughtenger acted in self defense while believing their lives were in danger — and therefore, neither will be charged in the Dec. 30 shooting of 37-year-old Daniel Lexvold of La Crosse.

Lexvold is at the state's Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison while doctors try to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial. He's charged with one dozen counts that include battery and threats to police, criminal damage, and seven felony counts of bail jumping for violating bonds in his other court cases. A judge is expected to hold a competency hearing in the next couple of weeks.


Second brother dies in West Allis teen shootings

WEST ALLIS — Two brothers have both died, after being shot in suburban Milwaukee.

The county medical examiner says 17-year-old Tarjan Edwards of West Allis died Tuesday, after his 19-year-old brother Croshian died at the scene of last Sunday's shootings in West Allis.

Police say a 14-year-old boy shot the two brothers while trying to rob them, and the shooter was accompanied by a 13-year-old boy. Both have been arrested, and Milwaukee County prosecutors are considering possible charges. Croshian Edwards graduated last spring from West Allis Central High School, and he was on the men's basketball team at the UW-Waukesha college.


Trial date set in mall shooting-threat case

APPLETON — A two day trial is scheduled to begin March 23 for a Green Bay man accused of making shooting threats at the Fox River Mall near Appleton.

Twenty-eight-year-old Christopher Hawkins pleaded not guilty Tuesday to his Outagamie County charges of making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors say Hawkins argued with his girlfriend before he threatened to "shoot up" the mall and the Copper Leaf Hotel in Appleton in late December. Relatives told police that Hawkins was sitting in the mall parking lot with a gun — but officials say he never went in, and the FBI helped track him down before he was arrested the next day near Minneapolis.