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Wisconsin roundup: Search continues for man missing on St. Croix River and more

The St. Croix River, pictured here in this National Park Service photo, was the site of a search for a missing boater on Sunday, April 23. Photo courtesy of National Park Service

BAYPORT, Minn. — A search continues for a missing man who was on a boat that crashed on the St. Croix River.

Sheriff's deputies were called about 3 a.m. Sunday and found a partially submerged craft on the Minnesota side near Bayport, which is just northwest of Hudson. One woman on the boat made it shore unharmed, but the only other person aboard was never found. No names were immediately released, and the cause of the boating mishap is still being investigated.

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Pleas due Thursday for Minneapolis man in Wis. murder

MENOMONIE — A 27-year-old Minneapolis man is scheduled to enter pleas Thursday to two felony charges in the beating of a Saudi Arabian student at UW-Stout.

Cullen Osburn has been ordered to stand trial for felony murder and aggravated battery after 24-year-old Hussain Ahlnadi died one day after a punch that reportedly caused a traumatic brain injury. Osburn was ordered at a preliminary hearing to stand trial.

A police investigator in Menomonie said Ahlnadi's head was struck with a force similar to a car crash, or a person falling from a tall building. The beating happened as the bars were closing for the night in downtown Menomonie, and officials said Ahlnadi had a blood alcohol level of 0.284.

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Much of state could see Northern Lights

Much of Wisconsin could get a rare view of the Northern Lights Monday if the weather cooperates.

The Alaska Geophysical Institute says there's a high probability for more flare-ups from the Aurora Borealis — and the website Aurora-Service.org has hourly forecasts. The Northern Lights flared last Friday night and into Saturday, and folks in the Bayfield area next to Lake Superior were among those treated to a massive display of green and reddish green lights.

Sean Miller of the National Weather Service in Sullivan says it's a big "if" as to whether the Northern Lights could be seen Monday away from the city lights of southern Wisconsin, but it's possible if the weather's good. The Weather Service predicts cloudy skies this evening, becoming partly cloudy later on.

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Conference addresses big increase in Great Lakes drownings

SHEBOYGAN — Almost 100 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, a 78 percent increase from 2015.

Jamie Racklyeft, who runs the Great Lakes Water Consortium, blames warmer temperatures that drew more people to beaches last year — and rising water levels that cause rip current which were blamed for half of all Great Lakes drownings last year. Almost half of the 2016 drowning deaths occurred in Lake Michigan, and almost one tenth of them in Lake Superior.

The National Weather Service has tried to make people more aware of the risks by issuing beach hazards from last May through the middle of September. In Sheboygan, dozens of park and rescue officials attended a recent conference where the latest water safety technology was highlighted.

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State crashes kill at least 3 during weekend

At least three people died in Wisconsin traffic accidents, as motorists got out to enjoy a beautiful spring weekend.

Police near Green Bay say the driver of a stopped vehicle died after being hit by a southbound unit on Interstate 41. On Saturday evening, Walworth County deputies said 30-year-old Austin Fehrm of Darien was killed when he was hit by a trailer pulling a pickup truck on Highway 14 near Darien. In southwest Wisconsin, the State Patrol says 39-year-old Hollie Kelly of Dubuque, Iowa, died after her car veered into a ditch where it hit a culvert — and three passengers were hurt.

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National Guard personnel off to Middle East

MADISON — Eighty three more Wisconsin National Guard members are starting new tours of duty in the Middle East.

Gov. Scott Walker and state Adjutant Gen. Don Dunbar joined family members in sending off members of the Guard's 147th Aviation unit. The Black Hawk helicopter unit will help with troop movements and medevac support among other things. The unit is due back in January.

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State: Canada trade dispute now has 40 farms without milk buyers

MADISON — Canada's trade dispute with Wisconsin dairy farmers is starting to take a toll.

State agriculture officials say 40 farms are without buyers for their milk, after Grassland Dairy of Greenwood cut them off because they could no longer sell the milk to Canadian dairies for a specialized cheese product — and the word of the cancellations comes before the May 1 cutoff date that was originally reported. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that as of Friday, 58 Grassland farms in Wisconsin had their milk contracts canceled, and 18 found new milk buyers — and another milk plant dropped 14 farmers for unrelated reasons, and some found new buyers while the rest were planning to retire anyway.

Officials from President Donald Trump on down have called it a violation of American trade deals. The state's been looking for other milk plants to help those affected.

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Two Madison adults arrested for attacking 12-year-old

MADISON — Madison police accuse two adults with attacking a 12-year-old child, including the use of pepper-spray.

Thirty-three-year-old Lindsey Niebuhr is accused pepper-spraying the middle school student Friday afternoon. Thirty-three-year-old Michael Hackl had been in a verbal conflict with the boy. The woman is charged with assault and the man is charged with being a part to a crime of physical abuse of a child.

After arguing with the 12-year-old, police say Hackl drove away and picked up Niebhur. She then confronted the boy and pepper-sprayed him.

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Apparent military mortar round turns out to be harmless

ASHLAND — When Ashland firefighters first spotted what looked like military ordnance in a burned garage, they went on high alert and called in some help.

Because they thought it might be a military mortar round, they evacuated homes in a two-block area Friday. Four members of a National Guard military ordnance disposal unit from Duluth determined it was just a practice round, with no explosive charge. The Minnesota team removed it and disposed of it, allowing the Ashland residents to return home.

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Wis. egg farms appear to have recovered from bird flu

MADISON — Wisconsin's egg production appears to have stabilized during the past year, indicating that farms have recovered from the avian flu at this time in 2015.

The state Agricultural Statistics Service says the Badger State made 142.9 million eggs in March — about 100,000 fewer eggs than in the same month of 2016. Until recently, year to year egg production in the state had skyrocketed, showing that Wisconsin recovered from an avian flu virus that hit the state hard. Recently, a different strain of the bird flu showed up in Tennessee, but it had no impact on Wisconsin.

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Feds to Milwaukee: Follow immigration law or lose funding

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County is warned that it could lose federal aid if it does not follow immigration laws and avoid "sanctuary" policies to protect illegal immigrants.

The U.S. Justice Department sent letters to several places telling them not to interfere with local law enforcement's ability to communicate with the feds about inmates' immigration status. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and District Attorney John Chisholm said they follow the federal law, and they raised concerns that Washington is putting out misleading claims.

Abele told reporters the letter and its warning about federal aid is untrue, unproductive, and inflammatory. The Justice Department says Milwaukee could lose $900,000 in Edward Byrne Justice Assistance grants.

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Juneau man sought for allegedly abusing family members

JUNEAU — Authorities are searching for a 26-year-old Juneau man who is accused of abusing family members after he got mad.

Karl Berndt is charged with felony strangulation and suffocation, plus domestic battery and disorderly conduct. A woman called police in Beaver Dam April 6 to say she had been assaulted. She said Berndt kicked, hit and strangled her, then threw one of her children into a bedpost when that child tried to intercede. The man apparently was angry because children were playing with adhesive bandages in the home.

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