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Wisconsin roundup: Suicide rate rising among Wis. youth; more state news stories

LA CROSSE — A report from the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health says the suicide rate among youth in the state is rising.

The report reveals that the rate in 2015 was nearly double the rate in 2007. Officials believe factors increasing the risk are increased drug use, bullying, family history, sexual orientation, and struggles associated with suffering a significant loss.

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DNR confirms another Wis. cougar sighting

FOND DU LAC COUNTY — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a cougar sighting in Fond du Lac County.

DNR officials say trail camera photos from early January show a cougar near Rosendale. The agency is also confirming cougar sightings in Lincoln and Langlande Counties in December. Officials say there is no evidence that cougars are breeding in the state.

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Great Lakes water levels predicted to rise for fifth straight year

DETROIT — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is predicting all five Great Lakes' water levels will continue a steady rise which started in 2013.

The forecast for the next six months predicts the record-high level for Lake Superior, set in the mid-1980s, will be topped. That lake is just four inches below the record now, even before water from spring rains and snow melt are added. Environmental experts are warning of the possibility of shoreline erosion. If the predictions prove accurate, this will be the fifth straight year of increasing water levels on the Great Lakes.

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What started as traffic stop ends with evacuation, explosives discovery

TOMAH — Authorities say a Tomah police dog reacted to the car pulled over for a traffic violation early Tuesday and a search of that car turned up an improvised explosive device.

Officers say they determined that 35-year-old Anthony Sherwin rents a storage unit in Holmen, so they got a search warrant for that location. When they found more potentially dangerous items in the storage unit, nearby businesses were evacuated. The Monroe County district attorney has filed eight charges against Sherwin.

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Man gets 20 years for killing wife’s friend

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A Wood County judge has sentenced a Wisconsin Rapids man to 20 years in prison for killing his wife's friend.

Fifty-nine-year-old Mark Kusters thought the victim was having an affair with his wife. He was found guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in November and was sentenced Tuesday. Kusters was arrested in September 2016 when officers found Richard Flynn lying on the ground with two gunshot wounds. He died after being taken to a hospital.

Kuster's wife says she and her husband were at her house in Grand Rapids when Flynn peeked in through the front door. She says Kuster grabbed his shotgun, went outside and told Flynn to leave, then shot him.

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Kimberly-Clark planning to lay off at least 5,000 workers

DALLAS — Paper-maker Kimberly-Clark has announced plans to cut 12-to-13 percent of its workforce in a restructuring aimed at saving money.

The Texas-based company also plans to close or sell 10 manufacturing plants. The impact on its multiple locations in the Fox Valley hasn't been made clear. It has facilities and offices in Neenah and Marinette. While making cuts affecting more than 5,000 workers, the company is also expanding production at other facilities. Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert points to millions of dollars spent in recent years updating technology in its local operations. Kaufert says a skilled, trained workforce is also a major factor in retaining hundreds of jobs.

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Wis. farmers’ organizations join pro-NAFTA coalition

MADISON— Several Wisconsin farmers organizations are working together as part of a new coalition supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The newly named Americans for Farmers and Families plans to lobby President Trump and Congress about the importance of NAFTA. Cranberry growers say free and open trade is important because up to 40 percent of the state's cranberries are exported. Farmers are worried measures will be passed to limit trade.

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