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Wisconsin roundup: Poll: Almost two-thirds favor immigrant path to citizenship; Harley Davidson plans 200 layoffs; and 11 more state news stories

MILWAUKEE  --  A new poll shows that almost two thirds of Wisconsin's registered voters want illegal immigrants to stay and get a path to citizenship.

Sixty-two percent in the Marquette Law School poll favor letting undocumented immigrants who are now in the U.S. eventually be citizens. Nineteen percent of the poll's 803 respondents say they should only be temporary guest workers, and 15 percent want them deported.

Thirty-nine percent of Wisconsin Trump supporters disagree with their man's opposition to a citizenship path. In a major immigration speech in Phoenix Wednesday, Trump said he would appoint a task force to deport what he calls the "most dangerous, criminal, illegal immigrants in America."

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Marquette Poll has good news for Walker

MILWAUKEE -- Gov. Scott Walker finds good news in the latest poll of Wisconsin voters. For the first time in almost two years, less than 50 percent in the Marquette Law School poll say they disapprove of the Republican Walker's job performance.

Forty-nine-percent of the 803 registered voters in the survey say they don't approve of Walker, while 43 percent said they do approve -- his highest such rating since March, and five points higher than in early August.

Walker's disapproval rating is his lowest since October of 2014, the month before voters re-elected him to a second term.

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Harley Davidson plans 200 layoffs

Harley Davidson expects to lay off about 200 employees this fall, to adjust for a decline in motorcycle sales.

Media reports say 117 union workers will be let go at Harley's assembly plant in York, Penn. -- while 39 others will be laid off at two plants in Tomahawk in northern Wisconsin, and a handful of posts will be cut at Harley's engine plant in Menomonee Falls.

The Milwaukee-based company says most of the layoffs will take place from October through December. In its recent quarterly report, Harley reported a 5.2 percent drop in U.S. motorcycle sales, but it said the industry as a whole had an even larger decline.

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Wisconsin River drowning victim identified

MOSINEE  --  A man who drowned in central Wisconsin Tuesday night has been identified as 60-year-old James Bohn of Mosinee.

A man who tried saving Bohn says the victim and his wife were on a pontoon boat trip when the craft got stuck in a sandbar on the Wisconsin River near Mosinee.

Marathon County sheriff's deputies say Bohn fell underwater while trying to push the boat off the sandbar. Investigators are still trying to determine how it got stuck.

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World's largest round barn starts another 100 years

MARSHFIELD --  The world's largest round barn begins its second century at the Central Wisconsin State Fair in Marshfield. It was rededicated in a 100th anniversary ceremony as the fair opened Wednesday.

The round barn was built for $17,000, and it's 70 feet tall and 150 feet in diameter. Fair manager Adam Fischer says folks go out of their way to see what he calls an "impressive structure," and state Assembly Republican Bob Kulp called the rededication a "celebration of ordinary people who did extraordinary things."

During the fair, the round barn is a home base for Wood County 4-H youngsters as they have their cows judged. It has also hosted dances, forums, religious services and more.

-- Mike Warren, WDLB-WOSQ, Marshfield

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Poll: Wisconsin's presidential race tightens

MILWAUKEE  --  Democrat Hillary Clinton has lost her double digit lead in Wisconsin's presidential race, according to the state's best known independent poll.

Clinton now leads Republican Donald Trump 42 to 37 percent among the 803 registered voters surveyed last weekend by the Marquette Law School.

Among likely voters, Clinton's lead has dropped to just three points, 45-42, making the race a statistical dead heat because it's within the poll's 5 percent error margin -- and that's after Clinton had a 15 point edge among likely voters earlier in August.

Poll director Charles Franklin says it appears that voter sentiments have returned to what they were before the parties' national conventions in July.

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Marquette Poll documents racial gap in state police performance

MILWAUKEE  --  Almost nine of every 10 Wisconsinites say their local police make them feel "mostly safe."

The Marquette Law School asked the question after a Milwaukee police officer's shooting death of an armed man spurred two nights of violence in August.

Eighty-six percent of the 803 registered voters surveyed expressed confidence in their law enforcement -- but only 57 percent of blacks and Hispanics agreed, while 37 percent of minorities said police make them "mostly anxious," and 90 percent of whites said they feel safe.

Forty-eight percent of those surveyed throughout the state said the Milwaukee unrest was due to a "lack of respect for law and order," and 37 percent thought it was spurred by anger from "decades of disadvantage for black communities."

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Candidates, parties trade Salvos in tight U.S. Senate race

Wisconsin's two major U.S. Senate candidates and their parties traded accusations Wednesday, as a new poll shows that the race is tightening up. Johnson, the GOP incumbent, now trails Democrat Russ Feingold 46-42 in the Marquette Law School poll -- and Johnson's putting more heat on Feingold to respond to a Republican complaint that Feingold violated the Hatch Act by planning his Senate bid while working for the State Department as a special envoy in Africa.

Feingold's camp says the complaint has no merit, and it's not against the law to have private chats between employees, friends and relatives about one's future. Democrats, meanwhile, say Johnson refuses to call for a full Senate vote on appointing Madison lawyer Don Schott to the federal appeals court in Chicago, to fill a post that's been vacant for seven years due mostly to political infighting.

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Teen ordered to stand trial in drug-related double fatal crash

GREEN BAY  --  A 17-year-old northeast Wisconsin boy has been ordered to stand trial for deaths of two people in a traffic crash, while allegedly driving under the influence of marijuana. Devon Robley of Greenleaf had a preliminary hearing Wednesday, and he's scheduled to enter pleas Oct. 4 to two Brown County charges of homicide by intoxicated driving and two injury related OWI counts. Prosecutors say Robley smoked marijuana before going through a stop sign at 70 miles per hour near Denmark July 11, striking an SUV.

His 16-year-old passenger Simon Hill died along with an SUV passenger, 32-year-old Laurie Shaha of De Pere. The defense claims that Robley did not have a high enough level of pot in his system to justify the intoxication charges.

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More than 20,000 lose Food Share benefits for not pursuing work

MADISON -- The number of Wisconsin adults losing food stamp benefits for not pursuing work totaled 20,000 from January through June.

State officials say about 3,000 lost their Food Share benefits in June alone, after using up three months of assistance without getting jobs or job training, which are required under a Republican law which took effect in April of last year.

Gov. Scott Walker cited the numbers of Food Share recipients who found jobs which totaled more than 14,000 in the first 15 months the requirement has been in effect. Those people had average wages of $12 per hour while working 32 hours per week.

The law requires able-bodied adults ages 18-to-49 to work or train for at least 80 hours per month, in order to keep food stamp benefits after their three-month grace period.

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UW-Madison readies cultural awareness initiatives

MADISON -- University of Wisconsin-Madison leaders have set up a multi-pronged plan to give minorities a better experience on campus.

UW-Madison leaders announced Wednesday that they'll bring up to 1,000 new students from several residence halls together to discuss social differences and are creating a black cultural center on campus.

They also plan to stress inclusivity and diversity in teacher assistant training and increase student capacity in high-demand ethnic studies courses. All faculty and staff will participate in some form of inclusion and diversity training this year as well.

Minority students spent the spring semester pressuring administrators to address diversity issues after University of Missouri System President Tim Wolf resigned over his administration's handling of racial issues.

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State farmers contract to sell more sweet corn, green beans

MADISON -- Don't be surprised to see more Wisconsin sweet corn and green beans sold throughout the Badger State. The USDA expects Wisconsin farmers to increase their contracted production of sweet corn by 5 percent this year, to 517,000 tons.

Officials also project a 2 percent increase in snap beans, to almost 341,000 tons, which would be the largest such crop since 2009.

The Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says green peas have also had record high yields, but their contracted production is expected to drop 17 percent from last year, to about 67,000 tons. That's because there are about 6,000 fewer acres devoted to the pea crop.

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Flags to be lowered Saturday for soldier killed in Afghanistan

MADISON -- Flags in Wisconsin are being ordered flown at half-staff on Saturday to honor Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson, who was killed in Afghanistan. Gov. Scott Walker issued the order Tuesday.

Thompson was a Brookfield native and graduated in 2006 from Brookfield Central High School. He was killed by an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province on Aug. 23. A memorial will be held for him in his hometown on Saturday.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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