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Wisconsin roundup: Despite large job losses, state unemployment rate lowest since '01; Ivanka Trump talks about education, business laws; and 10 more state news stories

MADISON  --  Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest in 15 years, even though preliminary numbers show a loss of more than 10,000 jobs last month.

State labor officials report a September jobless rate of 4.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's one-tenth of 1 percent lower than in August, even though the total numbers of private sector jobs statewide dropped by 8,500 in the past month, and public sector jobs fell by another 2,000.

However, the monthly figures can be off by wide margins, and they're often heavily revised later -- as officials get more time to survey employers. For now, the largest numbers of statewide job reductions are in leisure and hospitality firms, with 4,000 job losses -- and local governments, with 3,000 fewer positions.


Ivanka Trump talks about education, business laws

MILWAUKEE/EAU CLAIRE -- Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka says her father would repeal the Common Core education standards adopted by Wisconsin and most other states.

She campaigned Thursday in suburban Milwaukee and Eau Claire, and said the GOP White House nominee favors 20 million federal dollars to expand private school choice throughout the country.

Ivanka Trump said her father would not be afraid of "incredibly" challenging issues like dealing with the Islamic State, noting that he's made a career of turning complex business problems into "pragmatic" solutions he can ultimately execute.

Ivanka reminded her audiences that her father is not a politician, and he would never lie to the American people, saying he has never learned to "say one thing and do another."

She did not address the bombshell at this week's debate, in which Donald Trump said he would keep people in "suspense" about whether he'd accept the Nov. 8 election results.


Wisconsin dairy farmers keep doing more with less

MADISON  --  Wisconsin dairy farmers continue to do more with less. New USDA figures show that the Badger state increased its milk production by 3 percent from one year ago, even though the numbers of dairy cows went down by 2,000.

Wisconsin made almost 2.5 billion pounds of milk in September, the 29th straight month that the output was higher than 12 months before.

Wisconsin is the nation's second largest milk producer behind California, which saw its production drop by one-tenth of 1 percent in September to almost 3.2 billion pounds.

Wisconsin had almost 1.3 million dairy cows which put out an average of 1,910 pounds of milk apiece -- 65 pounds more than in September of last year.


Madison, Marshfield students get National Scholar recognition

MADISON  --  Students from Madison and Marshfield have received national honors for their scores on Advanced Placement exams.

Diana Li of Madison Memorial High School had the top scores among Wisconsin female students on her AP exams, and Michael Gui of Marshfield High had the top performances for the males. The College Board's Advanced Placement awards are given each year to the top male and female students in each state and Washington, D.C.

State public school Superintendent Tony Evers says both Li and Gui are now studying at UW-Madison -- and both received early college level courses through their high schools' AP programs.

Gui and Li were among 40,000 youngsters taking 68,000 AP exams in various subjects in May -- and almost two thirds of Wisconsin students scored higher than the national average.


Laffy Taffy is Wisconsin's favorite Halloween candy

Wisconsin's favorite Halloween candy is Laffy Taffy. That's according to a national survey by Influenster, which asked 40,000 Americans to name their Halloween "candy of choice."

Wisconsin is the only state that talks up Laffy Taffy, the sticky treat with jokes on the wrappers. The orange, yellow, and white candy corn was named the favorite in the largest numbers of states, with five.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups got the most votes nationwide for the top Halloween candy, along with Kit Kat and Butterfinger.


Most state Republicans say Trump should accept election results

Most of Wisconsin's top Republicans mused as diplomatically as they could about Donald Trump's contention that he might not accept the results of the Nov. 8 election.

The GOP White House nominee said in Wednesday night's debate that he would keep people "in suspense," and in Ohio Thursday, Trump said he would accept the results if he wins -- but he might not concede if he loses, saying he reserves the right to challenge what he calls a "questionable result."

In Green Bay Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker stopped short of condemning Trump's stand -- but he says Trump has little to gain from it.

U.S. Senate Republican Ron Johnson's campaign says we need to respect the Election Day results, but he put that in the context of his own reelection battle against Democrat Russ Feingold. House Speaker Paul Ryan simply referred to his comment from last weekend that the states would "carry out this election with integrity" -- and House Republican Glenn Grothman of Campbellsport says he trusts the election process, but he does believe there's fraud.


Officer in Milwaukee police shooting in court for sex case

MILWAUKEE  --  The Milwaukee police officer who shot and killed Sylville Smith in Sherman Park in August is now charged with five crimes in an unrelated sex case.

Twenty-four-year-old Dominique Heaggan Brown appeared in court Thursday, and was ordered to stay in jail on a $100,000 bond.

Heaggan Brown's shooting on Aug. 13 triggered two nights of violence -- and prosecutors say he was watching the news coverage of it in a tavern two days later when he reportedly told a man he could do what he wants "without repercussions."

Officials say he later sexually assaulted the man, and beat another man after both got heavily intoxicated.

Heaggan Brown is suspended with pay from the Milwaukee police force, and he's due back in court Oct. 27 for a preliminary hearing on felonies that include sexual assault of intoxicated victims -- and he's also charged with misdemeanor prostitution.


FEMA approves flood disaster aid for 10 counties, but not two others

WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  President Barack Obama has approved federal disaster aid for 10 counties in the southwest third of Wisconsin hit by torrential rains and heavy flooding in late September.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday it would make federal money available to help fix roads, bridges and other public amenities in Adams, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland and Vernon counties.

Gov. Scott Walker also asked that Eau Claire and Trempealeau counties be part of the disaster area -- but FEMA said no to that.

The agency found $11 million in damage from the September storms, about half of it in Vernon County where two people were killed. The federal designation does not include relief for homes and businesses, and Walker has asked the Small Business Administration to review those damages and consider low interest repair loans.


Meningitis immunizations underway at UW-Madison

MADISON  --  UW-Madison students are starting to get immunized from the potentially deadly meningitis that two students are recovering from.

The free vaccines are being made available for five days, which began Thursday and continues Friday and next Tuesday through Thursday.

Most UW students have been vaccinated against the ACYW form of meningococcal disease -- but not the "Serogroup 'B'" meningitis received by the afflicted students.

The University Health Services at Madison has urged all undergraduate students 25 and younger to receive the vaccines, which are offered in cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


Early voting brisk in Wisconsin's most Democratic counties

MADISON  --  State election agency data shows that about 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far have come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data from the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties are far outpacing those that have come from the conservative suburban counties of Washington, Waukesha and Ozaukee.

As of Wednesday, there were just over 55,000 ballots returned in Dane and Milwaukee counties compared with about 21,700 in Washington, Waukesha and Ozaukee counties.

Just under 184,000 ballots were cast statewide. Absentee ballots must be returned by Nov. 8.


State Law Library renamed for Prosser

MADISON  --  The State Law Library in Madison has been renamed in honor of retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

About 130 people attended a ceremony that recognized both Prosser and the 180-year-old law library where the Supreme Court and other state government attorneys do investigative legal research.

Prosser retired in late July after 18 years on the state's highest court. It capped a 40-year career in state government, in which Prosser also served on the state Tax Appeals Commission and the state Assembly which included a term as speaker for a Republican majority.

The David T. Prosser, Jr. Law Library is located in the Risser Justice Center in downtown Madison.


Sheriff: Speed, alcohol apparent factors in fatal crash

JUNEAU  --  Dodge County sheriff's investigators say alcohol and high speed were apparent factors in a one-car accident that killed a Hartford man.

The victim was identified today (Thursday) as 40-year-old James Peszko. The crash happened late Tuesday on a town road near Rubicon. Deputies say the car veered off the road and flipped. No one else was in the vehicle at the time.

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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