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Catholic parents weigh-in on 'Core' standards; DNR board votes 'bucks only' for northern hunters; more state news

The Common Core education standards are being attacked from a different front -- this time from Catholic school parents.

Petitions with 1,000 signatures were submitted Wednesday to the Milwaukee Archdiocese. They demand that schools in the ten-county archdiocese drop the Common Core math and English standards that the religious schools began to adopt last fall.

A group called the "Milwaukee Catholic Parents Against Common Core" say the standards threaten the values and independence of Catholic schools.

Kenosha parent Heather Schweitzer said a Catholic school's top priority is to "get children into Heaven, not Harvard."

Wisconsin public schools adopted the Common Core standards three years ago, much to the chagrin of tea party conservatives who fear it will result in a single national educational system. Back in December, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki said church schools often exceed the tougher Common Core standards -- and using them as a new measurement would not change the curriculum, reading materials, and content of Catholic schools. Leaders of Wisconsin's four other Catholic dioceses have rejected Common Core -- although the bishop in Superior has said they would be evaluated in the coming years.

Law requiring hospital-admitting rights for abortionists brings accountability, expert testifies

MADISON -- Federal Judge William Conley was expected to bring in his own expert Thursday, to testify in the trial over the state law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.

The federal appeals court in Chicago advised Conley to choose an objective expert to testify, saying both sides' witnesses would probably be biased.

Thursday marks the third day of the Madison trial, in which Planned Parenthood and the Affiliated Medical Services are trying to get the abortion law ruled unconstitutional. They said it would effectively shut down the AMS clinic in Milwaukee, and the Planned Parenthood clinic there would not be able to cover the slack, thus causing risky delays for abortion patients.

The state says doctors need hospital admitting privileges to assure continuous care in the event of problems during procedures at abortion clinics.

Milwaukee hospital obstetrician James Linn testified Wednesday that he cared for a woman 10 years ago whose abortion doctor basically abandoned her after problems arose. He said the new law forces those providers to be accountable.

The trial is scheduled to run through Friday. Judge Conley will issue a written decision sometime after that.

No does for Up North hunters this fall

WAUSAU -- Deer hunters will only be able to shoot bucks this fall in much of northern Wisconsin.

The state Natural Resources Board voted Wednesday to make antlerless deer off-limits to hunters in 19 counties and four Indian reservations.

DNR staffers said the ban is needed so deer populations can recover in the north after a pair of harsh winters.

Ralph Fritsch of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation said hunters have long expressed concerns about the numbers of antlerless deer permits in the region. He said his group strongly supports this fall's ban.

Affected counties include: Burnett, Douglas, Washburn, Bayfield, Sawyer, Rusk, Ashland, Iron, Price, Taylor, Vilas, Oneida, Lincoln, Langlade, Forest, Florence, Menominee and Marinette.

For the counties which still have antlerless hunting, the board approved a new system which issues bonus tags for either public or private land.

Also, the board agreed to let anglers do motor-boat trolling on lakes throughout 17 counties where trolling is either fully or partially banned. It's limited to one line per angler, and no more than two lines per boat.

In the other 55 counties, three lines per angler are allowed. The changes take effect next year, pending legislative review. They would have to be renewed after three years in order to stay in effect.

-- Natalie Jablonski, WXPR, Rhinelander

Records request yields details on 26 DNR employees fired or disciplined in 2013

The Associated Press received 25 disciplinary letters in March, with the people's names and job titles blacked out.

The AP just received a 26th letter, after that person went to court to try and keep his disciplinary letter a secret. He lost, and the letter came out this week.

It said he was let go for singing a sexually-tainted rap song to a female co-worker, forcibly hugging her against her wishes, and giving her graphic details about an ex-girlfriend.

The AP said one of the fired employees turned out to be David Horzewski of Reedsburg, a former conservation warden in Sauk County. He was criminally charged this month for allegedly seizing guns illegally from people he confronted for hunting violations. He's the first warden in the 135-year history of the state conservation service to be charged with felonies.

Horzewski is due in court June 11th on six charges of theft and two of misconduct in public office.

Walker still rooting for 30 billion pound milk production by 2020

Despite a recent drop in milk production, Gov. Scott Walker still believes Wisconsin can achieve his goal of making 30 billion pounds a year by 2020.

The Republican Walker was asked Wednesday about the possibility of not meeting the goals of the "Dairy 30-by-20 program" -- which gives grant money to farmers who expand their operations or make them more efficient.

Walker said the industry will most likely get back on its feet eventually but farmers would have to be aggressive in making it happen. Wisconsin dairy farms have reduced their milk production on a year-to-year basis for six straight months through April. The Wisconsin Ag Connection says poor feed quality and higher cull rates are mostly to blame. Last year's drought and the extremely cold winter also made things worse.

Walker says Wisconsin is importing about 15 percent of the milk it needs at its cheese factories. That's up from 10 percent a year ago. But he believes Wisconsin can close the gap by growing its operations, and becoming more efficient and productive.

Milwaukee area wins grant to boost manufacturing training

Seven Milwaukee area counties promise to make good use of a federal economic designation they received Wednesday.

The Milwaukee Seven group will be among the first to benefit from a new program that uses federal resources to boost local efforts for creating factory jobs. It's called the "Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership."

The Obama White House chose 12 areas as the first participants -- and the Milwaukee Seven was among them. It will make the region eligible for up to $1.3 billion dollars in federal grant money. Some of it could fund a proposed advanced manufacturing training center in a key Milwaukee industrial corridor.

It could also expand an energy innovation center in the former Eaton Corporation tech facility. That center seeks to attract start-up companies in the energy and power sectors and it already has a client.

Pat O'Brien, the executive director of the Milwaukee-Seven group, calls the federal designation a "big deal" and it shows that the region's manufacturing economy can compete and make gains at the national level.

Shawano 'Bee' finalist stumbles on vocab test

Wisconsin's only contestant in the National Spelling Bee was eliminated at the start of last night's semi-finals.

Thirteen-year-old Karelyn Malliet of Shawano made it through two rounds on stage. But Wednesday evening, she failed to make it through a written spelling and vocabulary test.

Forty-six contestants remain. They'll square off in the semi-finals and finals Thursday and Thursday evening on ESPN.

Karelyn, a seventh-grader, correctly spelled "graupel," a granular snow pellet -- and "rhabdomancy," which means divination by rods or wands.

Karelyn qualified for the national contest by winning the Wisconsin spelling bee earlier this year.

For a list of the winning words from 88 years worth of spelling bees, visit

Marshals, local police checking up on sex offenders

United States Marshals and local police have been knocking on doors to make sure registered sex offenders live where they say they live.

The Marshals' service has been conducting what it calls "Operation Grand Slam" since late March in Milwaukee County.

Investigators have paid one or more visits to verify the homes of almost 1,450 people who are on the state's sex offender registry. About two-thirds of those residences were verified.

U.S. Marshal Kevin Carr says the remaining offenders might have been at work or some other legitimate location when officers tried visiting them. He said those agents will keep trying.

Carr says those who don't live where they say they live will be further investigated.

Dean named for new Wausau-area med school

WAUSAU -- The Medical College of Wisconsin has taken another step toward opening its new doctor training facility in Wausau.

Lisa Grill Dodson was named Wednesday as the first dean of the new school, which will open in the fall of 2016. She's been the head of the Oregon Area Health Education Center for the last eight years.

The Medical College plans to partner with area medical centers to help train medical doctors. For those who attend medical schools and residencies in the same area, Dodson says there's a 70 percent chance they'll stay there, as opposed a 50 percent chance for either one alone.

The Milwaukee-based Medical College agreed to open new training facilities in both the Wausau and Green Bay areas, to help alleviate an expected shortage of doctors as the baby boom generation becomes senior citizens.

The Green Bay school was recently given two accreditations. It expects to have 20- to 25 students when it opens in just over a year.

-- Raymond Neupert, WSAU, Wausau

Target in John Doe probe trying to prevent settlement talks

One of the targets of the state's John Doe probe into the Republican recall elections is trying to stop a possible settlement to end the investigation.

Attorney David Rivkin of the Wisconsin Club for Growth wrote special prosecutor Francis Schmitz Wednesday. Rivkin said any settlement that prevents the group from having contact with Gov. Scott Walker's campaign would violate Federal Judge Rudolph Randa's injunction which halted the John Doe probe earlier this month.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Schmitz asked Judge Randa to confirm that the two sides can freely have settlement talks. Schmitz's attorney also said his client has not violated the injunction.

The judge said the two-year-old investigation violated the Club for Growth's free speech rights, by preventing any contact between the group and the Walker campaign while the probe takes place. Prosecutors are appealing Randa's order.

The Wall Street Journal first reported this week that settlement talks are taking place between prosecutor Schmitz and the Walker camp, which is being dogged by the investigation during the governor's current re-election bid against Democrat Mary Burke.

The John Doe has been looking into alleged illegal campaign coordination between outside groups -- including the Club for Growth -- and Republican recall candidates in 2011 and 2012.

Second suspect collared in girl's playground shooting

MILWAUKEE -- Both suspects in the playground shooting of a 10-year-old girl in Milwaukee are now under arrest.

Sylvester Lewis, 18, of Milwaukee was charged Wednesday with causing reckless injury, reckless endangerment, and illegally possessing a gun as a convicted felon.

Online court records do not say when Lewis will appear in court. The other suspect, a 28-year-old Milwaukee man, has charges pending after he was arrested Wednesday at a state probation office in Milwaukee.

Police said the two men traded gunfire last Wednesday night when a bullet seriously wounded young Sierra Guyton, who was playing near the monkey bars at the Clarke Street Elementary School on Milwaukee's north side.

Prosecutors said Lewis knew that children were close by but he fired shots anyway in retaliation, after a bullet whizzed by one of his ears. Sierra was playing with her 12-year-old sister at the time.

A criminal complaint said Lewis was riding a bicycle when he rode by a group of men. One accused him of stealing a woman's clothes, while another threatened to kill Lewis and a gun battle reportedly came soon after.

Sierra remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Park Falls mill cited by OSHA for dangerous vapors

PARK FALLS -- A northern Wisconsin paper mill has been cited by the federal government for not protecting its employees from sulfur dioxide vapors.

Flambeau River Papers of Park Falls has been given eight citations by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, with a recommended fine of just over $42,000. This comes after an agency inspection in late January.

Sulfur dioxide is used to treat wood pulp and officials say it can cause respiratory problems in employees.

Flambeau River Papers has 15 days to pay the fine, challenge it, or seek a settlement conference with OSHA. The firm has not said what it will do.