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Monday statewide news roundup

According to the state, motorcyclists, on average, are getting older. (Staff photo)

State's motorcyclists get grayer

MADISON -- It appears that Wisconsin motorcyclists are getting older. 

The state Transportation Department says the average age of a biker involved in a fatal crash is now 47. That's 17 years older than the average age for the same type of accident 24 years ago. 

Randy Romanski of the DOT says the apparent graying of the biker crowd is another reason all motorists should be more careful while driving. Motorcycles were involved in 81 fatal crashes throughout the Badger State in 2015.


Wisconsin enters three contestants at National Spelling Bee

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Wisconsin will have three contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee that begins Tuesday in National Harbor, Maryland. 

Thirteen-year-old Veronica Goveas, a seventh grader at North Middle School in Menomonee Falls, qualified by winning the Badger State Spelling Bee in March. It used to be that only the state champion advanced to the nationals, but the top three are going for the second straight year. 

That means second place state finisher Nathan Jarrett of La Crosse is also making the trip -- along with third place finisher Martius Bautista of Janesville. A total of 274 young contestants will take a written test Tuesday -- and they'll face the judges in verbal preliminaries on Wednesday, with the finals in two segments on Thursdaymorning and evening.


Republicans push for voter ID education

MADISON -- Nearly three dozen Assembly Republicans are lining up behind the plan to spend $250,000 on voter ID education. 

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board wants the funds for ads to explain how voter ID works. Thirty four Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the heads of the Assembly's budget panel asking for the funds.


The couple that drinks and drives together ...

MILWAUKEE -- A 25-year-old man and his 23-year-old wife received matching drunk driving arrests for the same incident in Milwaukee. 

Sheriff's deputies say a witness caught them driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 early Sunday -- and soon after they exited the freeway, the witness told deputies the two switched places behind the wheel. 

When officers later arrested the couple, the man reportedly said he let his wife drive because he felt too drunk to do so. Officials say the man had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 and his wife was at 0.17, both more than twice the minimum level for intoxication. Deputies say the man also faces possible charges of reckless endangerment and possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.


State Democrats to meet where they have unpaid 2009 bill

Wisconsin Democrats will hold their state convention next month at a Green Bay hotel where they still owe $5,800 for the same event seven years ago. 

Federal election reports show that the State Democratic Party has only paid about two-hirds of its $15,000 bill for its 2009 gathering at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center -- and they've paid nothing since 2011. 

Party spokesman Brandon Weathersby tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it has a "small number" of payment issues from previous party administrations. He blamed Republican operatives for exposing this, and Weathersby calls it hypocritical because Gov. Scott Walker recently delayed $100 million in state debt payments. That's something governors of both parties have done, close to the ends of their fiscal years.


Investigation continues into body found near Green Bay

BELLEVUE -- State and local authorities continue to investigate the discovery of a woman who may have been murdered. 

Her body was found Saturday afternoon near a field in Bellevue, close to Green Bay. Brown County sheriff's officials say the cause of death is not known yet, but they're treating the case as a homicide for now. The woman has not been identified. 

State Justice investigators and crime lab personnel were working with Brown County deputies and Green Bay Police on the case.


Thousands of state college grads receive degrees

Ready or not, thousands of Wisconsin college graduates are about to start their adult lives after receiving their diplomas. 

UW-Eau Claire held its 100th spring commencement Sunday, and 1,400 students received degrees in a pair of ceremonies which kicked off one year of centennial activities at Eau Claire. 

Almost 3,100 UW-Milwaukee students were recognized during a pair of commencement ceremonies Sunday at the downtown Panther Arena. Across the street, Marquette University sent 2,700 grads into the world following a ceremony at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. 

Other schools, including UW-River Falls, held commencement ceremonies the previous weekend.


At least 4 dead in Sunday traffic crashes

At least four people have died in Wisconsin highway crashes from Sunday. 

The latest mishap occurred shortly after 9 p.m. east of Green Bay in Kewaunee County -- as authorities say a 25-year-old Sturgeon Bay man was hurt on his motorcycle, and he died later at a hospital. 

In Rock County, officials say a 27-year-old driver from Madison and his 26-year-old passenger from Fitchburg were killed when their auto veered into the opposite lane on Highway 14 near Evansville and collided head on with an SUV. 

And in central Wisconsin, officials say a 58-year-old man died around 2:20 a.m. Sundaywhen his car struck a tree in Mosinee. None of the victims' names were immediately released, and all three crashes are still being investigated.


Marshfield holds bowfishing challenge

MARSHFIELD -- When you think of fishing, you normally don't think of bows and arrows. But that's what competitors used during the weekend at the sixth annual AMS Bowfishing Big 30 Challenge in the Marshfield area. 

More than 100 teams from 10 states took to area waters, including families -- and they weighed their fish at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, where they were ranked by how much their 30 heaviest fish weighed. The team of Rich Suter, Joe Steinhofer, and Matt Kirschbaum from McFarland was the winner with a total weight of 846 pounds -- including a buffalo carp that weighed 34 and one half pounds. 

Most teams are heading east to Waupaca, where the Wisconsin Open takes place during the Memorial Day Weekend.


Ryan's, Trump's staffs make headway on working together

MILWAUKEE -- House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville says his staffers and those for Donald Trump are having "very productive conversations." 

On the statewide TV show "Upfront with Mike Gousha,” Ryan talked Sunday about efforts to get Republicans to support the presumptive GOP nominee -- and vice versa. 

Ryan says one big concern is the use of executive orders. As the speaker put it, President Barack Obama "has exceeded his authority grossly, and we don't want a Republican president do do the same thing."


Prison sentence extended for inmate who fought his cellmate

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A Wausau man who was scheduled to get out of state prison in 2018 will have to wait another 12 years. 

Forty-one-year-old Robert Reifschneider pleaded no contest to two counts of felony battery by a prisoner. Officials at the Columbia Correctional Institution say Reifschneider attacked his cellmate. 

He had reportedly demanded the victim's prescription drugs, then dropped a box fan on his head, fighting correctional officers when they opened the cell door to separate the two. He was already in prison on drug and weapon possession charges.


Boy, 12, dies in dirt-bike crash

TOWN OF RUBICON -- Dodge County authorities report a 12-year-old dirt bike rider died when his vehicle slammed into a pickup Friday afternoon. 

A 34-year-old man from the village of Neosho was driving the truck. His name and the boy's name weren't released. The accident happened in the town of Rubicon at about 4 p.m. 

Authorities say the boy wasn't wearing a helmet and he was dead at the scene.


Milwaukee County sheriff speaks to NRA convention-goers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke drew roars of approval when he told members of the National Rifle Association to watch out for what he called "freedom-loathing gun-haters." 

Clarke spoke at the NRA convention Louisville Friday. He says people shouldn't be misled by slogans like "common sense gun legislation." 

He says liberals aren't trying to reduce mass murders, suicides or street-level violence. Instead of gun control, Clarke says it's about power -- political power -- and giving the government more control over people's lives.


Madison murder suspect returns to court June 13

MADISON -- A man charged in the last of three related murders in the Madison area is due back in court June 13. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Kortney Moore of Chicago was jailed under a $500,000 bond after he was charged in Dane County Friday with first-degree intentional homicide. He's accused of killing 28-year-old Elijah Washington outside a gas station just south of Madison on May 11. 

Dane County prosecutors say both the victim and the alleged shooter were armed, and Washington tried running away from Moore -- whose brother was killed in the first homicide in mid-April. The second homicide victim, 38-year-old Darius Haynes, was said to be a friend of Kortney Moore.


Milwaukee cops settle lawsuit against gun shop

MILWAUKEE -- Two Milwaukee police officers have settled their lawsuit against a gun shop they allege negligently sold a weapon that a suspect used to shoot them. 

The Journal-Sentinel reports that a clerk for Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John DiMotto said lawyers for both sides had called the court to say they had settled. Officer Jose Lopez and now former Officer Alejandro Arce had filed a lawsuit against Badger Guns alleging the store negligently sold the gun that a 15-year-old boy used to shoot them in 2007. 

The newspaper reports a 24-year-old man bought the gun at the store and gave it to the boy.