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Wisconsin Monday news roundup

No GOP foe for Ron Kind

EAU CLAIRE -- For the first time, no Republican is running against U.S. House Democrat Ron Kind this fall -- and the GOP leader in Kind's western Wisconsin district says he's not surprised. 

Brian Westrate says the cost of a campaign would have been "astronomical," since Kind has $2 million in his war chest. Westrate also tells the Eau Claire Leader Telegram the Republicans' 2011 redistricting created high concentrations of party voters that resulted in safe districts for incumbents. 

Kind has one Democratic challenger in the August primary, Myron Buchholz. The winner will claim the House seat Kind has held since 1998.

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Job growth decline could signal slower economy

MILWAUKEE – U.S. employers have added their fewest jobs for a one-month period in five years, soon after the economy of southeast Wisconsin started to slip. 

The Labor Department says only 38,000 jobs were created in May -- and while the nation's unemployment rate dropped three-tenths to 4.7 percent, it was mainly because more Americans stopped looking for work, and therefore not counted as unemployed. 

Some observers raised concerns about a looming economic slowdown. The Milwaukee Metro Association of Commerce says only 11 of the region's 23 economic indicators improved in April, the fewest since January 2012. The Milwaukee region has had 67 consecutive months of job growth -- but April's year to year increase of six-tenths of one percent was the slowest growth since the middle of 2012.

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State Memorial Day traffic deaths down from one year ago

MADISON – Wisconsin had fewer traffic deaths this Memorial Day weekend than last. 

The state DOT counts eight deaths, all in three high profile crashes. Four people were killed May 28 near Sharon in Walworth County, including three family members on their way to a wedding. Crashes on the evening of Memorial Day killed two people each in Columbia and Pierce counties -- and the eighth total deaths were five fewer than the same holiday weekend last year. 

For May as a whole, 50 people died in state traffic mishaps, seven fewer than in the same month of 2015 -- and for the first five months of 2016, the DOT recorded 217 traffic deaths, 10 more than the year before.

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State Democrats call for end to super delegates

GREEN BAY -- Wisconsin Democrats wrapped up the state party's annual convention with a victory of sorts for supporters of Bernie Sanders. 

Party members approved a non-binding resolution calling on the national party to abolish super delegates. They are the party insiders who can support whoever they want for the presidential nomination, no matter the result of the primary vote. Wisconsin's super delegates were urged to vote in proportion to the state's primary results. 

Sanders won the Wisconsin popular vote in April, but only has a five-delegate advantage due to super delegates backing Hillary Clinton.

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Wisconsin spring turkey hunters get more success

MADISON -- Wisconsin hunters killed 11 percent more turkeys this spring than at the same time one year ago. 

The state DNR says more than 45,000 turkeys were registered during the recent season. Almost 214,000 hunting permits were issued, for a success rate of 21.3 percent -- higher than the rate of almost 20 percent the year before. 

Strong breeding and good weather were listed as the main factors in the increased harvest. Turkey hunting resumes in mid September for a two-month fall season, and permits are available from the DNR through Aug. 1.

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Ryan expects turning point soon for GOP in White House race

MILWAUKEE -- House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville expects a turning point in the presidential race, once his fellow Republicans release a new conservative agenda next week. 

Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the race has been more of a "personality contest" -- and he says House Republicans believe they can add "substance to the conversation." Ryan also cites his endorsement of presumptive nominee Donald Trump as a positive for his party. 

Ryan says the two have an understanding of one another and the conservative principles he says are needed to "put the country back on track."

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State agency behind in reporting assaults on prison guards

MADISON -- The state Corrections Department is said to be six months behind schedule in releasing an annual report on how many prison guards have been attacked. 

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says nobody is indicating why the report has not been issued -- and officials have not created a database that keeps track of incidents at the state's Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities in Lincoln County. 

Federal officials are investigating reports of assaults and other alleged abuses at the juvenile institutions near Irma, as well as possible civil rights violations. The state released two previous annual reports on the assaults of prison staffers. That's after former Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin said in 2012 that staff assaults appeared to be rising -- but nobody could tell for sure, due to a lack of adequate records.

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Miss Wisconsin not among USA pageant's Top 15

LAS VEGAS -- Miss Wisconsin was not among the 15 finalists at the Miss USA Pageant. 

Nineteen-year-old Kate Redeker of Sheboygan appeared briefly duringSunday night's pageant in Las Vegas. She's a psychology major at UW-Milwaukee, and she won the state pageant last September in Fond du Lac. 

The new Miss USA is 26-year-old Army officer Deshauna Barber, who was Miss District of Columbia. She'll now compete in the Miss Universe contest.

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Public meeting set on state's wolf population

MADISON -- It's been 18 months since a federal judge put Wisconsin's gray wolves back under federal protections, and the DNR will discuss the effects at a public meeting this month. 

The agency's spring estimate of the statewide wolf population will be disclosed -- and presumably all the reasons for it -- during a four- and one-half hour meeting June 16 at Wausau's Quality Inn. Last year's estimate put the state's wolf numbers at between 746 and 771. 

Animal rights groups convinced a federal court to stop Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan from managing their own herds -- mainly because of the wolf hunts that occurred, three of which were in Wisconsin. Supporters of state management say it's needed to prevent wolves from attacking farm animals, since the court ruling does not allow emergency shootings to stop the attacks.

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Milwaukee mayor: Juvenile carjackers need consequences

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's mayor lashed out at what he caled a lack of consequences for juvenile carjackers. 

Tom Barrett's office says almost 500 juveniles have been arrested for more than 700 car thefts since January 2015 -- and two of them were arrested six times during that stretch. Barrett says not nearly enough is being done to crack down on those with multiple convictions who violate supervision rules, and commit crimes while on probation or parole. 

The mayor says county and state governments need to step beyond what he calls "ideological rhetoric" and start "problem solving." His remarks came after five juveniles were arrested Thursday for a Milwaukee carjacking -- and all but one of the five were freed or escaped supervision after previous car thefts and armed robberies.

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Walker makes final appointments to new elections panel

MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker has made the final appointments to a new panel that will run Wisconsin elections. 

Walker chose Beverly Gill from a list of appointees recommended by legislative Republicans -- and he appointed Julie Glancey from a list offered by Democrats. 

Gill is an election inspector in the town of Burlington, and Glancey is a former president of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association and a retired Sheboygan County clerk. 

They'll join Mark Thomsen, Steve King, Don Millis, and Ann Jacobs on the six member elections panel. That agency, plus a new ethics commission, will replace the state Government Accountability Board at the end of June.

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Public defender returns after arrest by tactical squad

CALDEDONIA -- A state public defender in Milwaukee has returned to his job after he was arrested at gunpoint four months ago at his Racine County home. 

Caledonia Police had a tactical squad arrest 52-year-old Alex Lockwood on Feb. 5, as officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in various parts of his home and a car he reportedly did not drive. 

Lockwood told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he blames overkill for the arrest, denying that he knew about drug use at home. Caledonia Police wanted prosecutors to file a felony count of maintaining a drug house -- but Lockwood and his adult daughter were only charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. In April, the public defender's charges were reduced to non-criminal post charges for which he paid $460 -- two fines of $25 each plus court costs.

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Manitowoc mayor: Cut your grass or pay

MANITOWOC -- Manitowoc apparently has more than its share of tall grass around town. 

Mayor Justin Nickels has announced a crackdown on properties where the grass is taller than 8 inches. He has asked police personnel to gather a list of properties with long grass, and he's asking residents to report violators of a city ordinance on how long grasses can be. 

If they're longer than 8 inches, property owners will have five days to cut their lawns. If they don't, Manitowoc city crews will do it for them and charge $300.

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Boy missing from Milwaukee festival

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police say a 9-year-old boy never made it home from a Sunday festival. 

They're asking for help in finding Valdimer Perez Medina, who was last seen around 8:30 p.n. at the Mitchell Street Sun Fair on the city's south side.

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