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Wisconsin roundup: Eleventh OWI conviction sends man to prison; 9 more state news stories

APPLETON — A Wisconsin man is going to prison for four- and a-half years for being drunk when he was involved in a car accident in downtown Appleton on New Year's Day.

Police say Steven Johnson had a valid driver's license when he was arrested, even though his record showed 10 previous drunken driving convictions. Nobody was hurt in the most recent incident. A breath test showed Johnson had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit when he had the wreck. He will serve five years of supervision when he gets out of prison.

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Some workers returning to mill complex where explosion occurred

CAMBRIA — Company officials say some employees have returned to work at the Columbia County corn mill complex where an explosion and fire last week killed three people and injured about a dozen more.

The explosion and fire destroyed the Didion Milling plant, but a neighboring ethanol plant was not damaged. The company's president, Riley Didion, told Cambria village board members Monday night that the ethanol plant will begin accepting loads of corn from farmers in the coming days.

Officials say the explosion rocked the small village during the overnight shift May 31. Sixteen employees were working in the mill at the time.

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Man, 18, arrested for OWI — twice in 3 hours

ASHWAUBENON — An 18-year-old Ashwaubenon man didn't learn his lesson the first time he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Less than three hours later, Preston Bierhals was stopped and arrested for the same offense. When Bierhals was taken into custody the first time, the adult who picked him up signed a responsibility agreement not to let him drive. Bierhals was in a different car, but still impaired when he was taken into custody near Ashwaubomay Park at about 7 a.m. Sunday. He's being held in the Brown County Jail on felony bail jumping charges.

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State justice department sues S.C. property company

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Justice is suing a South Carolina company alleging that the company tricked Wisconsin residents into renting properties that were uninhabitable.

According to the lawsuit filled Friday, Vision Property Management purchases dilapidated residences across the country and has purchased nearly 200 Wisconsin properties. The company then induces people into leasing the properties with the chance of someday being able to purchase them. Tenants get three to four months to rehabilitate the property. If they can't, VPM evicts them and repeats the cycle.

The lawsuit alleges the rental agreements illegally shift the burden of making the properties habitable to the tenant. The lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction forcing the company to cease renting Wisconsin properties and refund tenants' rent. VPM officials say they plan to contest the case.

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Assembly speaker wants to level playing field for bakeries

MADISON — Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos backs legislation to end the requirement that Wisconsin bakeries be licensed.

His proposal goes farther than one being considered in the Senate. That bill would make licensing necessary only for businesses that make more than $7,500 a year selling pies, cakes and other bakery goods. Vos says his bill would level the playing field for all Wisconsin bakers by removing the requirement to get a state license. It would also eliminated regulatory oversight of those businesses.

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Brookfield man suspected of mall threats

BROOKFIELD — Police in suburban Milwaukee have arrested a 29-year-old man, accusing him of making terrorist threats.

Everett Hembrook allegedly threatened to harm himself and shoppers at the Brookfield Square Mall. He says he got the idea to make the threats from all of the attacks overseas. Hembrook told investigators he would have killed his ex-girlfriend and then himself if he had access to a firearm. He's being held at the Waukesha County Jail on a $10,000 bail for the felony charge.

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Assembly to vote on convention of states effort

MADISON — A vote calling for a convention of states has been tentatively set for June 14 in the Wisconsin Assembly.

If passed by both the Assembly and the state Senate, Wisconsin would become the 30th state to back the convention. It takes 34 states' support to force it to be held. Several other items about the convention could be voted on at the same time.

The aim of a convention of the states would be to add a balanced budget requirement to the U.S. Constitution. Opponents warn calling the convention could result in wild changes to the nation's guiding document.

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Feds seek 2 men in last year's racial unrest

MILWAUKEE — Federal agents say they want to talk to two Milwaukee men who might have information about the fires which damaged or destroyed several Sherman Park businesses last August.

The officer-involved shooting of Sylville Smith led to two days of unrest. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it thinks Derrick Madlock and Corey Miles could help the arson investigation. The ATF says several Milwaukee residents have already offered valuable information as it works the case.

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One killed in Mauston apartment fire

MAUSTON — Residents say an Mauston apartment fire which killed one of their neighbors apparently started in the landlord's unit.

No information about the fatality victim has been released. Mauston fire crews were called to the scene shortly after 1 a.m. Monday. Water and fire damage made at least 10 of the 16 units in the building uninhabitable.

One of the residents says he saw his landlord's residence engulfed in flames and he woke his girlfriend so they and their 10-month-old daughter could get out. The American Red Cross says it is providing help to 15 adults and 10 children.

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Walker: Additional Trump stops possible next week

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says additional public events in Wisconsin next week with President Donald Trump are being discussed.

Trump is scheduled to headline a private fundraiser for Walker on June 13 in southeast Wisconsin. Walker said Monday that there have been "some discussions" about Trump doing other public events when he's in the state. Trump was last in Wisconsin in April when he visited Snap-on Incorporated in Kenosha and signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order.

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