Wisconsin roundup: Hang on for strong winds; more state news briefs

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It won't be easy being outdoors Tuesday.

Strong winds are predicted statewide, gusting up to 45 mph in most places and up to 60 mph in Door County.

The National Weather Service says to expect a 25 mph wind in the River Falls area with gusts reaching 40 mph until 6 p.m. Tuesday. There were already reports of trees down in Pierce County before 8 a.m.

A high wind warning is in effect in the Door Peninsula until midnight — and wind advisories are in place until 7 p.m. elsewhere. Forecasters say the winds will generally be around 25-40 mph until early evening, and it's due to a low pressure system across the Great Lakes that's creating strong north to northwest winds. The Weather Service says isolated power outages are expected, along with difficult driving conditions.

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Speaker apologizes for describing senators as ‘terrorists’

MADISON — Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos apologizes for using the word

"terrorists" to describe three GOP state senators who ran to the governor to cut their own budget deals.

But Vos refused to go back on his basic criticism, saying it's possible that a few holdouts can derail good faith negotiations on bills in the future. On a statewide TV news show Sunday, the Republican Vos slammed his party's Senate colleagues Steve Nass, Duey Strobel, and Chris Kapenga — who got assurances from Gov. Scott Walker that he would use his line item veto powers to write in conservative budget items they requested after leaders of both houses negotiated a budget deal with Walker. Vos called them "rogue senators and terrorists" — but after his words got heavy criticism, Vos said he went against his own guidelines for creating civility in the Legislature.

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Wisconsin’s Feingold to teach UW-Madison course

MADISON — Former state and U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold will teach a course at UW-Madison next fall.

The university said Monday that Feingold would be a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, teaching a capstone seminar called "Negotiating Peace in the African Great Lakes Region." As a Wisconsin Democrat, Feingold was the U.S. Senate's leading authority on African affairs, serving for 16 years a chairman and ranking member of the foreign affairs' subcommittee on Africa.

After he left the Senate, Feingold served from 2013 to '15 as a special envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region. Feingold graduated from UW-Madison four decades ago, and he says he's "thrilled" to return to his alma mater to teach.

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No charges against Grant County deputy in shooting death

LANCASTER — No criminal charges will be filed against a Grant County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a man following an incident that involved a foreclosure.

It happened Sept. 1. Officials say Roger Helgerson Jr. began a chase with officers that ended when he got out of his vehicle, pointed a long gun at two officers — and then deputy Andrew Smith shot Helgerson. Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker reviewed the incident to consider possible charges, but she said Smith was entitled to use deadly force once Helgerson pointed his gun toward him and the other officer on the scene.

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Where is State Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson?

MADISON — It was an extremely rare absence Monday when Wisconsin's longest serving Supreme Court justice missed case arguments and a private meeting of the court.

Chief Justice Pat Roggensack said from the bench that Shirley Abrahamson would not hear three cases Monday — and neither she nor court officials gave a reason. The 83-year-old Abrahamson did not withdraw from the three cases.
She's been on the state's highest court since 1976 and was the chief justice for 19 years before Roggensack replaced her in 2015 after voters changed the state Constitution so the chief justice would be elected by her colleagues instead of being the one with the highest seniority. Abrahamson is one of just two liberals on a court with five conservatives.

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Farmers step up soybean harvest

MADISON — While the corn continues to dry out, Wisconsin farmers have been using dry and mild weather to harvest their soybeans.

The state Ag Statistics Service says almost two thirds of the soybean crop has been harvested, three days later than normal. Officials say the moisture content of the state's corn for grain averages 25 percent — and while the crop stays in the fields, only 15 percent of the crop is harvested, more than two weeks behind schedule.

Corn for animal feed is 87 percent harvested, and that's eight days later than the norm. Ninety-three-percent of the Wisconsin potato crop has been harvested, and 86 percent of the state's winter wheat is in the ground and 83-percent of it is rated good to excellent.

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Center drops Wopat name from awards program

MADISON — Wisconsin native Tom Wopat will no longer have his name on an award program in his home area of Madison.

The Overture Center for the Arts said Monday it has "severed all ties" with Wopat, who's charged with indecently touching a woman and a girl during rehearsals for the play "42nd Street" near Boston. The "Dukes of Hazzard" actor from Lodi was scheduled to appear in court Monday in the case, but the appearance was delayed.

Wopat lent his name to the "Tommy Awards," a nationally recognized high school musical theater program in which many recipients have moved on to performing arts careers. The Overture says Wopat endorsed the program in 2009 but has not taken part either actively or finally since.