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Wisconsin roundup: Despite bitter cold, vast majority of schools are open; busiest mailing day of the year begins; and 10 more state news stories

Wisconsin is going through its second straight morning of bitter cold temperatures, but very few schools are closed.

A quick check of TV stations around the Badger State shows that many small town districts in south central Wisconsin are opening two hours late Monday morning.

Clinton Elementary is the only public school closed all day, and that's because of a broken water main. Lone Rock in southwest Wisconsin had the state's coldest actual temperature of 20 below at 6 a.m. Kenosha and Rhinelander had the coldest wind chills at minus 30.

The National Weather Service says a warming trend begins later Monday, with sunny skies and highs in the teens and 20 -- and forecasters say the 30s will return to much of the state Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Busiest mailing day of the year begins

Wisconsinites will flock to post offices Monday to get their Christmas cards and packages sent. This is the busiest mailing day of the year, according to the U.S. Postal Service -- and officials expect 5 million Americans to visit their local post offices or satellite facilities.

In central Wisconsin, more than 10,000 people will have the stamps on their cards canceled with a special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" design from the Rudolph Post Office in Wood County.

To make sure your greetings to get to people on time, the U.S. Postal Service says you should get first class cards in the mail by Tuesday, with Priority Mail going out by Wednesday and Priority Express Service Friday.

On Christmas Eve, many postal locations will be open -- but a lot of them will close at noon Saturday.

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Trump lashes out on Twitter before Electoral College vote

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Just before he's expected to win the presidency, Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to criticize the protestors who will be in Madison and other state capitols around the country.

Late Sunday, the Republican Trump wrote, "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned and called terrible names!"

In Wisconsin, several groups say they'll protest when the state's 10 GOP electors meet at noon to vote for Trump -- who won the state's popular vote by almost 23,000.

Capitol Police spokesman Steven Michels says they're not expecting "overwhelming crowds" but they'll be prepared if they need help.

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Police look for two suspects in Portage murder

PORTAGE -- Police in Portage have been looking for two men in the shooting death of one person at the Cattail Lodge on the city's north side.

According to a police statement, two men threatened at least three other people on Sunday night -- and one of them was shot and died at the scene. The victim's name was not immediately released.

Police said they were looking for Mario Brown Jr. of the Madison area, and another man in his early 20s.

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Fire engines freeze as apartment complex burns

BRUSSELS -- No injuries have been reported as a fire swept through a four-unit apartment building during the night in southern Door County.

Units were called around 8:30 p.m. to a converted business in the town of Union between Brussels and Dykesville.

Fire Chief Curt Vandertie tells WLUK TV that a number of fire engines froze, as wind chill factors were down to 20 below with the actual temperature at minus seven.

The Red Cross was assisting families living in the apartments -- and it's not known how many people were in the building when the fire started.

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GOP expects no state Electoral College defectors

MADISON -- The state Republican Party expects none of its 10 electors to vote against the GOP's choice for president Monday.

Protesters and national media are expected to converge on the State Capitol in Madison, when 10 GOP activists plan to officially elect Donald Trump as the nation's new president.

Party chair Brad Courtney and Republican National Committee members Mary Buestrin and Steve King are among the electors -- and as of last week, some have received close to 80,000 emails plus letters and phone calls from those urging them to "vote their conscience" in the hopes of helping of Democrat Hillary Clinton win the White House.

But Wisconsin is among the states where it's against the law for electors to go against the state's popular vote -- and Trump won the state by almost 23,000 votes.

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Milwaukee holds religious vigil for those trapped in Aleppo

MILWAUKEE -- About 250 people attended a Sunday night vigil to pray for those trapped in Aleppo, and to encourage world leaders to help stop the violence there.

The Midwest president of the Syrian American Medical Society, Mufaddai Hamadeh, spoke at the vigil where people learned more about an interrupted evacuation of areas held by rebels in northern Syria in that country's five-year-old civil war. The BBC says the evacuations resumed late Sunday.

Hamadeh told those at the Milwaukee vigil that 450,000 Syrians have died in the civil war -- and 11 million Syrians have either fled the nation or were displaced internally.

Among those speaking in Milwaukee are Catholic Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba, Sikh Temple leader Pardeep Kaleka and the Reverend Alexander Job from the ELCA Lutheran church. People lit candles in support of the civilians.

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Couple saved after being trapped in silo

FALL CREEK -- A man and his wife in western Wisconsin are okay after being trapped in a frigid silo on their farm. T

own fire officials near Fall Creek say a man went into the silo to work around 4p.m. Sunday, when part of the silage inside collapsed from a chute and trapped him. WEAU TV says his wife tried rescuing him, and the same thing happened to her.

Both were pulled out safely around 9 p.m. Sunday night, and their names were not immediately released. It was 8 below zero in nearby Eau Claire at the time the incident started -- and by the time the couple was rescued, it was 11 below.

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Burlington man helps U.S. Senate pass eating disorder bill

BURLINGTON -- A southeast Wisconsin man helps provide the impetus for a bill passed by Congress to help those with eating disorders and their families.

Nathan Libbey of Burlington began pushing for extra insurance coverage for conditions like the bulimia that killed his wife Jennifer. She was a kindergarten teacher in the Burlington public schools until she died in August of 2014.

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin co-sponsored the measure, which improves insurance coverage for treatment of eating disorders -- plus resources to train professionals to educate patients to try and prevent such illnesses.

The proposal is part of a larger health care bill that was given final congressional approval last week, and was sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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Teenager says man asking for drugs pointed gun at him

BELLEVUE -- A 16-year-old boy tells the Brown County Sheriff's Office he ran for his life after a man approached him, looking for drugs, then pointed a gun at him.  

The incident happened at the Bellevue Trailer Park Dec. 9. Deputies say the man was in a car when he asked the boy about where to buy drugs, then it escalated with the man threatening the teenager, then pulling an assault rifle from the back floor of his car and pointing it at him.  

The boy ran to a nearby gas station, but the man followed.  

The suspect is described as being in his 40s or 50s, thin, with a gray stubble of beard, wearing glasses possibly and speaking with a thick accent.

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Cheesemaker to get group's highest award

MADISON -- A central Wisconsin cheesemaker will receive his trade group's highest award.

Ken Heiman of Nasonville Dairy near Marshfield will get the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association's Life Member Award at the state's cheese industry conference April 13.

Heiman has been a licensed cheesemaker for 48 years and a master cheesemaker for the last 10 -- and he's been a driving force in the growth of Nasonville Dairy, which now averages more than $140 million in sales each year.

Mike Warren, WDLB-WOSQ, Marshfield

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Governor taking applications for new Chippewa County prosecutor

CHIPPEWA FALLS -- A day after naming Chippewa County's top prosecutor to the bench, Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking for a replacement D.A.

The governor's office Thursday announced that local lawyers have until Dec. 28 to apply to be the new Chippewa County District Attorney. The governor's office says whoever is appointed will have to run for election in 2020.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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