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Wisconsin roundup: Dems slam Walker for jumping into NFL anthem fray; should state drop 'Dairyland' from plates?; more state news stories

Gov. Scott Walker said Monday national anthem protests should take a backseat to domestic abuse issues in the NFL. File photo

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has jumped into the NFL's national anthem controversy, to the chagrin of some opposing Democrats.

League owners meet Tuesday to discuss what to do about the sitting and kneeling by certain players during the "Star Spangled Banner" before their games. The Republican Walker said Monday the league should order its players to stand for the anthem and fight domestic violence instead.

Several Democrats accused Walker of trying to score his own political points — as Rep. Melissa Sargent of Madison pointed out that Walker never spoke up when video was shown of players like Ray Rice assaulting women. Walker said it's timely to focus on the problem during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The NFL already has a major service effort during October — its "Crucial Catch" campaign that encourage women to get tested during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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Business leader: Take ‘America’s Dairyland’ off license plates

MADISON — The head of Wisconsin's largest business group says the state's No. 1 industry should no longer be saluted on its license plates.

At a business luncheon in Madison Monday, Kurt Bauer of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said the phrase "America's Dairyland" should be taken off the plates in favor of what he called something more contemporary — like "Forward." Bauer says the license plates should reflect where the job openings are — and he says more of them are in manufacturing, especially with Foxconn on the way.

Wisconsin has had "America's Dairyland" on its license plates for almost 80 years. While California became the nation's top milk producer a few decades ago, Wisconsin remains the national leader in cheese production.

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Suspects sought in large theft at car dealer

BELLEVUE — A car dealer near Green Bay is offering a $2,500 reward for information about a large theft.

Brown County sheriff's deputies say the tires and rims on 10 vehicles were stolen from Dorsch Ford in Bellevue, and some of the lock boxes and keys were removed. Also, officials say a van was stolen that was apparently used to transport the tires. The vehicles were reportedly put on blocks, and the total value of the missing items is about $100,000. Deputies say the incident happened between midnight at 3:30 Monday morning.

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UW-Madison campus deemed safe after robbery

MADISON — UW-Madison officials say the campus is safe following a robbery Monday night. City police say it happened about 8 p.m. at a Subway restaurant on University Avenue.

University officials issued an alert with a description of the suspect — but an hour later, police said the suspect left the area and did not pose a further threat on the campus. WKOW-TV says another Subway restaurant reported seeing a suspect similar to the one at the campus holdup — but that turned out to be somebody else. Madison police continue to investigate.

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State budget surplus $112M higher than expected

MADISON — The state government has ended its last fiscal year with $579 million in its general account, and that's $112 million more than officials expected.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker touted the surplus, saying it's due to what he calls "pro growth, pro taxpayer reforms." He says the GOP has had budget surpluses every year since the party took total control of state government in 2011 — and the governor called the latest surplus the second highest since 2000.

But it's only about one-fifth of the $3 billion surplus the state built up in the late 1970s. The late former Gov. Lee Dreyfus gave it all back to taxpayers, only to cut spending in the early '80s after a recession hit.

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U.S. Senate hopeful Nicholson wins big endorsement

WASHINGTON — A special interest group with ties to former Trump strategist Steve Bannon is endorsing Kevin Nicholson in next year's Wisconsin U.S. Senate race.

The McClatchy News Service says the pro-Trump Great America Super PAC supports the Delafield businessman above state Sen. Leah Vukmir, the only other candidate for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Tammy Baldwin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Nicholson has an "impressive personal story" to tell voters as a former Marine and he would speak out against GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Bannon has criticized for not getting Trump's agenda passed. A campaign spokesman says Nicholson supports the conservative grassroots effort to get new leaders and fresh ideas in Washington.

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Rain slows crop harvest

MADISON — Recent rains have put the Wisconsin crop harvest further behind schedule.

The Ag Statistics Service says the soaking rains slowed fieldwork statewide, and the weather was suitable for harvesting only about half the time. Because of that, just 9 percent of the corn for grain has been harvested statewide, almost two weeks behind schedule — and 80 percent of the corn for animal feed is in the bin, one week later than normal.

Thirty percent of the state's corn has yet to mature, which is nine days behind the average — and 72 percent of the corn is rated good to excellent, three percent above last week. Meanwhile, 44 percent of the Wisconsin soybeans have been harvested, about the same as last year but four days behind the average for the past five years.

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Good Samaritans had car stolen while helping motorist

MILWAUKEE — A Good Samaritan had her car stolen while stopping to help a stranded motorist in Milwaukee, and now she and her boyfriend believe they were set up.

Debra Baldwin tells WITI-TV that she and Jim Hartman were going out to dinner Oct. 4 when they stopped on a street west of downtown Milwaukee to help a woman who was yelling into her phone that her car was on fire. Baldwin says she and Hartman stepped out of their vehicle — and within 30 seconds, a thief got in and drove it away, and police are still looking for the suspects. Baldwin said she called 911, but nobody came so they took a taxi to the police headquarters. She says the woman with the emergency didn't go with them — and the phone number she gave them turned out to be somebody in Utah. In Baldwin's words, "You cannot trust anybody anymore."

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Ryan says no to restoring Obamacare subsidies

MADISON — House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville says he does not plan to bring back the Obamacare subsidies the president wiped out last week.

Instead, the Republican Ryan still favors a repeal and replace approach that the Senate has not achieved this year. He says the answer is "not to shovel more money at a failing program that is doubling premiums" and causing monopolies for insurance buyers in a number of areas.

In the speaker's words, "We need comprehensive reform that actually lowers people's premiums, (and) gives states the ability to set up their own marketplaces. Ryan made his comments to reporters following a tax reform speech in Madison to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

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Madison students: We want input on merger plan

MADISON — Student leaders in the UW-System say they want input on the proposed mergers  of the two year and four year campuses.

In a statement, the Student Representatives' group says it's asking university leaders to address their concerns and "welcome student participation." UW System President Ray Cross has proposed that the state's network of 13 two year colleges and the Extension service be disbanded — and that the colleges merge with their nearby four year schools while Madison acquires the Extension. UW-Eau Claire student body vice president Nick Webber says the news of the merger plan was a "complete surprise" — and he tells the Eau Claire Leader Telegram he has "more questions than answers."

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