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Milwaukee Brewers' left fielder Ryan Braun has been given the Silver Slugger Award for the second straight year. The award goes to the top hitter at each position in both the National and American Leagues. Managers and coaches decide the winners. Louisville Slugger announced them Thursday. Braun batted .320 this year with 32 homers and 114 RBIs. He also scored 113 runs and he became the first Brewer in 18 years to get 200 hits. Braun led the National League with 203 hits.
Wisconsin can get $150 to $250 million in President Obama's Race to the Top education program, but it will have to beat out a group of other states. The education department announced the application process Thursday. The deadline is Jan. 19 to apply for the first round of federal grants. And the reforms made by each state will determine who gets the money, especially for academic standards, testing, recruiting and keeping good teachers, and improving troubled schools. Earlier this week, Gov.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Oshkosh Thursday that he'll lead a major effort to find new ways to reduce the threat from roadside bombs in Afghanistan. Those ambush weapons account for eight of every 10 U.S. casualties in that country. And the new style of all-terrain vehicles being made at the Oshkosh Corp., is considered a step toward making the troops in those vehicles safer. In September, the Pentagon said there were 106 effective roadside bombing attacks that killed 37 coalition members and wounded 285 others.
The Wisconsin football team expects to be without right tackle Josh Oglesby for tomorrow's home finale against Michigan. He injured a knee tendon against Indiana last week and has done very little at practice this week. Coach Bret Bielema says Oglesby's status won't be determined until Saturday but it's likely that Jake Bscherer will get the start at right tackle. Back-up safety Kevin Claxton is expected to return against the Wolverines, after missing last week's game while getting over a concussion.
Coach Scott Skiles says the Bucks are rebounding well at every spot on the floor and they have just over 47 boards per game. They also lead the league in the percentage of available rebounds they get, at just over 54. The Bucks are also third in the league with a defensive rebounding percentage of 78, and an offensive percentage of 30. Skiles says it helps that Andrew Bogut is back from his injuries. He's averaging just over nine boards per game. Forward Hakim Warrick is snagging just over six per contest and Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute have over five apiece.
It looks like the Green Bay Packers will not have their best pass rusher when they host Dallas on Sunday. Pro Bowler Aaron Kampman is still out with a concussion suffered last week at Tampa Bay. Coach Mike McCarthy says Kampman is further away from returning than people might think and he has not even worked out in the weight room since getting hurt. Rookie Brad Jones appears to be Kampman's replacement. He practiced with the first-string defense in each of the last two days. Kampman's normal back-up at left outside linebacker, Brady Poppinga, still has swelling in one of his thighs.
A utility is one step closer to increasing the radioactive waste it stores near the Wisconsin border at Red Wing, Minn. Regulators in the Gopher State have approved Xcel Energy's request to expand its nuclear waste storage at the Prairie Island plant. The utility plans to spend $600 million to upgrade the plant, so it can handle higher pressures and temperatures to increase its output. The plan also calls for storing 98 casks on a concrete pad next to the plant - which is on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River.
If you're setting up a deer camp, leave the firewood at home. Wisconsin still has restrictions on the movement of firewood, because the tree-killing emerald ash borer often travels in wood. Officials say it's common for hunters to haul firewood to their deer camps and the gun deer season begins in eight days. The Agriculture Department says hardwoods cannot be moved from 11 counties with quarantines unless a dealer certifies the wood as being healthy.
In sports, coaches and players are often let go when they don't deserve it. But in Green Bay, it's a 22-year veteran of the stadium's maintenance crew who said he unfairly got the boot. Mike Wood told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was fired for something he told Packers' coach Mike McCarthy three days before their emotionally-charged game against Brett Favre and the Vikings.
Electric bills will go up an average of $6 a month for customers of Wisconsin's largest utility. The state Public Service Commission approved a rate increase Thursday for We Energies, and its 1.1 million customers in eastern Wisconsin. But they won't pay nearly as much as what the utility had requested. It will get $90 million in extra revenues, not even half of the $190 million it originally sought. Officials say electric bills will go up about 4 percent starting Jan. 1. Consumer groups urged the PSC not to allow a rate hike at all because of the recession.