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Wisconsin roundup: Recount all but certain in Senate minority leader's election; GOP 'focused' on turning Trump's win into progress; 9 more state news stories

LA CROSSE -- The close election for Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling's seat has become even tighter.

After the official ballot canvasses in four La Crosse area counties, the Democrat Schilling leads former Senate Republican Dan Kapanke by 56 votes among 89,000. Kapanke gained seven provisional votes since last Tuesday's election from voters who didn't have proper IDs at the polling places -- and Schilling gained five provisional votes. The next step is an all but certain recount, which Kapanke will have three days to request after all the results are filed with the state Elections Commission.

Kapanke has not commented on that, but county clerks tell the La Crosse Tribune they hope the recount won't begin until after Thanksgiving and Black Friday -- because state law requires only one day off during a recount, and the La Crosse County clerk says it will take seven to eight days for her office to re-tally the 64,000 ballots cast there.


Ryan: GOP 'focused' on turning Trump's win into progress

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul Ryan says it's "the dawn of a new unified Republican government."

he Janesville Republican was unanimously endorsed by his party colleagues Tuesday for a full two-year term as speaker -- and he promises that the G-P Congress will be "focused" on turning President Elect Donald Trump's victory into "real progress for the American people."

The House will have 239 Republicans after they're all sworn into new terms in January -- and that does not leave a lot of wiggle room for Ryan, who will need 218 votes when the full House elects a speaker. The website Politico says Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio considered for weeks running against Ryan for speaker. But that blew apart after Trump's victory.


State files to keep Dassey in prison, wants quick action

MADISON -- The state Justice Department has asked a federal court to set aside its order that Brendan Dassey be conditionally released from prison.

State Attorney General Brad Schimel is asking for a quick decision by late Wednesday afternoon, when he expects to file a full appeal with the 7th Circuit Appellate Court in Chicago. The same Milwaukee magistrate judge who overturned Dassey's conviction last August ordered Monday that the 27-year-old Dassey be freed until his case is finally settled.

Dassey remained behind bars at last word, for his alleged role in helping his uncle Steven Avery kill Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County in 2005. The case was the subject of the Netflix series "Making a Murderer," and the series resulted in a fresh appeal of Avery's conviction.


State superintendent proposes extra $707M for schools

MADISON -- Wisconsin public schools would get an extra $707 million in the next two years, under a budget request from State Superintendent Tony Evers.

Gov. Scott Walker has said he would invest more in the next state budget to help "every child succeed" -- and Evers asked Walker Tuesday to provide more equal school funding throughout the state with a greater emphasis on schools in rural areas and those with high poverty. Evers, who now has four challengers in a primary for re-election next February, also expressed concerns that richer school districts are getting ahead of poorer ones as the result of more local referendums in which voters approved $800 million in tax hikes and building improvements last week alone.

Evers' budget request would raise state funding for public schools by 2.7 percent next year, and 5.4 percent the following year. Among other things, he wants funding boosts for special education and English classes.


Teen gets 41 years in prison for carjackings

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee teen has been sentenced to 41 years in prison for a carjacking spree last year.

A jury convicted 19-year-old Brandon Newson in Sept. 17 felonies that included robbery, reckless endangerment, and illegal firearm possession. Officials say Newson joined others in robbing at least seven Milwaukee area motorists of their vehicles in a five day period, and shots were fired in most of those carjackings.

Police say Newson got lost in a swamp after police in Waukegan, Illinois, chased him for a carjacking there -- and he was arrested after he called 911 for help. His Milwaukee sentence was added onto a two year prison term for spitting on inmates who were working at the county jail -- and none of his alleged accomplices have been charged in the case.


Dramatic rescue for injured dog

SHEBOYGAN -- It was a dramatic rescue to say the least, as three fire trucks, two boats, and an ATV were used to save a dog that fell from a ten foot cliff in Sheboygan.

City fire officials say a Springer Spaniel named Lacy fell from the cliff to the edge of a waterway around 6 p.m. Tuesday at Sheboygan's Jaycee Quarry View Park. According to a statement, a city firefighter was lowered by a rope and a harness through a large amount of brush -- and that person retrieved Lacy, and one of the boats and the ATV got them to a boat launch.

The Kohler and Sheboygan town fire departments helped with the rescue, and the dog was cold but not injured. Batallion Chief Gary Kolberg says the animal was a water and rescue dog -- and the pet did extremely well due to those experiences.


Barca re-elected as Assembly minority leader

MADISON -- The leader of the Wisconsin Assembly's minority Democrats says his party should regroup and reach out to working class people who voted for Republican Donald Trump for president.

Kenosha Rep. Peter Barca was re-elected Tuesday by his Democratic colleagues to the leadership post he's held since since 2011. That was when Republicans took control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor's office, and Democrats had 38 of the Assembly's 99 seats -- but now, they hold 35 after losing one more in last week's elections.

Barca was unopposed to keep his post, and Middleton Democrat Dianne Hesselbein is the new assistant minority leader. She replaces Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point, who did not seek that post again.


Video released, reward posted for bank arson in Milwaukee violence

MILWAUKEE -- There is now a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to a conviction in a bank fire during Milwaukee's Sherman Park violence in August.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives put up the reward, and the agency is joining Milwaukee Police in asking for people's help in solving the arson at a BMO Harris Bank branch. Video from surveillance cameras was released Tuesday. Police say several people broke windows, and one person started a fire that spread through the building and caused one-million dollars of damage. It happened during the second day of violence in Sherman Park, which followed the police shooting death of Sylville Smith -- and officials say the bank was among eight businesses and six police cars damaged.


Oconto farm provides White House Christmas tree

OCONTO -- A tree farm in northeast Wisconsin will provide this year's official White House Christmas Tree. The state Agriculture Department held a ceremony Tuesday in which the tree was cut at Whispering Pines near Oconto, owned by Dave and Mary Vander Velden. They won a contest from the National Christmas Tree Association, and they'll present their 20-foot winning tree to First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House later this month. It will be displayed in the Blue Room of the presidential mansion.


DNR asking for help in CWD surveillance in 4 counties

WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking deer hunters in Adams, Juneau, Portage and Marathon counties to help them with chronic wasting disease surveillance during hunting season.

Hunters are being asked to bring their deer in those counties to locations in Adams, Juneau and Portage counties where lymph node samples will be taken. The process takes less than ten minutes and won't cost hunters any money. More information is available on the Wisconsin DNR's website. The gun deer season starts Saturday.


Eagle River couple provides state Capitol Christmas tree

MADISON -- A couple from Eagle River is providing this year's State Capitol Christmas Tree.

Bruce and Charlotte Carey donated the balsam fir that the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association will deliver to the Capitol in Madison Wednesday around noon. It's expected to be put up sometime after Thanksgiving. Gov. Scott Walker had asked school children to make ornaments for the tree that depict Wisconsin wildlife.