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Wisconsin roundup: Clayton police chief accused of sexual misconduct; 10 more state news stories

CLAYTON — A small town police chief in western Wisconsin has been arrested and charged with sexual misconduct.

Grant Pickard faces four charges, including one felony. The St. Croix County District Attorney accused the chief of engaging in sexual contact with a female subordinate last year. The victim says Pickard forced himself on her and continued to act inappropriately.

Pickard says the sexual contact and communications were consensual and the victim only complained after her work performance started being examined. He is scheduled to return to court Wednesday.


Wis. bat population dropping

MANITOWOC — Scientists say white-nose syndrome is to blame for a noticeable drop in the Wisconsin bat population.

The disease arrived in this state three years ago. Some Wisconsin counties report the loss of an estimated 90 percent of the bat population. Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Manitowoc County is one of 30 sites around the state monitoring bats for the DNR. The condition affects little brown, big brown, tricolor and Northern long-eared bats.

White-nose syndrome was first detected 11 years ago and it has spread to more than 30 states and five Canadian provinces. The loss of bats can have a profound impact on agriculture.


Racine County appears to have edge in competition for Foxconn project

RACINE — It's being called "a handshake agreement."

Foxconn Technology Group is said to be in final negotiations with Racine County officials about locating its new manufacturing plant there. There's still a slim chance the plant could wind up in neighboring Kenosha County, along with what could eventually be 13,000 jobs. Foxconn is spending $10 billion.

Two dozen Racine County homeowners say they have already signed options to sell their properties as a part of the deal. The Wisconsin Senate votes Tuesday on a subsidy bill providing nearly $3 billion to Foxconn, if it keeps all of its promises.


Dairy farmers told they can opt out of program

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin dairy farmers are no longer required to participate in the federal Dairy Margin Protection Program.

Agriculture industry groups are creating alternatives to the program after it was changed in the 2018 Farm Bill. Previously, the USDA required farmers to be enrolled for the duration of each four-year Farm Bill. The American Farm Bureau Federation is proposing a Dairy Revenue Protection plan which operates something like crop insurance. That approach would be a combination of the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers and the futures market.


Wis. National Guard troops to help with Irma recovery

MADISON — More than 2,500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will help with the massive recovery efforts in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The Wisconsin Guard's mission is expected to include rescuing people who were trapped by rising floodwaters, preventing more injuries and protected property left vulnerable by residents who fled the approaching storm. Irma has been one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean storms since record-keeping began.


WIAA to offer insurance covering athletes’ concussions

MADISON — The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has purchased a concussion insurance policy covering high school athletes called HeadStrong.

Kids in grades 6-12 who are participating in sports sanctioned by the WIAA will be covered for free. Wisconsin is the fourth state sports organization to offer concussion insurance.

The state association is paying $1.50 a child. HeadStrong will function as a secondary insurance, meaning if a student or family already has insurance, it will be the primary source of coverage.


DA: Officers acted in self defense

LA CROSSE — The La Crosse County district attorney says two police officers were acting in self-defense when they shot an armed carjacker to death.

Investigators say 54-year-old Roger Burzinski failed to comply with orders from officers Andrew Adey and Stephen Hughes last month. Burzinski had led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle which had a baby inside.

He pointed a gun at a woman while taking her S-U-V. She managed to pull her three-year-old child to safety, but the one-year-old child was still inside when he drove away.


Waupaca County deputy wounded

WAUPACA — A man who opened fire on deputies serving a warrant Friday could be charged with attempted homicide.

A Waupaca County deputy was wounded. As authorities tried to serve the arrest warrant in New London, the suspect began firing as the deputies drove up. Fire was returned and the man was eventually arrested. The deputy's injuries weren't life threatening.

His name and the suspect's name haven't been released. The man was already wanted for domestic abuse and aggravated robbery. The Waupaca County District Attorney's Office will decide if additional charges are called for in the case.


Survey: Wisconsinites 11th-lowest for lottery spending

NEW YORK — Wisconsinites are generally not big lottery players.

The financial website 24/Seven Wall Street says the average state adult spends $128 a year on lottery tickets. That's the 11th lowest among 43 states that offer lotteries and have records available for their sales and payouts. The report cited U.S. Census data to rank lottery spending in each state with North Dakota spending the least and Massachusetts the most.

Wisconsin had the 19th lowest total lottery spending in fiscal 2015, at $575 million. The report says lotteries pay winners about 60 percent of what they take in — and in Wisconsin, the profits are given to homeowners for property tax relief.


District offers counseling after woman jumps from bridge

CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Chippewa Falls School District is offering support to elementary students who may have seen a woman jump from a bridge.

Three district buses were near the Highway 124 Bridge Thursday when the incident happened. School officials sent a message to parents about the incident offering help from teachers, counselors and the principal.


Jury to determine if ‘Slender Man’ defendant was mentally ill

WAUKESHA — Jury selection begins today for the trial to determine if a girl charged with stabbing her classmate was mentally ill at the time.

This has been called the "Slender Man" case, because Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser said they were trying to please the horror character. Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree homicide charges last month, but her attorneys maintain she isn't responsible due to a mental disease or defect. Weier will spend at least three years in a mental hospital if the defense gets its way — and 10 years in prison if the jury decides she wasn't suffering from a mental defect.