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Wisconsin roundup: Senate leader says speaker should apologize; more state news stories

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, left, came under fire Monday after using the word "terrorists" to describe senators who went to Gov. Scott Walker to approve items they wanted in the state budget, including an immediate end to the minimum wage for state government projects, and limits on when schools can hold referendums. File photo

MADISON — Wisconsin Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald says Assembly Speaker Robin Vos should apologize for calling three senators "terrorists" on a television broadcast.

Fitzgerald says it was "beyond inappropriate" for the Republican Vos to use the word to describe senators who went to Gov. Scott Walker to approve items they wanted in the state budget, including an immediate end to the minimum wage for state government projects, and limits on when schools can hold referendums.

Sens. Steve Nass, Duey Strobel and Chris Kapenga went to Walker after Vos refused to consider changes in the budget approved last month. Vos' office did not comment by midday on the fallout to his remarks, made on Sunday's statewide show "Upfront with Mike Gousha.” Nass said he was especially upset that Vos would not take the remark back when he had a chance to do so on the show.


Three seriously injured after Dunn County crash

DUNN COUNTY — Three people were seriously injured following a weekend crash in Dunn County.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon on Highway 85 in the Town of Rock Creek southwest of Eau Claire. The Sheriff's Office says a car crossed the center line and hit another car. All the people involved were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The crash is under investigation.


Kind: Polarized climate won’t fix taxes, health care

MADISON — Wisconsin's longest serving U.S. House Democrat says there's no way that taxes and health care will be fixed in such a hyper partisan political climate.

Ron Kind of La Crosse is in his 21st year in Congress, and he said on WKOW-TV's "Capital City Sunday" program he's sick of the "political ping pong" on health care. Kind says President Donald Trump originally appeared to support a bipartisan compromise on restoring Obamacare tax subsidies for two years — but Trump later ran away from the deal in one of his tweets.

Kind says lives are at stake while Trump does all he can to undermine Obamacare — and he says the latest GOP alternative costs more while insuring fewer people. Kind also slammed the Trump tax cut package, saying that small businesses would join the middle class in being hurt.


Report: Nine state convictions tainted by faulty FBI analysis

MADISON — A report has been released stating that nine convictions in Wisconsin are identified as being tainted by faulty FBI analyses of microscopic hair and fibers.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism at UW-Madison says the FBI is conducting a review of cases before 2000. The center used numerous public records to identify seven of them.

At least two other cases had hair evidence that DNA tests later proved to be incorrect. They involve four federal cases plus state convictions in La Crosse, Sauk, Dane, Waukesha, and Milwaukee counties. The investigative journalism center says some states are conducting their own reviews of questionable cases, but Wisconsin is not. The Justice Department says it will handle "critical" cases when they're brought to the agency's attention.


Sept. home sales down, but new record set for year

MADISON — Wisconsin realtors sold fewer homes in September, but sales for the first nine months of 2017 set a new record for the second straight year.

The Realtors Association said Monday that 7,600 existing houses were sold statewide last month — down one-point-two-percent from the previous September. But for the year as a whole, a record 63,398 homes were sold — 0.4 more than last year's record. The median sales price was about 175-thousand dollars for both last month and the year to date. That's up almost 5 percent for September, and 6 percent for the first three quarters of 2017. The realtors say the available housing stock remains much lower than last year, a key factor in driving up prices.


State’s latest phone scam more threatening

GREEN BAY — Phone scams appear to get more and more threatening. In the Green Bay area, sheriff's deputies say people are getting phone calls threatening to hurt them or their families, unless they fork up money or gift cards.

And the callers say hit men would do them harm if they don't comply. Brown County deputies say people are calling them about instead of paying the ransom — just as it should be. Deputies say the calls often come from outside the U-S, and the scammers use real looking phone numbers and names on the victims' caller IDs.


Autopsy set for man killed after SUV started on fire

An autopsy is scheduled Monday on a person who died in an SUV that started on fire.

It happened Saturday morning in New London, and police say foul play does not appear to be involved. Officials say a police officer tried using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, but that didn't work and the New London Fire Department extinguished the fire. In Langlade County, sheriff's deputies say a driver was killed after a vehicle rolled over early Saturday on Highway 64 near Antigo. The victims' names were not immediately released in either crash.


Neighbors help harvest dead man’s crop

MILTON — Neighbors came to the rescue after an award winning farmer in southern Wisconsin dies with his corn crop still in the fields.

Farmers Tom Reed, Doug Goodger, Chris Boston, and Harold Hanuska pulled crops after 76-year-old Tom McNally died Oct. 16. Reed tells the Janesville Gazette it's "just neighbors helping neighbors."

McNally's relative Jeff says he appreciated the help, which was needed after 500 acres of corn and soybeans had to be harvested. The Gazette says the century old McNally farm had Rock County's top dairy herd in 1979, and they received another production award in the late '80s from the Tri State Breeders Cooperative.