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Wisconsin roundup: Two western Wis. men charged with operating illegal deer hunt; more state news stories

GALESVILLE — Two western Wisconsin men are due in court Nov. 21 after being charged in an illegal deer hunting operation.

Forty-eight-year-old Travis Brush of Holmen faces three criminal misdemeanors and 34 citations for allegedly luring wild deer into his captive game farm at Galesville, where hunters could take trophy bucks and other deer year-round. An employee, 61-year-old Randall Hoff of Galesville, is charged with five misdemeanors and 39 citations.

The criminal counts include the allowing of unauthorized deer harvests and hunting out of season. The citations include using illegal bait to lure the deer. State Veterinarian Paul McGraw said Brush and Hoff created a potential risk for deer disease by mixing both wild and captive animals.


Foxconn deal: State taxpayers to cover 17 percent of employee pay

MADISON — Wisconsin taxpayers will give Foxconn employees 17 percent of the workers' salaries, plus 15 percent of the firm's construction and equipment costs.

That's part of the contract to be signed Friday by Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou for the company's new LCD screen plant at Mount Pleasant. The wages and salaries would come from up to $1.5 billion in state tax breaks for the jobs Foxconn creates — and the construction costs would come from up to $1.35 billion in state credits for capital investments. To get the full job credits, Foxconn must employ at least 1,040 next year, and 13,000 each year from 2022 through 2032. Foxconn would pay the state $500 million or more if the firm does not meet its job commitments.


Regents approve mergers of UW’s 2-, 4-year campuses

MADISON — The University of Wisconsin's first major reorganization since 1971 has been approved by the Board of Regents.

The panel voted Thursday to let UW-President Ray Cross pursue the mergers of the 13 two year colleges with their nearby four year campuses in clusters throughout the state. Students and faculty wanted the move delayed so they could provide input — but with the colleges losing 32 percent of their enrollment since 2010, and the loss of millions of tuition dollars, Cross said the time to act is now and people can respond to the details as they're being set before the mergers take effect next July.

By doing nothing, Cross said some of the two year schools would have to close in 24 to 30 months — and his plan not only keeps them open, they'll keep having strong ties in their communities. Regent Janice Mueller said she voted no because it's uncertain that the plan is financially sound — and state school Superintendent Tony Evers voted no, saying there are Wisconsinites who feel "left behind."


Clinton pins Wis. loss on voter ID law

MILWAUKEE — Hillary Clinton finally shows up in Wisconsin, after she failed to campaign in the Badger State last fall and lost to Donald Trump.

A nearly full house at Milwaukee's Riverside Theater heard Clinton explain "What Happened" as she promoted her book about her 2016 defeat — the first by a Democrat in Wisconsin's race for the White House since 1984. Clinton called herself a victim of Wisconsin's voter ID law — saying it discouraged votes from students, senior citizens, and minorities. But she said she was encouraged by Tuesday's elections in which Democrats won gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey and more women were elected down the ballots. Clinton said the only way to end sexism in politics is for voters to elect more women — and she said the nation needs a stronger response to opioid addiction and keeping gains made by Obamacare.


Questions surround deputy’s shooting death of teen

ODANAH — Relatives want answers after a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed Wednesday by an Ashland County sheriff's deputy.

The state Justice Department would not identify eighth grader Jason Pero as the victim, but his family did — and his mother Holly Gauthier said he was well loved and there was no reason to justify shooting him. The Justice Department said the boy was walking down a street on the Bad River reservation at Odanah, armed with a knife when an unidentified deputy fired shots. The teen was called a "suspect" but officials have not said why, but they did say the deputy was not hurt. Jason Pero was in the band at Ashland Middle School, where he'll be honored at Veterans Day assembly Friday.


Assembly votes to end 6-month waiting period to remarry

MADISON — Wisconsinites who get divorced would no longer have to wait six months to get remarried in a bill the Assembly passed on Thursday.

The bill's author, Republican Cindi Duchow, says divorcees who have not broken any laws should be able to get on with their lives. The bill now goes to the Senate after clearing the Assembly on a voice vote. Also, the lower house approved bills that make it a crime to obtain nude and sexually explicit photos from children, relax licensing procedures and end continuing education mandates for barbers and cosmetologists and let communities pay up to half the cost of replacing homeowners' water lines contaminated with lead. Another bill allows people to go water skiing without spotters on the boats that pull them.


USDA predicts lower crop outputs after west summer, fall

MADISON — Wisconsin farmers are expected to harvest less of their two largest crops, due mainly to a wet summer and fall.

The USDA projects a corn crop for the year of 496 million bushels — almost 78 million less than 2016 with yields of 168 bushels an acre, 10 less than last year. Soybean production is expected to top out at 98 million bushels, almost nine million less than a year ago with yields of 46 bushels an acre, nine less than the year before. Officials say the new projections are reduced from their most recent forecasts in October. The Wisconsin potato harvest is still expected to rise 2 percent.


Assembly OKs heavy limits on releasing police body camera footage

MADISON — A plan to put strict limits on the public release of police body camera footage has been approved in the Wisconsin Assembly.

It passed on a voice vote Thursday — but Democrats were highly critical of the limits proposed by Kewaskum Republican Jesse Kremer, who said the bill is needed to protect crime victims and witnesses. The only footage that could be made public are in cases of deaths, injuries, arrests, and searches — and bystanders in those videos and owners of the buildings shown would have to sign forms approving their public release. Madison Democrat Chris Taylor says the bill makes it too hard for the public to see the body camera footage they're paying for. Kenosha Democrat Peter Barca says the signoff requirements are ambiguous — and he cannot imagine the Senate approving them.