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Wisconsin roundup: Two dead after motorcycle, riding lawn mower collide; 11 more state news stories

COLUMBUS — Sheriff's investigators say high speed appeared to be a factor in a crash that killed a motorcyclist and the driver of a riding lawn mower.

It was reported Saturday night on a rural road near Columbus in Columbia County. Each driver died at the scene, and their names were not immediately released.

In Dodge County, officials have identified a man killed in a two car crash as 48-year-old Chad Sorensen of Waukesha. Deputies say Sorensen drove through a stop sign on Friday and collided with another driver who had non life threatening injuries.

Also, Waupaca County officials say a pedestrian died late Friday night after being hit by an SUV on Highway 54 near Waupaca. The victim's name was not immediately released, and the SUV driver was not injured.


Power restored, waterlogged Wis. expects dry day

Power has been restored to virtually all of Wisconsin, as residents can expect some relief Monday from the recent heavy rains and floods.

Much of the attention has focused on western and southern areas, which have had four downpours of 7-10 inches each at different spots the past two weeks. But northeast Wisconsin had some heavy rains late Saturday night and early Sunday, as a couple cars got stuck at an intersection in Green Bay.

The National Weather Service predicts a sunny to partly cloudy day throughout Wisconsin, with highs in the 70s to near 80 — and cooler overnight lows which could dip to the upper 40s by this time Tuesday.


Oshkosh air show observes 50th anniversary of Apollo program

OSHKOSH — The 65th annual EAA AirVenture show begins Monday in Oshkosh.

Thousands of people and vintage airplanes arrived at the show grounds on Sunday to get ready for the week long event — which, among other things, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo space program that put men on the moon. A reunion of Apollo astronauts is planned, which includes Milwaukee native James Lovell — along with a panel discussion Friday night and a new exhibit for the year round EAA Aviation Museum that includes a rock from the moon, brought back during the Apollo 15 mission.

Numerous air shows are planned each day, and the Navy Blue Angels' flight demonstration team plans its first full appearance at Oshkosh with shows Wednesday through Friday plus appearances on the ground. The 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic and 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid will both be observed with lectures and flight recreations.


La Crosse police probe Eau Claire officer’s shooting death

EAU CLAIRE — Police from La Crosse are investigating the shooting death of a 59-year-old man by an Eau Claire officer.

Eau Claire's police chief says his officers were called Saturday night to check on a man who was said to be making threats to kill somebody else and himself. A standoff ensued, and police said they tried negotiating with the man for two hours to peacefully end the incident before he threatened the officers.

When the man shot at police through a window, officials said a sergeant shot the man to death when he was the only person in the house. No names were immediately released. The sergeant is an eight year veteran of the Eau Claire police force, and the officer is on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.


Walker tours new flooding at Cassville

CASSVILLE — Gov. Scott Walker spends another day touring flood damage — this time, in Cassville along the Mississippi River in far southwest Wisconsin.

At least five houses were destroyed and ten more had major damage at Cassville, where up to 10 inches of rain fell in the region Friday night and early Saturday — and much of the flood waters receded by the time the governor made his visit on Sunday afternoon. On Friday, Walker declared a state of emergency in 17 western counties hit with major flooding — one week after far southeast Wisconsin was hit with up to 8 inches of rain that caused almost $9 million in road and bridge damage alone in Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties.

Early damage estimates from last week's floods totaled $3 million in infrastructure damage, mostly in La Crosse and Monroe counties. State officials say 40 homes and 22 businesses were damaged in five counties between Arcadia and Richland Center.


Private school eligibility key sticking point in education budget

MADISON — As the state budget stalemate continues, Wisconsin lawmakers seem to agree on a big increase in state public school aid for the next two years.

But they don't agree on family income limits for the voucher programs that let low- to middle-income kids go to private schools at taxpayer expense. Right now, only families at less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level can be in a private school choice program — but Senate Republicans want to raise that 220 percent, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos favors 300 percent for a family income limit of $74,000 a year.

Also, the Senate GOP plan unveiled last week would cut virtually all of the $20 million in "sparsity aid" to cover the higher costs of rural school districts. But the Senate package also includes $740 million more in general state aid to Wisconsin schools — less than what Gov. Scott Walker wanted but more than what state Superintendent Tony Evers sought.


Speed, alcohol factors in fatal western Wis. crash

WARRENS — Sheriff's deputies in western Wisconsin say speed and alcohol were apparent factors in a one car crash that killed a passenger.

It happened about 2 a.m. Sunday in Warrens on Monroe County Road EW. Deputies say a 44-year-old Warrens woman drove her car into a series of telephone service boxes and some trees, before it flipped onto its top. The name of the passenger who died was not immediately released, while relatives were being notified — and the driver was taken to a Tomah hospital with serious injuries.


Ashland County authorities investigate angler’s death

ASHLAND — The Ashland County Sheriff's Office is handling the death of a man who went fishing by himself on Lake Superior Friday.

The man was supposed to return by 1 p.m., but his truck and boat trailer were still located in the Kreher Park boat landing when police checked. About four hours later, authorities got a call from a person who had spotted an 18-foot boat pinned against a small break-wall near his home.

The missing man was found unresponsive in that boat and was pronounced dead at the scene. His name hasn't been released. The victim was the person reported missing.


Favre’s name taken off steakhouse

GREEN BAY — Brett Favre will be immortal in Green Bay, but his steakhouse may not.

Brett Favre's Steakhouse is having its name changed to the Hall of Fame Chophouse starting next Wednesday. Favre will still have an ownership stake in the restaurant, along with Jo Buonavolanto.

General manager Dennis Fenrick says the owners decided to change the name so it can fit better into the Packers' Titletown and Legends' entertainment districts being built around Lambeau Field. Favre's steakhouse has been located on Brett Favre Pass close to Lambeau since 1998, and the newly named restaurant will honor all the Packers inducted into the team's Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


GOP’s Fitzgerald wants bipartisan support for incentive plan

MADISON — The majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate says getting Taiwan-based iPhone manufacturer Foxconn to put a plant in the state should have bipartisan support.

Republican Scott Fitzgerald says he doesn't know the details of any offers the Walker administration might be making right now, but he wants support from both parties for any incentives offered.

Fitzgerald says discussions on the incentives could wait until after the Wisconsin state budget is passed. Wisconsin is one of several that tried to host at least one of the plants as the company expands to the United States.


Longtime Madison zoo tiger, 18, dies

MADISON — Wisconsin's second largest zoo is mourning the loss of its 18-year-old Amur tiger.

The Vilas Park Zoo in Madison announced the death of Cyber on Friday. Zoo director Ronda Schwetz calls Cyber a "well loved ambassador of his species."

She says Amur tigers normally live for 10-14 years in the wild, and 14-16 years in captivity — and at 18, Cyber's health was watched carefully by zoo staffers, who decided to euthanize him once his health got worse. The Madison zoo also has an 8-year-old female tiger named Cali, and the zoo will work with a survival program to get a companion soon.


Rampaging prisoner injures 3 prison staffers

OSHKOSH — A rampaging inmate at the medium-security Oshkosh Correctional Institution injured three security employees earlier this week.

Two of the three were hurt bad enough they had to seek medical attention at a hospital. The Corrections Department has referred the case to the Oshkosh Police Department. State officials say an internal investigation will also be conducted. The severity of the injuries to the two hospitalized workers hasn't been released and the inmate wasn't named. Some form of disciplinary action should result.