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Afternoon State News Briefs: Snow storm to cover more of Indianhead

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Afternoon State News Briefs: Snow storm to cover more of Indianhead
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

A big snowstorm will cover more of northwest Wisconsin than originally predicted.

This morning, the National Weather Service issued a new winter storm warning from seven tonight until seven tomorrow night for Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Burnett, Washburn, and Sawyer counties. Six-to-12 inches of snow are predicted. Also, Price and Iron counties were put under a new winter storm watch, with at least six inches possible. Earlier, six counties just to the south - between Ladysmith and Ellsworth - were warned to expect 6-to-9 inches of snow starting this afternoon. The Eau Claire region expects 3-to-6 inches. The new snow in Iron County will come on top of widespread flooding. The Weather Service said at least one bridge was closed over the Montreal River, and sand-bagging operations were taking place yesterday. Elsewhere in the state, flood warnings continue on the Brule River in Iron, Forest, and Florence counties - the Menominee River at Marinette - the Fox River in Kenosha County - and the Rock River at five locations in Rock and Jefferson counties.

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The April showers were more prevalent and colder than normal in much of Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said La Crosse had just under six-inches of liquid precipitation last month. That was almost two-point-six inches more than normal. The average temperature in La Crosse was almost 43-degrees - about six-degrees cooler than the norm. The city had temperatures ranging from 85 yesterday, down to 18 on April third. La Crosse also picked up four-point-two inches of snow last month, almost two-and-a-half inches more than usual. It appears that La Crosse will escape the May storm that's expected in northwest Wisconsin this afternoon through tomorrow.

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One of seven people killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan was a native of Sun Prairie. His uncle said 37-year-old Jeremy Lipka was the captain of a National Airlines 747-400 cargo plane. The company said the crash took place shortly after take-off on Monday at Bagram Air Force Base. The plane was supposed to fly to Dubai. The cause remains under investigation. Lipka's family says they do not suspect foul play, even though the Taliban claimed responsibility for the plane crash. Military officials said there was no enemy activity in the area of the mishap. Media accounts said Lipka went to school in Sun Prairie before moving to Pine Island Minnesota and eventually to Michigan. National Airlines moves freight for businesses and the military, and it provides charter service for passengers in the Middle East.

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Private funerals and visitations have been set for the three people killed near South Wayne in Lafayette County. Services for 76-year-old Dean Thoreson, his 70-year-old brother Gary, and Gary's 66-year-old wife Chloe, will all be held together. A private visitation will be held Friday evening. Both will take place at Wiota Lutheran Church - where a public prayer vigil for the victims will begin at seven this evening. Online condolences can be written at EricksonFuneralHome.com. A memorial fund has been created for Gary and Chloe Thoreson, and donations can be made in Dean's honor to the Lafayette County sheriff's K-9 unit. All three were found dead last Sunday at their home. The suspect, 31-year-old Jaren Kuester, is in jail - and charges are not expected until next week.

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Wisconsin's job creation agency has failed to follow state laws, gave tax money to ineligible projects, and did not adequately monitor grant recipients. That's what the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau said today about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The public-private agency replaced the old state Commerce Department two years ago. It's been under the microscope since last year, when it was learned that the agency failed to keep track of past-due loans to state businesses for creating jobs. Governor Scott Walker responded by having former Marshfield Clinic director Reed Hall run the agency, after its previous director Paul Jadin resigned. Hall said his department is making progress in addressing the issues brought up in the audit. He said many solutions have already been put in place - or are about to be. Among other things, the audit showed that the WEDC did not verify the performance of 30 companies that got state grants - and the expected results were not met in a-third of those cases. Also, the companies only submitted 45-percent of the reports required by their state awards. The audit also said the Economic Development Corporation did not have sufficient policies in place to run its programs efficiently - including some policies required by law. Hall said that in the last fiscal year, the agency was operating under the Commerce Department's old policies while new ones were being established.

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A four-year-old boy is expected to recover, after he was shot by an apparent stray bullet on Milwaukee's north side. Police said the youngster was playing with siblings on a sidewalk around 10 last night when somebody opened fire in the child's direction - and the boy was hit once. His wound is not believed to be life-threatening. Officials said the gunman ran off, but they don't know the direction that he fled.

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Former Green Bay Packers' star Leroy Butler said a Wisconsin church canceled his scheduled appearance, after he tweeted his support for gay NBA player Jason Collins. Butler tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he was supposed to give a presentation against bullying this summer at a church he wouldn't name. His representative told WTMJ Radio it was north of Milwaukee. Butler said church officials told him he wouldn't be welcome unless he removed the tweet, apologized, and asked God to forgive him. Butler - who won a Super Bowl with the Packers in the 1996 season - said it would have reduced his integrity had he done what the church wanted. He expressed his disappointment on Twitter last night. The National Football Post was the first to write about it. He said he was praising Collins for admitting he's gay - and Butler said he would have played with a gay teammate. He said he wants to be a role model for all kids and quote, "I don't judge them." The Journal-Sentinel said the church has tried reaching Butler to apologize. He said he would accept it, but he would not work with the church again. Butler said he speaks to several churches each year. Sponsors normally raise his speaking fee - $8,500 - and the church makes money with donations by those attending.

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There's a renewed effort to find out who's putting up the money for Wisconsin political ads that highlight issues instead of candidates. GOP Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah has teamed up with Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach of Middleton on a new bill. It would require groups that put out so-called "issue ads" to file financial reports with the state, if they run their ads within 60 days of an election. Ellis and Erpenbach say they've tried for years to get more public disclosure of campaign money, who puts it up, and how it's spent. But opponents have said the issue ad requirement goes against the First Amendment freedom of speech.

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Milwaukee's downtown convention center is about to get its fifth name since it opened in 1998. Delta Air Lines has told the Wisconsin Center District that it would not renew its naming rights for the Delta Center, when its current one-year deal expires on June 30th. Chris Kelly-Singley of Delta said the airline will focus its marketing efforts on the cities where it has hubs - and Milwaukee is not among them. The Wisconsin Center District says it's talking with a variety of firms about sponsorships. If there's no agreement by the end of June, the convention hall's name would be the Wisconsin Center. It was named the Midwest Express Center when it opened. A few years later, Midwest changed its name - so the hall became the Midwest Airlines Center. Once Republic Airlines bought Midwest in 2009, the center was named for one of its affiliates, Frontier Airlines. Delta assumed the final year of the Frontier contract last summer.

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A man wanted for the murder of his girlfriend in Waukesha killed himself after police confronted him in Bloomington Indiana. 26-year-old Eddie Callaway of Waukesha was suspected of shooting 24-year-old Shanel Negron to death nine days ago at a home they shared. Bloomington Police, Indiana state troopers, and U.S. Marshals were on the lookout for Callaway, after being told he might be there because he had relatives in the area. According to Bloomington Police, a state detective saw Callaway riding a bicycle on a trail yesterday. Officers later ordered him to get off the bike - and Callaway then reached toward a waistband, grabbed his gun, and shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

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The latest scam in Wisconsin tries to convince you that you parked illegally while out of town - and you need to a pay a fine. Residents of Door and Pierce counties called the state's consumer protection agency, after they got something from the firm of "Parking Collection Services." The Door County resident was told that she parked illegally in a Milwaukee parking lot in January. The notice had one of her license plates, but her car was never in that city. She told officials that she called the number on the notice, and the person on the other end hung up when she refused to give her name. In the Pierce County case, a woman was told she parked illegally in a private local lot in January - but she was actually at a relative's place in northern Wisconsin at the time. When that person called Parking Collective Service, she was told it was acting on behalf of law enforcement. State officials urge those getting the phony parking fine notices to call the consumer protection agency in Madison - or file a complaint on its Web site.

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A Marquette County business owner convicted of setting his pub on fire will not be retried. Forty-two year old Joe Awe served nearly three years in prison, but a judge tossed out that conviction. Awe was about to get out of prison on parole any way, but the judge's decision means he won't be on probation. The Wisconsin Department of Justice disagreed with the judge's decision. In his decision, Marquette County Judge Richard Wright said there was no direct evidence of Awe's guilt after it was discovered the method of analyzing the fire's origin had been discredited. Awe had been accused of burning the pub to collect insurance money.

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Milwaukee's Veterans Affairs office is one of three dozen nationwide already using a digitized system of tracking compensation claims. VA officials say the switch-over can reduce the backlog of claims by moving from a paper-based system to a computerized one. The system was installed in the Milwaukee last December. The backlog has been caused by more than 10 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA Regional Office in Milwaukee still has almost six thousand claims pending.

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One of three women charged in the 2007 killing of Lara Plamann made an Outagamie County Court appearance earlier today for a preliminary hearing. Thirty-eight year old Rosie O. Campbell told authorities last February that she had made a deal with Kandi Siveny and her mother, Dianna to kill Plamann. Campbell says she backed out at the last minute. Campbell told investigators Kandi Siveny marched the victim to an outbuilding near her home and shot her twice. Campbell's attorneys have asked the judge to dismiss the homicide charge she faces. They say she had no role in carrying through the murder plot and can't be considered a party to the crime.

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