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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Cold and snow mark first day of gun-deer season

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It was a chilly start of the firearm deer season in Wisconsin yesterday, prompting one state official to say "even the squirrels were hunkered down today".

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A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources says some parts of the state experienced a chilly five degrees and winds gusting over 30 miles per hour, providing an added challenge to the start of the season. Despite the conditions, DNR says many hunters braved the added elements and were able to bag a buck. Photos and stories have been posting on the department's Facebook page. One hunter reported a nine-point buck kill just five minutes into the opening season. 

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A Federal Judge in Wisconsin struck down a law that gives clergy tax-free housing allowances… a decision that could have a profound impact to pastors across the U.S. Friday’s decision centers on a lawsuit filed by a Madison-based special interest group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The group claims pastors could take advantage of a 1954 law that would allow for “double-dipping” on untaxed income to purchase a home. In her ruling, Judge Barbara Crabb says the exception provides “a benefit to religious persons and no one else”. A spokesperson for the group says they fully expect clergy members to pressure the White House for an appeal.

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A Manitowoc man faces several felony charges in an alleged road rage crash that killed a 19-year-old. Authorities says a disagreement between 22-year-old Shawn Lischka and the victim, Eric Neuman, led to a chase which ended in Neuman losing control and crashing into a guardrail on Tuesday night. Preliminary tests indicated that drugs and alcohol were factors in the crash. Lischka was charged on Friday with hit and run involving a death, homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, and recklessly endangering safety. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

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A new report shows motorcycle sales and registrations are up across the nation, showing signs that the motorcycle recession may be ending. The Motorcycle Industry Council released national data showing a point-nine percent year-over-year sales gain for the third quarter, eliminating a five-percent decline in the previous quarter. In Wisconsin, the Department of Transportation says over 60-thousand motorcycles were sold in 2012, a 14-percent increase from 2011. In addition, there are currently over 357,000 motorcycles registered in the state. That’s up one-percent from 2012, and over 17-percent from 2008. While that’s good news for major manufacturers, scooter sales continue to lag. National data shows sales are down 17-percent from a year ago.

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