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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Mississippi, Chippewa rivers at flood stage

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The Mississippi River and parts of two others in Wisconsin still had flood warnings today, after heavy rains earlier this week.   In far western Wisconsin, the Chippewa River at Durand is about five-inches above its flood stage today. 

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The Fox River at New Munster in Kenosha County was about a foot above its flood stage this morning, after the region got 4-to-6 inches of rain on Monday.  The Fox is expected to drop below its banks again by early Sunday.  That river is also expected to drop below its banks on Sunday.  The National Weather Service said minor flooding was expected at each location -- as well as at five spots on the Mississippi River.  That river was a few inches above its banks today at Wabasha, Winona, and Prairie du Chien.  It was slightly below its flood stages at La Crosse and Guttenberg, Iowa across from Grant County.  Flood warnings continue until further notice on the Mississippi.

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A western Wisconsin man has been fined over $2,700 dollars, for illegally harvesting ginseng.  Forty-three-year-old Timothy Kampa of Independence pleaded no contest last month to eight criminal charges, and two dozen others were dropped in a plea deal. Trempealeau County prosecutors accused him of things like harvesting ginseng out of season -- and not getting permission to harvest the root on private land.  Beside the fine, Trempealeau County Circuit Judge John Damon told Kampa to pay back one-thousand dollars to landowners who lost ginseng to him -- and he won't get back about ten-thousand dollars worth of dry ginseng that DNR wardens seized from him.

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Police in Superior are investigating, after a three-month-old boy was found to be covered in bite marks.  The boy's 24-year-old father was arrested, after the child's mother called 9-1-1.  Police said they found the boy with bite marks on his face, torso, and legs. Officials said the baby had severe bruises, and was treated at a hospital before being sent home with his mother.

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A bald eagle was set free today, after he got hurt while flying into the shrink wrap of a boat traveling on Interstate-94 in western Wisconsin.  The adult male eagle had internal injuries and eye hemorrhaging, after he slammed into the boat's cover which was going at 70-miles-an-hour near Menomonie on April 25th.  The eagle got stuck in the boat, and the couple that was pulling it with a truck never realized it until another driver got their attention.  The eagle was taken to the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center in Saint Paul for rehab.  Scott Kregness released him today.  He said it was great feeling to see the eagle soar.  

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If state wildlife experts have their way, deer hunters would only be able to shoot bucks in about the northern third of Wisconsin.  The state Natural Resources Board will consider a proposal two weeks from today to suspend most antlerless deer hunts in the 17-county northern forest zone.  Officials say the doe herd needs to recover from two straight rough winters in the far north.  The Wisconsin State Journal says about 40-percent of juvenile deer that the DNR have been tracking with radio collars in the north have died since January first.  That was when wind chills as low as 55-below were just starting to hit the region, along with four months of heavy snows.  About 33-percent of radio-tracked juvenile deer died in 2013, and just six-percent in 2012.  DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said antlerless deer hunts would generally be banned in the north during the gun and archery seasons.  Youth hunters, the disabled, tribal members, and military personnel on leave could still shoot does in the region.

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A senior vice-president in the UW System is leaving to become the new chancellor of Montana State University-Billings.  Mark Nook will start his new job in July.  He's been Wisconsin's vice president for academic and student affairs since 2011.  Before that, he was a provost and interim chancellor at UW-Stevens Point.  He was also a finalist a few weeks ago for the presidency of Black Hills State in South Dakota.  UW System President Ray Cross said Nook helped improve the efficiency of the university's teaching, research, and service during a time of significant changes in higher education.  Cross plans to name an interim academic and student affairs vice president soon -- and a national search will begin for Nook's permanent replacement.

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A company in Waukesha County expects to double its annual sales, after acquiring a business in Switzerland.  The Techniplas Group of Nashotah said today it purchased the plastics' technology division of Weidmann International Corporation.  Terms were not disclosed.  Techniplas is a consortium of plastic-makers which deals in the auto-and-truck industries.  Weidmann has plants in the U.S., Germany, China, and Brazil as well as Switzerland.  They make plastic components for automakers.  Techniplas says Weidmann will keep its name and its home base in Switzerland.  Techniplas has sales of $234-million a year.  It says the new acquisition could help the newly-merged firm bring in a total of $500-million a year.  

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Madison is the nation's fourth-best city for an employee to work in a small business.  That's according to a survey by Wallet Hub.  Milwaukee was ranked 62nd of 100 metro areas surveyed.  The Wallet Hub Web site evaluated small businesses from the worker's point of view.  The criteria included the average wages for new hires, the numbers of hours worked, the variety of small companies in a metro area, and net job growth from those firms.  The survey showed that Minneapolis was the country's most attractive place for job seekers in small firms.  The Chicago metro, which includes Kenosha County, is ranked 24th.

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A ten-and-a-half year old Kenosha boy will have a chance to defend his world record on Sunday, when he runs in the Green Bay Half-Marathon.  It was only eleven days ago when Noah Bliss set a record for a ten-year-old runner, when he completed the Wisconsin Half-Marathon in Kenosha in one-hour, 37-minutes, and 15-seconds for 13.1 miles.  He was almost kept out of that race, because it normally requires participants to be at least 14 years old.  Officials let him run after his father described the fourth-grader's training routine.  Organizers also checked with a doctor to see if he'd be okay.  On Sunday, Noah Bliss will join about six-thousand people in Green Bay's half-marathon.  Another two-thousand runners will compete in the full 26-plus-mile event.  Noah says he's most excited about finishing the race where the Packers play at Lambeau Field.  Green Bay is the state's second-largest marathon, behind the Milwaukee Lakefront event. 

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Marshfield is home to over 20,000 residents and the world-famous Marshfield Clinic -- but one thing the city lacks is a lake close by.  And it does not appear it will get one any time soon.  The city's Economic Development Board had a group of UW-Stevens Point students study the feasibility of a man-made lake.  They said it would cost $30-million to put in a 200-acre lake -- plus the cost of extending utilities.  City planning director Jason Angell said Marshfield is one of only a few places in Wisconsin without a lake nearby -- and officials were hoping to provide a new recreation opportunity, so fewer residents would leave on summer weekends and spend less time at faraway cabins.  The students identified three possible sites for a lake, based on environmental factors.  The most favorable was a 160-acre site on the southwest side of town, west of the airport.  Beside the cost issue, the students said sites fed by runoff could cause pollution problems.  Angell said it's possible that a lake could be reconsidered in the future, if a frac-sand reclamation project provides such an opportunity.  A lake for Marshfield was first discussed in newspaper editorials four decades ago, but it was never considered by the city.

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Janesville school Superintendent Karen Schulte has apologized, after a high school group showed a video she said was biased in favor of gay marriage.  In April, the Gay-Straight Alliance at Janesville Craig High School showed a 16-minute video called "Kids React to Gay Marriage."  Among other things, youngsters responded to marriage proposals involving same-sex couples -- and they discussed issues like gay marriage bans.  The video also described the history of gay marriage in America, and about related discrimination.  Superintendent Schulte said the video went against school policies on exploring political and controversial issues because it did not feature views on the other side.

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A mother and her daughter are being freed for now, as they await trials for the 2007 murder of the mother's domestic partner near Appleton.  Outagamie County Circuit Judge Nancy Krueger ruled yesterday that prosecutors violated Dianna and Kandi Siveny's requests for speedy trials.  They filed those requests in January, and state law requires the trials to be held within 90 days -- or else the defendants must be released.  Charges can also be dropped if the state deliberately violates a defendant's right to a speedy trial -- but Krueger said the Siveny case did not reach that threshold.  55-year-old Dianne Siveny and her 35-year-old daughter Kandi are both charged with homicide and substantial battery in the slaying of Lara Plamann.  Prosecutors said Kandi shot Plamann for cheating on her mother.  Separate trials for the two defendants are now scheduled for August and September.

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