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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Still too soggy for hikers and campers to enjoy Wisconsin's only national forest

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It's too soggy for hikers and campers to enjoy Wisconsin's only national forest.  Officials say ground moisture remains excessive at the Chequamegon-Nicolet (shuh-wah'-meh-gn nick-o-lay) Forest in the Northwoods.  Trails in the Lakewood-Laona district could open May 15th if things dry up quickly.  Otherwise, all trails will stay closed until about May 22nd.  The Chequamegon-Nicolet covers one-and-a-half million acres ranging from Bayfield to Oconto counties.  The snow has not let up in some of that territory.  Washburn in Bayfield County received almost three-inches of the white stuff yesterday.  Rhinelander broke a 104-year-old snowfall record for April 24th, with one-point-four inches by early last evening. Also, the region is still drying out from last week's storm which dumped around a foot-and-a-half in much of the far north.  Other parts of the state had rain all day yesterday.  La Crosse received the most, with one-and-a-half inches.  There's still a chance of rain in the north today, but it will be partly cloudy in most places with highs in the 40's-and-50's.  The chance of rain lingers through the weekend, with highs of 50 each day.

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Two new leaders have been named to run the Wausau Paper Corporation, which has been under stockholder pressure from a New York hedge fund.  The company said yesterday that Michael Burandt will be the permanent C-E-O and board chairman.  And Matthew Urmanski will be the new president and chief operating officer.  Urmanski has held a number of management posts at Wausau Paper since 2000.  Burandt has been the interim C-E-O since April second.  The Starboard Value hedge fund is Wausau's largest shareholder, and was able to get Burandt onto the company's board in 2012.  For the last three years, Starboard has used its minority ownership to criticize Wausau Paper's management plan.  During that time, the 115-year-old company has shut down its long-running paper mills in Brokaw and Brainerd Minnesota -- and it sold paper mills in Rhinelander and Mosinee.  Starboard has been publicly trying to convince Wausau Paper to sell its timber-lands in the state, and to move its only remaining building -- its Mosinee headquarters -- out of Wisconsin.

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Not everyone was impressed when Governor Scott Walker made Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Democrats tried making political hay, by slamming both the Republican Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- who wrote a brief profile for the magazine's listing.  Christie wrote about Walker's leadership in passing the Act-10 public union bargaining limits, and facing an aftermath which included an effort to recall him.  Walker said he was humbled by making Time's list.   State Democratic Party spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said, "The only person they could get to be an apologist for scandal-plagued Governor Scott Walker was scandal-plagued Governor Chris Christie ... I guess it takes one to know one."  Christie denied knowing that his aides had ordered the George Washington Bridge into New York City to be closed over a purported lack of a re-election endorsement.  Walker has been the subject of two John Doe investigations involving the state's recall elections and his former aides when he was the Milwaukee County Executive. 

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Police in Beloit are investigating the death of a man who was found on a roadside with gunshot wounds.  Officers found the body shortly after midnight.  He died later at Beloit's hospital.  An autopsy is planned for later today.

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The Food-and-Drug Administration says it will change its proposed new livestock feeding rules, so beer-makers won't have to worry about higher grain costs.  The F-D-A is upgrading its food safety laws to prevent out-breaks of food-borne illnesses.  However, beer companies say the rules could put a crimp into the sales of leftover grain from the brewing process to Wisconsin dairy farmers for livestock feed.  Brewers say they'd have to choose between sending the grain to landfills -- or paying an average of almost 14-million dollars for new grain testing equipment and audits.  F-D-A compliance official Dan McChesney says livestock feed is generally safe -- and the F-D-A doesn't know of any problems with the grain from breweries.   In Wisconsin, brewers ranging from Miller-Coors to the New Glarus brewery either donate or sell spent grain to farmers.  John Kappelman of Port Washington says it's a high-quality grain which provides an important source of protein to dairy cows.  Kappelman, who owns a feed business, says selling the grain to farmers is a lot more environmentally-friendly than throwing it out.  Miller-Coors says it's been selling grain to hundreds of farms since the late 1800's -- and the grain goes directly from the brewing kettle to the tanks which ship it to farms.

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Wisconsin's D-N-R secretary says the state's forest industry could be hurt by a federal plan to protect a bat species that's dying off from white nose syndrome.  Cathy Stepp and natural resource officials in Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana have asked the U-S Fish-and-Wildlife Service to delay putting the northern long-eared bat on the federal endangered species list.  As part of its protection plan, the wildlife agency created voluntary guidelines that discourage cutting large areas of timber from April to September.  That's because the bats might living near loose bark and tree cavities.  Stepp and the other D-N-R officials fear that the timber rules would become mandatory.  They said it would affect hundreds of thousands of landowners who manage forests and have a "crippling effect" on the states' forest product industries.  Federal rules require the Fish-and-Wildlife Service to make a decision by October second on making the northern bat endangered.  Stepp and the other state natural resource chiefs say they should have a right to give input, and they'll need extra time for it.  White nose syndrome has killed almost six million bats in the U-S.  The disease was confirmed in Wisconsin for the first time earlier this month.

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It's too soggy for hikers and campers to enjoy Wisconsin's only national forest.  Officials say ground moisture remains excessive at the Chequamegon-Nicolet (shuh-wah'-meh-gn nick-o-lay) Forest in the Northwoods.  Trails in the Lakewood-Laona district could open May 15th if things dry up quickly.  Otherwise, all trails will stay closed until about May 22nd.  The Chequamegon-Nicolet covers one-and-a-half million acres ranging from Bayfield to Oconto counties.  The snow has not let up in some of that territory.  Washburn in Bayfield County received almost three-inches of the white stuff yesterday.  Rhinelander broke a 104-year-old snowfall record for April 24th, with one-point-four inches by early last evening. Also, the region is still drying out from last week's storm which dumped around a foot-and-a-half in much of the far north.  Other parts of the state had rain all day yesterday.  La Crosse received the most, with one-and-a-half inches.  There's still a chance of rain in the north today, but it will be partly cloudy in most places with highs in the 40's-and-50's.  The chance of rain lingers through the weekend, with highs of 50 each day.

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The state D-N-R will start signing up landowners next week for a new deer management assistance program.  There are three ways that property owners can be involved.  They can get free herd management and habitat information, plus invitations to related workshops.  Landowners with at least 160 acres can get in-person management advice from D-N-R staffers, a property management plan, and less expensive deer tags for 75-dollars.  For 150-dollars, landowners can get all of the above plus help with habitat evaluations and monitoring of deer populations.  Property owners can start signing up on Tuesday.  Those interested in the top-two levels must sign up by May 30th.

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Wisconsin plant products continue to be exported at a record pace, thanks to a booming market in Asia.  State officials said they issued 60-percent more export certificates from January-through-March than a year ago -- and eleven-percent more than the previous record from 2010.  It was the fourth quarter in a row that record exports were reported.  The certificates are required for shipping nursery plants, seeds and grain, lumber, and decorating materials.  Last year, almost 870-million dollars in plant products were sold to other countries from Wisconsin.  Wood, corn, and soybean products make up 98-percent of the certified shipments.  Southeast Asia, China, and Taiwan are the largest export markets.  

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