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Wisconsin roundup: Ag gonna happen — Walker says ‘Dairyland’ slogan staying on plates; more state news stories

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin will continue to be "America's Dairyland."

The Republican governor told Wisconsin Farm Report Radio on Tuesday there's "no way" he would support dropping the slogan that's been on the state's license plates for almost 70 years. Dairy interests loudly objected to the idea — and Walker says that while Wisconsin has many different industries, agriculture and manufacturing remain the state's "bread and butter."

In October, director Kurt Bauer of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce advocated that "America's Dairyland" be dropped from the state's car and truck plates, saying that farming no longer dominates the business climate — as evidenced by the impending arrival of the high tech Foxconn plant in Racine County. In November, Assembly Republican Scott Allen of Waukesha proposed a contest for school kids to help come up with a new slogan.

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Social media comments cost college Democrat top post

LA CROSSE — A vice chair of the College Democrats of Wisconsin is no longer in that post, after making critical comments on social media.

UW-La Crosse junior Sarah Semrad drew attention last week when she tweeted, "I hate white men" with an expletive in that phrase. Last month, Semrad tweeted that she was celebrating the removal of fliers from the La Crosse campus for Christian based pregnancy counseling. The conservative media outlet Campus Reform said she resigned Tuesday, after Milwaukee radio host and UW-La Crosse graduate Mark Belling noted the comments on his show.

The La Crosse Tribune says Semrad has apologized, calling the tweet against white men an immature comment about a male friend who wouldn't ask for directions — and she said the posters she criticized never got proper approval from campus officials.

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Waukesha sheriff gets preliminary OK for immigration enforcement

WAUKESHA — An advisory panel has recommended that Waukesha County sheriff's deputies be allowed to identify illegal immigrant suspects and hold them until federal enforcers can pick them up.

Waukesha could be the first in Wisconsin to be approved for the controversial federal program, after the immigrant rights group Voces De La Frontera said Tuesday that Milwaukee County's request was turned down. Former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke spoke highly of what he called the "deputizing" of his former officers as immigration enforcers — but Waukesha Sheriff Eric Severson says the effort does not go that far, even though critics say it would erode trust between police and immigrants. The Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement must still give final approval to Waukesha County's request, and Severson expects a decision within four weeks.

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Indian leaders, school kids rally to dump Columbus Day name

MADISON — School students have joined tribal members and state lawmakers to try and gain support for a bill to rename Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples Day" in Wisconsin.

Youngsters from Milwaukee's Indian Community School were among those rallying for the change at the State Capitol on Tuesday. The bill's author, Assembly Democrat David Bowen of Milwaukee, says Americans should not celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus, saying he should be credited with boosting the "trans Atlantic slave trade than with discovering America." Bowen first announced his bill on the Oct. 10 Columbus Day holiday, but it hasn't gone anywhere. Milwaukee County and Madison are already calling it "Indigenous People's Day."

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Group challenges Minnesota’s girls-only dance team policy

WASHINGTON — A legal group is moving forward with a plan to challenge Minnesota's policy to let only girls be on high school dance teams — after a Wisconsin boy was left out of his school conference dance meet.

The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights division, claiming that the Minnesota State High School League's policy violates the federal Title IX law in classifying students by gender without what the group calls "adequate justification." The foundation is representing Kaiden Johnson of Superior, a member of his high school dance squad who was left out of a conference meet in Duluth, Minnesota last December because the state only allows girls in that event. A foundation lawyer says it has given the state association one month to change its policy — and if it continues not to do so, the group says it has a lawsuit ready to file. The league has not officially commented.

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2020 Farm Technology Days location announced

EAU CLAIRE — The 2020 edition of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will be held at Huntsinger Farms near Eau Claire.

The show announced the location on Tuesday, and it will take place July 21-23 of 2020. Huntsinger and its Silver Spring Foods are considered the world's largest processor of horseradish, processing more than 7.5 million pounds of the crop each year. The farm also has 1,400 acres of corn, 2,100 acres of soybeans, and 310 acres of snap beans. Farm Technology Days is the state's largest annual farm show, attracting tens of thousands of visitors — and it will be held near Marshfield next year and in Jefferson County in 2019.

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Contents of Oscar Meyer plant to be auctioned off

MADISON — The contents of the Oscar Meyer plant in Madison will be sold at auction next month.

City officials say the new owners of the Oscar Mayer plant will be holding a three-day auction featuring eight floors of processing and packaging equipment. Reich Brothers Holdings, a company that buys and repurposes old manufacturing plants, announced last month it bought the Oscar Mayer plant on northeast side of Madison. The entire contents of the building will be sold live and online during a public auction on Dec. 6-8. Officials say an inspection period is available prior to the auction on Dec. 4-5. The auction will include items like refrigeration systems, meat grinders, smokehouses and meat slicers.

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State Capitol Christmas tree coming from Price County

MADISON — The State Capitol Christmas Tree this year comes from Price County in far northern Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday that a 40-foot balsam fir was donated by Jim Ryf. It was harvested near Phillips in the town of Emery and was to arrive in Madison Tuesday. Wisconsin school children have been making ornaments for the tree in honor of the State Capitol's 100th anniversary. The tree is expected to be placed in the Capitol Rotunda soon after Thanksgiving.

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Popular TV sewing host Nancy Zieman dies

BEAVER DAM — The host of TV's longest running sewing show died Tuesday in southern Wisconsin.

Sixty-four-year-old Nancy Zieman, host of "Sewing With Nancy" on Wisconsin Public Television, died at her home in Beaver Dam after a long battle with bone cancer. Her show has been airing since 1982. She announced her retirement in September more than two years after she developed the cancer and kept the show going. Zieman also founded Nancy's Notions, a mail order business that became a major source for what sewers and quilters wanted. She also help start the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, that draws more than 20,000 people to Madison each September. Wisconsin Public Television will air her final episode on Thanksgiving night at 7 p.m. It was recorded with her granddaughters featuring child-friendly sewing.

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