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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Kohl's reported a 15 percent drop in profits for the last three months

Wisconsin-based Kohl's Department Stores reports a 15-percent drop in its profits for the three months ending May third.  Kohl's said today that it made 125-million dollars during the period, down from 147-million at the same time a year ago.  Overall sales fell by three-point-one percent to just over four-billion dollars.  Same-store sales dropped by three-point-four percent.  Earnings for the chain based in Menomonee Falls dropped from 66-cents a share a year ago to 60-cents in the most recent quarter.  Kohl's C-E-O Kevin Mansell said sales improved as the quarter progressed -- even though the firm did not meet its overall sales goals.  Kohl's has about 11-hundred-60 department stores throughout the U-S.


Cancer and heart disease continue to be the leading causes of death in Wisconsin.  The state Health Services Department has just issued a report showing that the overall death rate held steady during 2012, the most recent year in which figures were available.  Eight-point-four of every one-thousand residents died that year -- same as the previous year.  Cancer and heart disease caused 47-percent of Wisconsin's total deaths in 2012, and accidents were the third-leading cause.  For younger people, accidents were the main killer for both men and women 44-and-younger.  The state said 48-thousand-225 people died in the Badger State in 2012.  That was 125 more than the year before.


Once again, Donald Driver will try to convince us to buckle up when we're on the road.  For the third straight year, Driver will be the face of the annual Memorial Day "Click It or Ticket" seat-belt enforcement campaign.  Today, the Packers' all-time leading receiver and "Dancing With the Stars" champion will hold a news conference with D-O-T officials to promote the renewal of "Click It or Ticket."  The campaign runs from Monday through June first.  T-V ads with Driver are already on the air.  He'll also be in statewide radio and online messages urging us to wear our seat belts.  Last summer, a D-O-T survey showed that 83-percent of motorists were buckled up.  That's an all-time high, and officials gave "Click It or Ticket" part of the credit.  Officers from 375 agencies looked for unbuckled motorists during last year's campaign -- the most ever.  Before last year, seat belt usage in Wisconsin had not noticeably changed since 2010.  That was the year after police started the so-called "primary enforcement," in which they no longer had to find other traffic violations to give people 10-dollar tickets for not buckling up.


With the Legislature out of session, the debate over Wisconsin's Common Core education standards has cooled down at the Capitol -- and has heated up elsewhere.  Last night in Marshfield, about 300 people attended a forum put on by a major Common Core opponent, U-W Oshkosh professor Duke Pesta.  A Republican bill designed to gut the three-year-old standards failed to pass in the final days of the recent legislative session.  State Superintendent Tony Evers and other educators say the more rigorous Common Core helps students prepare for a complex world -- and Pewaukee's superintendent credits them for a rise in her schools' A-C-T test scores.  Pesta said the concept has gone beyond rigorous, calling it developmentally inappropriate.  He also said some of it is too graphic for younger kids.  Only a half-dozen states have not adopted Common Core, leading to concerns by tea party critics that a single national education system is taking shape.  One Republican said Wisconsin should stop aligning itself with states where test scores are dropping.   State schools have adopted English and math Common Core standards, with science and social studies on the way.  One of the most notable things about last night's forum was the extensive way it was promoted in Marshfield.  The event had more yard signs than city residents see in many political campaigns. 


A food processing plant in Kenosha County will shut down in January, and move the production to its headquarters in Ohio.  Lakeview Farms has told state officials it will start cutting 155 jobs in August at its plant in Bristol.  The maker of dips, gelatins, and sour cream recently announced plans to add 200 jobs at its headquarters in Delphos, about 60 miles north of Dayton Ohio.  News reports say Ohio state officials have agreed to provide a loan and tax credits to help pay for the expansion.


The state D-N-R said it found no evidence that wolves and hunting dogs had vicious fights during last fall's wolf season.  Some animal rights' advocates were afraid there would be many clashes, after the state allowed the use of hunting dogs for the first time last year.  But officials said any evidence of law violations was inconclusive, after the skinned carcasses of 27 wolves were examined.  They were among 35 wolves killed by hunters who used dogs.  The D-N-R's Dave McFarland tells Wisconsin Public Radio there were minor bite wounds on one wolf with partially-removed pelt -- and the species which caused the wound was not determined.  Rachel Tilseth, who's with the Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, said she did not believe the exams were thorough.


One of Wisconsin's busiest interstates will be under construction starting next week.  Pavement repairs begin Monday on Interstate 39-90 in both directions between Janesville and Edgerton.  All lanes will stay open during the day, with all lane closures coming at night.  Various ramps will close throughout the project.  The total cost is just under nine-million dollars, and it's expected to be finished in October.  Plans call for I-39-90 to eventually add lanes between Madison and Beloit at the Illinois line.


The first potential member of the Wisconsin whooping crane migration class of 2014 is a week old.  The chick was born last Thursday at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.  Wildlife biologist Brad Strobel tells the Wisconsin State Journal that the new baby crane needs to overcome some major obstacles, before it can fly with the other babies to Florida this fall.  During the first 80 days after hatching, babies need to build up enough strength and feathers to make the trip.  Strobel said chicks often succumb to bad weather -- and they're easy prey for predators during their formative months.  Two sets of cranes flew from southern Wisconsin to Florida last fall, as part of the more than decade-long effort to re-introduce the endangered whooping crane in the eastern U-S.