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Wisconsin GOP race could still mean something by April 5; Up to 13 inches of snow possible by tomorrow in NW Wisconsin; 13 more state news briefs

It looks like the Democratic presidential race will be settled by the time Wisconsinites vote on April 5, but the GOP race remains in play.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won all five states that voted Tuesday although the margin was so slim in Missouri that a recount is possible. CNN estimates that Bernie Sanders would have to win 72% of the remaining delegates in upcoming primaries and caucuses to win the nomination.

On the Republican side, Marco Rubio dropped out of the race after losing his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, who also had big wins in three other states. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won his home state.

Trump remains the GOP front-runner, but the last Marquette Law School poll gave him only 30% support in Wisconsin to 20% for Rubio, 19% for Ted Cruz and 8% for Kasich who got a boost when he was endorsed by former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

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Up to 13 inches of snow possible by tomorrow in NW Wisconsin

A late-winter storm could dump up to 13 inches of snow in far northwest Wisconsin by Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service has winter storm warnings in effect for the Superior, Bayfield and Hurley regions close to Lake Superior. Other parts of the northwest could get four to eight inches while far northeast Wisconsin and places as far south as Wausau could get two to five inches.

Rain is possible elsewhere, and the entire state is supposed to get wind gusts as high as 30 mph to 60 mph.

The southern half of Wisconsin also had heavy rains last (Tuesday) evening, blamed on an intense low pressure system over the state.

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Walker to give quick approval to online registration, vets’ IDs

MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a bill as early as today (Wednesday) to let voters register online and stop creating municipal deputies to run large voter registration drives.

The Senate OKed the measure Tuesday on a voice vote after Assembly Republicans pushed it through last month. The online registration system is projected to start by this time next year.

Republicans say groups can still run their registration drives by showing people how to sign up online, but Democrats call it another effort by the GOP to discourage voting.

The bill also adds federal veterans' IDs to the list of allowable cards that voters are now required to show at the polls.

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No Bo or Kareem in Wisconsin's latest tourism ads

WISCONSIN DELLS -- You won't see Bo Ryan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on this year's TV ads that promote Wisconsin tourism.

Instead, the state itself will be the star of a $3 million summer ad campaign that will get its debut during the broadcasts of the upcoming NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The state's supper club traditions will be featured, and they'll shown on billboards in the Chicago area.

Another ad has a family walking its dogs along Lake Superior in Bayfield.

Those attending the Governor's Conference on Tourism near Wisconsin Dells were given a sneak preview of the ads Monday, and you can see them now at the state Tourism Department's website: travelwisconsin.com

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Senate limits tax hikes to make up for school aid losses

MADISON-- The Wisconsin Senate has voted to limit the amount of tax increases by public schools to cover lost state aid when students transfer to private voucher schools.

On a 19-13 party line vote, the Senate gave Gov. Scott Walker a Republican bill that limits tax hikes to the actual aid that's lost -- not the total taxes collected for each student, which is higher.

Also the Senate approved more state funds to help Alzheimer's and dementia patients and their caregivers and to create a pilot county-level emergency response program for those people.

The Senate also voted to ban communities from prohibiting plastic bags for shoppers and to stop having cities ban real Christmas trees in churches and the State Capitol.

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High-capacity well bill dies after Senate changes it

MADISON -- A bill to relax state rules for high-capacity water wells was killed by the Wisconsin Senate in its final meeting of the year.

On a 19-13 vote, with all Democrats voting no, senators approved a different version than the Assembly passed.

Supporters asked the lower house to return to ratify the Senate package, but Speaker Robin Vos' office reaffirms that the Assembly will not meet again until the next session in January.

Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said the approval by his house was designed to send a message to the agricultural community that it intends to address the issue in the future.

The bill is designed to preserve high-capacity wells by letting owners reconstruct them and move them small distances without state permits. Critics call the bill a license to sap groundwater supplies in their areas.

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Construction firm cited for bridge project death

Federal officials have proposed $105,000 in fines against a road-builder in the death of an apprentice on a bridge project at Duluth-Superior.

Kelsey Hagenson, 18, of Thorp was killed last September when he was hit by a forklift while mixing concrete at the site of the Bong Bridge resurfacing project.

Lunda Construction of Black River Falls was cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one willful violation and five serious safety violations in the mishap. The firm was also put in OSHA's severe violator enforcement program after previous violations.

Lunda has 15 days to pay the fines, challenge the citations or seek a lower settlement.

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Senate majority leader ends session by blocking CBD bill

MADISON -- The state Senate's majority leader put an abrupt end to the two-year legislative session by blocking a bill that would have made it easier to obtain a drug that treats child seizures.

There was strong support in the chamber to increase parental access to an oil derived from marijuana's main ingredient. But GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said three of his party members feared it would result in legalized marijuana so he scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the bill, knowing it would prevent a vote last Tuesday night during the Senate's final meeting of the year.

When supporters tried overriding the move, Fitzgerald ended the session.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), said Fitzgerald's tactics are why “people hate politics.” Wanggaard said he will push again to pass the bill next session.

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Man kills himself in town hall

APPLETON -- A town hall near Appleton is closed today (Wednesday) after a man walked in and shot himself to death.

Authorities say four people were in the Buchanan Town Hall when the man entered the front door, took out a gun and took his own life just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Outagamie County sheriff's deputies are investigating, and the Buchanan Town Board called off a meeting scheduled for Tuesday night.

The man's name was not immediately released. Sheriff's lieutenant Terry Hammen said it was not known if he had a connection to the town or what sort of issue he may have had.

No one else was injured. But those in the building were shaken up, and grief counselors were brought in.

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Worker injured in industrial mishap

MEQUON -- Federal workplace safety officials and Mequon Police are investigating an industrial accident that injured a 36-year-old man.

Police say a worker from West Bend was operating a machine when he was injured around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Carlson Tool plant. The victim's condition was not immediately disclosed.

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Litscher confirmed as state corrections chief

MADISON -- Jon Litscher is confirmed as the new head of the Wisconsin prison system.

Senators voted 29-3 Tuesday to ratify Gov. Scott Walker's choice to replace Ed Wall, who resigned amid investigations into alleged abuses of teen inmates at Lincoln Hills.

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UW-Platteville gets beefed-up security

UW-Platteville will beef up its security over the next few days after a student reported seeing and hearing an assault rifle in a campus restroom.

Chancellor Dennis Shields discussed the matter Tuesday at an open forum. He defended calling off classes and evacuating most of the campus Monday afternoon instead of imposing a lockdown. The chancellor said he'll review that decision.

No shots were fired, and a gunman was not found. The rifle was spotted while classes were taking place in Ullsvik Hall on the Platteville campus.

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Gas pipeline repairs made near 2012 leak

JACKSON -- New repairs are being made this week to a gas pipeline in southeast Wisconsin close to where it ruptured in 2012.

The West Shore Pipe Line Company says it found degraded metal about 2 ½ miles from where the line had a major spill.

The company calls the new work routine maintenance, and the state Department of Natural Resources says no new leaks have been reported.

The 2012 incident spilled almost 55,000 gallons of gas into a farm field near Jackson Marsh in Washington County. It contaminated 44 private water wells within one mile in each direction.

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Wisconsin blood bank helps Puerto Rico

Wisconsin blood will help Puerto Rico curb an outbreak of the Zika virus.

The Blood Center of Wisconsin said Tuesday it sent 145 units to the U.S. territory and more could be sent in the future.

Jerome Gottschall, the Blood Center's senior medical director, said it's part of the agency's mission to help where it's needed and the center knows its blood donors are “ready and willing to help” with the Puerto Rican outbreak.

The Blood Center is based in Milwaukee with 12 locations in the southern half of Wisconsin that provide blood to dozens of hospitals.

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Teen to be tried as juvenile for West Allis bomb threats

MILWAUKEE -- A 16-year-old boy will face juvenile delinquency instead of criminal charges for two bomb threats at West Allis Central High School.

The case is underway in Milwaukee County Children's Court.

Police say the youngster was responsible for bomb threats last Monday and Tuesday. Classes resumed after the building was checked.

A third incident last Wednesday remains under investigation. A $2,500 reward is posted for information leading to convictions in the West Allis cases.

Meanwhile, a $1,000 reward is out for tips about two other bomb threats at West High School in nearby Wauwatosa which were made last Wednesday and Monday of this week.

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