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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: Hunters shot seven percent fewer deer this year than last year

Wisconsin hunters shot seven-percent fewer deer than a year ago in the nine-day gun season that ended last Sunday. The D-N-R released preliminary numbers yesterday, showing that 226-thousand-582 deer were taken. That's down from about 244-thousand last November. Fifteen-percent fewer bucks were shot this year. The antlerless harvest was about the same as in 2012, even though quotas for does were reduced in the north to boost the deer population in that region. Cold weather hampered the opening weekend, when most of the hunting takes place. It got down to 11-below in northwest Wisconsin on the first Sunday of the season. In a D-N-R survey, hunters said the weather the worst they had seen in the five years the agency has been asking about hunter trends. On Monday, the D-N-R reported a safer gun season than most, with eight shooting-related incidents statewide. No hunters were shot to death, but at least two collapsed while in the woods.


A Scott Walker campaign aide is the latest to learn that what you say on social media can haunt you -- even years after the fact. The Republican governor fired Taylor Palmisano yesterday as his deputy campaign finance director, after she was caught making derogatory comments about Hispanics on Twitter. She was working in a library in March of 2011 when she referred to a library custodian on Twitter as being "illegal," and she wrote quote, "Turn off your Walkman." In January of '11, Palmisano tweeted that "Nobody speaks English" on a bus she was riding after she watched the Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught wind of the tweets, and asked the governor's campaign about them. A Walker campaign spokesman later said that both the governor and his camp "condemn these insulting remarks." Palmisano released a statement in which she apologized, and regretted what she called "offensive and irresponsible remarks."


It's supposed to get a little warmer in Wisconsin today, before a major cold snap moves in tomorrow. The National Weather Service says a low-pressure system will bring in southerly breezes today and tonight. Highs are expected to be above freezing in all of the Badger State, up to the high-40's in the south. Once the system leaves, Wisconsin will have at least a few days of much colder weather starting tomorrow -- when highs will generally be in the teens-and-20's. By Saturday morning, overnight lows could drop to beyond 10-below in some places. By Sunday, highs will get a tad warmer in the teens-and-20's. Meanwhile, a second wave of snow hit northern Wisconsin late yesterday and last night. Ashland had nine-inches at last word, and Cornucopia six-and-a-half. In the first wave of snow, Gordon in Douglas County got 10-and-a-half inches before freezing rain began at mid-morning yesterday. Central and northeast Wisconsin picked up 3 inches to around a half-foot. Wittenberg got the most, with six-and-a-half inches. Southwest Wisconsin got two inches or less. In La Crosse, the snow was covered with freezing rain overnight. Black ice was also reported in the north, and drivers were urged to be extremely careful.


Welders are in short supply in Wisconsin -- and a Wausau area company is getting high school students acquainted with the field by holding a skills contest. Schuette (shoo-tee) Metals of Rothschild is working to attract interest from at least 100 students at each Wausau area high school, by having them practice welding with a virtual-reality simulator. Holly Peterson of Schuette Metals says the young welders -- both boys and girls -- are very competitive. The two highest scorers at each school will attend a welding academy at the plant, and the top scorers there will be recognized along with their high schools. Wausau West technology education instructor Theran Peterson says it helps show students that today's workforce needs more than a high school diploma -- and they'll need post-secondary training to get jobs in welding and manufacturing. Peterson says his school has a great relationship with Wausau's North-central Technical College. Today, job training efforts at all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges will be recognized, when U-S Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is due to appear at Gateway Technical College at Sturtevant in Racine County.  


Wisconsin health insurers are signing up more people for Obama-care, now that the program's Web site is closer to being fixed. Milwaukee's Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative helped 140 people sign up over Thanksgiving. That brings the total to almost 880 since the first of October. Common Ground C-E-O Bob De Vita said the sign-ups are better than they were, but not where they need to be. An estimated 100-thousand Wisconsinites are being forced to sign up for Obama-care, since they're losing Badger Care or the state's high-risk insurance that's being phased out. The Obama-care computer delays are why Governor Scott Walker proposed a delay in the dropping of state coverage for three months until the end of March. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on that today. The W-P-S Arise Health Plan picked up 152 new applicants in the past for the coverage offered in the federal exchange. Still, Arise has only has 436 applicants since the sign-ups began October first. National media reports say Healthcare-Dot-Gov is working much better, but there are still problems -- including crashes caused by those just hearing the news about the site's improvements.


For the second month in a row, Wisconsin increased its cheese production at a slightly smaller rate than the nation as a whole. New government figures show that the Badger State pumped out 243-and-a-half million pounds of cheese in October. That's an increase of two percent from the previous October -- just below the national increase of two-point-one percent. Wisconsin remains the country's top cheese-maker, but second-place California continues to catch up. The Golden State boosted its cheese output by five-point-seven percent -- almost two-and-a-half times the Wisconsin increase. California made 194-and-a-half million pounds in October, while the U-S made a total of 950-million pounds. Wisconsin's production of Italian cheeses was up two-percent from the previous year. American and Cheddar production both had decreases.


Governor Scott Walker continues to shy away from saying whether he'll sign a bill which makes it easier for public schools to keep their Indian team names. Both houses of the Legislature passed the measure earlier this fall. The A-P recently reported that the Republican Walker has until December 18th to either sign or veto the bill -- or else it will automatically go into effect. G-O-P Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said this week he's confident that Walker will sign the measure -- which takes the guts out of a 2009 law passed by Democrats. That law created an official state procedure for handling complaints about Indian school monikers, with orders to change those names and mascots that the Department of Public Instruction found discriminatory. Democrats and Indian leaders have urged Walker to veto the new bill, saying it fosters government-approved discrimination. Republicans say the bill forces schools to give up their long and popular traditions. Vos calls that quote, "a problem we've got to solve." The bill was proposed after the Mukwonago School District refused to follow a state order to dump its name "The Indians."