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Wisconsin roundup: Top Republicans plan to dump Evers’ proposed gas hike for roads; more state news stories

Gov. Tony Evers, shown during a March visit to Hudson, will likely see his proposal -- to pay for road construction by raising the state's gas tax --eliminated by the GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee, according to legislative leaders. File photo

Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature say they've ruled out raising the state's gas tax, but some fees could go up.

Gov. Tony Evers wanted to hike the gas tax by $0.08 per gallon to help pay for Wisconsin road construction and maintenance. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the Joint Finance Committee will revise the governor's proposals this week. Evers also wanted to bump up heavy truck registration and new car title fees.

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Northern Wis. job training center for youths closing

The Blackwell Job Corps Center in Laona has trained hundreds of disadvantaged youths since 1964, but it's closing its doors.

It can handle classes of up to 160 students between the ages of 16-24. The job training center in northern Wisconsin is shutting down as part of a Trump administration decision to cut 1,100 jobs from the Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers program. The Blackwell Center is one of nine being shut down nationwide.

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Northwoods residents shaken by cold-case murder charges filed against neighbor

Neighbors who have known 82-year-old Raymand Vannieuwenhoven for decades are finding it hard to believe he killed two people decades ago. Investigators say they used genetic genealogy to connect their suspect to the 1976 murders of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys. Vannieuwenhoven was taken into custody last March and he is being held on $1 million bond. He returns to court later this month.

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Democrats choose former MoveOn officials to head party

Democrats have chosen a former senior advisor with the MoveOn.org organization to head their party.

Ben Wikler was the overwhelming pick of party members at their annual state convention in Milwaukee. Wikler will have the job for at least two years, meaning he will oversee the 2020 Democratic National Convention when it is held in Wisconsin. He says Democrats will "build a ground operation like no one in Wisconsin has ever seen," pledging the state can be "a blue brick wall" in the next presidential election.

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Honey producers blame weather for major production drop

The head of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association says the heavy snow that blanketed parts of the state in April last year was a big factor in a 23 percent drop in production.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports Wisconsin produced just 2.3 million pounds of honey 2018. President Ken Pegorsch says other factors in the reduced production are heavy rain at times, no rain at other times and the increased use of pesticides.

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Triathlete dies in Lake Mills competition

Officials with the Lake Mills Triathlon say a 59-year-old competitor died in the swimming portion Sunday morning.

Rescue personnel brought the man to shore after he went under and performed CPR. He was pronounced dead at Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital. Investigators are not calling the death a drowning, saying the man had a medical incident before he lost consciousness. His name hasn't been released, but the victim was from Elkhorn.

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Waupun inmate charged with choking, punching correctional officers

A Waupun prison inmate is facing new charges for trying to choke one correctional officer and punching another.

Both officers were taken to Waupun Memorial Hospital following the May 3 attack in the prison's health service unit. Twenty-seven-year-old David Byrd is charged with strangulation and suffocation and battery. Byrd is serving a life sentence for a 2012 murder in Milwaukee County. Prosecutors say Byrd attacked one officer who took his sunglasses and tried to choke the other officer who tried to intervene.

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