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Bargain hunters in Duluth scrambled through heavy snow early Friday to capitalize on holiday shopping deals. Andrew Krueger, Duluth News-Tribune photo.

Cold air, snow, chills Wisconsin shoppers; judge upholds EPAs methods for Fox River cleanup; man's upside-down flag yields neighbors' scorn, more state briefs

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SULLIVAN -- Gusty winds on Thanksgiving Day brought much colder temperatures and heavy snow to the northern reaches of the state on Friday.

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Some parts of southern Wisconsin were in the 60s for the holiday, but a strong cold front pushed into the Badger State Thursday afternoon, into Friday morning.

Friday's highs will struggle to get out of the upper 20s or lower 30s today. Then, the temperatures will stay in that range for the foreseeable future. Sunday could be a little warmer in the south with the high temperatures reaching the 40s in some areas.

Parts of northwestern Wisconsin received a foot of snow overnight with Herbster, Hawthorne and Cornucopia all reporting 12 inches while Poplar, Madeline Island and Bayfield received closer to nine inches.

Meanwhile, shoppers in search of good deals seemed undetered by the weather.

A Madison College Business and Marketing instructor says retailers don't really make much profit on their Black Friday sale items. Sometimes they lose money.

Betty Hurd says the object is to get the customers to come in the door. Popular items for the Christmas buying season this year are expected to be televisions, DVDs and the large selection of digital tablets. Clothing, accessories and jewelry are expected to see a substantial increase in sales this season.

Madison-based retail consultant Doug Johnson is predicting a 6.5 percent increase in sales during the Wisconsin holiday shopping season.

Judge upholds toxic cleanup ruling for Fox River

A federal judge has upheld the EPA's costly strategy for cleaning toxic industrial chemicals out of the Fox River.

Companies ordered to pay for the cleanup had challenged the federal agency's demands, which could cost more than a billion dollars.

U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled last Wednesday there was no evidence of a government plot favoring the use of dredging in combination with capping, rather than capping the PCBs alone.

Dredging pushes the cost much higher, but it also removes the contaminants permanently.

The lower Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin is the site of the biggest cleanup of PCBs in a U.S. waterway.

Milwaukee police investigate 4 murders in 9 hours

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police report they are working on a series of four apparently unrelated deaths and five non-fatal shootings which happened in a nine-hour period Wednesday night into Thursday.

A juvenile suspect is being held in custody for stabbing and killing a 25-year-old relative Wednesday night. Then, just before midnight Wednesday, an 18-year-old man in a barber shop was shot to death and a 21-year-old man was wounded. A 26-year-old suspect is held in connection with that case. An hour later, in the early hours of Thursday, a 34-year-old man was shot to death and no suspects have been arrested. Then, soon after that, two shootings left four people injured.

Police say they are also investigating the death of a three-month old infant.

Waukesha schools mull merit-based pay scheme

WAUKESHA -- The Waukesha Public School District could vote next month to hire a consultant to help it determine changes in its salary structure to reward better teachers.

District teachers would be paid based on the quality of their performance, rather than their seniority and education levels. If the Board of Education approves the $77,000 contract in December, the consultant could come back with ideas for the transition within six months.

Making those changes was made possible by legislation passed last session at the Capitol in Madison limiting collective bargaining and opening the door for rethinking how teachers are paid. Parts of the law were struck down and are headed for an appeals court.

Racine man spurs controversy with flag

RACINE -- A Racine man says he is a libertarian and is upset with politicians in both parties, broken promises and rising taxes.

Many neighbors are calling the silent protest of Dennis Montey un-patriotic or un-American. He is flying the American flag upside down in front of his house.

Montey says this is a case of freedom of speech, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Flying the flag upside is a universal signal of distress. Montey says he has always flown a flag in front of his house in Racine, but this is the first time he has flown it upside down.

Sheboygan man wins privilege to 'Lambeau Leap'

GREEN BAY -- A Sheboygan man wins the Lambeau Leap Sweepstakes.

Cory Uttech has earned the right to become the first non-player to perform the legendary leap during an NFL game. He was one of 10 randomly selected finalists who came to the Packers' home earlier this week to show off their leaping ability.

Uttech's victory means he will make his leap at halftime of the game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions Dec. 9th.

Uttech also gets four club seats to the game, four VIP sideline passes, a game ball, a Packers jersey with his name on the back and a one-night stay in Green Bay.

Teen killed in Grant county crash

The Grant County Sheriff's office says 15 year old MaKayla Hore of Lancaster was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Liberty Township Wednesday afternoon. Four other teenagers injured in the crash remain in Grant Regional Hospital. The 16 year old driver, Morgan Hoehne, and 17 year old Jena Hore, 15 year old Nathaniel Tranel and 14 year old Kindra Yoose, were all said to be in stable to critical but stable condition. Grant County deputies say speed appears to be a contributing factor to the accident, but alcohol does not. All are students at Lancaster High School.

Milwaukee man charged with shooting neighbor boy unremorseful

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee man charged with gunning down his 13-year-old neighbor says he's still angry about the way police investigated his claim the boy had stolen his guns.

John H. Spooner spoke with a reporter recently, giving his first public comments since the fatal shooting in May. He also said he was fed up with his lawyers, was hoping gun rights supporters would back him and was refusing to take medication.

The 76-year-old Spooner faces first-degree intentional homicide charges in the death of Darius Simmons.

A Dec. 21st hearing is scheduled for a motion which has been filed asking for a change of venue. Two psychiatrists have examined Spooner, but their reports are sealed.

He told the reporter he had lived in his southside neighborhood for nearly 40 years because he couldn't afford to move.

He didn't express any remorse or sympathy for the victim's family.

Iron County shooting range to be upgraded

A $15,000 donation from the National Rifle Association will be used to expand a state-run shooting range in Iron County.

Two grants from the NRA had been used to upgrade Wisconsin ranges at Yellowstone Lake State Park in Lafayette County and another in the Kettle Moraine State Forest previously. The grants are matched 3 to 1 from federal funds.

The grant money comes from taxes paid by shooters and hunters on ammunition and equipment. The funding announced this week will go to the Snaketrack Public Shooting Range in northern Wisconsin.

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