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Wisconsin roundup: $300M La Crosse project points to Kwik Trip expansion; more state news stories

LA CROSSE — A convenience store chain's announcement of a $300 million project in western Wisconsin falls in line with its plans to open 40-50 new stores every year.

Kwik Trip says its project in La Crosse will create more than 300 jobs for the region. The company is expanding is dairy manufacturing facility, kitchen operations and transportation fleet, while building a 200,000 square-foot bread and bun production facility.

Kwik Trip has 621 stores in three states and had just announced a deal last July to buy 34 stores from Middleton-based PDQ. It took ownership of those stores last month. Kwik Trip will receive up to $21 million in state income tax credits over the next five years.

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Wounding of hunter ruled accidental

TOWN OF FREDONIA — Investigators with the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office say the wounding of a hunter last week appears to be accidental.

The man's name hasn't been released. Two members of a hunting party were trying to shoot a deer when they fired their rifles in the direction of the 53-year-old victim from Random Lake – and he was hit in the left leg. Deputies say members of that hunting party provided first aid until emergency responders could take him to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. He had serious injuries, but they aren't considered to be life-threatening. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is leading the investigation.

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Best place to find love? One group says ‘Milwaukee’

MILWAUKEE — The Great Love Debate says Milwaukee has an attractive population, a vibrant social scene and a confident dating community.

That online podcast is sponsoring a national touring series of live forums on love, dating and relationships. As a part of the tour, it has named Milwaukee "America's Best City To Find Love" for 2017. Its news release says Milwaukee is "like Chicago, without the downside." Minneapolis was named the city with the most date-able men and — just in case you want to know — the worst city for love is Denver.

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Racine County ready to buy land for Foxconn project

MOUNT PLEASANT — Racine County officials say it's prudent to make sure they have $70 million in hand as the purchase of land for the Foxconn Technology project starts.

Members of the Board of Supervisors approved bonding at a meeting last week. The debt will be eventually covered by special assessments against Foxconn as a part of the giant deal bringing thousands of jobs to the county. Getting the money early will speed up the process. The land in Area 1 is said to be between Interstate 94 and Highway H, and Highway KR and Braun Road.

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Two injured in Jefferson County plane crash

PALMYRA — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash of a small plane in Jefferson County Sunday afternoon.

Two people in the plane were taken to Aurora Medical Center in Summit for treatment. The Jefferson County Sheriff's dispatch center got several calls about a plane going down in a wooded area east of the Palmyra airport. Rescuers say the aircraft crashed nose-down into a wooded swamp. One of the people inside was trapped and had to be extricated. The names of the two people and the extent of their injuries weren't released.

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Some young Americans return to farming life

MADISON — Census figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show the number of farmers between the ages of 25-34 grew by 2.2 percent over a recent five-year period.

That’s just the second time in the last century the number of young farmers went up. The National Young Farmers Coalition says access to land, student loan debt, finding labor and being able to afford health insurance are the biggest road blocks for young people wanting to start their own farm. Older farmers continue to abandon the life. While about 25-hundred younger farmers came on board, nearly 100-thousand farmers between the ages of 45-and-54 left the farm.

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Lawmakers say Wis. well owners don’t know if water’s safe

MADISON — A Democratic state lawmaker says Wisconsin will owners don't know if their water is safe to drink.

That's why state Rep. Katrina Shankland says she has introduced a clean water bill. Shankland's legislation would provide $100,000 annually for the Department of Natural Resources to expand the testing of private wells. The money would be available as grants to local governments. Four years ago, a study found that 47 percent of Wisconsin's private wells had levels of contamination which exceeded state-established health standards. The DNR suggests that well water users test their well at least once a year.

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UW scientists find biomarkers that gauge severity of Ebola

MADISON — New research from UW-Madison could help people with the Ebola virus learn whether they'll die or not.

Scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka led a team that studied cases in Sierra Leone which had an outbreak of Ebola three years ago. The team looked at 29 blood samples from almost one dozen patients who survived the virus — and nine samples from those who didn't. The virus was deactivated before the samples were shipped to Madison, where scientists created biomarkers that can help identify fatal infections from lesser cases. Kawaoka and Pacific Northwest National Lab biologist Katrina Waters both authored the study's findings — and Waters called it the most thorough analysis of Ebola blood samples.

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Body found in Eau Claire River

ALTOONA — Altoona police report a kayaker found a man's body in the Eau Claire River Friday morning.

The discovery was made near a bridge shortly before 11:30 a.m. Police Chief Jesse James says an autopsy will be done in Madison. James wasn't able to confirm if the body was one of the three Eau Claire men who have gone missing. Blake Mares, Brenden Felton and Byron Reece have all been missing for more than two weeks. Felton was last seen Oct. 28. The chief says he hopes to have an official confirmation on the body within a week.

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