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Wisconsin roundup: Western Wis. in snowstorm’s crosshairs, farmers brace for aftermath; more state news stories

Forecasters say more snow is in store for western Wisconsin beginning Friday afternoon and running into Saturday. File photo

Forecasters say a major springtime storm is bringing plenty of snow and blizzard conditions from portions of the northern and central Plains to the Upper Midwest.  

Starting Friday, 6-12 inches of snow are forecast from central Montana to northeastern Wyoming, much of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Airlines are already anticipating major flight delays and cancellations. The storm is expected to last through Sunday.

Weather officials are saying that more snow could negatively impact western Wisconsin farmers. The continually cold and snowy weather may affect when local farmers start harvesting their crops. Meteorologists say snow is likely to continue for a while.

The agriculture agent at UW-Extension in Eau Claire says typically farmers are getting ready to do field work. He says the weather is better for livestock, but puts farmers behind schedule, which could impact produce prices.

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Janesville residents, Walker react to Ryan’s retirement news

Residents from House Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville are having mixed reactions to his impending departure from Congress.

Some are blaming a toxic environment in Washington D.C. for Ryan's decision to not run for re-election. Others believe Ryan has lost touch with his constituents. A few think he could run for Wisconsin governor in the future.

Ryan has said he has no plans for continuing in politics after his term ends. Ryan grew up in Janesville and graduated from Craig High School in 1988. His picture is on the cover of his senior yearbook. Ryan told national media Wednesday that he still plans to live in Janesville with his family.

Gov. Scott Walker says he respects Ryan's decision, but that the southeast Wisconsin representative will be missed. A native of Janesville, Ryan said he has no regrets despite taking the Speaker's job reluctantly in 2015. He said he's proud of the accomplishments of the Republican-led House, including the big tax cut bill that was approved last year. The Wisconsin Republican is only 48. He said he wants to spend more time with his kids and does not want to continue being a "weekend dad." Ryan has served in the House since 1999.  He was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012. Mitt Romney lost that race to President Barack Obama.

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Candidates scramble to replace Ryan in Congress

Possible Republican candidates are scrambling to succeed House Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress.

Some likely candidates include former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Another name being brought up is University of Wisconsin System Regent Bryan Steel, who is a member of a powerful Janesville political family with close ties to Ryan. Political analysts are considering the once Republican stronghold a toss-up race. Ryan says he won't endorse a candidate in the GOP primary.

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Walker declines to appoint Milwaukee County sheriff

Gov. Scott Walker has declined to appoint an interim Milwaukee County sheriff. Walker's decision was announced Wednesday and leaves Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt to continue serving through the end of former Sheriff David Clarke Junior's term. Schmidt was on the list of five finalists for official appointment to the position. Clarke's term expires in January 2019.

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DOJ investigating shooting in Osseo

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating a shooting in the Trempealeau County town of Osseo.

The incident happened Tuesday night when a man wanted on a probation violation shot himself as Trempealeau County Sheriff's Deputies, Osseo Police officers, and State Troopers approached. The man was taken to the hospital, where he later died. The name of the victim has not been released.

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Portage man accused of killing, dumping cats

A Portage man could be facing criminal charges for allegedly killing and dumping cats.

Liz Masterson says she found nine dead cats on her property. She says they appeared to be healthy cats that didn't have any signs of sickness. Masterson says she confronted the 73-year-old man as he dumped a cat's body on her land, and he drove off.

The man — who has not been identified — has so far received citations for disorderly conduct and littering. Columbia County prosecutors are looking at potential criminal charges against the man.

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Accused Eau Claire package thief enters plea

A man accused of stealing more than one dozen packages from homes in Eau Claire is pleading no contest.

Thirty-one-year-old Dowie Castillo pleaded no contest in Eau Claire County Court Wednesday and was found guilty on several counts, including burglary and identity theft. Back in December, Eau Claire police found 13 stolen packages in Castillo's possession after doing a follow-up investigation related to another crime. He is set to be sentenced in a few months.

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