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Assemblyman announces he'll challenge Mary Burke; walleye bag limit for most ceded lakes is 2; more state news

MADISON -- Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey of Madison said Monday he would challenge former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke in the August primary.

Hulsey was elected to represent the 77th District in 2010, replacing Spencer Black, who retired.

Hulsey told Madison's WIBA Radio that Democrats don't need "some spoiled rich kid," referring to Burke. Hulsey also unveiled a jobs plan which he said was "backed up by UW economics professors." Madison political science professor Ken Mayer told WKOW TV that Hulsey does not pose a serious challenge. He said Hulsey lacks name recognition around the state. Mayer also noted Hulsey's erratic behavior, including the day he brought a box-cutter to the Capitol to teach self-defense to a staffer.

Mayer also said Hulsey is so far to the left that it could actually help Burke's campaign. The Burke camp said it remains focused on defeating Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker says a Democratic primary for his seat is a good thing. At a small business dinner in Wausau Monday evening, the Republican Walker said it's good that more people want to take part in the process. Regardless of who wins the primary, voters will choose between his policies and those of former Gov. Jim Doyle, which Walker said "failed the state."

The Walker camp also stands to benefit financially from a Democratic primary, which some party leaders were hoping to avoid, so their eventual nominee would not have to eat up campaign funds before taking on Walker's well-funded war-chest.

Read more about Hulsey here:

Meanwhile, former state Assembly Republican Roger Roth says he wants to return to the Capitol. He announced Monday that he'll run for the seat to be vacated by GOP Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah.

Roth served in the Assembly for four years before leaving at the end of 2010. He's the first Republican to announce his bid for a seat which Ellis plans to leave after 44 years in the Legislature.

The only Democrat in the race is Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton.

-- Larry Lee, WSAU, Wausau


Walleye bag limit for most ceded lakes is two

MADISON -- The state DNR is reducing the number of lakes in northern Wisconsin where sport anglers can take only one walleye per day.

Last Monday, the agency imposed the limit on 173 lakes where Chippewa Indians use their centuries-old treaty rights to spear walleye before the general fishing season begins.

Last year, the DNR imposed the limit on 197 lakes, almost 25 fewer than this year, even though the Chippewas planned to take a record number of walleye this spring.

The tribal quota is 63,000 -- 6 percent more than the previous record in 2010. The late spring was cited as one reason, along with the fact that Indians have less access to a popular lake in neighboring Minnesota.

However, the tribes generally take only about half their quotas so the limits for sport anglers are normally raised after that.

Spearfishing created tensions in the 1980's after a federal judge reaffirmed the Chippewa treaty rights.

Tensions rekindled last year after the state created a new wolf hunt and relaxed environmental standards for mining. The DNR says a new walleye stocking program should create less tensions now. However, Assembly Tourism Committee chair Dean Kaufert is still concerned about anglers staying home in the midst of the one-walleye limits.

The full list of walleye bag limits by county and lake is available at


Signing expected on bill that changes rules of police shooting investigations

MADISON -- A bill to require outside agencies to investigate police shootings in Wisconsin could be signed into law as early as Wednesday.

The bill's chief sponsor, Assembly Republican Garey Bies of Sister Bay, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that the governor will approve the measure Wednesday in Madison.

Gov. Scott Walker has indicated that he'll sign the bill, but his office could not confirm the date.

Most police forces already use outside agencies to investigate deaths involving their officers. But the state's largest departments -- including Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay -- investigate their own to varying degrees.

Bies and Assembly Democrat Chris Taylor of Madison pushed for outside investigations after three high-profile deaths in which internal affairs' officers failed to recommend criminal charges against their co-workers. Some police officials have said there are too many unanswered questions on how effective outside probes would be in the larger agencies.

Jim Palmer, who heads the state's largest police union, agrees it would increase the public's trust that investigations of officers are impartial.


Green Bay police policy of grabbing licenses raises ire

GREEN BAY -- State lawmakers are raising concerns, after reports that Green Bay Police have occasionally confiscated driver's licenses and mailed them back to people with their traffic citations.

Chris Develice of Fond du Lac tells WLUK-TV that an officer kept his driver's license after he failed to follow traffic directions when leaving a Packers' playoff game and his license got lost in the mail and he had to apply for a duplicate.

He said he needed the license not only to drive home, but as an ID for an upcoming cruise he was planning to the Bahamas.

Green Bay Police Chief Tom Molitor told the TV station that the officer couldn't get his pen to work, so he couldn't write a citation on the spot. The chief defended the officer's decision to confiscate the license and mail it with the ticket. After the license got lost, Molitor said he wouldn't have a problem with his agency paying to replace it.

State Senate Republican Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac says it does not appear to be a statewide problem but if something needs to be clarified, chief of staff Tim Lakin told WLUK they would propose a bill to address it.

Senate GOP President Mike Ellis of Neenah said seizing the license broke state law and could have opened the driver to being an identity theft victim. Molitor told the station he's not encouraging officers to confiscate licenses, but he's not ruling it out.


UW System leader a finalist for Black Hills post

MADISON -- A top official in the University of Wisconsin System is one of four finalists to become the next president of Black Hills State in South Dakota.

Mark Nook will be interviewed this week along with Lorrie Clemo of New York-Oswego, Tom Jackson Junior of the University of Louisville, and Mary Holz-Clause from Connecticut.

Nook is currently the senior vice president for academic affairs in the 26-campus U-W System. Black Hills State has around 4,400 students. It's the third largest among six public universities in South Dakota.


Two killed when motorcycle strikes car

STEVENS POINT -- Two people were killed when their motorcycle collided with a mini-van west of Stevens Point. The crash occurred about 4:45 p.m., Monday on Highway 66.

A Portage County sheriff's official said the van was eastbound and the motorcycle was going west. Two people on the bike were thrown from their machine and died at the scene.

No serious injuries were reported among those in the other vehicle. The crash remains under investigation.

The Stevens Point Journal carried a photograph from the scene. See it here:

Meanwhile, investigators in southern Wisconsin say they're making progress, as they look for a hit-and-run driver who killed two motorcyclists on Sunday night.

Rock County sheriff's deputies say they found a bumper-mounted fog light from the suspected vehicle -- a 2001-to-'03 Nissan Infinity QX-Four. Witnesses said the sport utility vehicle was black or dark blue, and deputies have released photos of a vehicle similar to what's been described.

Eighteen-year-old Devin Julius and 24-year-old Mitchell Vance, both of Janesville, were killed in the crash.

They were among five bikers riding on Highway 14 near Janesville, when the oncoming SUV hit two of the motorcycles and kept going.

The other three riders escaped injury as they avoided the collision.


Ground warming, but little fieldwork underway yet

It may feel like spring but it's still winter in the depths of Wisconsin farm fields.

The National Ag Statistics Service said farmers could only complete 3 percent of their spring field tillage as of Sunday. Two percent of the state's oat crop was planted, way below the average of 35 percent on this date in the past five years.

Some potatoes were planted in Portage County. A number of counties still Report frost in the ground. One county reporter said it looks more like mid-March than mid-April.

In southern Wisconsin, alfalfa and winter wheat crops are greening up in Dane and Waukesha counties but it's still too early to tell what type of damage there might be from the harsh winter.


State's milk production down YOY

MADISON -- Wisconsin milk production has dropped for the fifth month in a row, compared to the year before.

The United States Department of Agriculture said the Badger State churned out 2.4 billion pounds of milk in March, down 1.6 percent from the same month of 2013. Nationally, the total milk output was almost 18 billion pounds, just less than a percent more than the year before.

California, the nation's top milk producer, increased its output by 3.7 percent last month, to around 3.8 billion pounds.

Experts have cited the brutally-cold winter as the reason for the drop in Wisconsin's milk production -- as evidenced by declines in the output per cow.

In February, each cow in the Badger State made an average of 35 pounds less than the year before. No such comparison is available for March, because the USDA did not tally the figures a year ago due to the federal sequester budget cuts at the time.


Harley-Davidson earnings up 22 percent

Harley-Davidson reports a 22-percent increase in its quarterly earnings.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle company credits sales increases in Europe and the Asian Pacific, strong sales of its new Project Rushmore touring bikes, and more efficient factory operations.

Harley reports a net income of almost 266-million dollars from January through March. That's up from 224-million during the first quarter of 2013. Earnings jumped from 99 cents a share last year to $1.21 per share in the same quarter of this year.

Harley-Davidson, with Wisconsin plants in Metro Milwaukee and Tomahawk, shipped almost 81,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors in the first quarter.


Rescuing man from fuel tank challenges fire crews

GREEN BAY -- A man was hospitalized Monday after he collapsed in a large fuel storage tank in Green Bay.

Firefighters were called just after 11 a.m. to the U.S. Oil Company's tank farm.

Rescuers said they were challenged by a floating floor inside the tank, which moves up and down to prevent explosive gas vapors from building up.

The man was placed in a rescue basket, and was then brought up to the roof of the fuel tank. A ladder truck brought him to the ground, an ambulance then took him to a hospital.

His condition was not disclosed.


Two dead in Milwaukee shooting, Monday night

MILWAUKEE -- Two men were shot and killed in Milwaukee Monday evening.

Police were called just after 8 p.m., and found both victims dead in an apartment building behind a north side sub shop.

Officials said the deaths did not appear to be random, but a motive has not been determined.

No one was in custody as of late Monday evening.


Hunt for shooting suspect ongoing near Grafton

GRAFTON -- Authorities north of Milwaukee have been looking for a 16-year-old boy suspected of shooting at his sister's boyfriend.

It happened Monday near Grafton. Ozaukee County sheriff's deputies said the two males were involved in a fight at a home.

The second teen was apparently not injured but the shooter fled.

Two police dogs tracked the suspect to a wooded wetland but they lost the scent there.

Cedarburg High School, Parkview Elementary and Webster Transitional schools were locked down for a time Monday because of the incident.