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Rory Johnson of Mississippi was the nation's eighth-fastest linebacker coming out of college. But because he was caught with marijuana in his system, NFL teams did not draft him this past weekend So by the time Sunday night came around, only the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions were interested and the Packers signed him. Johnson said he failed a drug test at Hinds junior college and another test last year at Mississippi. He left after his junior year and he insists he no longer smokes pot.
The Green Bay Packers are hit the road Tuesday for their second annual Tailgate Tour. They'll make surprise stops on their four-day statewide trip with tailgate parties planned each night. They were in Superior Tuesday night and will be in Eau Claire Wednesday night. In Eau Claire the Packers will be at Eau Claire Ford on Hwy 93. The stop will benefit L.E. Phillips Career Development Center. Other stops include McFarland on Thursday night and Racine on Friday. Packers' chairman Bob Harlan will make the entire trip along with linebacker Nick Barnett and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The interim men's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been given the job permanently. Jeff Berkoff was an assistant for 12 years before moving up to the top spot a year ago. He went 5-11 in the WIAC and 10-16 overall, but he had no seniors on his roster and athletic director Rick Bowen said he prepared himself well for the challenge ahead. The Falcons had six close losses last year, including two by one point. Forward Nate Robertson was picked to the national all-freshman team.
The group that wants to open an ethanol plant in Sparta says it will go back to square one. They'll file a second request with the Common Council to get a permit for the plant instead of fighting a lawsuit which challenged the procedures in granting the first permit. The Coulee Area Renewable Energy group says it would be cheaper and faster to reapply.
A water patrol will search the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn., on Wednesday to look for clues about a baby girl whose body was found there March 27. Goodhue County sheriff's officers will canvass the Buffalo Slough, North Lake, and Sturgeon Lake for evidence. The girl's identity has not been determined and officials say she might have been in the water for several months. She's the third infant since 1999 to be found dead in the river at Red Wing. Flood waters have receded to the point where investigators can see the shorelines using small-shallow boats.
The crowds were smaller than a year ago, but thousands still took to the streets of Wisconsin's largest cities Tuesday to demand immigration reform. Madison police said about 500 attended a State Capitol rally while organizers said their events attracted up to 3,500. In Milwaukee, a crowd up to 20 people wide stretched for over a mile.
Those challenging three stem cell patents at University of Wisconsin-Madison say an unrelated U.S. Supreme Court ruling helps their cause. On Monday, the justices said Teleflex was not entitled to a patent on a car brake it developed because it came from two earlier patents, and it was an obvious move to combine them. Two groups in California and New York said the same logic applies to James Thomson, UW-Madison scientist.
A task force on the future of Wisconsin farming has recommended 88 steps to keep agriculture going strong. One proposal would create a statewide, appointed school board to serve as an advocate for K-12 education. The panel also wants changes in the state school funding formula, to help rural schools burdened by smaller enrollments and higher busing costs. They also suggest a documented worker program. It would help the growing number of Mexican farm workers adjust to our overall culture. The project group is called the Future of Farming and Rural Life in Wisconsin.
Another 200 Wisconsin troops are being called to Iraq. About 30 members of the National Guard's 332nd Rear Operations Center in Berlin will report June 17 for their second tour of duty. They'll train at Fort Hood in Texas for two months before they take charge of a forward operating base in Iraq. They'll be there until next summer. Meanwhile, Troop E of the Guard's 105th Calvary unit in Antigo and Merrill report June 1. They'll train at Camp Shelby, Miss., before heading overseas to provide security for convoys. Their mission is due to end next May.
UW-River Falls will host a visit of the national Jerusalem Women Speak tour, organized by the Washington, D.C.-based organization Partners for Peace, on Tuesday, April 24. The presentation is from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom on campus and repeated from 7-9 p.m. at the River Falls Public Library. The Midwestern tour, happening through April 26 in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, features three women of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths who relate their experiences about living in the volatile Mideast region of Israel and Palestine.