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Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt has paid off his bet with the mayor of Minneapolis on the Oct. 5 Packer-Viking game. R.T. Rybak received a big load of Wisconsin cheese this week, along with 10 pounds of hamburgers and chocolate for dessert. Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre ran rough-shod over his former team as the Vikings beat the Packers 30-23 last Monday night. Rybak said he would donate the food to the Minneapolis group Caring and Sharing Hands, which serves people in need.
On Wednesday, a federal panel blamed a number of things for the 2007 crash of a medical plane in Lake Michigan near Milwaukee, in which six people were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board said captain Bill Serra and first officer Dennis Hoyes should have reduced their air-speed after take off. The plane's owner, Marlin Air, was faulted for not knowing that Serra had his pilot's license temporarily revoked twice in the past. And the safety board said the craft's designer, Cessna, should move the auto-pilot switch and a motion control button away from each other.
Packers' coach Mike McCarthy says rookie fullback Quinn Johnson and corner Brandon Underwood will be on Sunday's game-day roster for the first time in their careers. Johnson replaces Korey Hall, who's out with a strained calf. He's expected to be out for at least two weeks, after getting hurt at Monday's practice. Underwood replaces Will Blackmon, who's out for the year with a knee injury. Also, starting Packers' safety Atari Bigby practiced Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 11. But it's still not known if he'll play against Detroit on Sunday.
As of today, Wisconsin no longer has its own PGA golf tournament. The board of Milwaukee Golf Charities voted Wednesday to disband, after it could not find a new title sponsor for the U.S. Bank Championship. The bank refused to renew a three-year option for sponsoring the tournament, after spending $1.4 million a year on it since 2004. The event has struggled since 2007, when the PGA Tour moved it to the same week as the British Open. Tournament director Dan Croak said they looked at several avenues to find a new sponsor, but none panned out.
The five starters on the Green Bay Packers' offensive line practiced together Wednesday for the first time in almost a month. Left tackle Chad Clifton was back on the field for the first time since hurting his right ankle Sept. 20 against Cincinnati. His replacement Daryn Colledge moved back to his normal spot at left guard. But he wore a brace on his left knee, as he comes off a sprain suffered a week-and-a-half ago at Minnesota. Coach Mike McCarthy says he'll decide by the end of the week whether Clifton will play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Wisconsin running back Zach Brown missed practice again Wednesday - and it does not look like he'll play against Iowa on Saturday in Madison. Brown, a junior, suffered a concussion in last weekend's loss at Ohio State. And John Clay, the Badgers' leading rusher, has been practicing with an undisclosed minor injury. Freshman Montee Ball is next in line, and will appear to get more playing time against the Hawkeyes. Ball has 24 yards on seven carries in two games.
A new study tries to make the case for term limits in the Wisconsin Legislature. The conservative Policy Research Institute says the state Assembly has the fifth-lowest turnover rate in the nation and the Wisconsin Senate has the seventh-lowest turnover. Only 5 percent of lawmakers were voted out of office since 1963. State senators have held their seats for an average of 17 years and representatives an average of 10 years. Christian Schneider, who wrote the report, said today's legislators introduce fewer bills than in the past and they spend less time debating them.
A state Senate committee has endorsed a bill to end Wisconsin's tradition of letting younger kids drink with their parents in a bar. The committee sent the measure to the full Senate. For years, kids of any age have been able to drink with their parents in a tavern, and the new bill that sets that limit at 18. The state's Tavern League supports the measure. And so do a number of law enforcement and public health groups. There's an identical bill in the Assembly, and it's sitting in a committee at the moment.
A state appeals court has rejected Nestle USA's claim that it's paying too much in property taxes at its baby formula plant in Eau Claire. The state Revenue Department gave the plant an assessed value of $10.9 million in 2003 and 2004. But Nestle said it should have been one-third that much. It said the plant should have been compared to other food processing facilities, because it could never be sold as a baby formula plant. But the Fourth District Appellate Court in Madison said Thursday the original assessments were fair. Nestle built the plant in 2001.
Researchers in Milwaukee say they've opened the door to future treatments for liver disease, without the need for transplants. Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin have turned human skin cells into liver cells called hepatocytes. They make up 70 percent of all the cells in the liver. Stem cell researcher Stephen Duncan says his team has spent two and a half years coming up with its new findings. It could give drug makers a chance to test new medicines for liver diseases. Duncan says it also let scientists look for molecular approaches to reverse liver diseases.