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About 60 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will return from Southwest Asia this afternoon. Friends and relatives will be on hand to welcome the 128th Air Control Squadron at Volk Field near Camp Douglas in Juneau County. They've spent the last four months providing ground and satellite communications, computer maintenance, radar operations, power production, and more. The group is part of a larger unit which controls air space at the remote Combined Air and Space Operations Center.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Wisconsin's Venison Donation program. More than 3.1 million pounds of ground venison from nearly 70,000 deer donated by hunters, have been processed by participating meat processors and distributed by volunteers to state food pantries. "Wisconsin's venison donation program is an important effort that provides high quality food to Wisconsin families in need," Matt Frank, Department of Natural Resources secretary, said. "This program has been very popular.
Milwaukee Brewers' second baseman Rickie Weeks says there's no way he'll move to centerfield. Fans have talked about it, with the idea of keeping Felipe Lopez at second next year. General manager Doug Melvin said he spoke to Weeks and his agent about the possibility but the G-M said he never asked Weeks to consider it. And Weeks says he would never consider the outfield. Weeks has worked extra hard to become a good defender in the infield, and he doesn't want it go to waste. His season ended after just 37 games this year, when he tore a sheath in his right wrist.
A Wisconsin agricultural company will work with a large-scale dairy operation in China. Cooperative Resources International of Shawano has struck a long-term deal with the Flying Crane Dairy to provide management expertise, and ways to improve the genetic levels of their cows. CRI vice president Keith Heikus says it will let their cows "breed back better and faster." Flying Crane plans to build 10 new dairy farms in the Heilongjiang region of China. The number of dairy cows in China has jumped from four million to 10 million since 2001.
Green Bay Packers' defensive coordinator Dom Capers does not have a good record in stopping Brett Favre. But he says the quarterback is just one cog in a power-packed Minnesota Vikings' offense and he'll review it all before coming up with a game plan for next Monday night's Packer-Viking contest in Minneapolis. Capers said he studied running back Adrian Peterson, receiver Bernard Berrian, and rookie receiver and kick returner Percy Harvin in the off-season. But one thing Capers did not expect was that Favre would join the Vikings.
Bucks' coach Scott Skiles says he's banning Twitter at the team's practice facility and at game sites both at home and on the road. Former Bucks' forward Charlie Villanueva made waves last spring when he tweeted to his fans at halftime of a Bucks' Sunday afternoon home game against Boston. He said the coach told him to step up and while the Bucks won the game, Skiles was upset about the halftime distraction. Center Andrew Bogut calls the new Twitter rule totally fair.
Wisconsin safety Jay Valai says his former Badger teammate Kim Royston will be out for revenge on Saturday, when the Badgers play at Minnesota. Royston transferred to Minnesota because he didn't feel he was getting enough playing time in Madison. The junior safety sat out last season under the NCAA's transfer rules, and has started all four games for the Gophers this season with one interception and 17 tackles. Valai and Royston have remained close friends and Valai says Royston has been talking for two years about how he'll get back at the Badgers.
The winds have died down for the most part in Wisconsin. There were still gusts of over 20 mph in some places at five this morning. But that's nothing compared to the 53-mph winds that hit Door County Monday. Trees and power lines were blown down in parts of Door and Fond du Lac counties. And there was at least some tree damage in Waukesha, Waupaca, and Dunn counties. The Wisconsin Public Service utility said 10,000 customers lost their power yesterday in northeast and north central areas. Minocqua was the hardest hit, with more than 3,300 electric customers out.
Thirty-five more child care providers have had their state payments cut off for allegedly defrauding the Wisconsin Shares program. Their cases have been referred to law enforcement. And it brings to 69 the number of centers which lost their subsidies. The vast majority are in Milwaukee, but the Wisconsin State Journal said one of the centers in Madison was repeatedly fined for numerous problems that go back 16 years. Wisconsin Shares is the state-funded child care program for the working poor.
Some Minnesota lawmakers want to bring back tax reciprocity. That's the Minnesota-Wisconsin agreement that lets people who work in one state and live in the other file income taxes only to their home state. Minnesota's revenue department recently decided to end the agreement, with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's approval. It will save Minnesota $131 million over the next two years, but it also means the two-state commuters will have to file income tax returns with both states after the 2010 tax year. Minnesota Rep.