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Wisconsin roundup: Attendance overwhelms food supply at Stout memorial dinner; fatal Dunn County crash victim ID'd; 9 more state news stories

MENOMONIE -- Up to 1,000 people attended a memorial dinner to honor UW-Stout student Hussain Ahlnadi from Saudi Arabia, who was killed almost three weeks ago.

WQOW-TV says about 50 students spent two days cooking a traditional Saudi meal that included chicken, lamb, and rice -- but they only made enough for about 600, and others paid their respects to Ahlnadi without eating. A number of people also received copper pins with three interconnecting rings which honored Ahlnadi and committed to prevent future violence.

The 24-year-old Ahlnadi was beaten to death outside a Menomonie pizza place Oct. 29 during a Halloween celebration in the city's tavern district. Police say they still don't have suspects or a motive.


Fatal Dunn County crash victim ID'd

RIDGELAND -- A woman killed in a head on traffic crash in western Wisconsin has been identified as 32-year-old Danica Smith of Sarona.

Dunn County sheriff's deputies say Smith's car crossed a center line and collided with an oncoming pickup truck driven by a 61-year-old Barron man. It happened Wednesday on Highway 64 near Ridgeland. The truck driver was struck and injured and was flown to a hospital in Minnesota's Twin Cities in an undisclosed condition. Dunn County deputies and the State Patrol continue to investigate what caused the mishap.


Dassey stays behind bars; official says ruling helps victim's family

Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer calls the decision to keep Brendan Dassey in prison a "good result."

He says it's in line with other court rulings, and says people must be patient as the legal process drags on, in respect to the family of Dassey's murder victim. On Thursday, the federal appeals court in Chicago approved the state's request to keep Dassey in prison while it appeals the August ruling that threw out his guilty verdict in the brutal 2005 slaying of Teresa Halbach near Mishicot. Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery are both in prison.

Their convictions were called into question by the Netflix TV series "Making a Murderer." Dassey's lawyers were disappointed that the appeals court overturned a magistrate judge's ruling that would have freed him by 8 p.m. Friday -- and as the defense puts it, "The fight goes on."


Report: Wisconsin has second-busiest small business activity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new report says Wisconsin is the second most active state in the nation for small business activity, one place higher than last year.

The Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City has come out with its annual "Main Street Entrepreneurship Index" -- and it found that about 700 of every 1,000 Wisconsin businesses are well established small companies with 50 employees or fewer, and have been open for at least five years.

The report also says a little more than half of businesses that open in the Badger State make it through their first five years -- there's a relatively high rate of ownership, as 6.5 percent of Wisconsin adults own businesses as their main jobs. Aaron Hager of the state's Economic Development Corporation says the figures show a strong culture for small business in Wisconsin, with resources available that can help. The Kauffman Foundation is the same one that earlier rated Wisconsin last in the nation for small business startups.


Woman gets probation for drowning pet

MADISON -- A 23-year-old Madison woman will spend four years on probation for drowning a pet rabbit.

Police say Brianna Barber was a houseguest when she drowned a rabbit named Oreo by submerging it for several minutes in late March. Barber was charged after police were called to investigate. She pleaded guilty to felony counts of causing death by mistreating an animal, and bail jumping from an earlier case.


Walker: Ending Obama's executive orders should be Trump's top goal

MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker says the first thing Donald Trump should do as president is rescind his predecessor's executive orders.

The Republican governor answered questions for 30 minutes on Facebook Thursday -- and when somebody asked what Trump should do first, Walker said he should start repealing what Democrat Barack Obama did without approval from Congress. The governor specifically mentioned the EPA's limits on greenhouse gas emissions from smokestacks, saying that move and others would put Wisconsin's economy at risk.

Walker also said Trump should repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act, of which Trump has said he might keep a couple major provisions -- and he wants Trump to give more power to the states. Walker, who became the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association this week, has said he could help Trump the most by encouraging states to work together with Republicans in Washington, and that's why he's not seeking a post in the president's new cabinet.


State's unemployment steady, still lowest in 15 years

MADISON -- Wisconsin's unemployment rate for October is unchanged from the previous month at 4.1 percent, still the lowest since February of 2001.

The state is well below the national seasonally adjusted jobless rate for the month of 4.9 percent. The preliminary figures showed an increase of 6,000 private sector jobs during October.

The state's manufacturing sector lost a reported 2,400 jobs, while the total service sector grew by 9,000 and government added 4,400 workers. All those numbers are expected to be revised once officials have time to interview larger numbers of employers to get a more complete look at the trends.

The workforce development agency also said Wisconsin gained 27,900 private sector jobs during the year ending Oct. 31 -- and we'll learn in a few weeks how the percentage of job growth compares with other states.


Wisconsin's oldest piano store to close

WAUWATOSA -- Wisconsin's oldest piano store is about to close by the end of the year.

Netzow's Piano and Music Plus in Wauwatosa has been around for 131 years, and its owners say they plan to retire. Steve Datz tells WISN-TV that music lovers are very disappointed -- but he and his wife Ellen could not find a buyer who would keep the shop going. The Datzes bought the store from the Netzow family in 1988.


Commission to rule on complaint against Madison police chief

MADISON -- Madison's Police and Fire Commission is expected to decide early next year whether Chief Mike Koval violated policies in dealing with the grandmother of police shooting victim Tony Robinson.

The panel held a hearing on Sharon Irwin's contention that Koval violated police procedures 37 times earlier this year. Among other things, Koval said Irwin followed him around the City/County Building while asking continuous questions about his officer's 2015 shooting that killed the 19-year-old Robinson -- which prosecutors said was justified -- and at one point, the chief called her a "raging lunatic," and he admitted he was agitated at the time. His lawyer says the incident was "blown out of proportion" compared to what really happened. The commission will take final written arguments and make a decision on the matter after Jan. 23.


Gun deer permit sales down

MADISON -- The biggest sales day of the year for gun deer permits in Wisconsin is Friday.

Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources says sales are down 13,000 permits from last year. So far, the DNR has sold over 379,000 gun permits. Last year the state sold over 392,000. But Friday is the day when the state says most hunters buy their permits.


Autopsy planned on partially decomposed body near Wausau

WAUSAU -- An autopsy is scheduled for Friday on a partially decomposed body found Thursday at Rib Mountain State Park near Wausau.

Marathon County sheriff's investigators hope the Madison autopsy will provide clues into what officials only know to be an adult. Small game hunters found the body on Thursday, and sheriff's officials say it will take time to identify the person and why he or she might have been there.