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Wisconsin roundup: More Republicans agree slowdown might be coming; 8 more state news stories

MADISON — More of Wisconsin's top Republicans agree with the possibility that the state is headed toward an economic slowdown.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he'd like to see more money set aside to keep the government running in the midst of lower than expected tax collections elsewhere in the Midwest. Gov. Scott Walker's office and Joint Finance co-chair John Nygren agree at least in principle with Fitzgerald's concerns.

Assembly Democrat Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh says the minority party tried to point that Walker's proposed two year budget leaves a balance of $87 million in its main account — but the package also called for an extra $302 million in the state's rainy day fund for emergencies. Talks could resume later this month on a new budget that's now one and a half months overdue.


Contractor finds Purple Heart while demolishing house

RACINE — A contractor found a military Purple Heart award while tearing down an old house in Racine. Dan Macemon stopped the demolition work after seeing a box fall from the attic recently — and it turned out to be Albert Weaver's Purple Heart.

His nephew, Justin Turner, tells WISN-TV the house belonged to his father for 50 years, and it's "amazing" that Macemon found the award which is normally given to troops killed or wounded while in combat. Turner says it will mean a lot to Weaver's family to have the award returned to them. Macemon says he has never found a Purple Heart in any of the buildings his crews have torn down.


Assembly panel OKs $3B for Foxconn on party-line vote

MADISON — Republicans were hoping to get near unanimous support for their $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn — but it won't happen.

The Assembly jobs committee voted 8-5 Monday, with all Democrats voting no, on tax breaks and relaxed environmental laws to encourage the Taiwanese tech giant to locate its first large American plant in Racine or Kenosha counties. Milwaukee Democrat Jason Fields said the package has "too many loopholes and uncertainties" and Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Schilling says the aid comes out to $1.5 million for each job.

But Stratford Republican Bob Kulp called Foxconn "an investment that makes sense," and the state could not afford to "look the other way and let this go by." Foxconn has promised to put up to $10 billion for its new LCD screen plant, vowing to create 13,000 jobs. The full Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on the package — and a Democrat in the area of the plant, Kenosha's Tod Ohnstad, says he's still open to voting yes even though he voted no in the committee on Monday.


Three killed at drag racing track ID’d

KENOSHA — Three Illinois men killed in a possible gang related shooting at a Kenosha County dragstrip have been identified as 26-year-old Derek Edwards and 30-year-old Khalid Howard, both of Aurora, and 30-year-old David Watson of Oswego.

Sheriff David Beth told reporters Monday the gunman ran off but came back and shot two of the victims a second time, saying the suspect had "enough arrogance to actually make sure they were dead." Investigators say all the victims were gang members, and they're still trying to determine if the shooter was from a rival gang.

The incident happened Sunday night near a concession stand at Great Lakes Dragaway near Union Grove. It was happened during "Larry's Fun Fest" which featured racing and other activities. No one else was hurt.


Farmers get decent weather for a change

MADISON — Wisconsin farmers finally get some decent weather to tend to their crops.

The state Ag Statistics Service says there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork last week — although storms interrupted the proceedings in northern Wisconsin, and there was a report that part of a cornfield got blown down. But in general, observers say crops are maturing well and fields that were planted late need more hot weather to catch up.

Seventy-percent of the state's corn is rated good to excellent, same as the previous week. The condition of the soybeans is also unchanged at 75-percent good to excellent.


La Crosse electronics recycler to add 150 jobs with expansion

ONALASKA — An electronics recycler near La Crosse is planning a $20 million expansion that would create 150 new jobs.

Gov. Scott Walker went to Onalaska Monday to help Dynamic Recycling announce the project. It comes three years after the company moved its facility from nearby La Crosse to Onalaska. Walker says it's the fifth expansion since the firm began in 2007. The new expansion covers 140,000 square feet and will include more space for offices, warehousing, and manufacturing.

The project is supposed to be finished in June of next year. The state has agreed to give $535,000 in state income tax breaks if it meets job benchmarks and capital investment requirements during the next four years. Tax exempt industrial revenue bonds would cover up to $17 million of the company's financing.


Boys, 3 and 7, killed in Dodge County van crash

JUNEAU — The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says two young children have died from injuries suffered in a weekend highway crash. Investigators said Monday that 3-year-old Brady Wojtkiewicz and 7-year-old Landon Wojtkiewicz died of injuries sustained Saturday morning when the minivan in which they were passengers collided with another van at an intersection in the town of Elba. Several others in the minivan carrying the boys were injured, including a 5-year-old child and an adult female.

The 91-year-old driver of the other van and a passenger were also hurt and were taken to a Columbus hospital and then airlifted to UW-Hospital in Madison. The two boys and the five-year-old had also been transferred by air to UW Hospital. Investigators say the driver of the boys' van missed a stop sign, causing the collision.


Speaker Ryan to hold first public town hall in nearly 2 years

MADISON — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is planning to hold a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 21, his first open to the public in nearly two years.

The nationally televised town hall in Racine is being organized by CNN and will be hosted by Jake Tapper. Ryan's office says CNN will be in charge of attendance for the event and is inviting attendees from Ryan's southeastern Wisconsin congressional district.

Republican and Democratic opponents have criticized Ryan for not holding a public town hall since October 2015. Ryan has defended himself by saying he doesn't want opponents from outside his district bussed in to disrupt any such meeting. Ryan has instead opted to hold invite-only town halls at businesses in his district and over the telephone.


Man charged with drunk boating in woman’s death

WAUKESHA — A 53-year-old man is free on bond after he was accused of causing a crash of two boats while he was drunk, killing a passenger on the other boat.

Anthony Drewes of Hartland appeared in Waukesha County Circuit Court Monday on a charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, and he posted a $10,000 bond with his next court appearance set for Sept. 1. Prosecutors say Drewes was driving a boat at 25 mph last Friday when he hit a pontoon boat, and Jill Ladwig was thrown from that craft and later died. Officials say Drewes admitted being "super drunk" at the time but he denied operating the deck boat at first before later admitting it.