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Wisconsin roundup: Fishery officials consider new bag, size limits for Mississippi River; more state news stories

Wisconsin and Minnesota fishery officials are considering the first changes to bag and size limits on the Mississippi River, shown here at Hastings, in 50 years. File photo

Wisconsin and Minnesota fishery officials are considering the first changes to bag and size limits on the Mississippi River in 50 years.

The two state agencies say they don't have any specific plans yet but will begin gathering information at five public hearings later this month. The first will be held May 14 in Red Wing, Minnesota. The two Wisconsin hearings are set for May 16 in Prairie du Chien and May 17 in La Crosse. Any suggested changes would have to go through the rule-making process, meaning the earliest they could go into effect would be 2020.


U.S. Sen. Johnson says food stamp changes will make parents more self-reliant

Ron Johnson says changes to the nation's food stamp program are aimed at making parents more self-reliant.

The U.S. senator attended a town hall-style meeting at SourceCut Industries in Osseo Wednesday afternoon. The Wisconsin Republican says changes made to the farm bill are based on focusing government assistance to those who are truly needy. He says 6 percent of the American population is on food stamps during a good economy historically. The latest statistics find more than 13 percent are accepting SNAP benefits now. Johnson says he thinks "something is a little haywire."


Father charged with OWI after toddlers fall from van he was driving

A Sheboygan father faces charges of operating while intoxicated and child neglect after two of his children fell out of the family van while he was driving.

Witnesses told police about seeing the toddlers, 1 and 2 years old, fall out of the vehicle as it was passing through a roundabout intersection at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The father apparently didn't notice. One child was injured so badly it was transferred to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Police say the parents were looking for the two missing children when they went to the home – not realizing what had happened. The family's name hasn't been released.


Charges against accused murdered dismissed due to mental condition

An Eau Claire County judge has signed off on an order dismissing murder charges against a man accused of killing his sister.

Investigators say 75-year-old James Bonczkowski strangled and stabbed his sister at her rural Augusta home in October 2016. When authorities found her body, they say a knitting needle was sticking out of the dead woman's chest. It was determined that Bonczkowski wasn't competent to stand trial last year. He has Alzheimer's disease and has suffered strokes and brain bleeds. Doctors have told the court he will never regain competency, so the murder charge was dismissed.


Fire devastates historic family-owned dairy farm

A major fire has destroyed three buildings and damaged three more at a family-owned dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin.

Four generations of the Herda family have operated the farm near Wheatland for the last 110 years. Nearly two dozen area fire departments responded to the alarm. No people or cows were injured, but the owners say a dozen chickens were killed.

The fire apparently started in the main barn, spread to some nearby silos and damaged the family home. Ninety cows were moved to a nearby farm so they could be milked. The Herda family started the farm in 1908.


Portage man accused of felony animal mistreatment, stalking

Columbia County investigators say a 73-year-old Portage man admitted trapping and killing cats in his neighborhood, then dumping them on a neighbor's property.

Paul Greiner made his first court appearance Wednesday. A neighbor, Liz Masterson, says she watched Greiner step out of a vehicle that had stopped in the road in front of her house and throw a dead cat onto her property. Masterson says her family has had ongoing issues with Greiner. She says she believes the cats were being used to threaten her family. Greiner reportedly told deputies he has post-traumatic stress disorder from his military service, affecting his behavior.


Northland girls become Cub Scouts for first time

Five Northwestern Wisconsin girls are now Cub Scouts.

Isabelle and Abby Huber and Mary Catherine Jarman, all of Lake Nebagamon, and Hailey and Abby Monroe of Hawthorne were among the first girls in the Northland to join Cub Scouts on Tuesday, the first day girls could officially become part of the organization. The five girls and their parents gathered at the council's office in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday morning for a ceremony to mark the occasion. They are now part of Pack 212 in Northwestern Wisconsin.