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Flood risk shifts to rivers in northwest Wisconsin; Ryan will reportedly make major speech at RNC; Lautenschlager named ethics commission chair; seven more state news stories

A portion of Highway 63 north of Grand View was washed away by Monday night's storms. (Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin)

A flash flood warning is canceled for northwest Wisconsin, but the National Weather Service says there could still be river floods in the region during the next two days.

Parts of Douglas, Burnett, and Washburn counties had 4-5 inches of rain Monday night, causing highways 2 and 13 to close temporarily in parts of Ashland and Bayfield counties. About 21,000 electric customers were without power at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday across the northern third of Wisconsin plus Grant County in the far southwest.

Forecasters say the most significant river and stream flooding could take place from Minong to Danbury -- and in the Ashland, Hurley, and Hayward areas. The Weather Service says more strong storms are expected Tuesday afternoon and evening in most of Wisconsin.

The storms were more severe to the west in Minnesota, where tornadoes were reported in Stearns and Meeker counties -- and Hinckley had eleven inches of rain on Monday.

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Reports: Ryan will make major speech at GOP convention

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville plans to make a major speech at next week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The Politico Washington news website says Ryan will focus on the newly released House Republican agenda for 2017. He'll also stress the need for conservatives to rally around Republican candidates, including White House hopeful Donald Trump.

Ryan is the second top Wisconsin Republican who expects to speak at the GOP convention, after Gov. Scott Walker said last week he would do the same. Ryan plans to make public appearances this week on the GOP policy agenda which he says includes the "substance and solutions" that people are hungry for -- and he'll talk about them in a CNN town hall forum Tuesday night.

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New ethics commission chair says she has owned up to mistakes

MADISON -- The chairwoman of the state's new Ethics Commission says she has owned up to her ethics violation from 12 years ago when she was a top state official.

Former Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager was elected Monday to chair the six member panel that will investigate ethics violations after Republicans decided to split the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board into politically appointed ethics and elections agencies.

Lautenschlager was caught driving drunk in a state-owned car on her way home from Madison to Fond du Lac -- and in 2004, the Democrat was fined $250 plus $672 in mileage reimbursements for not paying back taxpayers for her personal use of the vehicle.

Lautenschlager now says she never meant to violate the law, but she admits she did. The commission chose safety agency budget analyst Brian Bell as its first administrator.

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Challenges to DNR frack sand report

MADISON -- Environmental groups in Wisconsin are objecting to a new state report that says frack sand mining doesn't produce a harmful dust.

The preliminary report from the Department of Natural Resources instead focuses on larger particulates and other possible contaminants from frack sand mining. The report recommends monitoring for only large possible pollutants, not dust.

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Reward offered for Stoughton Fair rabbit mutilations

STOUGHTON -- A $1,000 reward has been offered for information that convicts the people who mutilated six show rabbits at a junior fair in Stoughton.

The Global Conservation Group has announced the reward in connection with the June 30 incident. Laurie Schellinger's family entered the rabbits. She recently told WISC-TV that somebody pried fur from the heads of five show bunnies -- and a back was broken on the sixth animal.

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Racine man charged for declaring 'war' on police

RACINE -- A Racine man is accused of declaring "war" on police soon after last week's shooting spree against Dallas officers.

Forty-three-year-old Byron Cowan was jailed on a $75,000 bond after he appeared in court Monday on felony counts of terrorist threats and threatening law enforcement, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

According to prosecutors, a Racine officer was checking Facebook for suspicious activity last Friday when he spotted posts from Cowan, part of which read: "Be first to shoot first -- I encourage every black man in America to strap up -- I encourage every white officer to kiss their loved ones goodbye."

Several officers went to Cowan's home and arrested him outside -- and Racine Police Chief Art Howell praised the officers for showing restraint, and the public for providing tips. Cowan is due back in court July 20.

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Bicyclist killed in Milwaukee suburb

PEWAUKEE -- A 59-year-old bicyclist has died after colliding with a semi truck in Pewaukee.

Waukesha County sheriff's deputies say both vehicles were going west on Monday afternoon when the semi turned right at an intersection -- and the bike rode into the path of the truck, driven by a 66-year-old Glendale man.

The victim is from New Berlin, and his name was not immediately released. An investigation continues.

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Three missing Dodge County teens found safe

IRON RIDGE -- Three teens were found safe Monday afternoon after being lost in an abandoned mine in Dodge County since late Sunday night.

Sheriff Dale Schmitz issued a statement around 12:45 p.m. Monday that 16-year-old Zachary Herson, 16-year-old Tate Rose, and 15-year-old Samuel Lein were found. Volunteers who took part in a large search tell reporters the three looked cold and dirty as they walked to an ambulance.

The teens were all reported missing by their parents. Sheriff's deputies said earlier that their bicycles were found near the entrance to the Neda Mine, near a heavily wooded area north of Iron Ridge.

UW-Milwaukee owns the mine for research studies. School officials say it's the Midwest's largest bat colony with up to 200,000 of the creatures inside. The four-mile deep mine is closed to the public except for field trips that the university arranges.

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Suspected drunk driver kills 2 in Brown County

DENMARK -- Two people have died and three others are hurt in a traffic crash allegedly caused by a drunk driver in northeast Wisconsin.

Brown County sheriff's deputies say one person was taken into custody as a result of the crash, which occurred around 8:30 p.m. Monday west of Denmark. Deputies say a pickup truck drove through a stop sign and collided with an SUV at an intersection in the town of New Denmark.

Officials have not said which vehicles the victims were -- the survivors' conditions were not disclosed -- and no names were immediately released. Deputies say the suspect was booked on two counts of homicide by drunk driving.

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Three in custody, probe continues in Sheboygan murder

SHEBOYGAN -- Sheboygan Police continue to investigate a murder after taking three suspects into custody for questioning.

Thirty-year-old Candace DeBlaey was apprehended late Monday morning in Milwaukee -- and about two hours later, West Allis Police and U.S. Marshals brought in 27-year-old Patrick Evans and 22-year-old Donovan Cotter. Police say all three were part of an incident in which 38-year-old Philip Spell of Sheboygan was killed early Monday. Other details were not immediately released.

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