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Wisconsin roundup: State’s cranberries, Harleys could be impacted by Trump’s tariffs; more state news stories

BRUSSELS — The trade commissioner for the European Union confirms American cranberries, bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice are on the list of products which could face countermeasure tariffs.

The EU is responding to plans by President Donald Trump to put a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 percent tariff on foreign aluminum. The cranberry crop is big business for Wisconsin. In some seasons, the state has produced more than half of the world's supply of cranberries. Over-supply and falling prices have already hurt cranberry producers, so losing even part of the European market would be a big blow. European Union tariffs could also hit motorcycle-maker Harley-Davidson.

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Wisconsin Republicans start lining up against Trump’s tariff plan

WASHINGTON — They're in the same party, but Wisconsin Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Gov. Scott Walker are speaking out against the president's plan to add tariffs to steel and aluminum imports.

The high-profile politicians say the move could start a trade war and hurt Wisconsin agricultural and manufacturing industries. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is asking President Trump to exempt European trading partners while doing more to target cheating by China. Trump has already excluded Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, but he's moving ahead with his plan. Johnson says he's not sure there are ever any winners in a trade war.

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Forecasters downgrade Ryan’s re-election chances

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — This has never happened before: Election forecasters at the University of Virginia Center for Politics have downgraded House Speaker Paul Ryan's re-election chances.

Called "Sabato's Crystal Ball," the forecast has changed the 1st District Congressional seat from "safely Republican" to "likely Republican." Ryan has never been seriously challenged in the past. The experts say one reason for the downgrade is that he may not run for re-election. That doubt will be answered June 1 at Wisconsin's filing deadline. Western Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind, a Democrat, has been upgraded from "likely Democrat" to "safe Democrat."

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Monroe County deputy cleared in fatal shooting

SPARTA — A Monroe County Sheriff's deputy won't face criminal charges in the Jan. 7 fatal shooting of a man.

District Attorney Kevin Croninger says the use of deadly force that day was reasonable, given the situation. Deputy Jesse Murphy shot Skyler Burnette to death as he held a knife to the throat of the mother of his children. Witnesses say Burnette was told to release the woman and drop the knife several times before he was shot. The case was handled by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and Croninger made his determination on charges after receiving the DCI findings.

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Activists: Madison needs more electric car charging stations

MADISON — The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group predicts Madison will have about 9,000 electric cars on its streets by the year 2030 — and they will need someplace to charge their batteries.

Sales of electric cars increased 32 percent last year. A report from WISPIRG calls for city leaders to offer incentives for parking and charging stations in Madison. The organization says Madison needs to install 280 new public and workplace charging stations over the next decade to keep up with the demand. Ford has announced its goal is to have 40 electric models on the road in the next four years.

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French entry wins 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest

MADISON — The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association announced the winner of the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest Thursday.

Five Wisconsin kinds of cheese were finalists, but none took the top prize. The overall winner came from France. It was a sheep's milk cheese imported by Savencia Cheese USA in Pennsylvania. The experts say it was aged 90 days and had a nutty and toasted wheat taste. The runner-up cheese came from Austria. The three-day contest wrapped up with the announcement of the winners from more than 34-hundred entries Thursday night at the Monona Terrace.

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Eau Claire police track down burglary suspects with old receipt

EAU CLAIRE — Eau Claire Police used a receipt from a convenience store to track down two suspects in a burglary case.

A weekend break-in netted the thieves computers, tools, and money. While police were going over the crime scene they found a water bottle with a receipt from a Kwik Trip store. When they reviewed video surveillance at the store, they were able to identify Daniel Reeves and Jessica Ness. Those two were taken into custody, but investigators think a third person may be involved — because none of the stolen property has been recovered.

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Foxconn plan for Lake Michigan water draws opposition

STURTEVANT — Environmental activists and people living near the place where Foxconn Technology Group plans to build a huge electronics plant are speaking out against plans to pull water from Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin made a lot of concessions to get the $10 billion project and its 13,000 jobs to move to the state. The latest round of questions concern the plan to use 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water each day as it buildings thin screen monitors. The Department of Natural Resources is currently in the public comment period until March 21. Some speakers at a public event in Sturtevant earlier this week questioned the company's environmental record in China and Taiwan.

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