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Wisconsin is making major changes to a medical program designed for the working poor. The overhaul of BadgerCare will be the biggest since the program started in the 1960s. The BadgerCare Plus initiative aims to combine existing programs and make them more efficient without costing taxpayers more money. The election-year program expansion was endorsed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle in his annual State of the State address in January. Doyle's administration hopes to get health insurance for all children; statistics show 12 percent of Wisconsin's kids went without coverage in 2004.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- The long dry summer has raised concerns over how some of Wisconsin's crops will fare this year, particularly corn and wheat. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting a record harvest for cranberries. Agricultural officials say with an expected 3-point-75 million barrels, Wisconsin may yield the largest cranberry crop ever, topping last year's total of 3- point-66 million.
MERRILL --The city of Merrill said goodbye Monday to the second hometown soldier killed in Iraq this year. The small city of Merrill has now lost two young men to the war in Iraq: specialist Grant Dampier and now, 20- year old Sgt. Ryan Jopek. Neal Strobel, Merrill's police chief, says it's tough on their friends and tough on the city.
Builders of a controversial Northwestern Wisconsin high voltage power transmission line don't have an automatic right to build new utilities on old easements, a judge has ruled. Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Glonek said Friday Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a private entity that's building the 345-kilovolt Arrowhead-Weston power line, must negotiate new right-of-way agreements through private property. Glonek based his decision on a 1975 Wisconsin statute that grants landowners stronger protections when faced with the construction of new high-voltage power lines.
A state decision addressing the death of a man driving veterans to the Twin Cities has raised concern among Douglas County supervisors regarding the legal liability for contracted drivers. Larry Lundberg was working as a driver for the county's Veterans Service office when he was killed in a traffic accident west of Duluth last December. Douglas County administrators considered Lundberg, a longtime Poplar and Lake Nebagamon area resident, an independent contractor. The state of Wisconsin determined he was a county employee.
The attorney for 16-year old Brendan Dassey wants his client's rape and murder trial moved up to Nov. 12. Dassey is charged along with his uncle Steven Avery with the torture, rape and murder of 25-year old photographer Teresa Halbach in October of last year. Dassey's lawyer, Len Kachinsky, says the teenager wants to get the trial over with as soon as possible because he feels very isolated in his cell at the Sheboygan juvenile detention center.
A cattle farmer in northern Wisconsin says he hopes the federal government appeals a ruling that halted lethal control of problem wolves in the state. Two years ago, four wolves killed about six cattle on Bill Anderson's farm in rural Bayfield County. He says federal wildlife agents working in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources came and caught the wolves and put them to death.
A software glitch caused an error in the reporting of the number students requiring remedial math at the University of Wisconsin Stout. Stout officials say instead of the 54.6 percent figure released in the recent Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance report the correct figure is just 8.2 percent. In a release Stout officials say that the university regularly submits records to UW System for storage in a data warehouse, from which the originally reported statistic was drawn.
The Wisconsin State Patrol is adding some power under the hood. In addition to the familiar Ford Crown Victoria cruisers the force will be adding Dodge Chargers and seven Dodge Magnums to their fleet. Three new Chargers, all with V-6 engines, are ready for delivery to troopers at the Eau Claire, Fond du Lac and Tomah posts. In a couple of months four more Chargers all with V-8 Hemi engines will be added. These new cars are heading to the posts at Wausau, Waukesha, Eau Claire and DeForest posts. "The new vehicles provide excellent acceleration, handling and safety features," said Lt.
After being tangled in a lengthy debate and the threat of a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice, the State Elections Board is now clarifying what voters will need when they go to the polls this fall. The SEB says that voters who register on Election Day, but arrive at the polling place without their driver's license number may vote on a provisional ballot. That ballot will then be held aside until the voter provides the number to the elections clerk. The SEB says that voters who use a provisional ballot have until 4 p.m.