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Wisconsin roundup: Senate votes on leaders of elections, ethics commissions; more state news stories

MADISON — The Wisconsin Senate votes on confirmation for the administrators of the Elections Commission and the Ethics Commission today.

Republicans want Michael Haas and Brian Bell out, accusing them of partisan bias when they worked for the Government Accountability Board. The GAB was disbanded three years ago due to the role it played in a John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and conservative groups. Bell has said he had no involvement in any investigations while he was with the board. Haas has said all he did with the Walker investigation was routine review of court documents.


Wis. home sales still setting records

MADISON — For a third straight year, the sales of existing homes in Wisconsin have reached record levels.

The 83,000 homes sold during 2017 represent a 1.4 percent increase over the year before. The state's median sales price jumped 5.5 percent to $174,000. Wisconsin is still a seller's market. The average home sold in December was bought in just less than four months — one month sooner than December 2016. A strong economy and millennials looking to buy their first home are given credit for driving the market.


Government asks for suit over Tomah VA center to be dropped

MADISON — The U-S Department of Justice has gone to a federal court in Madison asking that a suit filed by a veterans group be dismissed.

The Veterans Administration informed about 600 patients that their dentist at the Tomah VA Medical Center might have exposed them to HIV. He had used dental equipment which hadn't been sanitized. The U.S. attorney says there’s no proof of exposure to a contaminated source, so no grounds for the suit. No veterans were found to be infected with HIV.


Whitefish Bay schools: Best in state

WHITEFISH BAY — The Whitefish Bay School District has been ranked Wisconsin's best by the Business Insider website.

Whitefish received an “A-plus” grade for academics and teachers. The website compiled its 2018 ranking by measuring the strength of academics, health and safety, diversity and teacher quality. The district includes Richards and Cumberland elementary schools, Whitefish Bay Middle and High schools. The district also got an "A" in the Health and Safety category and a “B-minus” in diversity.


Silver Mine Ski Jumping event draws record attendance

EAU CLAIRE — Organizers of the Silver Mine Ski Jumping competition are calling the event a success.

Organizers say the weather held up and the competition was exciting. Crews spent Sunday cleaning up and tearing down equipment. A record crowd attended the event, with about 3,000 spectators.


Bond set at $1M for accused double murderer

ABBOTSFORD — A 26-year-old man facing two murder charges and one charge of attempted murder has had his bond set at $1 million.

Tyler Zimmerman of Owen is being held in the Marathon County Jail. Investigators say he shot three people Saturday morning in Abbotsford, killing 25-year-old Duane Lopez Jr. and 21-year-old Cierra Hardrath. Eighteen-year-old Megan Dupee survived and called 911. Zimmerman was apparently jealous and thought Hardrath, his live-in girlfriend, was cheating on him. Police say Zimmerman has confessed to the crime.


Victim of suspected child abuse dies in hospital

TWO RIVERS — Two Rivers Police say an 8-week-old girl has died at Children's Hospital of Milwaukee due to child abuse.

Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Brown-Edwards had already been arrested and is being held at the Manitowoc County Jail. Emergency responders were called to a home last Wednesday about an infant who wasn't breathing. Paramedics revived the child, who was taken to a local hospital, then airlifted to the Milwaukee hospital. She died Sunday. Police say the charge against Brown-Edwards could be upgraded when autopsy results are filed.


Former sheriff Clarke cleared by federal jury

MILWAUKEE — A federal jury sides with former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., saying he didn't violate another man's free speech rights.

Clarke didn't show up for Monday's civil trial. Daniel Black's attorneys told the court their client received hateful messages and was intimidated after Clarke called him a "snowflake" in online postings. Clarke made the comment on Facebook after Black complained that the sheriff had his deputies detain him. Black says he shook his head at Clarke at Mitchell International Airport last January because Clarke was wearing Dallas Cowboys gear while the Packers were about to meet them in the playoffs.