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STEVENS POINT - Portage County plans new $85 million downtown jail, courthouse
Portage County may build a new $85 million jail and courthouse in downtown Stevens Point, that would be connected to the existing County Annex on Strongs Avenue.

The county's Space and Properties Committee voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the County Board move forward with a new government facility in the heart of the city. The committee discussed but rejected proposals to remodel the current jail to make it compliant with state requirements, remodeling other downtown facilities as well, or building an all-new facility to house county operations.

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MADISON - Unemployment rates fall statewide
Unemployment rates fell everywhere in Wisconsin in March.

The state Department of Workforce Development said this week that unemployment rates were down in all 12 metro areas, all 32 major cities and all 72 counties.

The highest unadjusted unemployment rate for a Metropolitan Statistical Area was Racine at 6.2 percent.

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LAKE MILLS - Daybreak Foods dealing with bird flu
An executive of one of Wisconsin’s largest egg-production companies said he is committed to saving its facility near Lake Mills that received confirmation this week that a highly contagious avian influenza virus was found in its flock of 800,000 chickens.

The egg-laying facility with 60 employees will become productive again after a difficult and emotional cleanup process is finished that will include euthanizing all 800,000 chickens, Rehm said. The virus also hit another commercial chicken facility with 200,000 hens in Jefferson County as well as one each in Minnesota and Iowa.

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MADISON - Plan Commission bucks Landmarks recommendation, approves Monroe Street project
A revised plan for an apartment and retail building along Monroe Street received its necessary approvals after the Madison Landmarks Commission recommended against the project.

The Plan Commission on Monday approved 5-4 Patrick Properties' proposal for a four-story, 41,000-square-foot building at the corner of Monroe and Glenway streets.

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MT. HOREB - Grocery co-op to close as losses mount
The Trillium Community Grocery Co-op has run out of time and money.

Efforts to create a new business model, move to a larger and more visible space and increase membership have ended. The co-op’s board of directors voted Tuesday to close the store, located on the east end of the village’s downtown. The final date of operation was unclear but the store’s manager, Lynn Olson, asked the landlord to end the lease by May 31. On Wednesday, Olson had to fire her staff of six. She will be the sole employee until the store closes.

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WAUSAU - Red Wing Shoes to open store in Wausau
Red Wing Shoes will open a Wausau location on Stewart Avenue around the end of May.

The Minnesota-based company will be the first occupants in the space at 2111 Stewart Ave., said Margaret Ghidorzi, director of business development with Ghidorzi Companies, which owns the property.

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WATERLOO - Trek recalls nearly 1 million bicycles
Waterloo-based Trek is voluntarily recalling just under 1 million bicycles from model years 2000 to 2015, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

An open quick-release lever on the bicycle’s front disc-brake assembly can come into contact with the assembly, causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle.

Trek, which said it was taking a “proactive” measure with the recall, reported three injuries as a result of the hazard. One resulted in quadriplegia, one resulted in facial injuries and one a broken wrist.

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Avian flu found at another Jefferson County egg facility and Chippewa County turkey flock
Nearly one in five Wisconsin egg-laying chickens have been or will be euthanized following an outbreak of bird flu at a second commercial egg facility in Jefferson County.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Wednesday that the 800,000-bird Jefferson County flock and an 87,000-turkey flock in Chippewa County have become the state’s fourth and fifth cases of bird flu. All birds that haven’t died already will be euthanized.

The Jefferson County facility is among the state’s largest chicken farms. Its outbreak follows that of another 180,000-bird egg farm in Jefferson County, where the virus appeared on April 12.

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MADISON - MATC pushes plan to sell downtown campus amid criticism
Madison Area Technical College is pushing a plan to sell its original downtown campus, abandon its leased west side campus and focus on expanding its presence on the economically depressed and growing south side.

College officials say the plan is necessary to meet the needs of a changing community, but critics say it is unjustified and in need of more study.

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HUDSON - Illegal in Minnesota: Cult following drives popular Spotted Cow craft beer
Hudson beer runs are a staple of drinking in the Twin Cities, as the Wisconsin town on the banks of the St. Croix River is the closest town on I-94 for those finding themselves short on libations on Sundays.

But it’s not just the Minnesota liquor laws that have Minnesotans crossing the border.
Wisconsin is home to numerous craft breweries, but none may be as popular as New Glarus Brewing Co., creators of Spotted Cow. The widely sought-after farmhouse ale is the subject of an investigation of Maple Tavern, in Maple Grove, Minn., which had been found to be selling the beer illegally last week.

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MADISON - Wisconsin utility CEO pay packages jump, but mostly for future pension payments
Top executives of Wisconsin’s major utility companies got big boosts in their pay packages in 2014, hiking one CEO’s total compensation as much as $2.7 million over 2013 levels.

But most of the jump resulted from federally mandated adjustments in the formula for estimating their future pension values, not in take-home pay, documents filed with federal regulators say.

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Western Wisconsin transmission line starts operating
An upgraded 17-mile, 69,000-volt electrical transmission line between Tomah and Sparta began operating Monday.

Built by American Transmission Co. (ATC), of Pewaukee, for an estimated $49 million, the project also included construction of a new substation in Tomah.

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EAU CLAIRE - Panel approves Lazy Monk Brewery building plans
An Eau Claire brewery’s move into a building currently owned by the city along the Chippewa River cleared its first hurdle Wednesday night.

Eau Claire’s Waterways and Parks Commission voted 9-0 to recommend Lazy Monk Brewing’s proposal to move its brewery and create a restaurant in the building previously used as a home furnishings showroom at the southeast corner of Oxford Avenue and West Madison Street.

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PORTAGE - Saint-Gobain plant expansion could create 120 new jobs
Saint-Gobain’s major Portage plant expansion project is still in the works.

Company representatives told city officials that the project, which could lead to 120 new jobs, is still on track despite not advancing as quickly as originally hoped.

The expansion project is expected to include more than 40,000 square feet. The current plant, located off Wisconsin Street in the city’s northwest quadrant, employs about 300 people.

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MADISON - State Senate approves statewide regulations for Uber, Lyft
The state Senate approved a bill on a voice vote Tuesday that would create statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft and prohibit local governments from enacting their own regulations.

The state Assembly approved the bill last week, and it now moves to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. Spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Walker will evaluate the bill.

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