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Wisconsin roundup: Decline in prescriptions didn't slow opioid-related deaths in Wis.; more state news stories

State records show that opioid overdose deaths continue to rise in Wisconsin despite fewer opioids being prescribed. Forum News Service image

MADISON — State records show that opioid overdose deaths continue to rise in Wisconsin despite fewer opioids being prescribed.

Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program says the state saw 17 million fewer opioid prescriptions from April to June. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services says that's a 12 percent decrease from the same time period in 2016. Despite the drop, Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the rate of opioid deaths in the state has nearly doubled in the past decade. Doctors on Gov. Scott Walker's Task Force on Opioid Abuse say they're educating fellow members about alternative pain medications and proper opioid use.

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Black voter turnout dropped 19% in 2016 Wis. election

WASHINGTON — A study by the liberal group Center for American Progress finds black voter turnout in Wisconsin dropped by about 19 percent in the 2016 election.

Researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, polls and state voter files to compare the numbers to 2012. The decline among black voters in this state was more than four times the national rate. The 2012 presidential election represented the first time in history that black voter turnout rates were higher than those for white voters. Seventy-four percent of Wisconsin's black voters cast a ballot in 2012, compared to slightly over 55 percent in 2016.

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Double-murder trial for Eau Claire man scheduled for April

EAU CLAIRE — A man accused of murdering his sister and her boyfriend will go on trial next year.

Eau Claire County prosecutors say the trial for Wayne Price is scheduled to be held in April, but if the defense attorneys aren't ready to go, it could be delayed until October. Investigators say Price shot Elizabeth Price and David Dishneau to death last September. Family members say the Fall Creek man was known to use cocaine and meth. His friend says Price told him he had "done something stupid" and shot two people.

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Man killed after crash with train

TOWN OF MERTON — The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department says the flash red lights and the audible signal at a railroad crossing in the Town of Merton were working when a fatal accident happened Monday.

The driver of a truck was thrown free by the impact shortly before noon. Investigators say the man's vehicle was sitting on the tracks facing south and the Union Pacific Railroad train was traveling east. The truck driver hasn't been identified. Deputies say he was alone in the truck and he died at the scene.

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Accused drunk driver wipes out Eau Claire city sign

EAU CLAIRE — The Wisconsin State Patrol has arrested a 48-year-old woman on an OWI charge after she slammed her van into a concrete Eau Claire city sign.

The incident happened at 2:45 a.m. Sunday. Troopers say Naimt Aimin's preliminary breath test registered at nearly double the legal limit. They had tried to stop her van for an infraction when they say she started driving erratically and speeding up. Aimin's van veered into a median and knocked the sign off its base. When she was asked why she was speeding, she apparently told the trooper she was drunk. A Dec. 27 court date has been set.

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Crews fight machine shed fire in central Wis.

DORCHESTER — Firefighters spent more than five hours fighting a fire at a central Wisconsin farm Monday morning.

The emergency call went out at about 2:00 a.m. when flames started shooting from a machine shed at Bach Farms on a county road west of Dorchester. Preliminary indications are an electrical problem on the second floor of the building caused the fire. No injuries were reported and no livestock was harmed. The farm is located about five miles north of Abbotsford.

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Accused killer claims self-defense

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The prosecutor says it's a cut-and-dried case — 59-year-old Mark Kusters shot a man to death who was having an affair with his wife. Kusters' attorney calls it self-defense.

Kusters is accused of murdering 42-year-old Richard Flynn last year. The shooting happened at Kuster's home. State Attorney Craig Lambert told the court Kusters had said he was going to kill Flynn, he got his shotgun and did it. Defense attorney Gary Kryshak says Kusters was protecting his property and the victim had entered the porch of the home when he was killed. The trial is being held this week.

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Eviction notice gives boat owners little time to get ready for winter

LA CROSSE — Owners of boats docked at the La Crosse Municipal Boat Harbor have been told they have to remove them immediately.

The La Crosse Common Council voted to terminate the lease for the current owner at a meeting last week and a construction crew has already started removing the docks. City officials say those boat owners shouldn't be surprised. More than one dozen people live on their house boats year-round and one owner says there's not enough time. There are more than 30 houseboats in the harbor and only four or five can be pulled and blocked on land in one day — and he says that requires perfect weather.

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Tomah man arrested, accused of stalking teen

WILTON — Police in the village of Wilton say they have arrested a 42-year-old man and charged him with stalking a teenager.

Matthew Roberts of Tomah was arrested Oct. 27. Investigators say they found evidence, which will be used to prosecute Roberts, when they served a search warrant at his home. The victim lives in Hillsboro. Police haven't identified the teen by name or gender. The Monroe County Sheriff's Department and Tomah police assisted the investigation.

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CVTC offers free dental care to local veterans

EAU CLAIRE — Chippewa Valley Technical College (CTVC) - Dental Clinic in Eau Claire offered free dental care to local veterans at its "Give a Vet A Smile Day."

The event held Saturday helped those veterans without any other dental benefits with a current military ID. The program also helped those enrolled in VA health care. CVTC partnered with Delta Dental and volunteers to provide the veterans' care.

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