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Wisconsin: Researchers say 'child care desert' spreading across Wis.; more state news stories

Researchers say more than half of Wisconsin's children live in what they call a "child care desert."

The Center for American Progress reports there is only one available slot in a licensed daycare operation for every three children in the state. Low salaries are a problem, with an average paycheck of just $10.33 an hour for caregivers. Most centers say they can't afford to pay their workers any more than that. The final result is affordable childcare simply isn't available to many families.

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Suspect in Closs case says he’ll plead guilty

The Wisconsin man charged with kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs after brutally murdering her parents reportedly says he will plead guilty.

Jake Patterson wrote a letter to Twin Cities news station KARE 11 saying he has "huge amounts" of remorse for his crimes. In the letter Patterson couldn't say exactly why he kidnapped Jayme, noting that the situation was "complicated" and "not black and white." He said it was "mostly on impulse." Patterson also said that he never confided in anyone, not even his family, about the crimes. Jayme Closs was held captive by Patterson for 88 days, before she was able to escape.

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Lake Superior locked down in 94-percent ice coverage

For the first time in four years more than 90 percent of Lake Superior's surface is covered by ice.

Climatologists report frigid weather patterns have kept the area in the deep freeze since late January. Superior and Lake Erie are at 94 percent coverage, while Lake Huron is 85 percent covered by ice, Lake Michigan 40 percent and Lake Ontario about 23 percent. At this time last year, about half of Superior's surface was ice-covered.

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Statewide gas prices creep back up

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Wisconsin is up four-cents from a week ago.

The automotive group AAA says the cost statewide $2.42, while the national average is $2.46 a gallon. The lowest prices are posted in Appleton at $2.32 a gallon. Drivers in Eau Claire are paying the most at the pump for regular at $2.56.

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Superior man faces 9 felony charges for attempted sex with girl, 14

Investigators say a 57-year-old Superior man spent a month planning a meeting with what he thought was going to be an underage girl for sex.

Robert Louis Carlson is charged with nine felonies. Carlson reportedly numerous sexually explicit messages and photographs before he traveled to Duluth to meet the 14-year-old girl. He was arraigned in District Court in Duluth last week. He returns to court March 26.

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Wis. man committed to mental hospital for life

A 75-year-old Waunakee man will spend the rest of his life at a state mental hospital after pleading no contest to charges he killed his neighbor.

Ronald Jenne was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Prosecution and defense lawyers agreed Jenne lacked the capacity to appreciate how wrong his actions were when he shot 54-year-old Julie Anderson. Jenne and the victim were neighbors in a Waunakee condominium building. No reason was ever given for the homicide.

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