MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.
The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.
The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.
Walker will release his two-year state budget proposal either in late January or February.
Walker won re-election on the promise of cutting income and property taxes, a pledge that will be more difficult to achieve given the looming shortfall.
RHINELANDER - The national pet supply company Petco will buy one of the Northwoods' largest employers.
About 530 people work at Drs. Foster and Smith in Rhinelander.
Drs. Foster and Smith sells pet supplies online.
One of the company's founders doesn't think the company will move.
"I have no reason to believe they're [going to] leave Rhinelander," says Drs. Foster and Smith founder Race Foster. "Marty Smith and I actually talked to many prospective buyers. The one condition we put was it cannot leave Rhinelander at least in the foreseeable future."
Kenosha man charged in 11-month-old daughter's killing
KENOSHA - A 34-year-old Kenosha man is charged with killing his 11-month-old daughter.
Russell Rose Jr. was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, aggravated battery, strangulation, arson and recklessly endangering safety. He is being held on $1 million bond.
Police say Rose was arrested Tuesday. Officers found the girl when they responded to a call in which a woman was screaming that someone had killed her baby. Police say the girl was severely bruised and her face was disfigured.
NORTHWOODS - The Wisconsin Deer Donation program needs help from hunters this fall. The program lets hunters donate their deer to help feed those in need. Experts are concerned that the winter weather could cut into the number of deer kills this season. DNR managers think it will be difficult to find and hunt them.
"This year it's looking a little lean, especially in the north," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz. "With this deep snow, it's changed the deer behavior and it's going to change hunter behavior too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that our donations were down this year under the circumstances."
Donating takes three simple steps: you register your kill, field dress the deer, and then you take it to a DNR approved processing center. The venison is then ground-up, frozen, and shipped to local pantries, as well as people in need. One meat market owner and program volunteer feels the impact of fewer deer.
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