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2014 numbers good for state banksSubmitted: 08/29/2014

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LAONA - Only one in twenty banks in Wisconsin lost money in the first half of 2014.

Industry leaders see that as a sign of success and progress.

Those numbers had been worse over the past few years, especially during the recession.

Wisconsin banks made about a half-billion dollars in the first six months of the year. Their total assets were above $100 billion.

"About 95 percent of the banks in Wisconsin are profitable, which is a great sign that we are healthy and ready and willing to make any loans that consumers want," said Wisconsin Bankers Association President Rose Oswald Poels.

Part of bank success lately has been driven by lending to businesses.

Commercial loans in the first half of this year were up 12 percent compared to the same span last year.

"That is a great sign that the economy is improving and people are willing to borrow more money and expand their businesses or start a new business," Oswald Poels said.

We spoke to her at an event in Laona Thursday.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS
North Lakeland Discovery Center welcomes a new executive directorSubmitted: 08/29/2014

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MANITOWISH WATERS - The North Lakeland Discovery Center will welcome a new executive director.

The center in Manitowish Waters focuses on connecting people with nature. That's how Azeal Meza first connected with the discovery center. He says he is excited to move forward as the executive director.

"I was immediately impressed with the organization," says Meza. "I have been part of the bird club for a while, and it's a nice place where I come here with my family to hike the trials, paddle, you name it."

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Gov. Walker warns Potawatomi it could lose gamesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration has warned the Forest County Potawatomi tribe that it could lose about 2,000 slot machines if it succeeds in withholding its $25 million annual payment to the state.

The Potawatomi say they're withholding the money because the state may end up owing the tribe money if Walker approves the Menominee tribe's proposed Kenosha casino. The Potawatomi fear a Kenosha casino would significantly cut into their Milwaukee casino profits.

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Wisconsin State Patrol reinforces consequences of speeding in construction zones Submitted: 08/29/2014

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MARATHON COUNTY - Each year in Wisconsin, both highway workers and motorists die or are hurt in crashes that happen in highway construction zones. Drivers need to slow down and obey the posted speed limit. In Marathon County, Wisconsin State Patrol doesn't treat drivers any differently.

Sergeant Travis Wanless of the Wisconsin State Patrol started his Wednesday morning off on Highway 51 by taking up both lanes to slow down traffic for rock blasting.

"We are blasting. I'm going to get you sick here, but I want to make sure these guys know I'm stopping," Wanless said.

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School district leaders stand by their co-curricular policySubmitted: 08/29/2014

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ANTIGO - Some parents think the Antigo School District's co-curricular code punishes students too harshly. Students can be banned from playing a sport or doing an extra-curricular activity if they break the code multiple times.

Some parents believe the Antigo School District's co-curricular code works like a three-strike policy. However, district leaders say the policy actually gives students many chances to get back on track.

Coaches don't even have to report the student to the district right away. They can work with the student to get them back on track.

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Walker says GOP complacency a big concernSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says complacency and fatigue among Republican voters is one of his biggest concerns as he faces re-election in less than 10 weeks.

Walker addressed his concerns Friday on WTMJ-AM when asked about a poll released on Wednesday indicating that Democrats were more enthused about the upcoming election that Republicans. Walker calls that ``one of my biggest concerns.''

The Marquette University Law School poll showed the race between Walker and Democrat Mary Burke to be a dead heat, both among registered and likely voters.

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Former deputy suspected of homicide due in courtSubmitted: 08/29/2014

- A former Dane County sheriff's deputy suspected of fatally shooting his wife and sister-in-law is due in court.

Andy Steele is scheduled for an appearance in Dane County Circuit Court Friday afternoon. Steele could be formally charged Friday in the deaths of 39-year-old Ashley Steele and her 38-year-old sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, of Lake Elmo Minnesota.

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Some child pornography tips see slow Justice Department responseSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Most people would expect quick action if they provided a tip about possible child pornography.

Newly released records show state Justice Department field offices across Wisconsin have delayed investigating some child pornography tips for months.

For example, the agency's Madison office took about three years to assign two tips for follow-up.

The Department of Justice earlier had fired the Milwaukee Special Agent-In-Charge for allowing nearly four dozen tips to languish.

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Export markets sought for Wisconsin cranberriesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - China might be a good place to send some of Wisconsin's extra cranberries.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection hosted a group of potential buyers from China this past week.

They talked to growers and toured cranberry facilities.

Industry leaders are hoping to expand demand for cranberries as an oversupply causes prices to drop.

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