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Better for beef? Japan buying $1.5 billion in U.S. beef exportsSubmitted: 02/08/2013
Better for beef?  Japan buying $1.5 billion in U.S. beef exports
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - Japan is buying more American beef, which is good news for Wisconsin's 14,000 cattle farmers.

Japan used to restrict U.S. beef imports out of concerns about mad-cow disease, but it recently relaxed some restrictions. Now U.S. beef exports to Japan are expected to grow from about $850 million per year to $1.5 billion.

John Freitag is the executive director of the Wisconsin Beef Council. He says the new standards are good for Wisconsin, especially because the industry is struggling through an especially tough period.

He says some beef farmers have been thinking of leaving the industry or shrinking their herds because of high feed prices. He says a stronger Japanese market gives Wisconsin farmers more incentive to stay in business.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

GREEN BAY - A police officer from the Green Bay area remains in critical condition after being hit by a car.

Ashwaubenon Officer Brian Murphy underwent surgery for injuries received when he was hit along Interstate 41.

On Saturday night, Murphy was struck by an apparent drunk driver while standing at the scene of a car fire.

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MINOCQUA - When you think of the Northwoods, you probably never thought you'd put the words, "lake" and "surfing" together.

Erik Quamme is a novice wake surfer, and this is just the third time he's skimmed the waves in Minocqua.

He gotten started thanks to SurfSCONSIN's Mike Scandin and Chad Baker.

"Just appreciate the power the wave has. They don't have to work that hard. It is just that balanced motion," said Scandin.

Nearly every day for the last two summers, Chad drives the boat while Mike coaches.

The boat goes at a low speed to create the perfect wave and that keeps your body from taking a beating.

"Everybody is getting older. Everyone feels those aches and pains. You just don't have those major wipeouts," said Baker.

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Friends Erik Quamme and Chad Scott are two of SurfSCONSIN's newest surfers.

They're still pretty new at riding, but both say it's the coaching that's helped them learn fast.

"Mike is sitting there telling you to move your left foot forward or scrunch your toes forward," said Quamme.

"If Erik and I had a boat and a couple of boards-- it could take days to figure out foot placement and rope length," said Scott.

You can catch 12-year-surfer Mark Mapes with Mike and Chad almost every day, sometimes showing off a trick or two.

For him, it's the socialness of wave surfing that makes the sport special.

"You can talk to each other, the boat is moving slow you can hear. You can talk to the surfer back there," said Mapes.

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MADISON - The first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a horse this year comes from Clark County.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says the unvaccinated horse was euthanized.

West Nile is carried by mosquitoes and kills 90 percent of the horses it infects.  Symptoms include depression, appetite loss, drooping eyelids, fever, weakness, or paralysis.

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THREE LAKES - One teenager decided to spend a day giving back to the Three Lakes community 18-year-old Maxwell Blanchard lives in L.A but always makes it back to Three Lakes during the summer. 

Blanchard learned how to water ski and wakeboard in Three Lakes at five years old. 

On Sunday he spent the day giving free water skiing and wakeboarding lessons.

"[To] get someone new out there to ski or at least get them attempting. It's always fun when you get the kids who are a little nervous out there and a little shaky, then they get out there and they love it," said Blanchard. 

Blanchard said every year the water sports community chooses a day to give back and participate in "International Pass the Handle Day."

 Kylee Swendson decided to help Blanchard this year with the lessons. 

"It's great for everybody to get a chance to learn especially people who don't get the opportunity every day," said Swendson. 

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The Northwoods Adventure Quest Program brings students from China and America together.

 Last year travel rules stopped the program from happening, but this year the students and organizers are more driven than ever to keep their mission going. 

"You get to form relationships with people from around the world," said 10- year- old Chase Neubauer. 

This is Neubauer's first time joining the two week Adventure Quest Program. 

The goal of the program is to do more than just keep kids busy during the summer. 

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Kuang is one the organizers of the quest program. He couldn't think of a better way of promoting his goal than starting with young students. 

"[So that] the young generation, who will be the future leaders of the world, [can] appreciate cultures and know more about each other," said Kuang. 

This is Power Liu's first time coming to America with the program. 

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Police chief Jerry Staniszewski said Sunday that the department received a request the night before to check the welfare of the man, who made "homicidal and suicidal" comments to an acquaintance. 

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