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This Hour: Latest Wisconsin news, sports, business and entertainment

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Wisconsin election officials scramble on voter ID

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin election officials are scrambling to deal with the reinstatement of the requirement that voters show photo identification when casting ballots.

The law was reinstated last Friday by a federal appeals court in Chicago, just hours after hearing arguments in the case.

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said Monday that the biggest immediate issue is what to do about more than 11,800 absentee ballots that have already been mailed, and perhaps returned, without the voter showing the required identification.

The law requires people to submit photocopies of their IDs when requesting the absentee ballots by mail.

But those instructions weren't sent with the ballots already mailed.

Magney says elections officials are discussing what steps to take on Monday and will release more information soon.


Burke supports repeal of voter ID requirement

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke supports repealing the requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls.

The requirement was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker and on Friday a federal appeals court overturned a lower court's decision blocking it, meaning voters will have to show photo IDs at the polls in November.

Burke's spokesman Joe Zepecki said Monday that Burke supports making it easier for people to vote. That includes undoing the photo ID requirement and restoring early voting hours that were also curtailed by Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Reaction to the federal court's upholding of the photo ID law has broken along partisan lines, with Republicans largely praising it as ensuring integrity at the polls while Democrats say it will disenfranchise voters.


Homicide trial remains on hold in Dane County

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Dane County trial of a man accused of killing his autistic half-brother remains on hold while the defendant undergoes medical tests.

Thirty-year-old Jeffrey Vogelsberg is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the 2012 death of 27-year-old Matthew Granville. Vogelsberg is also accused of burying Granville's body and intimating a witness, his grandfather.

Vogelsberg's trial has been on hold since Thursday when he was taken by ambulance to University Hospital. Authorities said results of a medical test taken earlier showed a potentially serious health concern.

The State Journal reports Judge Julie Genovese said Monday she has not been told details of his medical condition, but that doctors want the defendant to remain in the hospital for further tests.


Girl accused of stabbing classmate due in court

MILWAUKEE (AP) - One of the two 12-year-old girls charged with trying to kill a classmate in an attempt to please a fictional character called Slender Man is due back in a Wisconsin courtroom.

The girl's attorney contends there is reason to doubt the child's competency after she was examined by a forensic psychologist. A hearing is scheduled Monday.

The other girl accused of attempted first-degree intentional homicide has already been ordered to receive treatment after Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren decided that she wouldn't be able to help with her defense if her case went to trial.

The 12-year-old victim was stabbed 19 times last May and crawled out of some woods to attract the attention of a passer-by. The girl has recovered and has returned to school.


Victims of trench collapse identified

DURAND, Wis. (AP) - The man and toddler killed in a weekend trench collapse in Pepin County have been identified.

Fifty-six-year-old John Unser and 2-year-old Macin Finstuen died at a home construction site near the town of Arkansaw Saturday. Rescue workers used shovels to dig for the victims after a third person who made it out of the trench called for help.

Sheriff's officials say the trench was about six feet deep. Authorities say it took about an hour to recover the victims.


Grain farmers strapped by rising cropland rent

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An increase in rent for cropland in Wisconsin is strapping grain farmers who are dealing with plummeting prices for corn.

Analysts say competition among farmers for land to grow crops or dump manure helped lead to an increase of about 8 percent for rented cropland this year compared to 2013.

The average cost to rent non-irrigated cropland was $130 per acre this year, an increase of $10 from last year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service report shows rent is highest in Lafayette County, which has a 9 percent increase to $231 an acre.

The State Journal says grain farmers saw corn prices drop 40 percent to around $4 a bushel in 2013. Experts say farmers need to get around $5 a bushel for their corn in order to meet 2014 rent prices.


Experts predict fall color peak in Coulee Region

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin biologists are predicting vibrant fall colors on foliage throughout the Coulee Region.

The La Crosse Tribune reports experts say the area has seen plenty of water during the spring and summer months. Tim Gerber, biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, says warm days and cool nights should contribute to even better colors this fall.

Some foliage is already starting to turn, but the peak color period can't be precisely determined. Gerber says once the season really gets going, experts will try to pinpoint the peak through a combination of guessing and monitoring.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report estimates the peak will occur in the third week of October in La Crosse and its neighboring counties.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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