This Hour: Latest Wisconsin news, sports, business and entertainment - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

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

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SPRING SNOWSTORM

April storm dumps foot of snow in Minn., Wis.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Just when it seemed like spring was here, an April snowstorm has dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of Minnesota.

The heavy snow stretches in a band from central Minnesota into northwestern Wisconsin. The weather service reported 13.5 inches near Grantsburg, almost 11 inches in Spooner, and 10 inches near Hayward Wednesday night.

The snow shouldn't last long. Highs may hit 60 in southwestern Minnesota by Saturday.

GAY MARRIAGE

Couple asks Supreme Court to nix marriage ban

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A same-sex couple has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down the state's gay marriage ban.

Katherine Halopka-Ivery and Linda Halopka-Ivery filed a lawsuit directly with the high court Wednesday, bypassing the trial and appellate courts.

The lawsuit says the couple lives in Milwaukee County and married in San Diego. They allege Wisconsin's gay marriage ban denies them federal rights afforded to opposite-sex married couples, violating their rights to equal protection and due process. They also argue the state is improperly restricting gay marriage based on religious opposition to same-sex marriages.

A separate lawsuit challenging the ban is pending in federal court in Madison.

The state Justice Department is defending the state in both lawsuits. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Wednesday he will continue to defend Wisconsin's laws.

WALKER-JOBS

Walker refuses to back down on jobs promise

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Governor Scott Walker says he doesn't think voters will penalize him if he doesn't meet his 2010 campaign promise to create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of this year.

Walker on Wednesday refused to back down from that promise, even though only about 100,000 jobs have been created over the first three-plus years of his term. That means about 150,000 jobs would have to be added in the next eight months.

Walker says when voters decide whether to elect him to a second term, "I don't think the people in this state come November are going to penalize someone for aiming big."

Walker's Democratic opponent Mary Burke has criticized Walker's record on jobs and the economy, noting that Wisconsin is 35th nationwide in private sector job creation

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR-MELLENCAMP

Mellencamp unhappy with Wisconsin Gov. Walker

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Liberal rocker John Mellencamp wants conservative Republican Governor Scott Walker to know he supports union rights and says Walker should think about that before using his songs on the campaign trail.

It's the second time in four years Mellencamp has chided Walker for using one of his songs while running for office.

Walker championed a law in 2011 that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

During a recall campaign in 2012, Walker played the Mellencamp song "Small Town." When Walker launched his re-election campaign Tuesday, he played "Pink Houses."

Mellencamp publicist Claire Mercuri tells The Associated Press in an email Wednesday that the rocker is not asking Walker to stop playing the song. But he wants Walker to know that he supports unions and collective bargaining.

MARIJUANA BYPRODUCT

Walker signs bill legalizing pot byproduct

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill that legalizes the use of a marijuana byproduct to help treat children's seizures.

The bill allows the use of cannabidiol, an oil extract, to be administered under the care of a doctor. The measure falls far short of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Walker said Wednesday he signed the bill because it is "very narrowly crafted. It is not medical marijuana."

Walker says his Capitol office was full of families and children who suffer from seizures and who may be helped by using the oil.

The bill unanimously passed the Legislature earlier this year. Republicans who control the Legislature have shown no interest in legalize medical marijuana let alone recreational pot smoking like in Colorado and Washington.

LAKE MICHIGAN BEACH-BODY

Man's body found on Lake Michigan beach identified

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) - The frozen body of a man found on a remote Lake Michigan beach has been identified as a missing Wisconsin resident.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole confirmed Wednesday that the body belonged to 48-year-old Allen Townsend of Sheboygan.

Townsend last was seen in November in Wisconsin. Authorities believe his body drifted across the lake to western Michigan.

An autopsy was performed, but a cause of death has yet to be determined.

Three bicyclists found the body Tuesday night along the shoreline about 3 miles north of Big Point Sable Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located north of Ludington.

Cole has said the body may have been on the beach for months.

No foul play is suspected.

DRUG TRAFFICKING-INDICTMENT

Feds: 27 people indicted in drug investigation

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Federal officials in Wisconsin say 27 people have been indicted on drug-trafficking and related charges following a three-year investigation.

U.S. Attorney James Santelle says the drug ring was led by a 40-year-old Pewaukee man who used family and friends in Milwaukee to distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana and then launder the proceeds by buying cars, a boat and real estate.

Santelle says 17 people were arrested Wednesday and seven remain at large. Three people were already in custody.

The man identified as the ring leader and two others face a homicide charge related to a November 16th, 2008 shooting death, but Santelle declined to identify the victim or provide details on what happened. He says more information will come out later in court proceedings.

MIRON-LABOR BILLING SETTLEMENT

Miron to pay $4M to settle billing investigation

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Miron Construction Company Incorporated has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a federal investigation into how the company billed five Wisconsin school districts for labor costs.

Miron also agreed to change some of its accounting practices and operate with oversight from an independent monitor.

The U.S. Attorney's office on Wednesday announced a "non-prosecution" agreement that was signed in February with Miron officials.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the three-year agreement says neither Miron nor the two top executives who signed the pact admit or deny the allegations.

U.S. Attorney James Santelle says his office agreed to the deal in part to protect the Wisconsin company's workers. Miron employs about 1,200 people.

Miron says at issue was language contained in industry-standard contracts for projects completed between 2003 and 2008.

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

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