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

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PIPELINE KILLS

DNR: Pipeline work could kill rare species

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin wildlife officials say a pipeline construction project could kill members of several threatened and endangered species.

Wisconsin Gas LLC wants to construct a new 74-mile natural gas lateral that would run from an existing pipeline in Eau Claire or Clark County to Tomah. The Department of Natural Resources says the project could result in incidental taking of the threatened prairie leafhopper; the endangered phlox moth; the threatened frosted elfin, a type of butterfly; and the threatened wood turtle.

The agency has determined, however, that the project likely won't jeopardize the species' continued existence and recovery and plans to issue an incidental take authorization.

The agency will take public comments on the authorization through September 9th.

WISCONSIN APPLE CROP

Wisconsin apple growers say crop looking good

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin apple growers say they expect their crop this autumn to be good or a little above average.

A Wisconsin State Journal report says growers were concerned after last year's unusually heavy harvest. But this year's crop is shaping up to be more in line with the yield of previous years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin produced nearly 42 million pounds of apples last year. That was an 18 percent increase from the 2012 growing season, which was hampered when an early thaw was followed by frost and drought.

Anna Maenner runs the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, which has 175 members. She says the trees were still recovering from last year but catching up. She says things are "looking really good" for this season.

TASTIER VEGGIES

Chefs, breeders pair up to produce tastier veggies

VERONA, Wis. (AP) - There's a good chance that many of the trendy vegetables foodies latch on to in the next decade will come from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Plant breeders at other public universities focus on improving field corn, soybeans and other crops used in food manufacturing.

Those in Madison are working on producing better-tasting vegetables.

Horticulture professor Julie Dawson is leading a project in which breeders work with local farmers and chefs to determine what makes vegetables taste great.

Participating chefs taste and evaluate boxes of produce every week for qualities like sweetness and texture.

One is Dan Bonanno, who estimates he's tasted 80 different tomatoes since mid-July and says he never knew there were so many varieties.

OSHKOSH-LIQUOR LICENSES

Oshkosh finds little demand for 3 liquor licenses

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Liquor licenses in Oshkosh have been in high demand for the last 40 years, so city officials are a little surprised that no one is applying for three licenses that have been available for a while.

An Oshkosh Northwestern Media report says the city's Common Council plans to wait and see whether the business community develops any proposals for the licenses. Mayor Burk Tower says it's possible the city will keep them.

Pat Purtell is the president of the Oshkosh Tavern League. He says it may be that entrepreneurs recognize that running a tavern isn't easy.

Pete Madland leads the Tavern League of Wisconsin. He's not surprised licenses are sitting unused. He says a changing culture means people are more likely to drink at home than at a bar.

POT-LACED CHOCOLATE-CHARGES

Man charged after girl eats pot-laced chocolate

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) - A Chippewa Falls man whose daughter nearly died after eating a marijuana-laced chocolate bar faces three criminal charges.

A Chippewa Herald report says 38-year-old Jason Hetke is charged with felony second-degree reckless endangerment. He's also charged with two misdemeanors - child neglect and possession of marijuana.

Prosecutors say the girl seemed intoxicated in school after eating an entire marijuana chocolate bar from Colorado. A school official and police officer were barely able to detect a pulse.

They found a wrapper in her pocket that said the bar contained 22½ doses of marijuana. The wrapper said the product was, "Extremely potent. Do not eat all at once."

She said she found the bar in her father's dresser drawer.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Hetke on Sunday.

PATIENT COLLECTIONS

Bank loans used to collect unpaid medical bills

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A health system with hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin is working with a bank to offer interest-free loans to patients with unpaid medical bills.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that $6.5 million has been lent to about 4,000 patients since SSM Health Care inked a deal with Commerce Bank five months ago. Patients get the loans without undergoing credit checks and Commerce Bank receives a service fee.

The goal is to reduce the health system's bad debt, which grew from $157 million in 2012 to $204.7 million in 2013.

Hospitals have long worked out payment plans with patients in-house. But Paul Sahney of SSM Health Care says his hospitals aren't positioned to effectively manage monthly payments from patients like banks already do with home and car loans.

POLICE SHOOTING-POLITICIZATION

Ferguson's flashpoint sparks national outrage

LOS ANGELES (AP) - They were killed in Wisconsin, New York and California. Some were shot on the street. One was killed in a Wal-Mart. Another died after being placed in a chokehold. All died at the hands of police and all have been united by one thing: the killing of Michael Brown.

Details may differ, circumstances of their deaths may remain unknown, but the outrage that erupted after the August 9th shooting of the unarmed, black 18-year-old by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the nation.

While there's been nothing approaching the violence and destruction seen in the St. Louis suburb, demonstrations fueled by a sense of injustice and buoyed with the help of social media have rolled across cities this month.

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

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