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(AP) If background checks are any indication, Wisconsin's gun sales seem to be up. Total sales figures for firearms don't exist. But a good yardstick is the number of background checks when a gun is purchased.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice's background check hotline for handgun purchases has handled 60 percent more calls year to date as of Dec. 23 than it did for the same period last year. And the total number of calls this year has far surpassed all of 2011.
There also appeared to be a spike after the Connecticut shooting Dec. 14. State figures show for the week of Dec. 9 to 15, the hotline handled more than 3,700 calls. That number jumped to nearly 6,000 the week after.
A small Wisconsin community near the Minnesota border is paying tribute to the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting. Supreme Graphics, based in Arcadia, created a display of photographs of the children and teddy bears and put it in the middle of town.
If a judge tells a personal story in court, it's not an automatic sign of bias by that judge...
La Crosse County D-A Tim Gruenke makes that argument, in a brief opposing a new sentencing for Jesse Herrmann...serving 30 years in prison for a drunk-driving death. Herrmann claims Judge Ramona Gonzalez was biased against drunk drivers in general, because she talked in court about a drunk driver killing her sister. Gruenke filed a brief last week, arguing that Herrmann hasn't shown that a judge speaking in a comforting way to victims is evidence of bias. Music teacher Theresa Kroes was killed last year, when Herrmann rear-ended the car she was riding in.
A western Wisconsin couple can credit a pet chicken for helping save them from a house fire. Alma Center Fire Chief Jeff Gaede says they were sleeping when the chicken woke them at about 6:15 a.m. Thursday. He says the smoke alarms didn't go off when the fire started in an attic above the attached garage.