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News from around Wisconsin (11 p.m. 12/2/09)

Neb. company poised to lose organic certification

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Promiseland Livestock will lose its organic certification for four years unless it appeals a ruling issued last month because the company kept inadequate records and refused to let USDA inspectors review the records it did have.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a formal complaint against Promiseland in 2008 and accused it of a number of violations of organic standards, including using non-organic feed and reselling conventional grain as organic.

A judge ruled Nov. 25 that the livestock company had violated USDA rules by refusing to provide records to inspectors when they visited Promiseland’s facilities in Nebraska and Missouri. But the judge did not rule directly on whether Promiseland’s practices violated organic standards.

The Promiseland problems were uncovered as part of an investigation of milk producer Aurora Organic Dairy of Boulder, Colo., because Aurora had bought more than 12,000 cattle from Promiseland.

No one answered the phone at Promiseland’s Bassett, Neb., headquarters Wednesday.

A USDA spokesman declined to comment on the Promiseland case Wednesday.

The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based watchdog group, has filed several complaints against large-scale dairies that have promoted their milk as organic, including Aurora.

1 dies in house fire in Barksdale

BARKSDALE, Wis. (AP) — One person is dead after a house fire in the northwestern Wisconsin town of Barksdale.

The Daily Press of Ashland reports that the fire began sometime before noon Wednesday in the garage of the house along state Highway 13.

Capt. Scott Thimm of the Ashland Fire Department said the state fire marshal’s office will investigate the death, and the cause of the fire.

The name of the victim has not been released. Authorities said a second person was able to escape, and was treated at the scene for injuries that were not serious.

Information from: The Daily Press, http://www.ashlandwi.com

Wis. governor headed to climate summit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Jim Doyle is headed to Copenhagen to participate in the international climate summit that starts Dec. 14.

Doyle announced Wednesday that he intends to promote Wisconsin at the conference as a leader in clean-energy jobs, renewable energy, energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Presidents and premiers from nearly 100 nations are expected at the summit organized by the United Nations. They are expected to discuss cutting back on the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

Doyle said Wisconsin is well positioned to become a worldwide leader in a clean energy economy.

Doyle said he intends to meet with business leaders at the summit to talk about opportunities for them to expand their operations and create jobs in Wisconsin.

Hunting tradition keeps butchers busy

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin deer hunters can spend many thousands of dollars on rifles, clothing, lodging expenses, even private land, seeking to shoot that prized buck.

“But it’s not just a hobby around here … it’s a tradition,” said Keith Van Ess, in between skinning whitetail deer at his parents’ Newton Meats & Sausage.

Sam Busse completely agrees. “Hunting is a lifestyle,” and the Two Rivers man first went to deer camp at age 10, and had a rifle in his hands two years later.

At Tim Braun’s Taxidermy in Manitowoc, Busse was ordering a “left-turn, full-sneak shoulder mount” for what was “by far, the biggest deer I’ve ever seen in the woods.”

It will be several months before Braun, a taxidermist for more than 20 years, will complete Busse’s first trophy on a wall, at a cost of $350.

“They (hunters) want to see them before the next deer season,” said Braun, who also has created post-mortem wildlife masterpieces of elk, sharks, foxes, turkeys, possum, raccoons, pheasants and multiple fish varieties.

Recession notwithstanding, Braun said he’s busier than ever in his basement taking different measurements of the deer — killed by guns last week but also by bow and arrow earlier this fall — before ordering the individually cut foam form and then overlaying the hide and fur.

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