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2010 marked by crumbling infrastructure, recession

Emergency responders arrive at the O'Donnell Park parking garage in Milwaukee on June 24. A 13-ton panel fell off the structure, killing a teenager. (File photo by Joe Yovino)

By ?TODD RICHMOND
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Like the song says, another year is over in Wisconsin. Here’s what we’ve done.

POLITICS

—Scott Walker: The college dropout who went on to become Milwaukee County executive scored the biggest victory of his life when he defeated Democrat Tom Barrett in November’s elections to become Wisconsin’s 45th governor. Voters bought into Walker’s promises to create jobs and halt plans for a high-speed train between Madison and Milwaukee.

—Russ Feingold: After 18 years in Washington, D.C., Wisconsin’s self-styled maverick U.S. senator fell to Republican Ron Johnson in November as the GOP swept to power across the country. His political career may not be over, though. Feingold wrapped up an election night farewell to supporters with “On to 2012!” It’s still unclear what he meant.

—Republicans: Wisconsin GOP candidates rode a wave of anti-Democrat sentiment to seize control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office, giving them complete and absolute power to shape the state’s future. They’ve promised to create jobs, but first they’ll first have to contend with a $3.3 billion shortfall in the next state budget.

THE RECESSION

—Job hunters: It was tough for them again this year. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dipped slightly from a high of 8.8 percent in March, but hovered around the 8 percent mark for most of the year.

—Harley-Davidson: The Milwaukee-based motorcycle giant threatened to move production out of Wisconsin if union leaders didn’t approve a concession-laden contract. The move would have eliminated about 1,350 jobs. Union members ratified a deal in September that froze their pay, slashed hundreds of production jobs and moved work to part-timers but saved hundreds of other jobs.

DISASTERS

—Old World Wisconsin: A tornado that struck Eagle in June toppled so many trees at the state historical site that officials had to close the place down for about a month.

(File photo by Kevin Harnack)

—Diana O’Neill: The retired DeForest police officer was among dozens of people who fled their rural town of Caledonia neighborhood near Portage in September before Wisconsin River floodwaters turned the area into a virtual island. Heavy rain in the west-central portion of the state days earlier caused flooding in small towns such as Arcadia and pushed more water downstream.

—Jared Kellner: The 15-year-old Greenfield boy was on his way to Summerfest in Milwaukee in June when a 13-ton concrete panel fell off a parking structure and killed him.

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