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Third-graders learn about Down syndrome
HOLMEN ? Jack Teegan doesn?t seem to have any problems making new friends.

Closure eludes Onalaska woman who escaped marathon bomb
Deb Markos had hoped that running the Boston Marathon on Monday would help heal the trauma she suffered while eluding injury, even death, when a bomb exploded near her during the race last year.

Burke on state economy: Time to panic
A day after Gov. Scott Walker launched his re-election bid by highlighting a record of reforms and job growth, Democratic challenger Mary Burke painted a starkly different picture of the state…

Culver's Easter event to benefit Hunger Task Force
ONALASKA -- The Culver's restaurant in Onalaska will donate the proceeds of its community Easter lunch to the Hunger Task Force.

Kuhn ousts Humphrey as Monroe County Board chairman
SPARTA ? James Kuhn of Cashton will take over as chairman of the Monroe County Board after the board?s organization meeting Tuesday.

Beanbag tournament to benefit Children's Miracle Network
ONALASKA -- The Tri-State Invitational Series Ace in the Hole beanbag tournament will be held April 26 at the Onalaska Omni Center to benefit Children's Miracle Network.

UW-L mumps case is first in county in seven years
A case of the mumps confirmed at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is the first in the county in seven years, according to a health official.

Volunteers can help MVAC find new archaeological sites
Volunteers are invited to help the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center explore new archeological sites.

State seeks to commit Monroe County sex offender
The state wants to have an imprisoned former Sparta man declared a sexually violent person and have him committed for treatment.

No foul play suspected in Prairie du Chien furniture store fire
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN ? Fire investigators have determined there was no indication of foul play in a large fire that destroyed a Prairie du Chien furniture store Sunday.

La Crosse County Circuit Court felonies

Drugged driver hits car outside La Crosse courthouse
An Onalaska man on his way to his first meeting with his probation officer Tuesday afternoon hit a car in the parking lot of the La Crosse County Courthouse before telling police he was high o…

Anglers, experts wary of invasive snail
Wisconsin conservationists want to spread the word about a tiny invasive snail that can hitch a ride on fishing boots and withstand powerful cleaners such as bleach or ammonia.

YWCA Taste of the Coulee Region to feature cork art design contest
The YWCA of the Coulee Region is seeking submissions for a wine cork art design contest as part of its fifth annual Taste of the Coulee Region fundraiser.

Jerome Christenson: Take the real tools of mayhem out of killers' hands
Silly people just love to say silly things.


National News
Bloodshed in eastern Ukraine heightens fear as talks start

Students wave national flags during a pro-Ukrainian rally in Luhansk, eastern UkraineBy Aleksandar Vasovic MARIUPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatists attacked a base of the Ukrainian national guard in an eastern city overnight and Kiev said three of the militants were killed, bloodshed likely to overshadow crisis talks in Geneva. Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats arrived for the emergency talks in Switzerland, but there was little hope of any progress in resolving a crisis that has seen armed pro-Russian fighters seize whole swathes of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin, who overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy last month by declaring Russia's right to intervene in neighboring countries and annexing Ukraine's Crimea region, may give clues to the extent of his territorial ambitions at an annual televised question and answer session.

Hundreds still missing in deadly Korea ferry accident

Rescue boats sail around the South Korean passenger ship "Sewol" which sank, during their rescue operation in the sea off JindoBy Narae Kim JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers fought rising winds, strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people, mostly teenage schoolchildren, still missing after a South Korean ferry capsized more than 24 hours ago. Nine people were found dead and 179 had been rescued, according to the South Korean government, leaving 287 unaccounted for and possibly still trapped in the vessel. "I am really angry with the government," said Kwak Hyun-ok, whose daughter who was one of 340 children and teachers from one school on the vessel. The government said three cranes were being moved to the site of the accident and would arrive on Friday, and efforts were continuing to establish whether there were any survivors on the stricken vessel.

Search for Malaysia Airlines jet refocuses on drone scans of seafloor

The Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is craned over the side of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean during the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370By Byron Kaye and Swati Pandey SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - A deep-sea drone had completed its much-anticipated first full scan of the seabed in the remote Indian Ocean, the team looking for a missing Malaysian jetliner said on Thursday, as an air and surface search became less likely to yield results. Footage from a U.S. Navy deep-sea drone is fast becoming the most important tool for a multinational team still searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared from radar screens on March 8 with 239 people aboard. Authorities believe that is the most likely area where the missing jet hit the ocean after disappearing. However, with no pings received in more than a week and the black box's battery now 10 days past its approximate expiry date, authorities are relying on the drone.

China's Xi purging corrupt officials to put own men in place: sources

China's President Xi Jinping walks next to a honour guard during the welcoming ceremony for Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic outside the Great Hall of the People in BeijingBy Benjamin Kang Lim and Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to use a purge of senior officials suspected of corruption to put his own men and reform-minded bureaucrats into key positions across the Communist Party, the government and the military, sources said. Xi hopes that removing corrupt officials and those resisting change will allow him to consolidate his grip on power and implement difficult economic, judicial and military reforms that he believes are vital to perpetuate one-party rule, said the sources, who have ties to the leadership. In the most far-reaching example of his intentions, Xi plans to promote about 200 progressive officials from the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, where he served as party boss from 2002 to 2007, to senior positions across the spectrum in the years ahead, two of them said. The biggest investigation Xi has ordered so far revolves around retired domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who is under virtual house arrest.

India holds biggest day of voting with Hindu nationalists gaining strength

A woman shows her ink-marked finger after voting inside a polling station in the village of Kamshet, in the western Indian state of MaharashtraBy Ashutosh Pandey and Swetha Gopinath BANGALORE (Reuters) - India held the biggest day of its mammoth general election on Thursday, with a quarter of its 815 million-strong electorate eligible to vote during a week of fresh blows for the ruling Congress party and gains for the Hindu nationalist opposition. Narendra Modi, the prime-ministerial candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been wooing voters with promises to rescue India from its slowest economic growth in a decade and create jobs for its booming young population. In the latest large opinion poll, the BJP and its allies were forecast to win a narrow majority in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, compared to previous surveys predicting that they would fall short. Yet a decision by the Election Commission to reprimand a senior Modi aide for making speeches deemed to stir tensions with minority Muslims underlined critics' assertions that the party is a divisive force.

Iran is complying with nuclear deal with powers: IAEA

Iran's national flags are seen on a square in TehranVIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is complying with the terms of last year's landmark nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly update from the U.N. atomic agency obtained by Reuters showed on Thursday. Under the deal that took effect on January 20, Iran curbed some parts of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions that have battered the oil producer's economy. (Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Ukraine, US to alternately cajole, threaten Russia

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine as diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union gather for discussions in Geneva Thursday, April 17, 2014. Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. (AP Photo/Jim Bourg, Pool)GENEVA (AP) ? Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest.

Algerians trickle to the polls for new president
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) ? Algerians are trickling into the polls to elect a new president of this oil-rich North African nation in an election expected to be won by the ailing incumbent.

Forensic expert faulted at Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius, middle, accompanied by brother Carl Pistorius, behind, and police officers leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) ? The prosecutor at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee Olympian, cross-examined one of the defense's forensic experts Thursday after the judge overseeing the case warned spectators watching the televised proceedings in an adjacent room for their "unruly" behavior.

Putin says hopes will not have to use force in eastern Ukraine
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday did not rule out sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine but said he hoped he would not need to and that diplomacy would serve to resolve the crisis there. "I remind you that the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) granted the president the right to use military force in Ukraine," Putin said in televised call-in with the nation. "I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that we are able to solve all today's pressing issues via political-diplomatic mean. ...

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