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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/07/2015
- The Wisconsin State Senate has passed two measures raising state trooper wages and compensation for state workers. The chamber will address the budget this afternoon. We'll have the latest and tell you what the budget could mean for you tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Plus, well take a look at the impact of the early crowd at the Hodag Country Festival.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.




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 LOCAL NEWS

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of northern Wisconsin's forest didn't survive the cut-over from a century ago. However, some pockets did make it, and experts call those areas old growth. Now, the Northwoods Land Trust in Eagle River wants to figure out how much old growth sits on private land in Vilas County.

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MERRILL - Merrill will need to decide just how friendly it wants to be to bicyclists and walkers. A new plan could take away lanes of traffic on some main roads to benefit bikers.

The city approved a new bike and pedestrian plan last week that calls for painting bike lanes on roads, marking bike routes around the city, and widening sidewalks.

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MERRILL - Some people think all firefighters do is battle flames in heavy gear and drive around in bulky trucks.

In attempt to fight that public perception and show people the full range of a firefighter's duties, the Merrill Fire Department will host its first Citizens Fire Academy this fall.

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ANTIGO - Setting off illegal fireworks can put wildlife in the Northwoods at risk. The Raptor Education Group in Antigo took in many animals this past weekend, including a bald eagle hit by a firework.

"The symbol of America shouldn't look [this hurt] the day after the Fourth of July," says Marge Gibson, the executive director of Raptor Education Group.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - The state Senate has approved a raise for state troopers and a new compensation plan for other state workers but has delayed debate on the state budget.

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MADISON - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Gov. Scott Walker's office had a hand in crafting a budget amendment scaling back the state's open records law.

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SUPERIOR - Fire officials have revised their damage estimate of a blaze at a wood manufacturing company in the Twin Ports.

The fire broke out early Tuesday at Stella-Jones in Superior. WDIO-TV (http://bit.ly/1fk5YrR ) reports an exterior conveyer belt, used to grind up railroad ties, caught fire around 2 a.m.

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MADISON - Senators are criticizing the release of an immigrant with a criminal record who allegedly went on to murder a woman in San Francisco last week. They said he should have been deported before the crime.

Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate's homeland security committee, says it makes no sense that the man was released despite having a long criminal record and no legal status.

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