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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

RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.

But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.

Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.

Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.

"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."

Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.

"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.


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SUGAR CAMP - There could soon be new regulations for unarmed combat sports. The proposed changes would impact the number of competitors here in the Northwoods.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - A 62-year-old fisherman may have drowned in a Vilas County lake late Tuesday afternoon.

As of early Tuesday evening, sheriff's deputies were searching White Sand Lake for that man. The lake is about a mile southeast of Boulder Junction in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office says the fisherman, who has not yet been publicly named, is from Florida. He was in the Northwoods fishing with his brother.

The men were on White Sand Lake in a boat, but not wearing life jackets. The 62-year-old man went overboard. His brother circled the boat, tried to pull him in, but could not. The brother then lost track of the man when he went underwater.

The Oneida County Public Safety Dive Team was dispatched to the area to help search for the man.

We'll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Water Shows team could add some new tricks to its performances. The team is currently working on its barefoot skills with one of the world's best barefoot skiers.

"It's a little more high pace, a little more intense, but it's a lot of fun," says Ben Groen of the World Barefoot Center.

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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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