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TOP STORY

Study: Lincoln County professional departments well trained in hazardous materials, volunteer departments need workSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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MERRILL - Would responders in Lincoln County know how to best handle a hazardous material spill in their area?

It might depend on where that spill happens.

A study for a county committee found a big gap in how prepared certain departments might be to handle hazardous materials.

For the most part, professional fire departments and law enforcement are trained well to respond.

But volunteer fire departments often lack training and awareness for hazardous materials.

Bruce Fuerbringer, the study's organizer, found the same trend in many counties across the state.

"Since 9/11, hazardous materials, the awareness of it has gradually declined, because there aren't a lot of incidents," said Fuerbringer, whose company is called 5 Bugle Training & Consulting.

Less awareness often means less training.

Fuerbringer says initiatives with few active situations, like hazardous materials, deserve even more training for potential responders.

The project also surveyed what kinds of hazardous chemicals are moving through Lincoln County by truck, train, or pipeline.

Observation sessions spotted 11 specifically identified hazardous chemicals moving on Lincoln County roads.

That information is important for departments to prepare for an accident.

"If you have a chemical that is vaporizing and you have a plume going somewhere, responders have to know the characteristics of the chemical to identify what public might be in danger," Fuerbringer said.

Large amounts of gasoline, diesel, and propane are the most common hazardous materials moving through Lincoln County.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS
On the Wilderness Act's 50th anniversary, acquaint yourself with pristine areas of northern WisconsinSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - The first thing you notice in this forest is the silence.

That's the way it was meant to be at Blackjack Springs Wilderness east of Eagle River.

It's a venerable forest, to be sure, but the harvest here isn't timber.

"A Wilderness area," Bob Martini says, "what you're harvesting here feeds the soul."

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Grant pays for high school students to get welding diplomas while in high school Submitted: 12/17/2014

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PHILLIPS - Some Northwoods companies need more skilled workers.

A local technical college got a grant this year to help train people to fill welding jobs.

The grant pays to send high school students to Northcentral Technical College in Phillips and Wausau.

Ten high school students from Price and Taylor counties travel to NTC in Phillips three days a week.

"They will be graduating from Northcentral Technical College with their degree in Gas Metal Arc Welding and it will probably be about a week before they graduate high school," says NTC Phillips Dean Bobbi Damrow.

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$30 million expansion part of Phillips-Medisize growth planSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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PHILLIPS - A high level employee at Phillips-Medisize Corp., based in Hudson, WI, calls the company's $30 million announced expansion part of the group's growth plan. VP/GM Global Commercial Division at Phillips-Medisize Rob Werge says the company's medical and consumer product lines are also growing.

The company has annual sales of nearly $600 million with around 75% of the total revenue coming from drug delivery, medical device and diagnostic products such as: disposable insulin pens, glucose meters, specialty inhalation drug delivery devices, single use surgical devices and consumable diagnostic components, according to company data.

Phillips-Medisize employs 285 people at its Phillips facilities, 1,400 people throughout Wisconsin, and more than 3,400 people at 14 locations throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and China.

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Perfect for the holidays- Northwoods woman donates kidney to friend Submitted: 12/17/2014

SUGAR CAMP - You might find all the joy you need this Christmas between two best friends.

Jean Neumann and Patty Bonack fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

They've shared a friendship for four years, but now they share something else.

Neumann found out she needed a kidney transplant in May.

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

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Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

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Medical College of Wisconsin to do concussion studySubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Medical College of Wisconsin will help study concussions for the Defense Department.

The school got a four-year federal grant of more than 5-million dollars.

Concussions have become common injuries on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in professional and youth sports.

The study will initially include about 900 athletes from 10 local high schools and two local colleges.

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Flood warning extended in Menominee CountySubmitted: 12/17/2014

KESHENA - A flood warning in the Menominee County community of Keshena will now be extended until Friday.

Yesterday, the water got high enough to close a highway.

The Department of Transportation closed down parts of Highway 47 and 55 due to the flooding yesterday.

The Menominee tribe says the water had risen two inches above the centerline - creating a safety hazard.

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