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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/03/2015
- Gogebic Taconite may have left northern Wisconsin – and any potential iron ore mine there—behind. But leaders in Iron County hope a new company might want to pick up on what Gogebic left behind.

- As wildfires rage on the west coast, students from a Northwoods school will race head on into them. We catch up with students from Blackwell to find out how they feel headed to help people from out of state.

- And a family in Antigo will soon get the keys to their new home. But first, they'll have to help build it. We'll meet them and the organization helping to make it all happen.

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

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County might get a larger courthouse.

The Vilas County Board Public Property Committee met on Monday to discuss possible plans.

The county thinks it needs another courtroom to accomodate its second circuit court judge, which it asked the state for last year.

Vilas County Clerk David Alleman said the committee is in a preliminary conceptual design phase.

"There's actually a number of steps that have to go to the board," Alleman said. "The first being you have to present the plan to the board. They would have to approve going forward with that." 

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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

The trail starts at Community Park in Conover and continues across County Highway K to Highway 45. It runs 
parallel to the highway along old railway beds. The trail will end at Muskrat Creek Road in Conover.

The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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IRON COUNTY - We've known since February that Gogebic Taconite's plans for a huge open-pit iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties are dead. But the possibility of another company exploring a mine in the same area seems very much alive.

The La Pointe Iron Company still owns much of that land. Three representatives from La Pointe met with Iron County leaders, including the county's economic development chief and three county board members, last week in Hurley. La Pointe wanted to gauge the county's interest in seeing a new mine operator get involved on the land.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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ANTIGO - Excitement and joy filled faces in Antigo Monday afternoon.

Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County broke ground on their 9th home, but it will take some hands-on work before the family can move in.

David and Theresa Ferrel have been renting for the last 10 years. This will be the first home they will own.

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STEVENS POINT - A 58-year-old Portage County man accused of killing his wife and getting in a standoff with police is competent for trial.

That standoff happened in Bancroft, which is south of Plover, in June.

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