RHINELANDER - The Marathon-Oneida Bomb Squad takes action only once in a while.
But it's often involved in the most critical situations in the Northwoods.
The squad serves 28 counties across the northern part of the state.
It's often on the scene for not only bomb threats, but also hazardous spills, hostage situations, and other dangerous assignments.
"There are other threats to our communities beyond what we always had visualized in the past, and this is a response to that," says Lt. Chad Billeb of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.
A critical team member of the bomb squad isn't a person - it's a $400,000 robot.
The robot is remote controlled, and can see, hear, and even speak through a microphone.
"What the robot does is it allows emergency responders, not just law enforcement but firefighters, hazardous materials teams, to go in and check out a scene or a situation without risking human life," Billeb says.
Dep. Dan Semmerling Oneida County Sheriff's Department »
"The safety there is, we're sending a machine down where we can stay remote, operate that, and stay at a safe distance," says Oneida County Deputy Dan Semmerling.
But the bomb squad is much more than just the robot.
In November 2006, nearly 60 percent of Wisconsin voters supported an amendment banning gay marriage.
Before Wisconsin lawmakers could consider a bill to allow gay marriage, voters would have to pass an amendment undoing the 2006 amendment language. But before that the Legislature would have to pass the amendment in two consecutive sessions.
WOODRUFF - The capitol may be far away but one of our local legislators wants to bring it closer. Assemblyman Rob Swearingen is meeting with constituents around the 34th district.
He visited Woodruff and Eagle River today.
Swearingen is five months into his freshman term. He wants to make sure people can put a face to his name.
He also wants reach those who might be skeptical of him because of his political party.
"You get that, just because I have the "R" in the back of my name that you're automatically not going to be friendly to those issues. And we encourage you to reach out. I may respond and it may not be the response you want to hear, but if you're going to ask me an honest question I'm going to give you an honest answer," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen says everyone's working hard on the budget in Madison. He's hearing a lot of concerns about school funding locally.
"I just really feel that people should be engaged with their own local legislators so the legislator knows them, and knows how they feel. And I showed him my tax bill and he got a real perspective for someone who's on a fixed income and how all the costs for education impact one of his constituents," says Shirley Kufeldt, from Conover.
"We're looking for more funding for the K-12 funding program. I think there's been a lot of heightened awareness in the capital on both sides of the isle and in the Governor's office. So I'm looking for hopefully some good results to help rural schools as the budget moves forward before the Governor signs it in the first part of July," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen's first budget motion was to allow Nicolet College to be eligible for state aid based on enrollment. That motion passed unanimously.
He says his weekly drive to his office in Madison is a reality check.
"There's the state capitol and you realize that your office is inside that building. It's a really surreal feeling to walk into that building each morning. Every time I press that button, whether it's green or red, I am voting on behalf of over 50,000 people in the 34th Assembly District. And that is something you don't take lightly," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen will continue district dialogues on Monday. He'll be in Florence, Rhinelander and Crandon.
Florence, May 20th 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Maxsells Restaurant Inn & Pub, 209 Central Ave, (US Highway 2)
Crandon, May 20th 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Forest County Courthouse, Board Room
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Neither Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. nor By Request Web Designs shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.