Gov. Walker focuses on job creation in third State of the State addressSubmitted: 01/15/2013
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Gov. Walker focuses on job creation in third State of the State address
MADISON - You get the impression Governor Walker knows exactly what his priority is in 2013: finding ways to get people back to work.

The Governor delivered his third State of the State speech at the Capitol building Tuesday night.

(NOTE: 10pm video coverage: play attached video via 'Play Video' option near photo. For Rep. Mandy Wright's reaction video, please follow link below full story text)

Last year, Walker faced a somewhat disruptive crowd. We saw several noisy protestors get thrown out during his speech.

That wasn't the case this time around. A mainly supportive group of lawmakers, family, friends and observers greeted Walker in the Assembly chambers.

His overall tone was positive too. The Governor didn't waste much time in getting to his main point, that we need to get aggressive in creating jobs.

He says one big way to do that: pass mining legislation that failed last year.

"Start with the legislation that was approved in the Joint Finance Committee last session," Governor Walker said. "Include some reasonable modifications. Send me a bill to sign into law early this year."

The Governor shook up the status quo this year by using props. He brought miners on stage here to hammer home his point about safe and productive mining.

Later, Travel Wisconsin reps joined him on stage to emphasize the Department of Tourism's role. That's an industry that the Governor noted brings in $16 billion a year and is a big draw for the Northwoods.

"Several years ago the previous governor closed Welcome Centers," Walker said. "As a candidate, I highlighted the importance of the tourism industry and pleged to open these centers. Tonight, I'm happy to report there are now eight Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers staffed with people that direct visitors to all the attractions across our great state."

Walker also pointed to education reforms and new programs like last summer's online degree program as tools that can help the economy grow.

It's jobs where the governor began and where he ended Tuesday, giving his goal of creating 250,000 of them by the end of his term a personal spin.

"Our focus of creating 250,000 jobs by 2015 is much more than just a campaign promise," Walker said. "Simply put, it's about helping improve the lives of 250,000 more families in Wisconsin."

Walker also touched on his plans to lower income tax rates on all middle class families. He'll give his details on how that will work in his next budget, which comes out next month.

Newswatch 12 had a chance to get a response from Democratic state representative Mandy Wright from Wausau after the Governor's speech. Wright was happy with the tone of the night, but is cautiously optimistic about this session.

"I think it's really important, the tone that's set at the beginning of any gathering, especially something like this where we know we will be together long-term," Wright said. "I think it's really important we found a way to compromise on our first bill.

I'm sure we will have our differences, but I hope we find ways to respectfully disagree and really focus on things we can agree on, again, creating jobs, keeping our education system strong, so that we can more forward and do the work of the people that we were hired to do."

Wright touched on mining too, saying, "If [the Governor] is just going to skim over that and not acknowledge the problems with the bill from last session, I think there will be a lot of problems again," Wright said.

"On the other hand, I do think there really are ways that we can find a compromise so that we make sure the environment is clean for future generations and we have clean water and air and clean land. And that we create good, family-supporting jobs that will be sustainable and help our communities into the future."

Related Weblinks:
Democratic Rep. Mandy Wright's reaction to State of the State Address

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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

For people with food intolerance, eating a fish fry platter can be nearly impossible.

So, Outboards offers alternatives like gluten-free beer-battered fish.

"We kind of put a twist on things and do it our own way. You can get fries, but you can get quinoa or a fresh vegetable," says McMahon.

When summertime comes, Outboards' patio overlooks the ski show and music on the river.

Outboards serves fish starting at 11 a.m.

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RHINELANDER - On Thursday night, two of three candidates made the case for why they should become Rhinelander's next mayor. A panel of media members, including Newswatch 12's own Ben Meyer, questioned the candidates for an hour, live on WXPR.

The two candidates at the forum argued between the power of a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience. 

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RHINELANDER - Just like many small community courthouses, Oneida County doesn't have any way of keeping guns out of the building.

In response, on Tuesday, the Oneida County Board approved a mandatory active shooter training session for all employees.

"You have to keep your eyes open," said Oneida County Human Resource Director Lisa Charbarneau.

Charbarneau has learned not everyone who walks into the Oneida County Courthouse has good intentions.

"We do deal with not so pleasant things, whether that be social services, removing children from homes, we have inmates in and out for issues in the court," said Charbarneau.

The courthouse has an open door policy with multiple entrances open to the public.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.

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RHINELANDER - Golfers can't wait to get back on the course after our long, tiring winter.  We'll need to melt a lot more snow to make that happen, but on a Rhinelander-area lake this weekend, ice will be needed for golfing.

Fisher's Resort on Lake George will host the 13th-annual Ice Golf tournament Saturday.  Golfers shoot real golf balls on nine holes on the frozen lake.  The four-person scramble format costs $40 per team.

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Hodag Sno-Trails snowmobile club.

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EAGLE RIVER - Once a week you probably leave a recycling bin at the end of your driveway. But what actually happens to that paper, cardboard, and bottles after a truck picks it up? 

Eagle Waste and Recycling in Eagle River gets recyclables from all over the northern half of Wisconsin and even the U.P. 

"As far north as Marquette, Michigan, as far east as Menominee, Michigan, from Chippewa Falls Wisconsin to the west and Wausau to the south," said Eagle Waste and Recycling President Alan Albee.

The facility opened in 2012 and has been growing ever since. 

Albee showed us how recyclables are sorted and packed to be shipped off and made into new products.
Recyclables are unloaded from a truck.

Then they are loaded into basin called a metering drum and then unloaded onto a conveyor belt. 

Workers start pre-sorting.

"Our pre-sort allows us to clean the material up prior to going into our main sorting building," said Albee. 

Then the belt runs into another building where it is sorted further. 

"And then the first thing that we pull out is glass," said Albee. 

Big cardboard items are sorted out through a filter. Then paper is separated from plastic and metals. 

"Metal is sorted by use of a magnet; aluminum is sorted automatically by the use of an eddy current," said Albee. 

Workers separate the different kinds of plastic, then items drop into a baler and are made into bricks. 

"The finished products are sent all over the country depending on what the material is. Paper and cardboard are shipped locally to paper mills in Wisconsin Rapids or over by Green Bay," said Albee. 

It's the only facility of its kind in the Northwoods, and one of the only ones in Wisconsin. 

Right now Eagle Waste and Recycling has two balers. They will be getting a third one this summer to pack cardboard.

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ARBOR VITAE - An Arbor Vitae restaurant may be relatively new to the area, but regulars quickly started packing the place every Friday for fish fry.

Ron and Marlena Schisel opened Outback 51 about a year ago.

They say it was tough being the "newbies" at first, but their fish fry got people in the door from the start.

Bluegill is the favorite plate at this fish fry.

" Surprisingly we sell more bluegill more than any other fish. It is a Northwood's native fish, people want to see if it takes the fish that they have when they clean fish," says Ron.

Outback 51 serves fish fry Fridays starting at 11 a.m.

Click link below for more info.

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