State Republicans Unveil Newest Mining ProposalSubmitted: 01/16/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

MADISON - We expected Wisconsin Republicans to put forward a new mining bill soon after Governor Walker emphasized it in Tuesday night's State of the State.

Most of us didn't expect it so quickly.

Just about 12 hours after Walker's speech ended, Republicans introduced a new mining bill.

It looks a lot like last session's version that failed by one vote in the Senate.

They say it could create thousands of jobs without hurting the environment.

"This is a real opportunity here in the State of Wisconsin for us to have a resurgence in manufacturing. We've always been a great manufacturing state. We make things. This gives us an opportunity to rejuvenate manufacturing here in the state of Wisconsin," said Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R) Hazelhurst.

Democratic Representative Janet Bewley covers the district where the Gogebic Taconite mine was proposed last year.

She feels Democrats were left out of the bill-writing process.

She hopes people in northern Wisconsin won't be left out of the public input process.

"One of the most important things we have to have is a hearing in the North. Not near the North. Not the quasi-North in Wausau. The real North, Ashland and Iron Counties where the mine exists," said Rep. Janet Bewley, (D) Ashland.

Republicans say the bill would give a more concrete timeline to companies applying for a mining permit.

The DNR would have up to 480 days to approve it.

The GOP hopes if the bill passes, it could convince the Gogebic company to come back to the state.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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WOOD COUNTY - Two people who stole a UTV led police on a wild chase early Friday morning. Friday night, those suspects were still on the run.

The Wood County Sheriff's Office tells us a sporting goods store owner walked in as the burglary was happening, just before 7 a.m. The suspects took off in a red Dodge pickup truck pulling a trailer with the stolen UTV. They crashed through several gates to get out.

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MERRILL - One Northwoods farm wants to give all families the full Fall experience.

Grampa's Farm in Merrill has been a popular fall destination in Wisconsin since 2010.

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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Abbotsford 62, Thorp 6

Algoma 24, Sturgeon Bay 8

Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton/Marion 6

Amherst 56, Manawa 6

Antigo 42, Lakeland 28

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