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

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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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 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - Before Thursday, e-cigarette companies didn't need to follow any federal regulations. But now, the Food and Drug Administration will regulate e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookahs.

That means people under 18 will no longer be able to buy those products.

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RHINELANDER - At a young age many of us dreamed about becoming pro athletes, rock stars, or to act. But, earlier today, kids in Rhinelander got to check out some other careers and the vehicles they use.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Food Pantry recently received a generous donation from the Northwood Turners.

" The food pantry has just been a great boom to this area and it was needed for such a long time and now they are doing really great," says Northwood Carvers President Bill Kingsbury.

This group of 50 or so wood turners used their talents to create wooden bowls that were used as part of a fundraising event for the pantry.

"Our club made a total of 110 bowls," explaines Kingsbury.

This isn't the first time the club has stepped up.

The club also designed and turned pins for the Honor Flight.

Turning wood is an art form and starts by selecting the right tree.

Kingsbury says that he likes to turn them when they are green or fresh cut. When they dry out it is sometimes like cutting concrete.

There are a few rules to follow and decisions to make like deciding if you want the bark on or off.
"If you want the bark on the normal rule is if the tree is cut when the sap is not flowing the bark will stay on," says Kingsbury.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/05/2016

- People gathered all across the nation to offer prayers for a number of different causes, including a few dozen in Rhinelander. We'll share their message and hope for prayer in the open tonight at 5, 6 and 10.

Plus, we will tell you about new federal rules now in place that regulate e-cigarettes.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Food trucks roam the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 05/05/2016

NORTHWOODS - When you go out to eat, you usually think of typical brick and mortar restaurants, but a few local businesses might be turning the tide right here in the Northwoods just by working out of a truck.

"It's actually a growing community," says Chumpot Ratanawong, owner and operator of the Hanuman Express food truck. "It's nice because we talk to each other, we bounce ideas off each other."

You might see them on street corners or in other business's parking lots.

But one thing's for sure: you're going to get a delicious, made-from-scratch meal from passionate people like Ratanawong.

"I was in Chicago," says Ratanawong. "I was working an advertising job, and I just kind of got sick of that world. I've always loved cooking, so even when I was working that other job, I was always cooking and having Sunday dinners and that kind of thing, so I kind of just translated that into my food truck, because that's what I really love to do."

There aren't many places to get Thai food in northcentral Wisconsin, which makes the Hanuman Express that much more unique.

"I've always grown up with Thai food," says Ratanawong. "I've learned a lot from my mother, because she's a great cook. I've also kind of experimented on my own as well."

Those experiments turn into some of the best foods on the menu, and that's good, considering the lines can run as long as the truck itself.

"The main thing is just being prepared for it," says Ratanawong. "Sometimes we over-prepare, sometimes we under-prepare, depending on whatever. But we like to be ready for the crowds that come, and the better prepared we are, the better we're able to handle the long lines."

Though the work might be tougher, being in a food truck makes it well worth it.

"It's easier in the fact that there's less overhead," says Ratanawong. "You don't have to pay as much staff, I guess. So the costs of actually running it are better. Plus the advantage is that, they always talk about location being key. Well, if you're in a food truck, if you're in a bad spot, then you just move. It's as easy as that."

One food truck that seems to have found their perfect spot is Lola's Lunchbox in Phillips.

Settled into the parking lot of the R-Store gas station, they're now a staple in the small town.

"We started four years ago actually, with seven items on our menu, and three of them were dessert," says Lola's Co-Owner Mitch Adams. "It just kind of grew from there. We found a niche. We decided that we were going to cook the food that we liked."

Mitch and Stephanie Adams moved back to Phillips to be closer to family.

Steph had always been a great cook, and the two decided to give the business a shot.

"We kind of knew it was a coming trend," says Adams. "We didn't know how it was going to work in a small town, but we jumped in, and we've been able to make it work."

Lola's got started with what they call 'stacker' meat " a combination of pulled beef and pork, but it's their signature garlic smashies that bring the people in droves.

"I don't even really know how that started," says Adams. "We don't deep fry anything in here, just because it's so small and tight, but people kept asking for sides, so [Steph] did the potatoes. She said 'I think I can do this. I'll just smash them on the grill.' She hard-boils them, smashes them on the grill, and bastes them in garlic butter. We started serving those, and then pretty soon, 'Hey I want those potato things,' you know."

Don't think for one second that just because these food trucks are in northern Wisconsin that they're not open year round, because they are. As it turns out, they might actually be more popular during the winter time.

"We set up a couple of days during the winter, the first big snowstorm we set up," says Adams. "We set up before it was snowing, it started snowing like crazy. I was ready to go home, [Steph] said 'just wait.' And that was our busiest day to date with all the people, the Northwoods people coming out in the snow. They didn't care. I had a line out front, just making food."

It just proves that people anywhere will turn out to get a great meal close to home.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The tree killing Emerald Ash Borer spreads to another northern Wisconsin community.

The DNR confirmed yesterday the invasive pest has now been found in Wisconsin Rapids.

It's the first time Emerald Ash Borer has turned up in Wood County.

A test was done on a sample collected near the intersection of Lincoln Street and East Riverview Expressway on April 27th.

Evidence of the infestation has also been found in other nearby trees.

Wood County was already in the process of being quarantined as a result of the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Stevens Point.

That means businesses handing wood products that COULD carry the Emerald Ash Borer must work to ensure their products are pest free.

Moving firewood from place to place is one way the pest gets to new areas.

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MADISON - Democrat Russ Feingold has launched an attack ad against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson related to problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah.

The spot released Thursday comes after a conservative outside group began a $2 million ad buy targeting Feingold on the same issue.

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