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NEWS STORIES

Dozens Travel South to Speak on MiningSubmitted: 01/23/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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MADISON - Dozens of Northwoods people made the long trip to Madison Wednesday to speak before lawmakers on the newest mining bill.

It was the first day of testimony in the Capitol on a bill that Republicans proposed last week.

The Senate and Assembly committees in charge of mining heard stories at the same time.

The bill would streamline the permitting process for mining companies.

Many came on buses to speak for and against the mining bill.

"We are not going to stand by and let this happen without a fight. We don't fight with our hands nowadays, or bows and arrows. We fight with words in court. You will be faced with litigation until day's end. I can guarantee you that," testified Brooks BigJohn of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.

"If we get ten more jobs, it's better than what we have now. I've had to sit across the table over the last nine years and tell about 25 people they don't have jobs anymore. So, I think a chance at it is better than no chance," countered Chris Patritto, the Hurley Schools Superintendent.

Gogebic Taconite also testified at the hearing.

A year ago, they pulled plans to mine iron ore in Ashland and Iron Counties after the last mining bill failed.

Wednesday, they said they would reinstate those plans if the new bill passed.

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Wisconsin faces $2.2 billion budget shortfall Submitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.

The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.

The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

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Downtown Rhinelander debuts Holiday Open House SaturdaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

RHINELANDER - The opening of the gun deer season often leaves wives and girlfriends at home on their own.

Downtown Rhinelander hopes it can attract many of those women, and maybe even some men, to get started on holiday shopping.

The first-ever Holiday Open House on Saturday will feature sales, special events, and demonstrations at several businesses.

Its timing falls perfectly with the hunting season.

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Wisconsin Chippewa band joins effort to return reservation land to tribal ownershipSubmitted: 11/21/2014

ODANAH - An American Indian band in northern Wisconsin will join an effort to get land on reservations returned to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe will join the program.

It's among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will become part of the land buyback program by 2017.

That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

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DNR expect fewer donated deer this yearSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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NORTHWOODS - The Wisconsin Deer Donation program needs help from hunters this fall. The program lets hunters donate their deer to help feed those in need. Experts are concerned that the winter weather could cut into the number of deer kills this season. DNR managers think it will be difficult to find and hunt them.

"This year it's looking a little lean, especially in the north," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz. "With this deep snow, it's changed the deer behavior and it's going to change hunter behavior too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that our donations were down this year under the circumstances."

Donating takes three simple steps: you register your kill, field dress the deer, and then you take it to a DNR approved processing center. The venison is then ground-up, frozen, and shipped to local pantries, as well as people in need. One meat market owner and program volunteer feels the impact of fewer deer.

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Drew's Piggly Wiggly welcoming new ownersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MERRILL - The Drew family will pass its Piggly Wiggly grocery store on to a new family soon.

Brothers Steve and Phil Drew own Drew's Piggly Wiggly in Merrill.

Their family has had a grocery store in Merrill since 1944.

They've owned the Piggly Wiggly for 25 years.

For the Drews, it's always been about family.

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Demmer Library celebrates a milestoneSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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THREE LAKES - Young kids in Three Lakes didn't get to go to kindergarten back in the 1960s. It wasn't offered. So, some community leaders wanted to find a way to prepare children for school.

They created Story Hour at the Demmer Library in 1964 to help. Parents and community members saw it as a way to help children learn to socialize and work in a classroom setting.

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Drs. Foster and Smith founder thinks company will stay in Rhinelander after being sold to PetcoSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - The national pet supply company Petco will buy one of the Northwoods' largest employers.

About 530 people work at Drs. Foster and Smith in Rhinelander.

Drs. Foster and Smith sells pet supplies online.

One of the company's founders doesn't think the company will move.

"I have no reason to believe they're [going to] leave Rhinelander," says Drs. Foster and Smith founder Race Foster. "Marty Smith and I actually talked to many prospective buyers. The one condition we put was it cannot leave Rhinelander at least in the foreseeable future."

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