MADISON - A new report finds that special interests that support easing regulations so a new iron ore mine can open in northern Wisconsin far outspent opponents.
The government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported Monday that supporters of the mine donated $15.6 million to the Republican-controlled Legislature and Governor Scott Walker between 2010 and June 2012.
The report says environmentalists who oppose the bill donated only about $25,500 over the same period.
Walker received $11.3 million from those who support mining while members of the Legislature got $4.25 million.
The single largest benefactor in the Legislature was Republican Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills.
The report says she got just over $467,000. She spent more than $1.2 million in 2011 to defeat a recall effort.
(Copyright 2013 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)
RHINELANDER - Technology seems to change almost daily. That's why the City of Rhinelander Public Works Department is growing its use of radio water meter devices.
A little blue box takes in signals from radio water meters on certain homes installed with radio meters. Workers don't even need to get out of their cars to get a reading.
More than 200 homes in Rhinelander use the technology, but there are more then 3200 water customers in the area.
But Rhinelander Public Works Director Tim Kingman says the radio meters make the process much faster.
"An employee can go into a an area where these radio read instruments or meters are used and touch a button and it collects several if not dozens of meter readings at a time," Kingman said.
Tom Roeser reads meters, installs radio meters and does other kind of work for the Rhinelander Water Department. He has to walk through plenty of yards to get to readers.
"Oh yeah I get asked what I'm doing a lot," Roeser said.
For most of the properties in Rhinelander, Roeser uses a touch stick to automatically send readings to a wireless receiver he carries with him.
"You don't have to scroll to find out where you are in your route," Roeser said. "You can just read it and it moves into the hand held and you can continue on."
If the reader doesn't work, Roeser punches in the reading by hand. The department installs the radio meters on homes that are more spaced out, which helps speed up the process.
Rhinelander bills water quarterly, so every three months. A city wide radio meter system would speed up the process so much the city could have monthly billing. The upgrade would help customers find water waste issues sooner because they would see signs of it in their bill more often.
"We try to do that frequently as possibly can," Kingman said. "But with a quarterly system we're not able to do that as quickly as we would desire."
Kingman says right now it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade the entire system. The cost would outweigh the benefits to taxpayers and customers. So they'll take their time and upgrade little by little.
"We're trying to do two or three percent a year,"Kingman said.
That means Roeser will have plenty of walking ahead of him, but that's what he likes.
"The radar reads are fine, especially on the long runs," Roeser said. "But I like doing the walking."
RHINELANDER - You could find teachers working at Culver's tonight. They served students and their families for the Rhinelander Middle School.
It was all part of Teachers Night at Culver's. A percentage of the evening's sales went to James Williams Middle School. Teachers say they liked taking on the new job.
"We're excited about meeting people that I have never met before, parents of students I don't have. I'm also excited to see parents I do know and families," said Adair Sexton, the Middle School Band Director.
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