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NEWS STORIES

GOP says mining changes protect environment betterSubmitted: 02/04/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MADISON - Wisconsin's legislative Republicans said they wanted to work with Democrats in writing the newest mining bill.

Monday, they said they've compromised on many big concerns from Democrats.

GOP leaders in both the Senate and Assembly introduced amendments to the propsed mining bill.

They're confident the changes will strengthen environmental protections even more.

"Two things have to be preserved. One is Wisconsin's high environmental standards, regulations, and limitations. This is a work that's been ongoing for decades here in Wisconsin. We're very proud of our environmental heritage here in the state. But also that there be certainty for an applicant, that they're going to get an answer," said Hazelhurst Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany.

One major change forces the state DNR to communicate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps had voiced concerns about the quickened permitting timeline proposed in the bill.

Democratic Senator Tim Cullen introduced his own mining legislation last week.

He said Monday that the Republican changes made the proposal slightly better, but there was a long way to go.

The new amendments will be officially introduced and voted on Wednesday.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

PORT WASHINGTON - A Wisconsin jury has convicted TV actor Dustin Diamond of two misdemeanors stemming from a barroom fight, but cleared the former "Saved by the Bell" actor of the most serious felony charge.

The jury's verdict Friday came just hours after the 38-year-old actor testified that he never intended to stab anyone in the fight last Christmas Day.

Diamond said he was trying to scare bar patrons in Port Washington after his girlfriend was punched in the face.

He had pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety, plus two misdemeanors carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct
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Conviction on all three counts carried a potential sentence of up to 11 years in prison.

Diamond played the character Screech on the popular 1990s show.

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THREE LAKES - The 57 year old wrestling coach, Joseph Fitzpatrick is charged with sexual assault of a minor and delivering drugs to several students.

He's accused of giving students drugs at school and at his home.

That's after one student, caught with marijuana, said she got it from Fitzpatrick.

That 14 year old student also said Fitzpatrick had sex with her.

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VILAS COUNTY - A warming climate could have significant impacts on Northwoods streams. Warming streams, in turn, could put pressure on trout populations in those waterways.

"If we think about streams, it is changing, and that's going to potentially change what can live here and the habitats that are available," said Dr. Noah Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction. "We've seen that across a whole range of things and a wide variety of studies."

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WHITE LAKE - Students in White Lake spent the day outside of the classroom learning about invasive species today. It was the 16th annual Spring Lake Day at White Lake. It's part of the year-round Adopt-A-Lake program that teaches students about waterway and environmental preservation.

"Being on White Lake and being in the Northwoods, aquatic invasive species education is extremely important," said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss. "And a good way to reach out to people is through our students and through our youth."

Elementary students from White Lake School learned about the different aquatic invasive species such as purple loosestrife, and Eurasian watermilfoil. They also learned how to prevent them from spreading.

"Those plants spread by fragmentation and boat traffic," said Preuss. "And just educating people so they know the right steps to take and the laws to prevent this plant from moving around. We have 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin; just a small percentage have an invasive species."

Students also learned about the spread of a tree killing bug called emerald ash bore.

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Merrill police donate carSubmitted: 05/29/2015

MERRILL - A Merrill public safety center can now use a new patrol car for training. The Merrill Police Department donated one of their retired police cars to the Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence. The donation marks the end of Crown Victoria police cars for the city.

"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."

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