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NEWS STORIES

State pension fund group rejects WEDC investment requestSubmitted: 02/04/2013
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - The board that oversees Wisconsin's pension funds has rejected a request from the head of Gov. Scott Walker's semi-private economic development agency to invest $200 million to help startup businesses.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. head Reed Hall asked the State of Wisconsin Investment Board in November for the venture capital seed money in November. The board rejected the request, saying that the use of pension funds to pay for economic development initiatives "does not meet our fiduciary duty."

The request for funding as well as SWIB's response is contained in a report submitted by SWIB in December. The Wisconsin Reporter website was the first to report on it.

Hall made the request when he was the interim head of WEDC. Last week Walker named him as the permanent head.



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WISCONSIN - Gogebic Taconite will no longer pursue mining in northern Wisconsin. The company scrapped its plans for a huge iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties this spring.

But state Democrats aren't forgetting about the mining issue. They're proposing a bill which they say would close a loophole in the state's 2013 mining law. That law relaxed the permitting process for iron mines.

The Democrats' bill would make it illegal to fill or destroy the bed of a lake, stream, reservoir, or flowage to mine the materials underneath. Bill author Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said right now, mining could be done legally under flowages and reservoirs.

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PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.

One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.

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RHINELANDER - This year the PotatoFest in Rhinelander will still have the favorites, like the French Fry Frenzy and Polka Sunday.

But there will also be a few new additions like a beanbag toss tournament, and potato pantyhose bowling.

"The pantyhose bowling that's where you wear a pantyhose on your head and it's filled with a potato, and then you have to swing your head to knock pins, or knock the ball down to knock the pins over," said DRI Executive Director Maggie Steffen.

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GREEN BAY - The Packers won't have Jordy Nelson this season. Other players are still hurt to some level as well.

However, some packer fans aren't worried. They have faith Aaron Rodgers and the team have what it takes to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

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VILAS COUNTY - Whether you're in the Northwoods for Labor Day Weekend or you call it home, you will have to be more careful around mosquitoes.

A dead crow in Vilas County tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

According to a Vilas County Public Health Department press release, this is the first bird this summer to test positive for it.

Gina Egan of the Vilas County Health Department said over the years the county has found infected birds.

Egan suggests avoiding mosquitoes and wearing bug spray. She also suggests getting rid of standing water outside your home, such as bird baths or gutters.

Public health nurses stress that most people who do get West Nile do not get sick.

"Twenty percent of the people have it really mild," said Oneida County public health nurse Dawn Klink. "Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms. And less than one percent get really really deathly ill. And those are usually the ones that get tested for it and go in. Other people just think they've got a bug and don't go in."

Nurses want you to call the local health department if you do see a dead bird.

If you do feel you have severe symptoms of West Nile, nurses say to go to your doctor to get tested. 

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SUGAR CAMP - A one-car crash northwest of Sugar Camp sent a woman to the hospital Thursday.

A Chevy Silverado ran off Highway D not far from where it meets Highway H.  It happened just before noon.

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PHILLIPS - Dozens of manufacturing workers in Phillips could face hard times in the next few months. The Georgia-Pacific plant in town will close on October 27, and 53 employees will be laid off.

Georgia-Pacific told us the workers are great, but a poor market for specialty wood board products is forcing the closure.

The plant closure could be a challenge for those laid-off workers, but it could also be an opportunity for a new career.

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