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State committees pass mining legislationSubmitted: 02/06/2013
State committees pass mining legislation
Story By WJFW News Team & The Associated Press

MADISON - The Wisconsin Republican mining bill will head forward in the state legislature.

Both the Senate and Assembly mining committees approved the measure today.

It's designed to make it easier to open a massive iron mine straddling Iron and Ashland Counties.

Both committees passed it on a party-line vote.

The votes send the measure on to the Legislature's finance committee.

That's the last stop before the bill goes to the full Senate and Assembly.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

CRANDON - A new local owner could reopen Crandon's shuttered nursing home facility.

Peg and Jim Houle officially bought the former AGI Healthcare facility, which announced its closing last April. All 37 residents were moved by May.

The Houles replace Milwaukee-area lawyer Robert Roth, who shut down the nursing home when it was no longer profitable.

The Forest County Economic Development Partnership helped coordinate the sale to the Houles.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's police chief hoped to fill two jobs in his department last summer.  A field of eight finalists led to zero job offers, but this week Lloyd Gauthier's force might finally get back to full strength.

The Rhinelander Police and Fire Commission approved hiring Tyler and Logan Pontbriand on Monday.  Their hires would bring the total force in Rhinelander to 17, including the chief and captain positions.

The Pontbriand twins are deputies with the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.  Logan started as a corrections officer in May 2015 while Tyler was hired as a deputy in January 2016.

Gauthier says they had six qualified applicants after reopening the application process in November, but the Pontbriands - who both live in Rhinelander - had qualities you simply can't teach.

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EAGLE RIVER - Colder temps and windy weather delayed work on the Vilas County Courthouse expansion this winter.

The $11 million project is scheduled to be finished at the end of February. The only portion of the building still being worked on is the connector between the new building and the existing courthouse. 

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CRANDON - UPDATE 1/17/18

The Wisconsin Department of Justice identified Craig Justice, a 21-year veteran of the Forest County Sheriff's Department, as the officer who shot and killed Cude on January 4. Justice worked at the Crandon Police Department for one year before joining the Sheriff's Department.

As is normal in an officer-involved shooting, Justice is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

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MEDFORD - Police in Taylor County arrested a man who shot at officers during a standoff near Medford on Wednesday evening.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office reports it arrested Jake M. Wendt, 31, after a "lengthy phone negotiation" with the suspect, according to a news release sent late Wednesday night.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander middle school students could experience a new class schedule this fall.

School administrators have worked for a year and half to change the 20-year-old master schedule.

James Williams Middle School Principal Richard Gretzinger says the main focus of a new schedule is to give students a 30 minute free or "enrichment" period.

"Sometimes students get caught up in getting to go to one class to the other to the other. If we can break up that day for those students and give them some movement, brain breaks and activities… Studies have shown that they will be effective through the day," said Gretzinger.

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RHINELANDER - Local veterinarian, Dr. Alison French, actually sees a decrease in vet visits in the winter months due to less outdoor exercise and fewer injuries. But less time outside with pets is not necessarily a good thing.

French recommends you give your pets plenty of water and take walks outside even in the coldest temperatures.

Just like humans, animals dehydrate faster in the cold. Make sure you refill your pet's water bowls.

"Make sure they have fresh water. So if they're outside all the time make sure they have a heated water dish," said French.

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