MADISON - Japan is buying more American beef, which is good news for Wisconsin's 14,000 cattle farmers.
Japan used to restrict U.S. beef imports out of concerns about mad-cow disease, but it recently relaxed some restrictions. Now U.S. beef exports to Japan are expected to grow from about $850 million per year to $1.5 billion.
John Freitag is the executive director of the Wisconsin Beef Council. He says the new standards are good for Wisconsin, especially because the industry is struggling through an especially tough period.
He says some beef farmers have been thinking of leaving the industry or shrinking their herds because of high feed prices. He says a stronger Japanese market gives Wisconsin farmers more incentive to stay in business.
EAGLE RIVER - Snowmobile trails open at 6 p.m. in most of Vilas County.
Local businesses that cater to snowmobilers look forward to a successful season.
The trails already have a lot more snow than they did last year at this time.
"Anytime you bring people to the Northwoods, whether it's just the snowmobilers, it's not only helping our business, it helps everybody. They bring family up so they'll go to the Children's Museum, or the downtown and restaraunts. They utilize all the area businesses," said Greg Cook from Track Side in Eagle River.
RHINELANDER - People don't want their pipes to freeze this time of year. That's why the city of Rhinelander will start their water credit program on Monday.
The program allows about 400 businesses and homes to run their water 24 hours a day. That prevents pipes and sewers from freezing. The city gives them a credit on their water bill.
“If it freezes up with either have the water utility coming out here and thawing it out again,” says Joe Brauer, Rhinelander Airport Director. “It's very inconvenient it's the traveling public that uses Rhinelander flying service such like that too again we had to put porta-potties out there the first winter we went through like that and was very, very inconvenient for our customers.”
Places like the Rhinelander airport have dealt with pipes freezing in the past. Right now the frost level is 2 feet underground. This means if your pipes are buried less than 2 feet underground they could be at risk for freezing.
“When you turn the water on to keep a steady flow of water that's going through your sewer pipes and such like that so they don't freeze up, because if you don't do that what will end up happening is the frost drives down and such like that or it will freeze it up so it's very important just to have a trickle of water to have a constant flow of water going through your sewer system,” says Brauer.
The water credit program can cost the city between 50 to 100 thousand dollars.
ACROSS WISCONSIN - Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill that gives landlords more power over tenants.
The bill Walker signed privately Thursday allows landlords to dispose of any property an evicted tenant leaves behind, immediately tow parked vehicles and toss tenants out if a crime occurs on the property and the tenant was in a position to prevent it.
Democrats who opposed the measure argued that it strips tenants of their rights and limits local governments' control over property in their jurisdiction.
The bill was opposed by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the cities of Milwaukee and Madison as well as the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and others.
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