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Hundreds Attend Mining Listening SessionSubmitted: 02/09/2013
Story By Associated Press

ASHLAND - At least 200 people jammed into a hearing today in Ashland. They were there to tell legislators how they feel about streamlining the state's mining laws.

Most of the attendees spoke Saturday against changing the state's permitting process. They say they're concerned about environmental damage that could take decades or longer to repair.

The proposed legislation would help a mining company open a massive iron mine in far NorthWestern Wisconsin.

Mike Wiggins Jr. is the tribal chairman of the Bad River Chippewa Band. He says the mine would threaten sacred rice beds.

Bayfield Mayor Larry McDonald says he's concerned about potential damage to Lake Superior.

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MADISON - Many businesses in the northwoods rely on money from visitors.

Last year, tourists spent nearly $12 billion in Wisconsin.

That's according to a report the state Department of Tourism released today.

It found tourism spending went up about $500 million from 2014.

Last year marked the sixth straight year of increasing spending.

Visitor spending last year generated $19.3 billion in total sales as travelers' money moved through the state economy.

The spending generated $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

The third quarter of 2015 saw the most spending.

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EAGLE RIVER - After what happened last weekend at Antigo High School's prom, many people can't help but think about increased security measures at other schools. But Northland Pines High School wants teens to think about other issues before their prom on Saturday.

Tri-County Council was at Northland Pines Thursday talking about dating violence. They want kids to be respectful of each other and have fun this weekend.

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ANTIGO - Police Chief Eric Roller keeps his emotions pretty well in check.  But as the Antigo Police Department break room fills with food and thank-you cards, Roller cracks—just a bit.

"Seeing that and seeing all the responses on Facebook, I mean, that's the part that chokes you up," Roller said in his office Thursday afternoon.

Just five days earlier, essentially the entire Antigo police force (and many other departments across northern Wisconsin) scrambled to stop a teenager from killing anyone at the high school's prom.  Two party-goers were hurt, and the 18-year-old shooter, Jakob Wagner, was killed, but thanks to officers Andy Hopfensperger and Ryan Bula already at the scene, the threat ended there.  Hopfensperger shot Wagner "multiple times,"according to court documents released earlier this week.

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WESTON - A new health clinic in Weston hopes to help women with different health issues.

The Couri and Smyth Health for Life Medical Center had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. The clinic is led by two doctors, Dr. Kimberly Couri and Dr. R. Louise Smyth, who specialize in helping with women's health issues.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Wisconsin Rapids Police expect to release the three names from Wednesday's double-murder suicide soon. The department is waiting for today's autopsies to be finished before releasing those names.

Officers search the Wisconsin Rapids home Wednesday morning and found three bodies.

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MONICO - A heavy equipment operating class at Nicolet got the chance to do some real hands on learning.
 
The class visited a John Deere construction and forestry equipment dealer Thursday in Monico.
 
Nortrax invited students to test out equipment and get real life experience. The students tried a simulator and operated machines.

The Nortrax general manager sees a demand for skilled operators in the industry.

"You can see in the industry today, whether it's the construction industry, forest industry, farming industry, or production class machines, and if you talk to those independent producers or those companies, they'll tell you there's a need for skill operators," said Nortax General Manager Matt Hanson.

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MILWAUKEE - Children's Hospital of Wisconsin says one of its patients has been diagnosed with the bloodstream infection Elizabethkingia.

The child is in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's in metro Milwaukee. The hospital says there's no indication the child has a serious infection, but the case has been forwarded to state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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