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NEWS STORIES

President Obama Makes Emotional Plea for Gun ReformSubmitted: 02/12/2013
Story By Lex Gray


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Several weeks ago, you saw President Obama roll out an aggressively progressive agenda during his inauguration speech.

Tonight, the nation watched to see if that theme would continue in the State of the Union address.

At first, the president rehashed many of the topics that dominated his campaign.
He talked health care, tax code and immigration reform.

He talked about bringing jobs back home, improving education, and moving toward sustainable energy.

But just after the one hour mark, the President seemed to change his tone.

That's because there's been one big change since he was reelected - the Sandy Hook shooting.

The President called on the House and Senate to at least vote on his gun reform proposals.

Gabby Giffords was in the audience, along with more than two dozen others affected by gun violence.

"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote," said the President, continuing on with other examples of gun violence. "They deserve a simple vote."

He said the country has debated gun violence before, but "this time it's different."

He called for "common sense reform," in particular requiring background checks for individuals who want to buy guns.

He also talked about police chiefs working together to get high capacity magazines off the streets.

In the audience was Oak Creek shooting survivor Lieutenant Brian Murphy.

"Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety," the President said. "He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshiping inside, even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds."

The President also said 34,000 troops will be home by the end of this year, and the war in Afghanistan will be finished by the end of next year.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

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RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


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