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NEWS STORIES

State Dept. of Health Services Secretary resignsSubmitted: 02/22/2013
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith has resigned.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the resignation and appointed Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades as secretary of the department that is in charge of overseeing the state's Medicaid programs.

Smith had been at the forefront of Walker's opposition to the federal health care law and had testified before Congress on that issue.

Smith says in his resignation letter that he is accepting a job in the private sector that begins March 1. He did not say in the letter where the job was.

Rhoades has served alongside Smith as his deputy since Walker took office in January 2011. Prior to that Rhoades served in the state Assembly from 1999 through 2010.

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MADISON - Wisconsin lawmakers have rejected Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to block the state Department of Natural Resources from purchasing any land through its stewardship program for at least the next 13 years.

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THREE LAKES - The 57 year old wrestling coach, Joseph Fitzpatrick is charged with sexual assault of a minor and delivering drugs to several students.

He's accused of giving students drugs at school and at his home.

That's after one student, caught with marijuana, said she got it from Fitzpatrick.

That 14 year old student also said Fitzpatrick had sex with her.

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MINOCQUA - One Northwoods business gives people a bird's eye view. One year into the business venture, Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua is happy with the business they are doing.

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Merrill police donate carSubmitted: 05/29/2015

MERRILL - A Merrill public safety center can now use a new patrol car for training. The Merrill Police Department donated one of their retired police cars to the Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence. The donation marks the end of Crown Victoria police cars for the city.

"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."

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VILAS COUNTY - A warming climate could have significant impacts on Northwoods streams. Warming streams, in turn, could put pressure on trout populations in those waterways.

"If we think about streams, it is changing, and that's going to potentially change what can live here and the habitats that are available," said Dr. Noah Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction. "We've seen that across a whole range of things and a wide variety of studies."

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WHITE LAKE - Students in White Lake spent the day outside of the classroom learning about invasive species today. It was the 16th annual Spring Lake Day at White Lake. It's part of the year-round Adopt-A-Lake program that teaches students about waterway and environmental preservation.

"Being on White Lake and being in the Northwoods, aquatic invasive species education is extremely important," said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss. "And a good way to reach out to people is through our students and through our youth."

Elementary students from White Lake School learned about the different aquatic invasive species such as purple loosestrife, and Eurasian watermilfoil. They also learned how to prevent them from spreading.

"Those plants spread by fragmentation and boat traffic," said Preuss. "And just educating people so they know the right steps to take and the laws to prevent this plant from moving around. We have 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin; just a small percentage have an invasive species."

Students also learned about the spread of a tree killing bug called emerald ash bore.

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget-writing committee plans to reduce Gov. Scott Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System by $50 million.

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