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NEWS STORIES

Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the futureSubmitted: 02/25/2013

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MADISON - Lawmakers took another step toward making it easier to mine in Wisconsin.

The state's Joint Finance Committee passed the new Republican mining bill on a 12 to 4 vote Monday afternoon. The bill now moves to both the full state Senate and Assembly.

The GOP's bill is mainly designed to make it easier for a mining company to open a large mine. It would be on the border of Ashland and Iron Counties.

Democrats think the bill's language doesn't do enough to protect the environment.

But Ashland Representative Janet Bewley thinks the progress can be slowed in the courts.

"There are so many things in the bill that are ambiguous that will end up in court," Rep. Janet Bewley said. "I don't want to say I'm grateful to (Republicans) for writing such a sloppy bill, but the bill is written in such a form that there are many opportunities for it to end up in court."

Republicans don't think they're rushing anything. Hazelhurst Senator Tom Tiffany points to numerous changes from the first bill to this version.

He hopes it doesn't end up in the courts.

"We passed 11 amendments out of our Senate committee about two weeks ago," Sen. Tiffany said. "We've really, thoroughly vetted this bill. Will there be lawsuits, as Representative Bewley hopes? Perhaps, because some people will sue over anything in modern society. But this is really a good bill that protects the environment, while giving certainty to an applicant."

The mining bill will likely pass because Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly. Senator Tiffany thinks the Senate will take up the bill Wednesday.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Rock throwing case moves forward for one of the accusedSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - Prosecutors in Forest County accuse a group of four people of throwing rocks off of a bridge and damaging a car. Victims Wednesday described the sound like a bomb going off.

19-year-old Thomas Hines is one of four people facing charges for throwing rocks off of a Forest County bridge just after 3 a.m. June 3, 2014. The other three facing charges include 18 year-old Mariya Tuckwab, 20 year-old Ryan Kitchmaster, and 21-year-old Dillon Votis.

All four face multiple felony charges for recklessly endangering safety and criminal damage to property.

Prosecutors say those rocks hurt a woman inside of the car.

Hines was in court Wednesday for his preliminary hearing.

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Accused driver had received license only weeks before deadly crash, case moves forwardSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.

Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.

New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.

Wisconsin State Patrolman Justin Bender testified for the prosecution. He was the officer that reconstructed the car crash. He says the car was going at least 114 miles per hour when the driver lost control, but could have been going as fast as 126 miles per hour.

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More jail time for man accused of stashing meth in courtroomSubmitted: 07/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Oneida County prosecutors couldn't believe how stupid a Tomahawk man was to try and pull a stunt while in court in April.

They say 30-year-old Kurtis Cline tried to stash a bag of meth under his seat cushion in court.

Now, Cline will be punished on those charges.

Cline is already serving a six-month jail sentence for theft.

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Researchers believe smoke-free policy could lead to more customers at Northwoods casino Submitted: 07/30/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - More than two-thirds of visitors to the Lake of the Torches Casino say smoking bothers them.

That's just one of the results from the first-of-its-kind study on attitudes towards smoking in casinos.

The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council and the casino in Lac du Flambeau joined together to survey more than 950 people in 2011.

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New DNR program offers chance for expert management for private landownersSubmitted: 07/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Many hunters, wildlife watchers, and landowners would like to see more deer on their property.

The Wisconsin DNR wants to help them do that.

Its new Deer Management Assistance Program offers landowners a chance to partner with the agency.

The DNR can visit private plots of land and offer management suggestions.

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Possible changes for the Oneida County board Submitted: 07/30/2014

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County could get a county administrator in the future. The county is reaching out to other counties with an administrator for input.

The board wants to know how the change might help the county. They'll take input into consideration during an August meeting.

The idea stemmed from a former supervisor in March.

Committee members talked to counties, including Marathon, who already have county administrators.

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UW Trout Lake Station to host open house FridaySubmitted: 07/30/2014

BOULDER JUNCTION - People of all ages will get to see what it's like to be a researcher up here in the Northwoods.

Researchers at the UW Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction will host an open house Friday.

Visitors will get to participate in a number of activities.

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