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

Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the future
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.

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MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin voters will decide April 3 whether to eliminate the office of state treasurer.

The little-known position dates to territorial days, but Republicans say it's outlived its usefulness. The office has already been stripped of most of its duties over the past decade.

But it has defenders, who say it's an essential check on executive power. They argue it should have powers restored so it can function as a strong independent watchdog.

Attempts to remove the office have been voted on in the Legislature for decades, but it's never gotten enough support to go to voters until now.

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CLARK COUNTY - David Farris has been found safe according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

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RHINELANDER - Some members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group have shared a stage together for more than 30 years.
However, they almost had to stop when one of their key members passed away.
"When it all works really well, nothing can top it," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Corky.
The 25 members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group are used to hitting the right rhythm together.

"We have a lot of fun," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Jim Priovolos.
However, when the group's director and founder of the group died, they thought they would have to put their beats on hold.
"We were wondering where we were going to end up with that," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Ken.
Just a few months before their talent showcase at Nicolet College Sunday, Priovolos stepped in.
"I feel very honored to be conducting them," said Priovolos.
Priovolos got the group to pick up exactly where they left off.
"He's kept us going," said Ken.

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RHINELANDER - A New York based dance company brought their talent to Northern Wisconsin.
The Equus Projects performed at ArtStart in Rhinelander Sunday.
ArtStart Program Director Ashley McLaughlin was excited to bring art the community usually doesn't get to see
She also wanted to bring new talent to the area.

The group doesn't perform traditional choreography.
"[I's] improvisation of dance so they're reacting off of each other. [Their] acting off the spot. Very little is choreographed. So that goes to the whole emotion of the group," said McLaughlin.
ArtStart collaborated with the Ware House in Eagle River.
The Equus Projects will participate in dance classes at ArtStart all week.

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WAUSAU - Seven of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates participated in a public forum this weekend. Citizen Action of Wisconsin held the event at the Wausau Labor Temple.

Citizen Action is a statewide grassroots organization. Dozens of people came out to hear the candidates' opinions on many topics including prison reform. health care, and rural broadband.

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MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.

The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.

Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.

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TOMAHAWK - A popular Tomahawk event welcomed a sold out crowd over the weekend.
350 people attended the 15th annual Taste of Tomahawk.
Local restaurants, breweries and wineries displayed the best they had to offer at the Inshallah Country Club.
Organizer Jesica said the event successfully shows what Tomahawk has to offer.
"We want to feature the region and all the wonderful things we have to offer. So we hope we get a lot of folks to come to Taste of Tomahawk, that maybe don't visit us other times of year. We can really show them what Tomahawk's all about," said Jesica.

Some vendors used the event as an opportunity to show products and flavors people may not be familiar with.
The Silver Birch Supper Club has attended Taste of Tomahawk since the beginning.
"[It's great] seeing it grow, from just starting out to seeing what it is today. The costumes are great. Great costumes for St. Patty's Day," said Silver Birch Supper Club General Manager Chris Copiskey,

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