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State Senate approves mining bill 17-16Submitted: 02/27/2013
State Senate approves mining bill 17-16
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - It took nearly nine hours of debate, but the state Senate has approved a Republican bill that would dramatically overhaul Wisconsin's mining regulations. It passed 17 to 16 around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The measure is designed to make it easier for Gogebic Taconite's plans for an iron mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior.

The GOP says the mine would create hundreds of jobs. Minority Democrats counter the bill would relax environmental protections and open the door to pollution.

The state Assembly is expected to take the bill up next week. Republicans control that house as well.

Approval there would send the measure on to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

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PRICE COUNTY - For the first time in more than three decades the Price County Circuit Court welcomed a new judge to take the bench Friday.
Family, friends and judges from all over northern Wisconsin attended the investiture ceremony for Judge Kevin Klein.

Klein grew up in Price County and practiced law for more than 36 years.
Klein had his own law practice and was the local bar President for Price County before becoming a judge.
"When you start out and you're young and eager to practice law, you're not thinking about many years later taking the bench. But in retrospect you can see how call those years fit together," said Klein. 

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ASHLAND - The death of a teen carrying a butcher knife who was shot by an Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy led to a march, rallies, and community discussions about police relations.

Friday, a special prosecutor cleared the deputy in that shooting.

Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot and killed Jason Pero, 14, in November.

Police believe Pero wanted to die.

In a 911 call, the teen was the one who told police someone was walking around with a knife that day. Pero described a a guy walking around outside his house with a knife. The man was wearing a purple sweatshirt. 

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ASHLAND COUNTY - A prosecutor has cleared a sheriff's deputy in a 14-year-old boy's death.

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WOODRUFF - Six people died in snowmobile accidents since January 5 in Wisconsin. 

Last year, 16 people died while snowmobiling during the whole season. 

DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says at this rate, Wisconsin is on track to match that. 

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WOODRUFF - A Northwoods fire department used some of its money gained through fundraising to help other first responders stay safe.

"For lack of a better term it works like a bomb," said Woodruff Assistant Fire Chief Victor Gee. 

The Woodruff Fire Department invested in five "X-tinguish" fire suppression tools.

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in Eagle River Friday morning. 

You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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PHILLIPS - When students go to Phillips Elementary School, their classroom might be heated to only 60 degrees. It could also be 80 degrees.

The heating system is old enough that consistency is nearly impossible, and fixes are tough.

"We can't get parts [anymore] for a lot of the heating systems," said Principal Dave Scholz.

Underneath the school on Thursday, he pointed to the support structure.

"You can see all of the floor joists," he said. "Most of them are rotting right out. A lot of breaking off."

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