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NEWS STORIES

No deal reached: Wisconsin lawmakers discuss Sequester cutsSubmitted: 02/28/2013
Story By Lane Kimble


WASHINGTON, D.C. - We hoped Congress could compromise, but hopes to avoid the Sequester seem to be all but gone Thursday night.

It looks like billions of dollars in mandatory federal cuts will happen starting Friday.

The Senate voted on two bills aimed at avoiding the sequester Thursday.

One was GOP backed and one Democratic, but both failed to get the necessary votes to pass.

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin was hoping to cut, what she calls, outdated tax loopholes and deals that ship jobs overseas.

"Both of these are just common sense, have mass support throughout the United States and ought to be part of our plan, in a balanced, responsible and credible way, reduce our defecit," Senator Baldwin said.

But that didn't happen.

Meanwhile, the House went home for the weekend without a vote. They're not scheduled to be back on the floor until Monday.

Wisconsin Representative Sean Duffy thinks cuts can be made to "non essential services", but the choice is ultimately up to the President.

"Our government spends $3.5, $3.6 trillion a year," Rep. Duffy said. "This is two percent of that. We can easily continue with our essential services. But if the president wants to cut the meat of those services, he'll have the discretion to do it and he can make it painful."

The President will meet with lawmakers late Thursday night, but it's not likely a deal will be reached.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - More private schools in Northcentral Wisconsin could take part in the statewide voucher program.

Three schools in Lincoln and Marathon counties that aren't already a part of the program are applying this year.

Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill is one of those schools.

The school applied last year as well.

"Having gone through it last year I know what we're up against," says Trinity Lutheran School principal Kathy Yahr.

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EAGLE RIVER - The former Lac du Flambeau man who owned and ran an ATM business that appeared in some U.S. and Canadian casinos will serve three years in prison.

Kevin Maulson was sentenced Thursday in Vilas County Court for three felony counts of making false statement on a securities sale and theft in a business setting. This was for misleading investors about his personal finances in the early 2000s and not paying them back.

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WAUSAU - When you hear the word "gang," you may think of big cities like Chicago or Milwaukee. Unlike what many believe, they may be in your own backyard.

"The prominent one, the OTB, that this male juvenile claimed to be, that one was a known gang group here in the Wausau area," said Wausau Police Officer Houa Lee. "This other gang involving white, Hispanic, or black males, that was probably a hybrid gang that just formed."

Some gangs in Wausau have been around for the past fifteen years. Last week, a middle school boy died when a 15 year old stabbed him twice in the back. Police think the stabbing is gang related.

Recently, kids as young as ten years old are getting involved in gangs. Police say their biggest problem is keeping track of them.

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VILAS COUNTY - Visitors to one Northwoods courthouse may notice some changes in security.

The Vilas County Courthouse will put in place new security measures starting March 16th.

The biggest change the public will notice is only one entrance will be open to the public.

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MINOCQUA - Leaders at Minocqua Winter Park often hear from locals that they don't get the chance to visit the park. Staff members want to change that.

"We get people popping in to the chalet daily that say they've lived in the area for many, many years but haven't had a chance to come explore. We want to get rid of any excuse they have to come and explore Minocqua Winter Park," said Minocqua Winter Park Executive Director Tim Collins.

They'll host Lakeland Community Appreciation Day this Sunday.

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BAYFIELD - Wisconsin's winter wonder re-opened today after a temporary closure.

The National Park Service closed the caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Tuesday evening due to high winds.

Concerns were that wind and blowing snow could make the ice leading out to the caves unsafe.

Around 12,000 people have visited the ice caves along the south shore of Lake Superior in Northwestern Wisconsin since they opened last weekend.

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NORTHWOODS - Some people will need to get their shanties off the lakes this weekend. DNR wardens say the ice conditions are much better than last year. That will make it easier to get the shanties off the ice and Wardens say they'll be strict about the deadline this year.

"We've had these cold temperatures, extremely cold temperatures at night, and that's helped to freeze up some of the slush that was on top of the ice," says Conservation Warden Supervisor David Walz. "We saw some extreme conditions last year where people were struggling to get their shacks off even come April."

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