CRANDON - Over the last few weeks, Wisconsin Democrats tried to slow down or stop Republican-authored mine permitting legislation.
They forced an hours-long session in the State Senate last week.
But now, the bill stands just one step away from Governor Walker's desk.
Don't expect the Assembly debate Thursday to be much shorter.
"It took them nine hours for them to go through the legislation," said Rep. Jeff Mursau, a Crivitz Republican.
Nine hours - for the mining bill to make it through floor debate in the State Senate last week.
Now, it heads to Mursau and the rest of the State Assembly.
"We're planning on starting Thursday morning at 9 o'clock. We're prepared to go, hopefully not through the night hours, but we're going to go, and get it passed," he said.
We talked with Mursau and Hazelhurst Senator Tom Tiffany at Sunday's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Forest County Republican Party.
"Over the last few years, they've built their membership up here in Forest County. Excellent turnout today," said Tiffany.
Tiffany was one of the chief authors of the mining legislation that passed the Senate last week.
"I think the debate will be similar. I think most of the amendments that will be proposed will be similar. I'm really optimistic that the Assembly will be able to pass it this week and get it to the Governor's desk," said Tiffany.
But even GOP lawmakers don't think a bill will be enacted right away.
Instead, it could destined for court.
"We assume that there's going to be lawsuits. But until a bill is passed, and those lawsuits start, and I'm sure they will, we're going be waiting year after year until something gets done," Mursau said.
With a 20-vote GOP majority in the Assembly, it seems like just about a certainty this will be the year for mining legislation to pass.
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
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