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.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Once landfills run out of space, the county must decide where the garbage will go. At a meeting on Monday, it was announced that the Vilas County landfill has about 10 years left before it will have to find a new location to dispose of trash. Oneida County had a similar decision to make years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the Oneida County landfill was capped.
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