MADISON - You can find the Republican's mining bill sitting on the Governor's desk Thursday night. The state Assembly passed the bill 58-39 just before 6:30 p.m.
Debate on the bill started around 9 a.m.
Lawmakers first had to get through 17 assembly amendments proposed by Democrats.
They have three big concerns with the GOP bill: making sure jobs are specifically created for Wisconsin workers, keeping the power to fight pollution in the hands of the taxpayers and maintaining the state's environmental protections.
Ashland Democrat Janet Bewley says she spoke with Gogebic Taconite's leaders about the mine. She quoted that conversation.
"I said, 'Do I have your word?'," Rep. Bewley said. "He said, 'Really. We don't want to change environmental law. We don't need to. Wisconsin has a strong tradition. We do not need to change environmental law,' and we shook hands.
We shook hands."
All 17 amendments were tabled on party-line votes, typically 59 to 39.
Republicans spent most of the day fighting the claims that they aren't concerned about people or the environment in the north.
"We also make sure you cannot fill in lake beds, you cannot fill in lakes," Abbotsford Rep. Scott Suder said.
"And again, you can't change the flow capacity of the stream. So, I understand the 'gotcha' amendments. But if you read the bill and talk to (legislative) council, you'll realize I'm correct, these statements are correct. Those are the facts behind the bill and to say otherwise is simply untrue."
The Governor likely will sign the bill soon, but Democrats and members of the Bad River tribe are promising to take the bill to court.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.
The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects.
One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.
For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.
FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.
The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.
- In the last week, more than a dozen people in the Wausau area found their cars damaged or broken into.
In a span of six days, at least 17 vehicles were either keyed, had windows bashed in or had stuff stolen from them.
"Some weirdo doings some weirdo stuff that's how I look at it," said Jon Radtke who lives in the neighborhood where items were stolen from a handful of unlocked cars."It's kind of (strange) for this area. We really don't have a lot of problems in the area."
Last Friday, two vehicles parked at the East High Apartments on Street and Adams Street and three more just down the street were broken into.
"We're working on who [is doing] this," said Wausau Police Officer Brian Burkhardt.
He says a few days after the break-ins around 7th Street; he received calls of 12 cars being vandalized, nothing stolen just vandalized.
MINOCQUA - Owners of wooden boats describe them as labors of love.
"If you're going to own a boat like this, you have to have a commitment," said boat owner Marc Toigo. "It's not optional."
It's the kind of commitment Gordon Moore had when he helped start the Minocqua Antique Wooden & Classic Boat Show 26 years ago. Moore passed away in August, making this weekend's show the first without him.
"We're going to laugh a lot, because he'd want us to," said show organizer Al Hanley. "(Moore) had a great sense of humor, he was a truly unique individual."
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