NEWS STORIES

Yackel, Russell Vie for Bench in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 03/29/2013

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MERRILL - Voters across Wisconsin will pick the next State Superintendent and Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday.

But several places have local races, as well.

Lincoln County has an opening for one of its two Circuit Court judges.

John Yackel and Rob Russell will be on Tuesday's ballot in Lincoln County.

Both candidates for Circuit Court Judge say experience is what sets them apart most from their opponent.

But what kind of experience do you want?

"I'm the only one in this race that has made decisions and had to sentence individuals to prison," Yackel says. "I'm the only one in this race that has done what a judge is supposed to do."

Yackel has been on the bench since his appointment by Governor Walker last September.

That was to fill a hole after Judge Glenn Hartley retired.

"The voters now have the opportunity to make this decision. They haven't had this opportunity before," Russell says.

Russell is a Lincoln County native, and returned to Merrill in 1992.

"I've been practicing law here ever since. I have a little over 20 years legal experience," Russell says.

Russell points out that Yackel didn't even live in Lincoln County until his appointment six months ago.

Russell views that as a mark against Yackel.

"I guess the voters are going to decide that. I'm originally from Hayward. I was born and raised with the same Northwoods traditions and values we all share," Yackel says.

The campaign has been almost like a second full time job for each candidate.

"It's been very busy, very stressful, but at the same time, very rewarding because of the people I've met and the places I've been," Russell says.

"I have been getting to know as many people as I can since I took the bench. In the last two months, we've been putting up signs, knocking on doors, doing lit drops, doing interviews," Yackel says.

So who has the advantage going into Tuesday's general election?

"I don't think either side knows how it's going to go," laughs Yackel.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Board speeds up start of short-term loan program Submitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.

The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain

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Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuitSubmitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.

The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.

Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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Home sales on the rise in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.

Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.

“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”

Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.

“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”

Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.

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Proposed scenic byway takes step forward with planning meetingSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MOLE LAKE - You can drive along plenty of scenic stretches of roads across Northern Wisconsin.

However, the state of Wisconsin only considers one stretch of highway in the Northwoods as an official scenic byway.

Leaders in a handful of counties want to change that by earning a distinction from Wisconsin's Scenic Byways program. They held a public planning meeting in Mole Lake Wednesday.

The proposed scenic highway, The Wolf River Nicolet Scenic Byway, is a more than 100 mile stretch of Highway 55. It stretches from Langlade, in Langlade County, north to the Michigan boarder.

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Walker signs bill prohibiting cellphone trackingSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin police could not track cellphone locations without a warrant under a bill Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law.

The measure Walker signed Wednesday passed the Legislature in February with no opposition.

Under the new law, police would have to present details about their investigation when seeking a warrant to track a cellphone. That includes the phone's owners or whoever is possessing it, the subject of the investigation, a statement of the crime and a statement of probable cause about how tracking the cellphone is related to criminal activity.

The bill was among 55 bills Walker signed privately.

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Kids learn about hospital Submitted: 04/23/2014

MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.

That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.

Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.

The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.

"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.

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Library requests bids for expansionSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A library in the Northwoods met their fundraising goals for a new addition.

Now the Walter E. Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River could see changes to their original plan.

The Eagle River city council members told the library trustees to look for new bids.

This could result in changes to the design that the library fund-raised for over the past two years.

Design and Build by Visner in Eagle River designed the expansion plan they fund-raised for.

"I think there was some disappointment on the part of the person that created the conceptual design that we fund-raised with," said Library Trustees President Tina Koller. "But they've stepped up to the plate and are willing to participate in the bidding process. So this is where I think we can really move forward today."

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