RHINELANDER - Most city council meetings are fairly quiet.
But what brought Rhinelander residents out tonight was a battle that's become a common one in Wisconsin.
"Equal pay for equal work,"
That's what Union workers wanted to maintain at tonight's city council meeting in Rhinelander.
"We are going to be advocating that this is not how we entered this agreement in good faith," AFSCME staff representative, John Spiegelhoff said.
"Therefore we're advocating for the city to not go through with this ordinance change and to vote it down."
The city is looking for ways to save money.
One way is to lower the wage rate on new department of public works hires by four dollars an hour.
"Before you make the move to reduce four dollars an hour from the wages of people who do the type of work that are covered in the contract which is a tremendous cut in pay," said Rhinelander resident, Dennis O'Brien.
"It really would be fare and prudent at your part to review this more carefully."
A union rep says doing so won't just affect the department of public works.
"This is going to adversely affect labor relations within the city if it goes through," Spiegelhoff said.
"As well as the businesses that are going to be adversely affected."
But the city says it doesn't have more money to give.
"The words that I heard were we want more not less. There is no more." Rhinelander Alderman, Mark Pelletier said.
"If you look at the tax increase that the city has done in the past few years, there's not much capacity to raise taxes on our residents going forward, said Rhinelander Alderman, Alex Young.
"There just isn't money in the piggy bank to keep going the way we're going."
The council voted unanimously in favor of the decrease.
"All those in favor signify by saying "I" "EYE" votes opposed. Motion carried. Ordinance stands."
Young thinks the new wage rate is still a competitive rate.
This new proposal will not affect the current workers, only the new hires.
MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.
Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.
The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.
Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.
Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.
EAGLE RIVER - A week long workshop in Eagle River shows students they're not alone in their passion for nature. Kids from all over the Midwest arrived at the Trees for Tomorrow campsite for the first day of The Natural Resources Career Workshop.
Out of towners visit the Northwoods to escape noise, and enjoy some peace and quiet.
"I just like being out in nature instead of one of those people playing video games constantly," said 16-year-old Austin Shimeck.
The Natural Resources Career Workshop turned the benefits of visiting the Northwoods into a classroom.
"Giving them the experience that some of these students may not have had," said Trees for Tomorrow Coordinator Vernon Gentele.
High school students from all over the mid-west came to the camp to explore the unique environment.
RHINELANDER - The new Oneida County Fair Coordinator wants to see the fair grow and get the community fully involved.
It's Tom Barnett's first year as fair coordinator and Saturday at Pat's Tavern in Rhinelander he hosted a fundraiser.
He said he didn't have a financial goal for Saturday's event, but says every dollar is more than they had before and makes a difference.
"We really want to bring the community into the fair. We want them to be involved a lot more. With the support from the community the sponsorship, it's only going to help the fair grow bigger and better. We need that sponsorship we need the support from the community to make the fair grown and make it more successful than it has been," said Barnett.
Pixy the Clown and Ms America were two of the many guests at the event. There was also food, drinks and raffles.
MINOCQUA - In just a couple months, the democratic primary will decide which party candidate will run against Governor Scott Walker.
On Saturday, five of those candidates spent time in Minocqua answering citizen's questions at a candidate forum.
Mike, McCabe, Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Kathleen Vinehout, and Dana Wachs were all in attendance. The forum had candidates answer audience questions on education, healthcare, the environment, and economy issues.
Organizer Jackie Cody said the event was a way to get people informed on each candidate before the democratic primary.
"At this particular point we need to have democrats, and independents, and those who are questioning what's going on with answers before the magic date of August 14th, and this provides people with information," said Cody.
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