NEWS STORIES

Joint Finance Committee considers where public workers can live and workSubmitted: 05/09/2013

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MADISON - Republicans often brand themselves as the party fighting for local control.

But Governor Walker proposed taking away some of the control for cities and towns.

And now, some Republicans are pushing back.

In February, the governor released his budget proposal.

Part of it proposed taking away residency requirements for government workers.

But many cities require police and firefighters to live close to town so they can get to emergencies faster.

The move to take away that right has Democrats and even some fellow Republicans upset.

"We do need responders. We need responders to live within a district or an area that they can respond timely. That's my biggest concern," says Marshfield Republican Rep. John Spiros.

"I think it's a bad idea. I think it infringes on local control, and I think we should leave it up to our local communities to assess the needs of their community and address them as they see fit," says Wausau Democratic Rep. Mandy Wright.

Just about every city in the Northwoods has some type of residency requirement.

Some only apply to emergency workers, while others are for a broader range of city employees.

Thursday, the state's Joint Finance Committee approved Walker's proposal, but with a twist.

It also passed an amendment by Representative John Nygren which would still allow counties, cities and towns to require emergency workers, like police and firefighters, to live within 15 miles of the borders.

The proposal now would still need to go before the state Senate, assembly and back to the Governor before it becomes law.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Correction: Northwoods man initially charged with attempted homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/23/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - We want to correct a mistake we made in our Newscasts at ten last night and again this morning.

The story was about 31-year old James Peterson of Lac du Flambeau, who accepted a plea deal.

We wrongly said he had originally been charged with first degree intentional homicide.

He actually had been charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, and was convicted of reduced charges.

We apologize for that error.

Witnesses told police Peterson showed up to a party with a knife and drunkenly started a fight.

Other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

This week he accepted a plea deal.

Peterson pleaded no contest to hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon.

He was also found guilty of a second O-W-I.

Peterson will find out his sentence in August.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin ttalking politics at Marquette University Submitted: 04/23/2014

MILWAUKEE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is scheduled to talk politics during an hour-long forum at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Baldwin's office says she'll discuss health care reform, immigration, minimum wage and Washington's political divide at Wednesday's event.

The 52-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2012. She previously spent 14 years in Congress, and before that was in the state Assembly for six years.

She serves on the Senate's budget committee, as well as committees involving homeland security, health, aging and natural resources.

A Marquette Law School poll last month said her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both 35 percent. Another 27 percent said they didn't know enough about her to form an opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Duffy calls out veterans disability claims backlog, teams with congressional delegation to defend Milwaukee officeSubmitted: 04/22/2014

WISCONSIN - More than 350,000 American veterans have been waiting months or even years to get their disability benefits.

That backlog includes about 3,500 veterans under the umbrella of the Milwaukee Regional Office, which serves Wisconsin veterans.

The backlog is because of massive case of laggard claims processing across the nation.

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Rhinelander receives award to upgrade sewersSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Leaders in a Northwoods community want to make sure that their untreated waste water doesn't get into lakes and rivers.

That's why they applied for an award that will help them upgrade the sewers.

The city of Rhinelander won the award today.

The city got $3,754,000 in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its downtown sewers.

Leaders say a flood with the current system could hurt local waterways.

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Trost aide: Walker to sign police billSubmitted: 04/22/2014

MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.

Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.

Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.

Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.

The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.

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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”

In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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Northwoods students celebrate Earth DaySubmitted: 04/22/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.

Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.

“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.

35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.


“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”

This was the 2nd annual natural resources fair.

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