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

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

CRANDON - Pounding rain, howling winds, and flashing lightningâ€"not the most ideal conditions for camping on Saturday night.

In fact, Saturday night's bad weather couldn't have picked a worse time for thousands of people to set up camp at the Crandon Race Track.

"We were holding onto the awning last night," said Keegan Kincaid, a racer from Crandon. ."It was pouring."

"Our canopy [got] rained [on] so much we had to keep pushing it up so it wouldn't collapse," said Paul Posbrig, a fan from Green Bay.

"It was coming in all over," said Jessie Braden, a fan from Richfield.

But for Crandon fans, the rain certainly didn't dampen the weekend.

"But we made the best of it," said Braden, who comes to Crandon every summer for the Brush Run.

"We had a canopy at one point and put up tarps on the walls as we got downpoured on and it was all windy," Braden said. "If we're going camping, it's going to rain!"

The fans also got their fair share of noise because the rain didn't really affect the race schedule.

"We just had to wait a little bit longer before we could put crews out on the track," said the raceway's announcer, Dave Mullins. "So needed it to dry off a little bit first. But really it was only about a half hour."

But it certainly changed the racers' strategy.

"And so you'll see a lot of changes in trucks and driving styles," Kincaid said.
"Figure out the track, sort out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a racer from Arizona.

But Crandon's track is pretty resilient.

"Most tracks we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day, but Crandon has a lot of clay," Kincaid said.

"Because this is a clay track, it doesn't absorb the water as much, it makes it more like a mud pit," Mullins said.

Sunday's nice weather quickly brought the track's conditions back to normal.

"I thought we were going to be racing in the mud, but turns out because of the sun and wind we're actually going back to our setup we had yesterday," Luyendyk, Jr., said. 

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MINOCQUA - Things don't always go well out on the water. That's why Oneida County has a specialized dive team ready to respond whenever there's an emergency.

But funding the dive team is expensive. Saturday, community groups came together to help raise money for the team at the Minocqua Swim Challenge.

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RHINELANDER - Lumberjacks returned to Rhinelander Saturday for the 3rd annual Boom Lake Log Jam.

The event celebrates the city's logging history while showing off both old and new lumberjack skills.

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PRICE COUNTY - A truck versus train crash killed a woman late Saturday morning.

According to the Price County Sheriff's Office, it happened at the intersection of County Road D and the Canadian National Railroad tracks in the Township of Knox.

Police think a 76-year-old man was driving the truck with a 76-year-old woman in the passenger seat, and the truck and the train collided.

Several different agencies responded, including Canadian National Railroad investigators.

Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, and they took the woman to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau where she later died.

Police are still investigating and will not yet release the names.

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WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.

Patrick J. Eppolite Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit $20 bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.

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RHINELANDER - This week, a 7-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.

On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.

Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.

"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.

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STEVENS POINT - David Appel doesn't say too much these days.  Instead, he lets his artwork speak for him.

"Oh yeah, he likes to show them off," David's son Dan said.

The recently turned 82-year-old spends his days in the Portage County Skilled Nursing Facility. His family often spends their weekly visit admiring the oil paintings he once crafted.

"I wouldn't call it a shock, but I didn't know he had that artistic skill," Dan Appel said.

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