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Construction and Lawsuit Move ForwardSubmitted: 05/16/2013
Story By Lex Gray


MERRILL - Major road construction near Merrill moved forward this week, and so did a legal battle from a local business owner trying to stop it.

Construction at Highway 51 and County Road C began three days ago.

Raj Bhandari owns the Citgo gas station at the intersection.

He says business has already slowed down and will eventually stop.

The state DOT's plan to build an overpass would cut off access to Bhandari's gas station.

Bhandari filed a suit in federal court late last month.

He says Wisconsin planned to use federal funds until he protested.

Then the DOT switched to state funds, which it wasn't allowed to do.

On May 8, a judge denied the state's motion to dismiss the case.

A hearing is scheduled for May 31.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - State superintendent candidate Lowell Holtz sent a campaign-focused email detailing his support among Republicans using his Whitnall Public School email address during a school day.

The email sent in May appears to be in violation of the state law prohibiting the use of government resources for campaign work.

The email was provided to The Associated Press by the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now which received it through an open records request.

Holtz did not respond to a request for comment.

Former chief state elections administrator Kevin Kennedy says the email does break the law, but it's not likely to rise to the level of something warranting prosecution. Kennedy says it shows more of a lack of judgment than criminal act.

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OCONOMOWOC - A Wisconsin couple is charged with child neglect and suffocation after police say they gagged and "hog-tied" a 12-year-old boy with duct tape while they went out to dinner in December.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the victim's mother and stepfather, of Oconomowoc, each face misdemeanor counts of child neglect and felony counts of suffocation as parties to the crime. The woman faces an additional charge.

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RHINELANDER - The Oneida County woman accused of mistreating animals in her rescue won't go to court next week.

The Oneida County District Attorney's Office confirmed Friday morning that Stephanie Schneider's court appearance Monday has been pushed back.

Police seized 39 dogs from her "It Matters to One" animal rescue in Sugar Camp earlier this month.

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MERCER - Kids across northcentral Wisconsin woke up to the two best words they could hear on Friday: snow day.

Districts all over the area cancelled school because of the winter storm.

As far as we can tell, Mercer was the only school in the area to have class today.

Believe it or not, that was good news for most kids in the area.

View the attached video to see more.

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RHINELANDER - When it snows here in the Northwoods, we usually think about driving conditions and shoveling our driveways. But turns out dealing with the snow can mean both work and play.

If you're sick of digging out your car, try being Chuck Doemel.

"This year's been a really, really mild winter. I can only think of about seven times that we've had to plow and move the snow and move the cars around," said Doemel of Rhinelander Honda.

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RHINELANDER - Movie fans will see if their favorite movie wins "Best Picture of the Year" at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
There are some big names nominated this year, but there are a few many people in the Northwoods have never seen.
Rouman Cinema is giving people a chance to catch up on movies that will be winning the big awards. 

The studios that produce the movies, decide what theatres get to show them and when.

A lot of it has to do with marketing and the demographics of the area.

Diverse movies like Moonlight and Fences often don't come to the are, until months after they're released.
George Rouman owns Rouman Cinema he says it's up to the studios, not him.

"People may or may not be into this type of thing but for those who are interested in really good, excellence quality performances, it's a great chance to get out here and see some of these movies and see what some of the buzz is about," said Rouman.

Rouman created a three week Oscar special where he'll be showing about 15 Oscar nominated films.

Rouman believes that people in the Northwoods have a right to see and know about movies featuring different cultures and people.

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TOMAHAWK - Police departments often seize drugs, cash, and vehicles involved in crimes. Tomahawk uses up to $10,000 a year from those to fight crime. But a new bill could take that money away.

"You're handcuffing your police officers," said Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins.

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