ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - We can feel strongly about environmental topics. That's especially true when it comes to mining in Northern Wisconsin, specifically the Gogebic Taconite mine proposed in Iron County.
On Tuesday, the comment period on bulk sampling ended. That period allowed the public to weigh in on one GTAC plan. The company wants to take four thousand tons of rock from the mine site for testing. The DNR got hundreds of comments, some for mining in general and others against it but the DNR really values the technical comments about the site itself or the sampling they would like to see.
"When we get the completed bulk sampling plan, we'll look at that bulk sampling plan and we'll also look at the technical comments we received on the bulk sampling plan when we're making our permitting decision," says Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management Director.
While the bulk sampling got lots of comments, the pre-application notification did not. That's different from the request to sample. The pre-application is one of the first steps in the process of asking for an actual permit to mine.
"It was just very clear that they didn't know that the hearing or the comment period were for the pre-application notification so I just wanted to make it clear and to give people more time to comment on that pre-application notice," says Ann Coakley.
The comment period on the pre-application has been extended to September 17th.
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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