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NEWS STORIES

The DNR extends comment period for pre-application of the proposed Gogebic Taconite MineSubmitted: 09/06/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


Photos By KARE-11

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.

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We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - A convicted sex offender from Rhinelander can keep pictures of children he cut out of magazines.

A state appeals court dismissed new charges against Albert Chagnon Thursday.

Prosecutors charged the 33-year-old last year with 23 counts of intentionally photographing a minor without consent. Chagnon was about to be released from prison when a guard discovered a notebook in his pants containing photographs of fully-clothed young girls cut out of magazines or newspapers, including the Lakeland Times.

Chagnon argued that the charges should be dismissed because he didn't take the photographs. The 4th District Court of Appeals agreed with him Thursday, saying state law doesn't cover Chagnon's conduct.

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MADISON - Newly released documents show Gov. Scott Walker's office was involved in drafting legislation to overhaul Wisconsin's open records law and keep some government materials secret.

Republicans on the Legislature's budget committee passed a measure earlier this month that would have shielded many documents created by state government officials from the open records law, including drafts of legislation and staff communications.

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CINCINNATI - A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist after stopping him over a missing front license plate has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Twenty-five-year-old Ray Tensing wore a striped jail uniform at his arraignment Thursday. Bond was set at $1 million.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's search for a new city administrator got a little narrower - from nearly two dozen candidates to a handful. Rhinelander has been without a city administrator since the middle of May when Blain Oborn went to Lake Geneva.

The Rhinelander City Council held a meeting last night to go through a list of candidates. At the end of that meeting, they went front from having 22, down to a list of four.

"We have four candidates that we have coming in," said Rhinelander's Mayor Richard Johns. "And the candidates vary, one's from Eau Claire, Antigo, Kewaskum, and Stevens Point. We pretty much have a local area so-to-speak, rather than out of state."

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MERRILL - All K-8 students in Merrill Schools will get their own iPads this fall.

Wednesday, teachers were trained on how to use the new technology.

Last year, six third grade classrooms tried out how it would work.

District leaders said parents and students involved in the pilot program liked it.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - A Vilas County shooting range will get some financial aid thanks to the Wisconsin DNR.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range got a grant for venue upgrades.

The range also got a grant last year.

It used the money to make its facilities handicap accessible.

Range officials say they will use this year's grant for additions.

Those include making the space more energy efficient.

"[The] money will be used for insulating the clubhouse," says Secretary of the Boulder Junction Shooting Range Pete Drahn. "It'll be used to remove doors and windows that we no longer need, and to replace a window with a more energy efficient window."

The range has gotten grants two years in a row, but it won't happen again next year.

"They've told everybody that received the grants this year that they'll start doing grants only every other year for someone who has received it," says Drahn. "So at the earliest, it would be the year after next."

The range's board members want to make the venue better for shooters, but they say they couldn't have done it without the grant's help.

"These are projects we probably wouldn't do for eons," says Drahn. "We don't receive any money from anybody except the users of the range. So we don't have a lot for our capital needs."

The range also plans to install a new fence to improve the facility's safety.

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