RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held its second public comment meeting for a $13 million initiative to boost state walleye production, Wednesday night in Rhinelander.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative will spend $8.2 million for infrastructure improvements and $1.3 million each year for annual operating costs will be provided to expand production at DNR state fish hatcheries.
Production should increase from 60,000 to 120,000 large walleye fingerlings a year to well over 500,000 by 2016.
The goal of Wednesday's meeting was to hear opinions from residents, and also discuss options of where the fish will be stocked.
DNR Northern Fisheries Supervisor Steve Avelallemant says more than 80 percent of Wisconsin lakes have natural walleye production. Those lakes won't be targeted for stocking.
"We would not think about stocking where Mother Nature is already doing it because she beats us every time," Avelallemant said.
Over the decades, walleye populations have declined slightly. That's one of the reasons why the initiative was passed. But walleye popularity with anglers also played a factor.
"Walleye are the number one game fish both in terms of what anglers are seeking and in terms of fish that they harvest," Avelallemant said.
More than 35 percent of anglers go for walleye. According to the DNR 6.1 million days of fishing in Wisconsin are for walleye. That's 29 percent of all angling days.
But Avelallemant says overfishing is a lesser problem.
"It's a factor, but it's not really one of the driving ones," Avelallemant said.
The next steps with the initiative comes in January. The DNR will revise walleye stocking quotas statewide. They will also plan private and tribal walleye production.
The DNR will hold one more public comment meeting for the walleye initiative. It will be Wednesday, October 23 in Oconomowoc.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Oconomowoc High School Art Center, 641 East Forest St.
WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.
Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie. Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital. Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to vote.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.
"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."
Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.
Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.
Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.
"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.
Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.
WAUSAU - Many of us try to honor our veterans whenever we can.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) added one more way.
The Governor visited several veteran-owned businesses across the state Tuesday for Veteran-Owned Business Day.
Tuesday afternoon he stopped at Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Wausau.
He says veteran-owned businesses are good for other veterans and the economy.
"We found statistically that veterans are about 30 percent more likely to hire fellow veterans as employees," Walker said. "So it's good all the way around."
If you are a veteran-owned business, you can register with the state at WisVets.com
That way you can get a decal that says Wisconsin Veteran-Owned for your business window or door.
You also get listed in a state veteran-owned business directory.
"We're branding it, letting the public know that businesses that are owned by veterans, letting them know whether it's in a sign in their window or whether it's on the website, or other ways that we can draw attention," Walker said.
About 390,000 veterans live in Wisconsin, and about 11 percent of the state's businesses are veteran-owned.
RHINELANDER - Three decades-old signs greet people coming into Rhinelander from various sides. But if you drive past them every day, you likely don't even notice them. Rhinelander wants to make sure those old signs stand out.
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