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Dems want to strip governor of DNR secretary appointment powersSubmitted: 10/23/2013
Dems want to strip governor of DNR secretary appointment powers
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

MADISON - Wisconsin's governor picks the person in charge of natural resources in the state.

Since the mid-1990s, the governor has appointed the DNR secretary.

That leads some people to think it's simply a political appointment.

Democratic Reps. Janet Bewley (Ashland), Chris Danou (Trempealeau), Nick Milroy (South Range), and Dianne Hesselbein (Middleton) want to change that.

They introduced a proposal that would put that job in the hands of the Natural Resources Board.

The idea is in its early stages.

Northern Wisconsin Republican representatives didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.

Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.

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RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.

The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.

Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.

The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.

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RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.

Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway.  The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.

They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time.  About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.

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MINOCQUA - Typically, most people avoid spending time in junk yards but one Minocqua couple finds beauty in turning old antiques into art.

Since 2012, the retirees opened up the Rusty Truck, a business that turns aged, rusted pieces into rustic furniture and art.

Owner Mike Gang says after he retired from being a firefighter, he wasn't going to let his hidden talent go to waste.

"I love seeing things and seeing what they could be. [Taking] old things and turning them into something that's useful and practical," said Mike.

Mike's wife Ruth Ann says she is more than happy to bring old memories to life with their creations.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board approved spending nearly $8,000 on a study for the public fishing pier on Highway 51 in Minocqua.

The findings will help board members decide whether to replace the entire bridge or just repair parts of it.

Public Works Director Mark Pertile says the exact age of the pier is unknown but he guesses it's around 100 years old.

"When you look underneath you'll see some of the problem areas. Some of the things we check are the railings to make sure they are stable. But the wood [is starting to] rot," explained Pertile.

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RHINELANDER - Caramel apples seem to be a go-to treat this time of year, but a tough growing season almost made them hard to find this Fall.

Fun Factory Sweet Shoppe in Rhinelander only uses Granny Smith apples for its caramel apples.

Throughout the last few weeks, manager Judy Fritz says she had trouble finding enough green apples in the Northwoods.

Stores said bad crops and little rainfall made the Granny Smith apples scarce this season.

She eventually found some sold in bulk in Milwaukee to bring up north.

Fun Factory is very particular about their apples, so in the meantime, Judy hand-picked from the produce aisles in local stores.

"We always make sure that there are no bumps or bruises. We want a nice, perfect apple," says Fritz.


Judy says you shouldn't worry about getting your hands on one of her caramel apples.

Shipments of granny smith apples from Washington State have started to come in to a local store she works with.

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RHINELANDER - With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.

"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.

Wednt hauls boats for Schoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.

"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said.  "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."

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