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Supreme Court hears challenge to partner registrySubmitted: 10/24/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - Conservative attorneys are trying to persuade the Wisconsin Supreme Court to wipe out the state's domestic partner registry.

Members of the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging the registry violates a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or anything substantially similar.

The registry grants same-sex couples a host of legal rights.

Austin Nimocks is an attorney for the group.

He told the justices during oral arguments Wednesday the qualifications to get married and get on the registry are substantially similar and the registry mimics a married relationship.

Christopher Clark, an attorney for Fair Wisconsin, the state's largest gay rights group, counters the registry doesn't come close to marriage.

He says marriage is a civil contract that comes with obligations that the registry doesn't require.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients.  Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.

Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015.  He then moved to Connecticut.  

At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments.  Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.

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CONOVER - Crowds gathered in Conover Community Park today for a little winter fun. The Northwoods Blizzard Blast provided winter games for people of all ages. 

Dylan Kleffman spent his Saturday doing some of his favorite winter activities. 

"So far my favorite thing was the pony and the snowshoeing," said seven-year-old Kleffman.  

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STEVENS POINT - An alarm system used only in extreme emergencies -- like an active shooter -- went off at a Stevens Point school Friday.  Thankfully, that report was a false alarm.

Stevens Point police were called to Ben Franklin Junior High School at 12:19 p.m.  Police responded within three minutes.  Some students were already leaving the building when officers got there.

Police made sure students outside got a safe distance away, then sent teams in to sweep the building.

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SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.

Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.

"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.

But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.

"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.

Those accusations baffle Thomas.

"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.

Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.

"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.

Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.

"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.

Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its
Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.

"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.

Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.

The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




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ONEIDA COUNTY - Once landfills run out of space, the county must decide where the garbage will go. At a meeting on Monday, it was announced that the Vilas County landfill has about 10 years left before it will have to find a new location to dispose of trash. Oneida County had a similar decision to make years ago. 

Fifteen years ago, the Oneida County landfill was capped. 

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LAND O' LAKES - Dental Hygienist Melissa Wagner really listened to the information she learned from her dentist when she was young.

"It started at a young age I want to help people I want to teach them to have great teeth so they can have their teeth for the rest of their lifetime," said Wagner.

Wagner spent her morning teaching students at Land O' Lakes Elementary school what it takes to be a dentist.

"The kids [get to] be the dentists and take food out of the bad teeth [we can help] dads and grandmas and aunts and kids," said Kindergartener Taylen Nelson.

These dentists in training learned everything they needed to stay on teeth patrol and have healthy teeth.

"You can't eat candy and you can't eat squirrel or deer," said 4K student Mackenzie Feltes.

Wagner set up demonstration tables to show what unhealthy foods can do to their teeth, and how to correctly floss and brush their pearly whites.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Squash Lake Ice Association is holding its ice out contest again on Squash Lake.

The goal is to guess when the ice will melt, and when the giant loon will drop and float on the lake.
 
A special clock attached to the loon records the exact date and time it drops. 

The winner gets to keep half of the money from ticket sales, and the other half will help fight watermilfoil on Squash Lake.

"It's been here since 2009. It was when it was first discovered. This year's point survey found no milfoil. What that means is we are doing a good and we want to keep that effort up," said Squash Lake Association board member Marj Mehring.

Mehring says the best way to see the loon up close on Squash Lake is to snowshoe, snowmobile, or ice fish. 

You need to buy a ticket from Squash Lake's website to make a guess on when the loon will drop and float. 

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