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Supreme Court hears challenge to partner registrySubmitted: 10/24/2013
Supreme Court hears challenge to partner registry
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

RHINELANDER - Kids all over Wisconsin will head back to school soon.

However, workers at a Rhinelander bus service say knowing bus safety skills could safe your child's life.

"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

But Kriesel says bus safety is no laughing matter.
"Bus drivers only have one thing in mind and that is your safety," said Kriesel.

Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

"Making sure there're safe. That's really our number one job," said Kriesel.

The open house will have three bus emergency scenarios for kids to learn how to evacuate safely.

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

"Our intent is to try and keep it that high quality keep the water quality protected and also provide for both fish and wildlife habitat," said Pierce. 

Wednesday was also a celebration.

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MERRILL - It might look like Olivia Telschow works alone these days.  That impression isn't far from the truth.

"It definitely isn't a job for a slacker," Telschow said of her work.

Telschow is in her second year of running Helene's Hilltop Orchard south of Merrill. She's been busy pruning 14 acres of apple trees, mowing the grass, and cutting the corn maze four times in the last month alone.

"We kind of go through this mad panic about six weeks before we open and all of the sudden it's no longer counting down the weeks, it's counting down the days," Telschow said.

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

"The Eagle River Chain of Lakes alone is about 350-400 miles of water," said Shele.

"We talk about Eagle River and the things that used to happen up here, but nobody knows the stuff that's going on on the lakes," said Gary.

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HARSHAW - More than 50 people from Vilas, Forest, and Oneida counties came together Wednesday to learn leadership skills. 

Northwoods United Way hosted the second annual Leaderfest at Rondele Ranch in Harshaw. 

Executive Director Nancy Sattler was excited to present this opportunity to people in the area. 

"We want to offer the opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth and the opportunity also to network with other people from the Northwoods and to learn from them and maybe they can help them in the future," said Sattler. 

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HAZELHURST - A local Northwoods business works together to make better products than it did when it first began in 1925. 

Tomahawk Live Trap has grown and even relocated to Hazelhurst since then.

Greg Smith and his wife Jenny bought Tomahawk Live Trap about seven years ago.

And the company has been growing ever since.

Sales have more than doubled since Greg and Jenny took over.  But it's not just the sales that have grown.

"When we first came in here, the culture, I'm going to say was toxic," said Greg Smith.

But it's not toxic anymore. Tomahawk Live Trap has worked with UW-Stout and its Manufacturing Outreach Center to form a better team.

"You treat people like people, you empower people so they can do their jobs and you listen to them," said Smith.

Operations Coordinator, Chris Powers was there when the Smith's took over and has noticed the big improvement with the environment.

"We work together as a team to put out the best product we can, as fast as we can," said Powers.

The program uses a "lean" philosophy which helps trim unnecessary portions of a work area.

"Only using and having what you need in an area versus a bunch of clutter and stuff in an area," said Powers.

The biggest customers for Tomahawk Live Trap are mainly animal control companies. They sell to not only American companies, but also around the world.

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EAGLE RIVER - A $14,000 donation will help bring kids from urban areas to the Northwoods.

Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

The Milwaukee-based group tried to use that money to save a Laona Boy Scout camp last year, but it wasn't able to raise enough money fast enough. 

So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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