NEWS STORIES

Congressman learns about, encourages discussion on hunger and homelessnessSubmitted: 12/18/2013

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WAUSAU - Northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy didn't know just how much hunger and homelessness affects our communities.

A group of local pastors tuned him in to the problem.

"It surprised me. I think a lot of people aren't aware of how bad this problem is, and I thought I could be part of a growing solution to address those issues of hunger and homelessness in Wisconsin, especially right here in central Wisconsin," Duffy said.

Duffy hosted Wednesday's Hunger and Homelessness Summit in Wausau.

He says nearly 14 percent of people in central and northern Wisconsin faced food hardships in 2011 and 2012.

Thousands spent time in homeless shelters.

But how these issues look in our part of the state is much different than in other areas.

"I think when you think of homelessness, you often times think of urban centers. But the fact is, we have it right here. One of the issues is it's harder to address in smaller communities," Duffy said.

More than 125 people came together Wednesday to give their input and learn about hunger and homelessness issues.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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Police: Smoking in bathroom caused school fireSubmitted: 04/24/2014

OCONTO - Police say a student smoking in a bathroom caused a fire that resulted in an estimated $5 million in smoke damage at Oconto High School.

After reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff members, Oconto police have identified as 16-year-old student as a person of interest.

Firefighters interviewed the student, who said he left class early and went to the bathroom, where he smoked a home-rolled cigarette.

Police believe the cigarette was used too close to a toilet paper dispenser, causing an accidental fire. No one else used the bathroom after the boy.

The April 16 fire forced the building to be evacuated. Students returned to class Monday at Oconto Middle School.

WLUK-TV (http://bit.ly/1lJIFZH) reports the boy is being referred to the Oconto County Department of Human Services.

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Northwoods prosecutor calls criminal Submitted: 04/24/2014

RHINELANDER - An Oneida County prosecutor can’t believe how stupid a move one Wausau man is accused of making in court.

“This case is unbelievable, it's hard for me to even fathom we had someone that I hate to say stupid, but I guess that's basically what it was,” says Jodie Bednar-Clemens, prosecuting attorney. “I mean someone who came into court, into our courthouse, into the courtroom carrying illicit drugs in their pocket and much less methamphetamine.”

30 - year - old Kurtis Cline was originally facing three theft charges. While in court for those on April 10th, prosecutors say he took a bag of meth from his jeans pocket. He tried to stash the drugs under his seat cushion, but an officer caught him.

“Pulled something out of his pocket and put it under the seat cushion it was so obvious to me that he was doing something I had to keep myself from laughing out loud in court,” says Kurt Kopacz, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy.

Cline pleaded not guilty in court. He's being held on a $5,000 bond. He will be back in court next month.

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Board speeds up start of short-term loan program Submitted: 04/24/2014

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The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.

The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain

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WisDOT leaders hopeful for increase in Northwoods railSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.

Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.

In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.

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Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuitSubmitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.

The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.

Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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Educating seniors about drug abuseSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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That's why Lac du Flambeau police gave a drug presentation at an event for the elderly Thursday.

Police leaders wanted to show seniors what could happen if they didn't keep track of their medications.

"A lot of times the elderly and older population can be victims from this. As the younger children, grandchildren, things like that are you know coming in and taking their grandparents prescription drugs," says Sarah Keuer a nurse at Peter Christensen Health Center.

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Warrant will be required to track cellphone locationsSubmitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin police will now need a warrant to track the location of your cellphone.

Governor Scott Walker signed the cell phone tracking bill yesterday.

The measure passed the Legislature in February with no opposition.

Under the new law, police would have to give details about their investigation when trying to get a warrant to track a cellphone.

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