Senate may not vote on drunken driving billsSubmitted: 12/27/2013
Story By Associated Press

Senate may not vote on drunken driving bills
MADISON - Bills designed to toughen Wisconsin's notoriously weak drunken driving laws that passed the state Assembly with bipartisan support may be going nowhere in the Senate.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells The Associated Press he would prefer to spend money on setting up special drunken driving treatment courts statewide before considering the bills. He said Friday the courts would be a more effective way to tackle drunken driving.

One of the bills awaiting Senate action would make all second offenses misdemeanors. Under current law, a second offense committed more than 10 years after a first offense is considered a first offense.

Another proposal would require all first-time offenders to make an appearance in court. A third bill would ensure that court-ordered ignition interlock devices are promptly installed.

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MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.

The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.

Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.

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CLARK COUNTY - David Farris has been found safe according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

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RHINELANDER - Downtown Rhinelander turned into a sea of green on Saturday.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade brought in hundreds down to Brown Street.

Green beer, good food and great music made for a perfect St. Patrick's Day.

While most people wore their green clothes proudly, Mike Lamarre from Suring Wisconsin didn't get the memo.

"My eyes are green that's it," said Lamarre.

Lamarre came to Rhinelander with one thing on his to do list.

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WESTON - A Weston company hosted a so-called "bus-rodeo." The event served as an open house for the Lamers Bus Company.

The goal of the event is to see if people are interested in a job as a bus driver. People who visited could get behind the wheel and take a bus for a spin.

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FOREST COUNTY - A DNR technician went to check on timber sales in Forest County on Thursday. In between checks he found what he thought was an abandoned car in the woods. It turned out to be a woman stuck in the snow for a few days.

Jason Headson and his partner Sam were out checking on timber when they saw a parked vehicle.

"We noticed some movement in the car," said Headson.

They approached the small, grey sedan, which had its hood up. Then they discovered an elderly woman in the car.

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TOMAHAWK - Since the start of the school year, the Tomahawk School District called the police department 55 times. Police say the majority of those calls are related to disorderly conduct or students skipping school. But Chief Al Elvins thinks there's an easy fix that could also better protect the school. 
"This could easily have three officers up here, I mean, as big as it is," said Elvins, while driving past the school Friday. 

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THREE LAKES - A Three lakes Special Education Director started a program with a dream and $500. She hoped a coffee shop would teach students social and life skills but what came out of it went far beyond her expectations.
"My philosophy is dream to inspire," said Three Lakes Special Education Director Deb Straus.
Twenty- three years ago Straus dreamed of creating life experiences for her students.
"Everyone has something to offer to this world that we live in," said Straus.

With a $500 grant Straus made her dream come true with an in-school Coffee House.
"This is like my safe place," said Three Lakes sophomore Christinia Kubiak.
The baristas and bakers are pretty recognizable to Three Lakes teachers and students.
"It's been fun getting things set up in the morning," said Three Lakes sophomore Rain Maves.
Some of the students have worked at the weekly Coffee House before class for years.

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