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NEWS STORIES

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


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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 IN OTHER NEWS

WHITE LAKE - Students in White Lake spent the day outside of the classroom learning about invasive species today. It was the 16th annual Spring Lake Day at White Lake. It's part of the year-round Adopt-A-Lake program that teaches students about waterway and environmental preservation.

"Being on White Lake and being in the Northwoods, aquatic invasive species education is extremely important," said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss. "And a good way to reach out to people is through our students and through our youth."

Elementary students from White Lake School learned about the different aquatic invasive species such as purple loosestrife, and Eurasian watermilfoil. They also learned how to prevent them from spreading.

"Those plants spread by fragmentation and boat traffic," said Preuss. "And just educating people so they know the right steps to take and the laws to prevent this plant from moving around. We have 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin; just a small percentage have an invasive species."

Students also learned about the spread of a tree killing bug called emerald ash bore.

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THREE LAKES - The 57 year old wrestling coach, Joseph Fitzpatrick is charged with sexual assault of a minor and delivering drugs to several students.

He's accused of giving students drugs at school and at his home.

That's after one student, caught with marijuana, said she got it from Fitzpatrick.

That 14 year old student also said Fitzpatrick had sex with her.

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MADISON - The Legislature's finance committee has adopted Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate 80 positions within the state Department of Natural Resources, including more than half of the researchers in the agency's science bureau.

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MINOCQUA - One Northwoods business gives people a bird's eye view. One year into the business venture, Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua is happy with the business they are doing.

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ARMSTRONG CREEK - Liz Wywialowski gets a certain feeling when she comes back to her old family farm near Armstrong Creek.

"You would see me breathing deeply," she says, drawing in a lungful of oxygen. "Even now, there's nothing like clean, fresh air."

Liz grew up on this farm, and now owns the place, though she lives in southern Wisconsin. Her father built the majestic cedar-sided barn with her brothers, finishing it in 1944.

"He built this barn as if it would be the last barn he would need to build," Liz says.

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Merrill police donate carSubmitted: 05/29/2015

MERRILL - A Merrill public safety center can now use a new patrol car for training. The Merrill Police Department donated one of their retired police cars to the Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence. The donation marks the end of Crown Victoria police cars for the city.

"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget-writing committee plans to reduce Gov. Scott Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System by $50 million.

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