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Possible downtown reconstruction discussed at open forumSubmitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray


MANITOWISH WATERS - A Manitowish Waters woman wants to change the look of the area's downtown.

Some local residents aren't thrilled with her plans.

The town used a forum to talk things out.

Newswatch 12 was there and talked with the town's supervisor.

"It's creating a lot of tension in the community. I think we have to find a way
to fix it and to ease their feelings." said Manitowish Waters Town Board
Supervisor, Eric Behnke.

Construction can cause tension.

You can find that feeling in Manitowish Waters.

One person in the community want to upgrade a local park.

But a good portion of the funding would come from a private donor.

"It's creating a lot of hardships, people are not happy about it and as a town
we need to find a way to make this situation better." Behnke said.

Liz Uihlein owns businesses in the area.

She wants to change the look of the community and she could.

But the town hasn't approved her proposal.

That's why the chamber sponsored a town forum so people could talk and ask
questions about the donations.

"Is there a process that you use to evaluate them? At what point do we say, you
know, 'Too much of our budgets is these donations and it's not what we have
funded'?" said town resident, Scott Bertz.

"As well as how much of this is the town's plan and how much of this is someone
else's plan?"

But many of those questions don't have answers.

That's because donations don't need a vote by the town's people.

"Unfortunately with our policy, if it's a donation, some of the town board
members can use that money without townsmen approval," Behnke said.

"I think that's what we need to focus on."

But the possibility of voting on donation spending is still up for question.

"The one thing we can do is be open and honest with people. We have to
communicate with people about what's going on," said Behnke.

"If they don't have an opportunity to vote on these projects, then they really
don't know about them. So I think it's our job to communicate with the people
about what's happening and educate them on where the money's coming from and
what it's being used for."


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MADISON - A Sun Prairie man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword last year has been committed to a state mental hospital.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with a psychiatrist's report Wednesday that 41-year-old Matthew Skalitzky was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

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ATV rides for seniorsSubmitted: 06/29/2016

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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Senior Centers gives seniors the chance to try new things.

Wednesday, thanks to the help of two ATV groups, the seniors were able to go on rides through the forest.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with family and friends can be a great time. But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few injuries every year from fireworks. That's far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries. But the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

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BAYFIELD - Authorities in northern Wisconsin say a teenage girl has died in an all-terrain vehicle rollover.

The Bayfield County sheriff's office says the 14-year-old left her home in the Town of Barnes on the ATV Tuesday. She was reported missing around 10 p.m.

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