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NEWS STORIES

Walker focuses on tax cuts & job training at stop; Deflects email related discussionSubmitted: 02/28/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Gov. Walker focused on a property/income tax cut and job training proposal while talking a small group of factory workers at Northstar Steel Fabricators in Rhinelander Friday.

But many people around the state want to hear more from Walker's time as Milwaukee County Executive.

Emails from a former Walker aide during his time with Milwaukee County were released earlier this month. They were part of an investigation into possible campaigning violations by some of Walker's staff.

Six of Walker's now former aides were convicted for campaigning on the county's time. Kelly Rindfleisch was deputy chief of staff in Milwaukee County and was convicted. Walker was never charged in the investigation.

In January, Walker told American Thinker, an online publication, that, "Governors should be defined not just by what they do and say, but who they surround themselves with."

The convicted aides, including Kelly Rindfleisch, don't work with Walker any more, but some of them played a significant role in his campaign.

Regardless, Walker didn't see their association during his time as County Executive as people he surrounded himself with.

"I think out of 79,00, a handful of people who no longer work with me, who are out of the way of the state government right now," Walker said. "Instead, the people I've got surrounding me are helping us."

Walker instead focused on his current staff and what he is trying to do with the state.

"I think most people look at the totality of my time as governor," Walker said. "They look at the team that I've comprised and the cabinet that we have here and they see results."

Walker is touring the state pushing a tax and job training proposal, which is the result of $911 million surplus.

"(The) plan puts more money back into the hands of hard-working taxpayers and invests in worker training, so that companies like Northstar Steel can continue to create jobs," Governor Walker said.

The plan would cut property taxes by $406 million and cut income taxes by $98.6 million. The income taxes focus on the lowest income tax bracket.

It would also adjust withholding of state income taxes by $322.6 million. That would let people get money back immediately from the cuts via their paycheck.

The proposal also focuses $35 million for technical colleges to eliminate waiting lists for high demand fields including manufacturing, agriculture, and Information Technology.

It would also include support for people with disabilities entering the workforce as well as high schoolers training for high demand manufacturing jobs.

"We wanted to highlight manufacturing," Walker said. "Manufacturing has been a key driver not just in our states history, but really even this last year."





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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

"There's always going to be some nit-nat things that need to be changed, but I can tell you for the first event with everything we had going, it really went well," said Russell Davis, the Derbytrack's VP of Sales and Marketing. "And we're going to have some meetings afterward and obviously change some things, but we've got a lot of compliments, mostly positive, and we're excited to build on next year."

Event organizers estimate about 150 racers of all ages and from all over came to the challenge. Winners got cash prizes. The derby also had night events such as a mud run and a freestyle show.

Next year organizers hope they bring in more people.




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EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.

"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."

Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.

"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.

The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.

One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."

"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."

Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.

"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said. 

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WAUSAU - A garage fire in Wausau early this morning will likely cost about $7,200 in damage, according to Wausau Fire Battalion Chief Allan Antolik.

Antolik said it was a 12 by 20 ft detached garage on Pleasant Street.

The Wausau Fire Department responded to the call at 1:30 a.m.

The department says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

No one was hurt. 

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Wesley Bushor shows and sells woodwork out of his home.

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Wesley Bushor started working on his wood pieces about 20 years ago.

"Being a logger I come across things all the time that I like in the woods, and I decided I'd start building some basic rustic furniture, and I built a bed. A few weeks later it fell apart, but I was hooked from then on," said Bushor.
 
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WABENO - A Goodman, Wis., man died from an ATV crash in Wabeno late Saturday morning, according to a Forest County Sheriff's Department press release. 

Forest County Sheriff's officers responded to a report of an ATV crash in Wabeno late Saturday morning. Deputies got to the scene and found just one ATV was involved in the crash.

As a result of the crash, a 23-year-old Goodman, WI, man was pronounced dead at the scene by the Forest County Medical Examiner. There were no other people involved. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating the crash. 

Deputies will not release the name until the family is notified. 

We will provide more updates as they become available. 

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