NORTHWOODS - Water main breaks from this harsh winter will cost Northwoods communities millions of dollars.
The U.S. Congress might want to help.
Under old rules, northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Weston) might have tried to get direct federal money to help pay for repairs.
He can't anymore.
Congress used to have the power to earmark money for specific projects across the country.
But that hasn't been allowed since 2010.
"If we were still earmarking in Congress, this would be one that would be considered through the earmark process. But again, it was abused at a pretty disgusting level, and that's why it's gone," Duffy said.
Lawmakers used earmarks to send money for big projects in their home state.
That could help them gain popularity and win reelection.
The practice is gone.
But Duffy might have used it for water main repair projects in Northwoods communities if it was still around.
"They're not bursting at the seams with revenue. They don't have the resources to fix, many times, very, very old infrastructure," he said.
Instead, the state may apply for federal disaster aid to help pay for the work.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
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