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Duffy might have used earmark to help pay for Northwoods water main breaks, if he couldSubmitted: 04/24/2014
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Duffy might have used earmark to help pay for Northwoods water main breaks, if he could
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.

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EAGLE RIVER - A woman went missing last night east of Eagle River, but searchers found her safe early Friday morning.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department got the report of the missing woman just before 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

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MINOCQUA - The tennis courts at Lakeland Union High School usually get filled with students. 

If you stop by the courts during the summer, you'll see a different demographic taking over. 

A group of senior citizens dressed in all white play with wooden tennis rackets to mimic a Wimbledon, tennis game. 

Jerry Sikora never played tennis until the day he decided to get a group together back in 1990. 

"It means a lot to a lot of us that don't do activities that much," said Sikora. 

Since getting the group together for the first time Sikora has gotten a lot of practice. 

He also added about 20 older adults to the team.

 The age range of the players is from the 50s to mid-80s.

"The older you get the smarter you get," said 70-year- old Ted Dasler. 

The group said they only get better with time. 

Sikora said the snowbirds get more practice during warm winters in the south.

"They have no mercy on us when they come back," said Sikora. 

Things can get intense on the court at times, but the friendships and entertainment brings everyone back to play. 

The players said the most important thing is to always have fun. 


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GLEASON - The Third Annual Northern Roundup started Friday in Gleason.

Most of the cars are from the 1950s and 1960s and come in all makes and models. Red Kreyer came all the way from Fennimore in his car. 

"It's a '61 Cadillac Coupe de Ville nicknamed Elvis...[it took] about a two year restoration period," said Kreyer. 

The event is a car show, but the focus isn't on trophies, it's on community.

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MINOCQUA - "I just find this place so amazing," said actor Noah Venzke, who is in the 7th grade.

The Campanile Summer Children's Theatre Workshop has been running in Minocqua for 10 years now.

"It's a place to meet new friends, and have new experiences, and try new things," said Venzke.

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MILWAUKEE - A judge says a Wisconsin county is likely violating the U.S. Constitution with its requirement that game developers obtain permits for augmented-reality apps like Pokemon Go to be played in parks.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller said in a ruling Thursday that Milwaukee County can't enforce the ordinance for now. The ruling came at the request of Irvine, California-based game developer Candy Lab Inc., which is suing to overturn the rule.

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- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We take you live to Hayward for the Lumberjack world championship and talk with some of the competitors.

And we talk with some very young actors that are part of the Campanile kids show in Minocqua.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - This weekend the Hodag BMX track on the west side of Rhinelander hosts the Badger State Games.

More than 100 competitors of all ages and skill levels will compete for the fastest times on the recently updated track.

Competitors race bikes on a quarter mile track with several turns, jumps, embankments and moguls.
Track Operator, Rob Deede says they have competitors from age 5 to their mid-fifties.

"So it's a sport for kids of all ages, we also have it broken down based off of skill level, so from the new beginners, novices all the way through the experts who have achieved many wins in their career." Said Deede.

He says the oldest competitor he's seen was in his mid-eighties.

The track was revamped about a year ago to keep up with the changing style of tracks around the country and the world and to accommodate larger events.

He hopes to bring something positive to the community through the BMX club.

Races will take place this evening and the Championship Qualifying races tomorrow afternoon.

Admission is free. 

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