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NEWS STORIES

Duffy might have used earmark to help pay for Northwoods water main breaks, if he couldSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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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.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Volunteers start setting up Oneida County FairSubmitted: 07/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Volunteers started preparations Monday for the Oneida County Fair.

About 50 people helped set up.

A lot of work was completed ahead of schedule thanks to volunteers.

Fair leaders think most of the setup will be done Monday.

"We're hoping to be done pretty much today with the initial setup," says Fair Coordinator Nancy Gehrig. "K&M Amusement is already setting up today, which normally they aren't setting up until Tuesday. So yeah, we're ahead of the game already."

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Wisconsin schools get money for energy efficiencySubmitted: 07/28/2014

APPLETON - More Wisconsin school districts have begun to take advantage of a change in state law allowing them to borrow money to help fund energy efficient projects.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports (http://post.cr/1plXwIE ) 55 districts raised more than $23 million without having to ask voters to approve a referendum. The amount raised has nearly tripled since the previous year.

The two-year-old law allows schools to borrow money for energy conservation projects over multiple years in a way that diffuses costs to taxpayers.

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Police search for hit and run driverSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MERRILL - Police need your help finding the driver of car involved in a hit and run accident over the weekend.

It happened around 3:30 in the morning on Saturday in the town of Merrill.

No one was hurt in the crash.

The victim was driving east on Hillside Drive, just west of County Rd K.

That's when a small silver car sideswiped the victim's dark blue Dodge Avenger.

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AirVenture gets underway this week in OshkoshSubmitted: 07/28/2014

OSHKOSH - Aviation enthusiasts from as many as 70 countries will gather in Oshkosh this week for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.

The convention draws about a half million people to the weeklong event near Wittman Regional Airport.

Thousands of planes have already landed at the airport.

On Monday, NASA representatives will talk about their plan to take people to Mars starting in 2030.

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Trial date set for former Assembly Majority LeaderSubmitted: 07/28/2014

WAUKESHA - The former majority leader of the Wisconsin Assembly will go on trial in October for sexual assault.

State Representative Bill Kramer is accused of shoving a woman into a car, groping her and making inappropriate comments.

The charges date back to a GOP event in April 2011.

During a hearing Friday, a Waukesha County Circuit Judge set a jury trial for October 28th.

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Blues festival raises money for youth sports teamsSubmitted: 07/27/2014

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ST. GERMAIN - Most communities sell cookies and pies to raise money for their kid's athletic programs. But athletes in the Northland Pines district get most of their funding from a blues festival.

The Joe Bucher Blues Fest is the biggest blues festival in northern Wisconsin. More than 350 people come to the festival every year. All of the money raised is donated to the Northland Pines sports teams.

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team inspires Northwoods crowdsSubmitted: 07/27/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Two things unite a special group of 24 of our nation's heroes - traumatic injury and softball. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is made up of veterans and active duty servicemen who served in the Global War on Terrorism.

"I thought the world was over. And I thought there was no way in the world I'd ever do anything again," Army veteran and Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball player Rick Wilk said of losing his leg.

Wilk came home safely from two deployments only to lose his leg below the knee to a drunk driver in 2010. Within a year of losing his leg, Wilk was up and running, literally. Now, three years after losing his leg, he plays softball better than most people with all their limbs.

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