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.
PRESQUE ISLE - The art of violin making dates back hundreds of years, and Brian Derber is carrying on the tradition. He wanted to go into furniture making, but fell into instrument design after taking a class in college. In 1999, he opened his own school. It's the only violin making school in Wisconsin.
"The program itself is modeled after a German school of violin making," said New World School of Violin Making Owner Brian Derber. "Students have to fulfill a certain requirement before they can apply to graduate. So the minimum time they are with me is three years."
Students start out by making the body of a violin in their first year. As they progress, they add the scroll and varnish, which can take months for students to finish. Nearing the end of their stay, they can even try to make a cello.
"In the time that I have with students in the school here, I can only give them so much, and then it's time for them to go someplace else and get more knowledge," said Derber.
VILAS COUNTY - Voters can still cast their absentee ballots in person this week for the upcoming April 7 election. Voters have until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3 to go to their municipal clerk's office to vote.
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