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NEWS STORIES

Harsh winter blew up budgets for road maintenanceSubmitted: 05/02/2014
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - This year's harsh winter blew up the budget for road maintenance.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation spent more than planned on plowing, salting and other expenses.

The department next week will ask the Legislature to approve spending another 27-million dollars for expenses related to the long winter.

The state contracts with counties to help maintain state highways in addition to county roads.

Bills are still coming in from counties for work plowing and salting roads this winter.

The department expects it will go over its original maintenance budget by about 16-million.

The other 11-million comes from the additional 160-thousand tons of salt purchased in mid-winter.

The money would come from a transportation revenue surplus.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON -

The state Department of Natural Resources will unveil a new endangered species license plate tomorrow.

The plate features a photograph of Glory.

Glory is the eagle that stars in education programs at a Nature Center in Milwaukee.

The design was chosen from more than 2,000 entries.

Two other endangered species plates are currently available.

One features a wolf.

The eagle plate will replace the other, a badger plate.

The plates' fees include an annual $25 donation to the DNR's endangered species fund.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)


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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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HURLEY - Iron County officials say other developers with better qualifications than Gogebic Taconite are interested in mining ore in the Penokee Hills.

County Board members met last week with representatives from La Pointe Iron Co., which owns much of the land in northern Wisconsin that Gogebic Taconite tried to develop before pulling out in February.

One county board member says Gogebic Taconite's performance may make it harder for another developer to gain the public's trust.

He says county residents will likely remain divided on the mine because of environmental concerns.

But if state and federal regulators can guarantee the environment won't suffer, he says the mine might be worth pursuing because it could bring jobs to an area that desperately needs them.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has asked Wisconsin's attorney general to take "immediate action" to protect ratepayers and workers from what the Republican presidential candidate calls "devastating impacts" of a new rule designed to cut greenhouse gases.

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ANTIGO - Excitement and joy filled faces in Antigo Monday afternoon.

Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County broke ground on their 9th home, but it will take some hands-on work before the family can move in.

David and Theresa Ferrel have been renting for the last 10 years. This will be the first home they will own.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A stretch of Highway 8 in Oneida County will get smoother after some resurfacing over the next few months. The project started Monday on a section of the road between Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It's been several years since that area of Highway 8 has been repaved.

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