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NEWS STORIES

Experts expect to see more out-of-state donations flowing to Wisc. race for governorSubmitted: 07/11/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


WISCONSIN - Political experts believe Wisconsin's candidates for governor could see increases in out-of-state donations during the 2014 election cycle.

A new report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows that Wisconsin legislators and candidates received $ 4.1 million from out of state donors in 2013.

That's down from the record setting $17.1 million that flowed in during the 2012 election cycle.

UW Madison Professor of Political Science Kenneth Mayer credits the decline to the 2012 recall.

"State politics in Wisconsin became national symbols and they attracted lots of attention and lots of effort and lots of campaign money from out of state because the fate of Scott Walker and the recall became a symbol for very important national issues," Mayer said.

Governor Scott Walker raised $3,726,041 from out-of-state last year, while leading Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke raised $159,784 from out-of-state.

Mayer believes out of state donations will increase again because of the national significance of the race for governor.

"The amount that comes in from out of state, the amount that candidates raise and spend, and the amount of independent activity whether they're state groups or out-of-state groups is going to increase quite a bit," Mayer said.

Out-of-state campaign contributions could impact voters influence in the race.
Political experts say a candidate's interest can shift when they get large amounts of money from a certain few groups or people.

"The concern is that people outside the state are not necessarily affected or even all that interested in what happens inside the state," Mayer said.

Mayer says candidates could use that to claim the other side isn't focused on Wisconsin voters, he doesn't believe that will happen in this fall's race for governor.

"It is actually quite rare for this to be a significant factor in a race where there are other major issues as there will be here," Mayer said.

Those include labor rights, mining, job creation and many more issues. Walker has survived two elections since 2010. Mary Burke is favored to represent Democrats this fall.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Police prepare for 4th of JulySubmitted: 07/03/2015

MINOCQUA - You can find tourists all over the Northwoods already for the holiday weekend.

That means area police departments are busy making sure everyone stays safe.

The Minocqua Police Department has all of their officers working extended hours on July 4th, but the police chief says they worry more about safety than law enforcement.

"[The] 4th of July is more family-oriented," says Minocqua Chief of Police Dave Jaeger. "You have a lot of families down there with their children, so we're down there to make sure that it's a safe environment."

Places like Minocqua will be packed with people this weekend, so police just want to make sure holiday events go on safely.

"We mainly focus on, during the parade, we do the re-route, and we have officers on the parade route in case there's any type of issues or accidents that may occur, that we have to respond to," says Jaeger.

The Minocqua Police Department also works with the chamber of commerce and public works to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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MADISON/TOMAHAWK - It may come as a surprise, but fishermen, hunters, or hikers can't legally cross most railroad tracks in Wisconsin.

That's even if the rail line splits their own property. Walking across tracks is only allowed on the thousands of crossings specifically approved by the state.

Some legislative Republicans think that doesn't make sense. They added a proposal to the state budget on Thursday to allow people to cross tracks on foot. Making a crossing would no longer be considered trespassing, and railroad companies would have no power to prevent it.

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PARK FALLS - Kelly Meredith's paint-splattered uniform and face tell us what she does.  But the Butternut muralist prefers to think of her job as a historian.

"Those stories need to go out to the rest of us," Meredith said.

Brush stroke by brush stroke, Meredith went to work this spring, painting the uniforms and faces of Northwoods World War II veterans and bringing their stories back to life.

"They weren't gods and heroes," Meredith said. "They're ordinary people who overcame their fear and the courage and dignity to basically save the world."

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NORTHWOODS - Many people travel to the Northwoods for the fourth of July. 

That means there can be a lot of extra traffic.

Wisconsin State Patrol makes sure it's ready for the holiday.

It has more people staffed on busy holiday weekends.

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MADISON - Wisconsin could force drunk drivers to pay in more money to support SafeRide Home programs in the state.

Earlier this week, we told you the state was planning to kick in less money to support county SafeRide Home programs. The program offers free taxi rides home from bars.

A proposal passed by a Capitol committee on Thursday night could help SafeRide Home.

It would add a $50 surcharge to some OWI offenses. That money would go back into SafeRide Home programs.

The proposal is part of the state budget, which has yet to become law.

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NORTHWOODS - As people start getting ready for the 4th of July, many will camp here in the Northwoods.

The DNR expects almost 3,000 people to camp in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest this weekend.

The DNR thinks this will be their best 4th of July yet, with almost all of the campgrounds full.
People say there's nothing better than camping in the Northwoods.

"We like to come up to the Northwoods because it's beautiful and the water's crystal clear," said Prairie Farm resident Peter Fetting. "The other campers are always really friendly, and I've been coming up here for 30 years. This is my 30th year coming up here to camp."

People already got a head start heading out to beaches and on the water Friday. Campers say more people should come enjoy the woods this summer.

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ANTIGO - Low temperatures this time of year can cause problems for some farmers. One Northwoods strawberry farm had to close down for a few hours earlier this week because the berries aren't ripening as fast as normal.

"The cold days this week made the berries ripen much slower than normal," says Andy Merry, owner of Merry's Berries.

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