NEWS STORIES

New Zoning Law Starts MondaySubmitted: 04/13/2012

RHINELANDER - In early April, Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law loosening regulations on homeowners in Wisconsin.

The law takes affect next week and many zoning officials are struggling with the changes.

Representative Tom Tiffany helped shape this legislation and met with some local zoning officials about the complexities.

"Are there any unintended consequences with this?," Tiffany says. "That's what we were working through in Madison yesterday with the Oneida County zoning officials and a couple other zoning officials. They just want to ensure they understand the intent of the bill and that they get it right."

This bill is supposed to give counties a consistent approach to zoning standards and cannot restrict by more than what the Wisconsin D-N-R's standards outline.

Tiffany says the bill helps people who have sub-standard lots, or lots that were legal at the time but aren't legal now.

It also lets people improve their home beyond 50 percent of its value.

"We believe people should be able to repair and maintain their homes up to whatever value they choose to," Tiffany says. "It doesn't allow expansions but it dose allow people to repair and maintain their homes."

The law will be published Monday.

Story By: Matt Doyle

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Educating seniors about drug abuseSubmitted: 04/24/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Drug addicts can look nearly everywhere to get their fix, and sometimes they can get that by raiding their family's medicine cabinet.

That's why Lac du Flambeau police gave a drug presentation at an event for the elderly Thursday.

Police leaders wanted to show seniors what could happen if they didn't keep track of their medications.

"A lot of times the elderly and older population can be victims from this. As the younger children, grandchildren, things like that are you know coming in and taking their grandparents prescription drugs," says Sarah Keuer, a nurse at Peter Christensen Health Center.

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Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuitSubmitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.

The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.

Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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Police: Smoking in bathroom caused school fireSubmitted: 04/24/2014

OCONTO - Police say a student smoking in a bathroom caused a fire that resulted in an estimated $5 million in smoke damage at Oconto High School.

After reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff members, Oconto police have identified as 16-year-old student as a person of interest.

Firefighters interviewed the student, who said he left class early and went to the bathroom, where he smoked a home-rolled cigarette.

Police believe the cigarette was used too close to a toilet paper dispenser, causing an accidental fire. No one else used the bathroom after the boy.

The April 16 fire forced the building to be evacuated. Students returned to class Monday at Oconto Middle School.

WLUK-TV (http://bit.ly/1lJIFZH) reports the boy is being referred to the Oconto County Department of Human Services.

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Statewide tornado drillSubmitted: 04/24/2014

RHINELANDER - There was no severe weather Thursday, but sirens across the Northwoods were blaring at about 1:45 pm on Thursday.

That's because the National Weather Service held a statewide tornado drill.

It was part of their severe weather awareness week, and Oneida County took part in the drill.

"The sirens are only set off for warnings, in the city of Rhinelander, it's only going to be a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that is affecting the city area," said Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof. "It's also going to be set off for a Tornado Warning affecting the area."

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Hodag water show pavilion needs repair Submitted: 04/24/2014

RHINELANDER - It won't be much longer before the Hodag water show gears up for the summer, but right now they need to make repairs to their building. Rod Olson says it may cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to make repairs to the building. To watch the video click on the video link.

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WisDOT leaders hopeful for increase in Northwoods railSubmitted: 04/24/2014

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses donít get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.

Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.

Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.

In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.

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FDA proposes regulations for e-cigarettes Submitted: 04/24/2014

ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.

The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.

Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts donít know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.

The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.

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