NEWS STORIES

Lawmakers Choose State Leaders in CapitolSubmitted: 11/13/2012

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MADISON - Newly selected state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos tells his Republican colleagues that he will work together with Democrats to set a new tone in Wisconsin.

Vos was unopposed for speaker Tuesday. He will take over when the Legislature reconvenes in January with Republicans in control of the Assembly just as they were the prior two years.

But Vos says no party has a monopoly on good ideas and he wants to be inclusive in how he leads.

Vos also promises to carry out an aggressive agenda, focused on reforming the state's income tax code, balancing the state budget, cutting regulations and improving education.

Rep. Scott Suder was also selected by GOP lawmakers as Republican majority leader for the next two years.

Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee was elected as Democratic leader in the state Senate.

Larson was chosen Tuesday during a closed-door meeting of Democrats who are in the minority in the Senate heading into the 2013 session. Larson was challenged by state Sen. Jon Erpenbach for the leadership post.

Erpenbach is a 14-year veteran of the Senate who previously served as minority leader a decade ago. The 32-year-old Larson was just elected in 2010 and has emerged as one of Gov. Scott Walker's sharpest critics.

Larson says he is committed to working with Walker and Republicans in the majority. Larson says he intends to be a voice for the middle class.

Republicans hold an 18-15 majority in the Senate. The Republican leader is Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau.

Story By: The Associated Press

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 IN OTHER NEWS
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 don’t 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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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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Board speeds up start of short-term loan program Submitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.

The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain

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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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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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Northwoods prosecutor calls criminal Submitted: 04/24/2014

RHINELANDER - An Oneida County prosecutor can’t believe how stupid a move one Wausau man is accused of making in court.

“This case is unbelievable, it's hard for me to even fathom we had someone that I hate to say stupid, but I guess that's basically what it was,” says Jodie Bednar-Clemens, prosecuting attorney. “I mean someone who came into court, into our courthouse, into the courtroom carrying illicit drugs in their pocket and much less methamphetamine.”

30 - year - old Kurtis Cline was originally facing three theft charges. While in court for those on April 10th, prosecutors say he took a bag of meth from his jeans pocket. He tried to stash the drugs under his seat cushion, but an officer caught him.

“Pulled something out of his pocket and put it under the seat cushion it was so obvious to me that he was doing something I had to keep myself from laughing out loud in court,” says Kurt Kopacz, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy.

Cline pleaded not guilty in court. He's being held on a $5,000 bond. He will be back in court next month.

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Students ticketed after battle with Nerf gunsSubmitted: 04/24/2014

WAUSAU - Six kids got tickets after a battle using toy Nerf guns in Wausau.

Police issued disorderly conduct citations to the high school seniors.

Some residents of Wausau called police when they saw the young people pointing a gun at a car Tuesday night.

But, it was only a toy Nerf gun that shoots foam bullets.

Wausau West High School officials have also placed some students on athletic probation.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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