RHINELANDER/STATEWIDE - On a budget this holiday? You're in luck. You can find your perfect Christmas tree, and it'll only cost you $5.
Forest Service Ranger stations are offering permits to cut your own Christmas tree. You can pick a tree from almost anywhere within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Just make sure you stay out of campgrounds, and designated wilderness areas.
One benefit of cutting your own tree is, it may last longer, just make sure you give it plenty of water.
"Get it right in water really, really fast cause even though it's a cut tree, it's still going to absorb water," said Dave Melancon, Public Affairs Specialist at the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest office in Rhinelander.
Other guidelines include choosing a tree at least 50 feet away from a road, and picking the right size tree- Don't just cut the top off a larger tree.
Rangers also want you to keep safety in mind before heading into the woods. Keep in mind that many National Forest roads aren’t snowplowed, and dress for the weather- it may take a while to find your perfect tree.
"I would recommend get an early start, pack a lunch, tell some friends where you're going… It's just part of being safe in the forest," says Melancon.
To purchase a permit, stop by any of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Ranger Offices.
In November 2006, nearly 60 percent of Wisconsin voters supported an amendment banning gay marriage.
Before Wisconsin lawmakers could consider a bill to allow gay marriage, voters would have to pass an amendment undoing the 2006 amendment language. But before that the Legislature would have to pass the amendment in two consecutive sessions.
WOODRUFF - The capitol may be far away but one of our local legislators wants to bring it closer. Assemblyman Rob Swearingen is meeting with constituents around the 34th district.
He visited Woodruff and Eagle River today.
Swearingen is five months into his freshman term. He wants to make sure people can put a face to his name.
He also wants reach those who might be skeptical of him because of his political party.
"You get that, just because I have the "R" in the back of my name that you're automatically not going to be friendly to those issues. And we encourage you to reach out. I may respond and it may not be the response you want to hear, but if you're going to ask me an honest question I'm going to give you an honest answer," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen says everyone's working hard on the budget in Madison. He's hearing a lot of concerns about school funding locally.
"I just really feel that people should be engaged with their own local legislators so the legislator knows them, and knows how they feel. And I showed him my tax bill and he got a real perspective for someone who's on a fixed income and how all the costs for education impact one of his constituents," says Shirley Kufeldt, from Conover.
"We're looking for more funding for the K-12 funding program. I think there's been a lot of heightened awareness in the capital on both sides of the isle and in the Governor's office. So I'm looking for hopefully some good results to help rural schools as the budget moves forward before the Governor signs it in the first part of July," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen's first budget motion was to allow Nicolet College to be eligible for state aid based on enrollment. That motion passed unanimously.
He says his weekly drive to his office in Madison is a reality check.
"There's the state capitol and you realize that your office is inside that building. It's a really surreal feeling to walk into that building each morning. Every time I press that button, whether it's green or red, I am voting on behalf of over 50,000 people in the 34th Assembly District. And that is something you don't take lightly," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen will continue district dialogues on Monday. He'll be in Florence, Rhinelander and Crandon.
Florence, May 20th 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Maxsells Restaurant Inn & Pub, 209 Central Ave, (US Highway 2)
Crandon, May 20th 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Forest County Courthouse, Board Room
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