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NEWS STORIES

Mining Permits Could Face Lengthy DelaysSubmitted: 01/19/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - We've been keeping you updated on the new mining proposal introduced by Republican lawmakers last week.

Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning its mining approval process could take years.

The bill is intended to streamline mining requirements.

Republicans say the changes will jump-start mining in the state and create thousands of jobs. Democrats counter it would be years before any jobs materialize.

Any mine that affects federal wetlands would need Corps approval.

Senator Tom Tiffany wrote the GOP bill. He says mining applicants would have to notify the Corps as soon as they decide to file a State permit application. He doesn't believe the Corps' review process will lead to major delays.

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WISCONSIN - Gogebic Taconite will no longer pursue mining in northern Wisconsin. The company scrapped its plans for a huge iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties this spring.

But state Democrats aren't forgetting about the mining issue. They're proposing a bill which they say would close a loophole in the state's 2013 mining law. That law relaxed the permitting process for iron mines.

The Democrats' bill would make it illegal to fill or destroy the bed of a lake, stream, reservoir, or flowage to mine the materials underneath. Bill author Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said right now, mining could be done legally under flowages and reservoirs.

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PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.

One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.

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PHILLIPS - Dozens of manufacturing workers in Phillips could face hard times in the next few months. The Georgia-Pacific plant in town will close on October 27, and 53 employees will be laid off.

Georgia-Pacific told us the workers are great, but a poor market for specialty wood board products is forcing the closure.

The plant closure could be a challenge for those laid-off workers, but it could also be an opportunity for a new career.

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WAUSAU - A Marathon County inmate who ran away finds himself back in jail.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Matthew Hornung at the Wausau American Legion Golf Course Thursday morning.  Someone saw the 31-year-old man hiding in the woods near the golf course and called police.  

Hornung disappeared Wednesday.

He was cleared to go to an off-site meeting, but cut off his GPS tracker and vanished.

He is in custody on an Alernative to Revocation for his probation.

Court records show Hornung was convicted of misdemeanor battery in 2012.

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RHINELANDER - This year the PotatoFest in Rhinelander will still have the favorites, like the French Fry Frenzy and Polka Sunday.

But there will also be a few new additions like a beanbag toss tournament, and potato pantyhose bowling.

"The pantyhose bowling that's where you wear a pantyhose on your head and it's filled with a potato, and then you have to swing your head to knock pins, or knock the ball down to knock the pins over," said DRI Executive Director Maggie Steffen.

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SUGAR CAMP - A one-car crash northwest of Sugar Camp sent a woman to the hospital Thursday.

A Chevy Silverado ran off Highway D not far from where it meets Highway H.  It happened just before noon.

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WAUSAU - The First Thursday means more than just a day in Wausau. It's a chance for stores to stay open later, and bring people downtown. The theme for the fourth, 2015 installment focused on live art in the Wausau River District and 400 Block.

For Wausau's Valerie Berkely, it gave her the chance to get others in touch with art.

Berkely greeted people passing by with a "Hi, I teach painting here" during the occasion outside the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau.

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