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NEWS STORIES

Program Reaches out to Minority FarmersSubmitted: 02/16/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - A state assistance program will help Wisconsin's minority farmers navigate the resources available for their success.

The program is run by the Wisconsin Farm Center of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Workshops are held across the state in areas of large minority farmer populations. This includes La Crosse, Eau Claire, Green Bay, the Fox Cities, Wausau, Madison, and Milwaukee.

Many minority farmers grow vegetables, herbs and flowers to sell directly at farmers markets.

The program helps those farmers renting farmland negotiate solid lease agreements.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate is renewing his call for passage of a right-to-work bill.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued a statement Thursday saying debate of right-to-work needs to occur along with consideration of the state budget. Walker will release his budget plan on Tuesday.

Walker has repeatedly said he doesn't want the Legislature to act early in the session on right-to-work, but he also is a longtime supporter of the idea. Walker has also never said he would veto such a bill should it pass.

Right-to-work laws prevent private-sector employers from forcing workers to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.

Supporters say it's about worker freedom while opponents argue it will drive down wages and it's bad for the economy.

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MADISON - Members of the Menominee Tribe, southeastern Wisconsin union workers and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are urging Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his rejection of a new casino in Kenosha.

Walker rejected the tribe's proposal last week and reiterated on Wednesday that he would not change his mind.

But advocates for the project gathered at the Capitol Thursday to say Walker can still change his mind by the Feb. 19 deadline.

Walker says he can't reverse his decision even if he wanted to.

But Kenosha casino backers say the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be willing to let Walker change his mind. A spokeswoman for BIA did not immediately return a message asking if Walker could reverse course.


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MADISON - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is asking that the lead investigator probing allegations of opiate over prescription and retaliatory practices at a VA hospital in Tomah take into account the testimony of whistleblowers.

In a letter Thursday, Baldwin asked that VA Under Secretary Carolyn Clancy consider concerns not addressed in an earlier report. Baldwin says an investigation published in March was not thorough in its reporting of opiate-prescribing practices.

Baldwin had recieved the report in 2014, but did not start advocating for the issue until an investigative journalism piece showed a 35-year-old Marine died of an overdose in the inpatient care unit.

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MINOCQUA - People in Minocqua brought back a Northwoods tradition this year when they rebuilt the city's giant snowman.

For a few years, the giant snowman didn't get built, because of poor weather conditions.

"Who doesn't love to build a snowman?" asked Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Krystal Westfahl. "And to have the opportunity to build a 30-foot snowman brings out every kid in us."

Volunteers in Minocqua helped build the enormous snowman, named Snowmy Kromer, just outside of the Chamber of Commerce. He used to be built near the Island City Ice Cream store. But this year, they wanted to try a new spot.

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods group that strives to help make students job-ready got special recognition from Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday.

Rhinelander-based Partners in Education, or PIE, was one of 17 individuals and groups honored with the 2014 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award.

The non-profit started in 2009.

It works with local businesses and community leaders to offer additional educational opportunities for K-12 students in Rhinelander.

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ST. GERMAIN - A wide open, snow- and ice-covered lake can mean a fun and fast time on a snowmobile.

You will get a chance to find out just how fast your snowmobile can go when the 13th Annual St. Germain Snowmobile Radar Run starts in St. Germain.

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SUGAR CAMP - A recent grant might help students at Sugar Camp Elementary stay healthy this school year. The NFL and the National Dairy Council gave the school a $900 grant last week. The students get in shape by taking part in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

"Our kids are tracking physical fitness points and nutrition points every day on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website," said 4th Grade Teacher Robin LeMoine. "They are involved in the 100 Mile Club that we started here this fall, where we're walking one mile every day."

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