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State Dept. of Health Services Secretary resignsSubmitted: 02/22/2013
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith has resigned.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the resignation and appointed Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades as secretary of the department that is in charge of overseeing the state's Medicaid programs.

Smith had been at the forefront of Walker's opposition to the federal health care law and had testified before Congress on that issue.

Smith says in his resignation letter that he is accepting a job in the private sector that begins March 1. He did not say in the letter where the job was.

Rhoades has served alongside Smith as his deputy since Walker took office in January 2011. Prior to that Rhoades served in the state Assembly from 1999 through 2010.

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MERRILL - An 85-year-old Antigo woman will be in court Friday for the first time in the death of a Lincoln County highway worker last summer..

According to online court records, Mary Robinson is expected to face a charge of Homicide by Negligent use of a Vehicle.

50-year-old Marcus Wydeven was killed July 14, 2015 when he was hit by a car while working on a road construction project.

Wydeven worked on Lincoln County roads for 20 years before being hit and killed.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said Wydeven was flagging southbound traffic with a stop sign when Robinson of Antigo hit him and then rolled her car into a ditch.

Robinson is due in court Friday afternoon.

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EAGLE RIVER - You might think a business incubator focuses on creating jobs.  But the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation lives by the mindset of creating opportunities, knowing when you do that the jobs tend to follow.

VCEDC started its first business incubator in Eagle River in 2012.  That building filled up, so they moved into two across Highway 70, including the Eye on Entrepreneurs building in 2015.  Project Manager Barry McLeane says creativity now pours out of all six of their current sites, from Phelps to Manitowish Waters.

"I've listened to some pretty bizarre ideas over the last three or four years and it's OK," McLeane said.  "It's OK, because bizarre ideas settle down into something really substantial."

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VILAS COUNTY - Police still need to arrest the person who killed a Phelps woman back in May.

Hikers found the body of 47-year-old Luann Beckman on a trail near Noseeum Lake.

Investigators then ruled it a homicide and sent all the evidence to the state crime lab in Madison.

The Vilas County Sheriff told Newswatch 12 they've interviewed dozens of people and have a list of suspects, but they need DNA evidence for an arrest.

"We're waiting for the science to point us in the right direction," said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath. "It would be wonderful to develop a DNA profile to lead us to somebody. Or be able to get a full profile to be able to compare to people in the area that we've gotten leads on."

Sheriff Fath told Newswatch investigators had to submit some evidence to the FBI crime lab. He said the state crime lab found a partial DNA profile and needs to send it to a place with more advanced technology.

"I mean we still get calls from the community, but it's not substantive," Fath said. "You know it's, I heard this, I heard that, I think this, I think you might want to talk to this guy, which we do. But we will continue to follow up on those leads."

He said investigators do think the suspect is local and someone Beckman knew.

If you have any information, you can call the anonymous tip line, 1-800-78-CRIME. 

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CRANDON - This upcoming school year, Crandon students will learn more about forgiveness and kindness as part of a new initiative.

The Crandon School District called on 2016 Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year Melissa Herek to help introduce some of these new practices earlier this week.

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SAYNER - Bill Carper lost count of the number of rounds he's played at Plum Lake Golf Club in Sayner long ago.

"It's well over a thousand," he said.

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MADISON - A new study suggests that Wisconsin's villages have struggled more with economic recovery than larger cities since the big recession of 2008-09.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the study also found the controversial Act 10 that was passed to limit collective bargaining by public workers saved local governments about $100 million, or 1.5 percent of total spending, in 2012.

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Easton Phalin fired a first half touchdown pass to Jackson List in the first half for the Hatchets. They'd go on to win 40-6.

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