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NEWS STORIES

Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the futureSubmitted: 02/25/2013
Story By Lane Kimble

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MADISON - Lawmakers took another step toward making it easier to mine in Wisconsin.

The state's Joint Finance Committee passed the new Republican mining bill on a 12 to 4 vote Monday afternoon. The bill now moves to both the full state Senate and Assembly.

The GOP's bill is mainly designed to make it easier for a mining company to open a large mine. It would be on the border of Ashland and Iron Counties.

Democrats think the bill's language doesn't do enough to protect the environment.

But Ashland Representative Janet Bewley thinks the progress can be slowed in the courts.

"There are so many things in the bill that are ambiguous that will end up in court," Rep. Janet Bewley said. "I don't want to say I'm grateful to (Republicans) for writing such a sloppy bill, but the bill is written in such a form that there are many opportunities for it to end up in court."

Republicans don't think they're rushing anything. Hazelhurst Senator Tom Tiffany points to numerous changes from the first bill to this version.

He hopes it doesn't end up in the courts.

"We passed 11 amendments out of our Senate committee about two weeks ago," Sen. Tiffany said. "We've really, thoroughly vetted this bill. Will there be lawsuits, as Representative Bewley hopes? Perhaps, because some people will sue over anything in modern society. But this is really a good bill that protects the environment, while giving certainty to an applicant."

The mining bill will likely pass because Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly. Senator Tiffany thinks the Senate will take up the bill Wednesday.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Nearly 17,000 attended Beef-A-Rama, more than 2013 total Submitted: 09/29/2014

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MINOCQUA - Leaders at the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce believe nearly 17,000 people came to the area for Beef-A-Rama.

Last year, about 15,000 people attended. Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Krystal Westfahl believes the significance of the 50th anniversary celebration played a role.

"It was huge for us to have this 50th anniversary, but I also think the fact that the weather was so great," said Westfahl. "People are just really getting to know the Minocqua area as just being full of life."

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Naked, screaming man arrested at Capitol rotundaSubmitted: 09/29/2014

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MADISON - State officials are looking into how a naked man found his way into the Wisconsin state Capitol's rotunda.

The man appeared undressed in the rotunda around 4 p.m. Monday and began shouting at the top of his lungs. It was unclear what he was saying.

A Capitol Police officer quickly led him away.

Stephanie Marquis is a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration, which oversees the Capitol Police. She says the man was screaming that he was Jesus Christ. She says he will be taken to jail on suspicion of disorderly conduct and lewd and lascivious behavior.

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Deer crashes may increase across the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 09/29/2014

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WAUSAU - You may start seeing more and more deer on the side of the road.

October is one of the worst months for deer crashes. Deer are on the move during that month because it is their mating season.

State patrol officers urge people to use caution when driving on dark highways.

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Cranberry crop estimated at 5.3 million barrels; still a surplus in the marketSubmitted: 09/29/2014

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WISCONSIN - Cranberry growers don't expect another unprecedented harvest, but the industry does expect to keep Wisconsin's cranberry crown.

Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association Executive Director Tom Lochner says the state should produce 5.3 million barrels of cranberries from the 2014 harvest. Lochner says a barrel holds 100 pounds of cranberries.

The state produced 5.8 million barrels in 2013. Lochner credits the weather in September 2013 for that large harvest.

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Lawmaker's daughter faces new drug chargesSubmitted: 09/29/2014

GREEN BAY - The daughter of a Wisconsin lawmaker faces new criminal charges accusing her of possessing narcotics.

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Nygren of Marinette appeared in Brown County court on Monday after being arrested Friday morning. Nygren faces two counts of possession of narcotic drugs and one count of possessing an illegally obtained prescription.

Nygren's struggle with heroin has made her a face of recovery and prompted her father, Republican state Rep. John Nygren, to draft legislation aimed at helping addicts.

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Wisconsin DNR reports $11.7m in timber salesSubmitted: 09/29/2014

WISCONSIN - The state Department of Natural Resources says Wisconsin saw record timber sales from state lands during the last fiscal year.

DNR Chief Forester Paul DeLong says timber sales totaled $11.71 million during the year that ended June 30. That's up from $10.8 million during fiscal year 2013.

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Inmate walks away from Marathon County JailSubmitted: 09/29/2014

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MARATHON COUNTY - Marathon County deputies want to find an inmate who walked away.

Tommie Rothenberger was let out of jail Friday morning to go to school at Northcentral Technical College. He never came back.

Around 4:25 p.m. Friday afternoon, a call came in saying Rothenberger was at a hotel in Clintonville with his girlfriend.

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