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

Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the future
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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ARBOR VITAE - You won't want to wear your best clothes to one race in May.

Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

"It comes from all of the kids and their fundraising in the community, with the help of grandparents and parents and friends," says AVW Principal Rich Fortier.

The race will be at the Minocqua Park Complex on May 5.

To find out how to register, click below.

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RHINELANDER - The older you get the worse your vision can become. But retired or not, vision screening can be expensive.

The Rhinelander Lions Club offered free eye testing for anyone over 40 on Monday.

The screening took place at the Oneida County Department of Aging.

The purpose of the screening was to help people identify if they are at high risk for eye disease or need to see an eye doctor.

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RHINELANDER - A two vehicle crash caused Highway 8 to close down for almost an hour Monday.

The crashed happened around 1:30 p.m. west of Rhinelander.

A car was trying to turn into Roberts Repair when a truck hit it from behind.

There was one person in each car. At least one driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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In his 20 years with the Vilas County Jail, administrator Bill Weiss can count on two hands how many times an inmate got out earlier than they should.

"It's pretty rare," Weiss said.

Weiss needed to add to that tally last week.  The jail let Edward Chosa Junior go as a "free" man on March 13, however that wasn't his correct release date.

"It was a clerical mistake," Weiss said.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Police are looking for information about the death of a Wisconsin Rapids man.

Police found 29-year-old Jacob Johnson dead in a home on Chestnut Street Saturday. 

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Police Department wants your help to purchase its next K-9 dog.

Their previous K-9, Drago, retired a few months ago and the department is now looking for a new one.

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VILAS AND ONEIDA COUNTIES - Oneida and Vilas Counties will close their snowmobile trails this week. 

Lincoln County will also close its remaining trails. Zones 2 and 3 are already closed. Zone 1 will close at midnight on Monday, March 19.

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