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NEWS STORIES

Rhinelander Leader Bucks Governor to Fight for Local ControlSubmitted: 04/18/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Rhinelander requires its police officers and firefighters to live within 20 minutes of town.

That's to make sure they can respond quickly to a safety problem.

The city is one of more than 125 cities and villages in Wisconsin to have similar rules.

For example, Milwaukee requires all city employees and school teachers to live within city limits.

But Gov. Walker's budget bill would to prohibit cities and towns from enforcing so-called "residency rules".

One Rhinelander leader is fighting that legislation - city council member Alex Young.

"It's really an issue, as far as I'm concerned, of local control, and the city being allowed to make its own decisions. There's bipartisan opposition to this. There have been some Republican lawmakers that have been fairly vocal opposing this," says Young.

Walker has said he wants cities to hire people based on merit, not on where they live.

Young says that might work in dense urban areas, but creates problems in the rural Northwoods.

"If we aren't able to have employees that can respond fast, trying to call them in from another neighboring municipality is going to add some time and decrease public safety," he says.

If Walker's proposed law change passes, it would trump the local proposal by Young.

Whether the Governor's rule change will go into law should be decided by this summer.

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That's certainly true for a husband and wife in Eagle River, who are desperately searching for their dog--that they say was was taken from them in their own backyard on Tuesday. 

That dog is a three-year-old Boston terrier named Poco, and his owners are Scott and Laurie Schellinger.

According to the police report, a woman took the dog in a red Chevy Impala. The Schellingers say that woman is their niece. The Schellingers bought Poco from a man all three of them know about six weeks ago.

The Schellingers say when they got Poco, he was in bad shape.

"The dog didn't make a peep the first two weeks we had him," Scott Schellinger said. "And he cowered, and he just started coming out of his shell."

The Schellingers say their niece came over for a visit on Tuesday and that's when it happened.

"I was talking to my wife's niece on the back porch and all the sudden she goes running down the porch, her son grabbed the dog, the car was right there, opened up the driver car door, took the dog and [ran]," Scott Schellinger said. "Haven't seen him since."

The Schellingers say their home hasn't been the same, and their other two rescue dogs seem to miss him.

"I just can't believe this happened," said Laurie Schellinger. "Of all people, family."

Police have been searching for Poco, and the Schellingers hope he comes home soon.

"I just want him home where he belongs," Laurie Schellinger said. 

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