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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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RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.

They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
 
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.

"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.

This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.

Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.

"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."

Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.

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"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."

12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.

"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.

The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.

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Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.

Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.

"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.

Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.

"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.

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