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New Bill to Help Sexual Assault VictimsSubmitted: 05/05/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - A new bill being circulated in the Wisconsin state Legislature would allow victims of sexual assault to be accompanied by a trained advocate at any step during the criminal justice process.

The legislation's author, Rep. Jim Steineke, a Republican from Kaukauna, says sex offenders are more likely to be brought to justice when an advocate is available to assist the victims

An advocate is a trained individual providing emotional comfort for victims and guiding them through the legal process. Current law bars an advocate from certain activities such as joining victims in meeting with police officers or medical personnel.

At least 11 states have passed similar laws. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed $4 million in his next biennial budget to pay for grants to assist victims.



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RHINELANDER - We often bring you stories of efforts to fight aquatic invasive species in the Northwoods during the summer. It's tempting to think that invasives don't pose a problem during the winter.

But conservation workers want you to rethink that idea. Species like Eurasian watermilfoil don't simply wither underwater in the winter.

"Eurasian watermilfoil is considered a perennial. However, I consider it an evergreen. A lot of people do," said Oneida County AIS Coordinator Stephanie Boismenue. "The reason being is it's winter-hardy. It's capable to live and grow underneath the ice."

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MADISON - A Republican congressman who derided Wisconsin's capital city as a communist haven is not backing down from his comments even as those in the city that prides itself as being "77 square miles surrounded by reality" take offense.

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ELCHO - If you pass through Elcho, you can't miss the hundreds of Christmas lights as you drive down Highway 45.

The Elcho Christmas staple is all thanks to a couple who spends weeks setting up the display, after they spend most of their time saving lives.

Carl Bloechl and Lissa Iwanoski are both EMTs. Carl is also a R.N. in Antigo.

For four years now, the couple sets up decorations at an office building off of Highway 45 in Elcho.

It takes a couple of weeks and they use their time in between shifts to get the job done.

"We just hope we don't get called. Sometimes we do get called and we just drop it all and leave it out here and go," said Bloechl.

The cold winter weather usually slows down the set up, but this year's warmer weather allowed the couple to enjoy the visitors earlier.

"It makes me feel good inside that they enjoy it too, because it is work," said Iwanowski.

The display will be on until the beginning of next year.

The lights stay on from around 4:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.



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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin Law School has notified more than 1,200 former applicants that they could be at risk of identity theft because the school's database was hacked.

The university says Social Security numbers from 2005 to 2006 applicants were recently compromised. The Law School has taken down the affected server as a result and added a firewall to better protect that data.

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RIB MOUNTAIN - Granite Peak in Wausau wants to expand, but some people don't want that to happen. 

The Granite Peak ski area held a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss those plans. The public was invited to hear about the expansion and to get answers to any of their questions.

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LA CROSSE - The death of a woman initially thought to be the result of a freak accident on a La Crosse County road has now been blamed on her husband.

Forty-six-year-old Barbara Kendhammer, of West Salem, was found critically injured after authorities responded to a car crash Sept. 16. Her husband, Todd Kendhammer, told authorities a pipe fell from a truck as he was driving, broke through the windshield and hit his wife, who died the following day.

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SCHOFIELD - Choirs sang, bells rang, and teenagers like Claire Tomczik shed a few tears.

"It got me a little emotional," Tomczik said.

She and about 140 fellow D.C. Everest High School students went to a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony in the school auditorium Wednesday morning -- 75 years to the day after the attacks happened -- by choice.

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