WOODRUFF - The capitol may be far away but one of our local legislators wants to bring it closer. Assemblyman Rob Swearingen is meeting with constituents around the 34th district.
He visited Woodruff and Eagle River today.
Swearingen is five months into his freshman term. He wants to make sure people can put a face to his name.
He also wants reach those who might be skeptical of him because of his political party.
"You get that, just because I have the "R" in the back of my name that you're automatically not going to be friendly to those issues. And we encourage you to reach out. I may respond and it may not be the response you want to hear, but if you're going to ask me an honest question I'm going to give you an honest answer," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen says everyone's working hard on the budget in Madison. He's hearing a lot of concerns about school funding locally.
"I just really feel that people should be engaged with their own local legislators so the legislator knows them, and knows how they feel. And I showed him my tax bill and he got a real perspective for someone who's on a fixed income and how all the costs for education impact one of his constituents," says Shirley Kufeldt, from Conover.
"We're looking for more funding for the K-12 funding program. I think there's been a lot of heightened awareness in the capital on both sides of the isle and in the Governor's office. So I'm looking for hopefully some good results to help rural schools as the budget moves forward before the Governor signs it in the first part of July," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen's first budget motion was to allow Nicolet College to be eligible for state aid based on enrollment. That motion passed unanimously.
He says his weekly drive to his office in Madison is a reality check.
"There's the state capitol and you realize that your office is inside that building. It's a really surreal feeling to walk into that building each morning. Every time I press that button, whether it's green or red, I am voting on behalf of over 50,000 people in the 34th Assembly District. And that is something you don't take lightly," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen will continue district dialogues on Monday. He'll be in Florence, Rhinelander and Crandon.
Florence, May 20th 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Maxsells Restaurant Inn & Pub, 209 Central Ave, (US Highway 2)
Crandon, May 20th 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Forest County Courthouse, Board Room
MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.
The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.
The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.
The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.
GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.
Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.
Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.
Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.
Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.
A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.
Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.
Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.
Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.
The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.
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