Meet with Your Local Representative MondaySubmitted: 05/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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

Rhinelander, May20th 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Oneida County Courthouse, Committee Room 1

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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MADISON - The state Natural Resources' board will soon vote on selling another 3,500 acres of public land.

A measure included in the state budget ordered the DNR to sell 10,000 acres by the middle of next year.

Money raised will help pay down debt in the agency's land stewardship program.

The Natural Resources board approved putting about 1,400 acres up for sale in 2014.

Another 5,700 acres went up for sale this past February.

The board should vote Wednesday in Madison on whether to put a final 93 parcels totaling just over 3,500 acres up for sale.

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MADISON - Even with higher fees, plenty of people want to camp in state parks.

Wisconsin state park use this year is on track to be higher than average, despite fee increases that were imposed to offset the withdrawal of tax support.

The number of camping registrations and nights camped in 2016 through Friday was greater than in any year since 2008 except for last year's record.

This year, there have been nearly 160,000 camping registrations and more than 386,000 nights camped for state parks, recreation areas and southern forests.

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MILWAUKEE - The trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership has taken a pounding on the presidential campaign trail. But, at least one group is holding out hope for the pact - Wisconsin dairy producers

They see nothing but advantages from a deal that could increase exports at a time when their cows are producing more milk than ever in an over-saturated domestic market.

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STEVENS POINT - On Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Chelsea Clinton, daughter of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, spoke to more than 300 people. 

During her speech she emphasized the need to end the negativity that was brought by Republican nominee Donald Trump this election calling it the "Trump Effect." 

"I never thought I would see in my lifetime the almost normalization of hate speech from a major presidential candidate," said Clinton.

For some who attended the event, seeing Clinton was more than just a reminder to get out and vote; it was a reminder of where Clinton started.

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PARK FALLS - A Chamber of Commerce likes to welcome people in to town, not scare them away.

In Park Falls, the chamber does it a little differently. 

Their haunted house is guaranteed to frighten anyone.

But the scares keep drawing people in while supporting the community.

"They should be prepared right off the bat," said volunteer Skyler Dural-Eder.

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RHINELANDER - The finishing touches of Rhinelander's Downtown Streetscape project will include painting crosswalks, removing traffic gates, and completing sidewalks. Planting dozens of trees downtown will also help the city finish the major project.

Nationwide, "Arbor Day" falls in late April. But the city proclaimed Tuesday Arbor Day in Rhinelander.

It's a recognition of the importance trees play in finishing the streetscape project and in Rhinelander as a whole.

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