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
VILAS COUNTY - Twelve jurors will consider a he said, she said case involving accusations of a sexual assault at knife point.
The trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets began in Vilas County Court Monday morning.
Teets is accused of sexually assualting a 19 year old woman at knife point in July 2015.
He faces three counts of first degree sexual assault, which he will try to fight in trial.
After several hours of jury selection, attorneys began their opening statements Monday afternoon.
According to the July 2015 criminal complaint, Teets and the woman involved were driving back to his house after watching fireworks with a group of people.
That's when the woman said Teets pulled out a knife and told her to drive down a dead end road. Assistant Attorney General Devra Ayala, who is prosecuting the case, said that Teets admits to always carrying a pocket knife.
Next, according to the complaint, the woman said Teets, knife in hand, sexually assaulted her.
According to the complaint, the woman said Teets told her, "If you tell anyone I'll [expletive] kill you."
According to the complaint, the woman said the group they had been with called both of their cell phones asking where they were. The woman claims Teets said he forgot his keys and told her to say the same.
Later that night, the woman called the police.
When police interviewed Teets, he said the encounter was consensual.
That's what Teets's defense attorney will try to argue. In his opening statement, defense attorney Steven Lucareli said Teets and the woman were friends and often joked with each other.
"He said from day one, 'I cheated on my wife,'" said Lucareli.
Lucareli also said the woman in this case had no injuries from the encounter.
The trial is scheduled on the calendar for the whole week.
Tuesday, the state will start calling its witnesses.
WOODRUFF - Sixty-three Wildfires burned all across the state in the last week.
The DNR suspended burning permits in 44 counties Monday, including all counties in the Northwoods.
The fire danger level ranged from "High" to "Very High" in most counties.
DNR fire crews have been on stand-by all day Monday.
"On days like today we are fully staffed and on high alert. All our stations are pre-positioning equipment. We're taking equipment from one part of the state and moving it to more critical areas. We are definitely on high alert," said Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele.
MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.
But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.
After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.
Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.
"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired.
[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer.
People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.
RHINELANDER - You can get almost anywhere around Pine Lake on an ATV or UTV. But there are two key Oneida County highways that don't currently allow those vehicles. Now, a Rhinelander-area ATV club is pushing the county to change that.
The Pine Lake ATV/UTV Club hopes the county will allow access on highways W and C. The club formed about a year ago and got town approval to open access to all Pine Lake roads except for North and West Birchwood drives.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The case of a woman found hanged in her car will go down as an "undetermined death."
Michelle Rosinski was found in a car outside a Lac du Flambeau home on Longs Point Lane last September. Emergency responders tried CPR on Rosinski, but they couldn't revive her. The 45-year-old woman had a choker-style dog collar wrapped around her neck.
The Vilas County Sheriff's Office initially investigated her death as suspicious. But Monday, Lt. Carl Gauger told Newswatch 12 it appears Rosinski probably committed suicide.
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