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NEWS STORIES

Gov. Walker promotes new budget in NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/02/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - You can still feel the divide between Democrats and Republicans from the budget Governor Walker signed Sunday.

Now that it's official, Walker is selling the positives of his budget.

Tuesday, Walker spoke in Rhinelander.

He talked about about programs meant to bring tourists to the Northwoods, but that wasn't his main point.

Instead, he focused on the coming $650 million income tax cut for Wisconsin citizens and small businesses.

"The vast majority of employers in the state, which are small business, will see an income tax cut because they pay income taxes, not corporate taxes," Walker said. "This is a great budget for small businesses and individuals all across the state of Wisconsin."

But one group thinks the cut could be too much.

The Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance said Tuesday that the budget under-funds the state's savings account, also known as a rainy day fund.

Walker says his administration has done the opposite.

"We have added for the first time in state history, three consecutive times, since I have been governor, to the rainy day fund," Walker said. "It's one of the highest amounts we've had in the past."

Walker put $108 million in the fund in October.

But a June Reuters article said states like Wisconsin, with low rainy day funds, could be vulnerable in another economic downturn.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.

One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.

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WISCONSIN - Gogebic Taconite will no longer pursue mining in northern Wisconsin. The company scrapped its plans for a huge iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties this spring.

But state Democrats aren't forgetting about the mining issue. They're proposing a bill which they say would close a loophole in the state's 2013 mining law. That law relaxed the permitting process for iron mines.

The Democrats' bill would make it illegal to fill or destroy the bed of a lake, stream, reservoir, or flowage to mine the materials underneath. Bill author Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said right now, mining could be done legally under flowages and reservoirs.

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ARBOR VITAE - Fire destroyed a home in Arbor Vitae early Thursday morning but everyone inside got out safely.

A 911 call came into the Vilas County Sheriff's Department at 4:00 a.m., reporting a fire at 2075 Soik Road.

People in the home woke up to the smell of smoke.

They told police they found flames coming from one of the walls.

After trying to put out the fire, they got out of the home.

No one was hurt, but the home was a total loss.

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GREEN BAY - The Packers won't have Jordy Nelson this season. Other players are still hurt to some level as well.

However, some packer fans aren't worried. They have faith Aaron Rodgers and the team have what it takes to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

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PHILLIPS - Dozens of manufacturing workers in Phillips could face hard times in the next few months. The Georgia-Pacific plant in town will close on October 27, and 53 employees will be laid off.

Georgia-Pacific told us the workers are great, but a poor market for specialty wood board products is forcing the closure.

The plant closure could be a challenge for those laid-off workers, but it could also be an opportunity for a new career.

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WAUSAU - The First Thursday means more than just a day in Wausau. It's a chance for stores to stay open later, and bring people downtown. The theme for the fourth, 2015 installment focused on live art in the Wausau River District and 400 Block.

For Wausau's Valerie Berkely, it gave her the chance to get others in touch with art.

Berkely greeted people passing by with a "Hi, I teach painting here" during the occasion outside the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau.

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VILAS COUNTY - Whether you're in the Northwoods for Labor Day Weekend or you call it home, you will have to be more careful around mosquitoes.

A dead crow in Vilas County tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

According to a Vilas County Public Health Department press release, this is the first bird this summer to test positive for it.

Gina Egan of the Vilas County Health Department said over the years the county has found infected birds.

Egan suggests avoiding mosquitoes and wearing bug spray. She also suggests getting rid of standing water outside your home, such as bird baths or gutters.

Public health nurses stress that most people who do get West Nile do not get sick.

"Twenty percent of the people have it really mild," said Oneida County public health nurse Dawn Klink. "Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms. And less than one percent get really really deathly ill. And those are usually the ones that get tested for it and go in. Other people just think they've got a bug and don't go in."

Nurses want you to call the local health department if you do see a dead bird.

If you do feel you have severe symptoms of West Nile, nurses say to go to your doctor to get tested. 

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