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NEWS STORIES

Final tally: Wis. redistricting battle cost $2.1MSubmitted: 11/02/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - Newly released bills show that Wisconsin's legal battle over redrawing voting boundaries to favor Republicans has cost taxpayers $2.1 million. That's $200,000 more than previously reported.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report (http://bit.ly/HBiT72 ) says the state paid a legal firm $1 million to help defend the maps in court. Other expenses included $443,000 to plaintiffs who successfully challenged changes to a Milwaukee Latino district, and $431,000 to a different law firm for its work drawing the maps.

Peter Earle is one of the attorneys who sued the state over the maps. He says the $2.1 million figure is ``absolutely ridiculous.''

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos blames the cost on the groups who sued over the maps. He also says every round of redistricting brings sizable costs.



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MILWAUKEE - A small, single-engine passenger plane has crashed and caught on fire at Milwaukee's Timmerman Airport, killing at least one person.

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EAGLE RIVER - Keeping the Northwoods wooded is Trees for Tomorrow's basic goal. This weekend, they'll show people why that goal is important to them, when the organization hosts Forest Fest in Eagle River on Saturday.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - A Vilas County shooting range will get some financial aid thanks to the Wisconsin DNR.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range got a grant for venue upgrades.

The range also got a grant last year.

It used the money to make its facilities handicap accessible.

Range officials say they will use this year's grant for additions.

Those include making the space more energy efficient.

"[The] money will be used for insulating the clubhouse," says Secretary of the Boulder Junction Shooting Range Pete Drahn. "It'll be used to remove doors and windows that we no longer need, and to replace a window with a more energy efficient window."

The range has gotten grants two years in a row, but it won't happen again next year.

"They've told everybody that received the grants this year that they'll start doing grants only every other year for someone who has received it," says Drahn. "So at the earliest, it would be the year after next."

The range's board members want to make the venue better for shooters, but they say they couldn't have done it without the grant's help.

"These are projects we probably wouldn't do for eons," says Drahn. "We don't receive any money from anybody except the users of the range. So we don't have a lot for our capital needs."

The range also plans to install a new fence to improve the facility's safety.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's search for a new city administrator got a little narrower - from nearly two dozen candidates to a handful. Rhinelander has been without a city administrator since the middle of May when Blain Oborn went to Lake Geneva.

The Rhinelander City Council held a meeting last night to go through a list of candidates. At the end of that meeting, they went front from having 22, down to a list of four.

"We have four candidates that we have coming in," said Rhinelander's Mayor Richard Johns. "And the candidates vary, one's from Eau Claire, Antigo, Kewaskum, and Stevens Point. We pretty much have a local area so-to-speak, rather than out of state."

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RHINELANDER - Thousands of people will come to the Oneida County Fair starting Thursday.

The fair has grown a lot in recent years. Organizers try to get new rides and entertainment to draw in bigger crowds.

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MERRILL - All K-8 students in Merrill Schools will get their own iPads this fall.

Wednesday, teachers were trained on how to use the new technology.

Last year, six third grade classrooms tried out how it would work.

District leaders said parents and students involved in the pilot program liked it.

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EAGLE RIVER - You may not notice the Northwoods trade school tucked along Highway 17 in Eagle River, but one national organization thinks it deserves more attention. 

The Advanced Welding Institute will receive an award for its high graduation and employment rates.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is granting the Institute its School of Excellence Award. School administrators are invited to attend the professional development conference in September in Arlington, Virginia. 

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