NORTHWOODS - Water main breaks from this harsh winter will cost Northwoods communities millions of dollars.
The U.S. Congress might want to help.
Under old rules, northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Weston) might have tried to get direct federal money to help pay for repairs.
He can't anymore.
Congress used to have the power to earmark money for specific projects across the country.
But that hasn't been allowed since 2010.
"If we were still earmarking in Congress, this would be one that would be considered through the earmark process. But again, it was abused at a pretty disgusting level, and that's why it's gone," Duffy said.
Lawmakers used earmarks to send money for big projects in their home state.
That could help them gain popularity and win reelection.
The practice is gone.
But Duffy might have used it for water main repair projects in Northwoods communities if it was still around.
"They're not bursting at the seams with revenue. They don't have the resources to fix, many times, very, very old infrastructure," he said.
Instead, the state may apply for federal disaster aid to help pay for the work.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
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