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NEWS STORIES

Gov. Walker not opposed to EPA involvement in proposed mine; OK if for science not politics Submitted: 07/02/2014

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RHINELANDER - Gov. Scott Walker (R) says he wouldn't oppose involvement by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the state permitting process for a proposed iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills.

Northern Wisconsin's six Chippewa tribes want to go around the state's mining regulation process and turn to the EPA.

The tribes say they can't rely on Wisconsin's regulatory process to protect fish, wildlife, wild rice, or water quality in northern Wisconsin.


The tribe hopes the agency will stop a four mile long proposed iron mine in Iron and Ashland counties.

Walker said at a campaign event in Rhinelander on Wednesday that isn't opposed to EPA as long as their involvement wouldn't be political because he believes the state's mining process would pass any federal inspection.

"It's one of those (things) where we wanted to have a process for safely and environmentally sound mining," Walker said. "We think if the EPA is actually using science based technologies, then ultimately we believe you can both have the operation."

Republicans passed a mining bill signed by Gov. Walker in March 2013 that paved the way for the mining operation. The partisan bill was seen by Democrats as a piece of legislation that weakened environmental safeguards. Republicans argued it cut bureaucratic red tape and simplified the states permitting process.

Gogebic Taconite wants to dig the mine. It would be the largest iron ore mine in North America.

Leaders for the project say it could bring more than 500 permanent jobs to the area that is lagging behind the rest of the state in employment.

According to May unemployment statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Iron County has 11.3 percent unemployment, while Ashland County has an 8.5 percent unemployment rate. Those rank 70th and 71st out of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Menominee County has the state's worst unemployment rate at 15.1 percent.

Governor Walker believes the mine would benefit more than just those counties.

"In the end, for the people particularly in Iron and Ashland County, and also all throughout the state of Wisconsin, who would benefit from both the jobs and the construction, the jobs related to the ongoing operations for many cases are generational," Walker said.

Leaders from Gogebic Taconite and the Wisconsin DNR are working on a multimillion dollar environmental impact study right now. Gogebic Taconite is paying for EIS project.

Story By: Adam Fox

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Study: fist bumps spread 90% fewer germs than handshakesSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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NATIONWIDE - You could spread fewer germs by going with the fist bump instead of a handshake.

A new study from Aberystwyth University in Wales shows a fist bump spreads 90 percent fewer germs compared to a handshake. That could be the difference between staying healthy and getting sick.

"That portion of our hands is subjected to every surface area, desktops, and countertops as well," said Oneida County Public Health Nurse Charlotte Ahrens. "We probably have a gazillion germs that are hitting that surface at any given point in time."

Researchers say the fist bump may be more hygienic because of its speed and smaller surface area. Health leaders like Ahrens say the transfer of some germs can actually help us.

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Speeding past orange barrels could bring $300 fineSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MINNESOTA - Getting caught speeding through a road construction work zone is about to get more costly in Minnesota.

Starting Friday, the offense comes with an automatic $300 fine plus the normal traffic ticket surcharges. That's under a new state law approved during the legislative session.

Officials from the Department of Transportation, a highway contractor and the State Patrol planned a news conference Monday to highlight the change. They hope the steeper penalty will serve as a deterrent.

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Child runover by van on driveway, dies at hospitalSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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RACINE - A 5-year-old girl has died after being struck by a van in the driveway of a Racine home.

Police say the child had just arrived for a party in the neighborhood Saturday afternoon and was facing the street when a 16-year-old boy backed a van over the girl.

Authorities say a rear wheel ran over the girl. The teen heard people yelling and shouting, but didn't know he had hit someone. So, he pulled the van forward, running over the girl a second time.

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80-year-old dies after getting hit by trainSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - An 80-year-old woman died Sunday in Wisconsin Rapids after getting hit by a train.

Police say Joyce Huber, 80, died at the scene.

Huber tried to cross the tracks and was hit by a Canadian National Railway train that was going south.

Police say the railroad crossing safety arms and lights were working.

They also say the train's horn was working.

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Golden Harvest opens its doors at a new locationSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - Doors officially opened for one Northwoods Grocery store.

Golden Harvest Market welcomed customers to their new location on County Road G Monday. The 17,000 square foot building has been under construction since November.

Timothy Conjurske, Golden Harvest's president, says the entire team has been working extremely hard the past few weeks.

"We've already added a few thousand items in all categories," says Conjurske. "Also, the deli is new and will be opening here in the next week or two. We're slowly working our way up to more production in that area."

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Volunteers start setting up Oneida County FairSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - Volunteers started preparations Monday for the Oneida County Fair.

About 50 people helped set up.

A lot of work was completed ahead of schedule thanks to volunteers.

Fair leaders think most of the setup will be done Monday.

"We're hoping to be done pretty much today with the initial setup," says Fair Coordinator Nancy Gehrig. "K&M Amusement is already setting up today, which normally they aren't setting up until Tuesday. So yeah, we're ahead of the game already."

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Merrill's downtown mural by student artists evokes history, cultureSubmitted: 07/28/2014

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MERRILL - "We normally do murals inside the high school by famous artists, and we do a re-creation of their work," says Merrill high school junior McKenzie Broeking.

But Broeking is painting with six other juniors, not only outside of the high school, but completely outdoors.

"They've run out of room in the high school for these murals. They have many of them now in the school. They decided to move their talents outside," says Art Lersch, a Community Resource Development Educator with the Lincoln County UW-Extension.

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