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NEWS STORIES

ACLU objects to full court hearing gay marriageSubmitted: 07/21/2014
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - Gay couples challenging Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriages are objecting to the state's request that the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hear arguments in the case.

American Civil Liberties Union attorneys representing eight same-sex couples challenging the ban filed an objection Monday to the state's request that the entire appeals court hear the arguments.

The ACLU says that would delay the appeal and put a burden on the court without any benefit.

Federal judges have struck down bans in both Wisconsin and Indiana. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated the cases. Oral arguments were originally scheduled for Aug. 13, but the court has canceled that and not yet set a new date.

Ten judges sit on the 7th Circuit but three-judge panels typically decide cases.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker wants to cut state funding for the University of Wisconsin System by 13 percent.

At the same time he thinks campuses should have more freedom.

Walker told The Associated Press he will be proposing that future funding to the UW system be a block grant funded by sales tax revenue.

It would be adjusted annually for inflation.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department will use a "Hero Dog" to help bolster its K9 unit.

The dog's name is Rex, and he isn't Wausau Police Officer Mark Jaeger's first K9 partner.

"My last dog, Pluto, is 12-and-a-half and he just retired," Jaeger said. "When [Pluto] saw me in the uniform getting in the squad and he didn't get to come along, he was not happy."

Rex just recently joined the Wausau Police Department, but his service to his community and his country, goes further back.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.

Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.

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OWEN - A plane crash in central Wisconsin has killed one person and injured two others.

Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick says the victim was a passenger in a Cessna 182 that was trying to make an emergency landing on a road in the town of Hoard at about 9:15 a.m. Monday.

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RHINELANDER - A man uses bubbles to entertain kids and parents, but his act Monday night also focused on more than just entertainment.

"My name is Geoff, but most people just call me Bubble Man, Mr. Bubble. One kid called me Bubble-Wan-Kenobi," said bubble artist Geoffrey Akins.

Akins makes a living by blowing bubbles.

"It was nine years ago that I left my job teaching to perform full time," Akins said.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.

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