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Michigan House OKs measure allowing wolf huntingSubmitted: 08/27/2014
Story By Associated Press

MICHIGAN'S U.P. - The Michigan Legislature has cleared the way to allow continued hunting of gray wolves, a species that once had disappeared from the state but now thrives in the Upper Peninsula.

The state House voted 65-43 Wednesday in favor of a citizen-initiated measure that would empower the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to designate game species and regulate hunting. The Senate approved the measure earlier this month.

Because the governor's signature isn't required on citizen initiatives, it now becomes law.

Opponents have gathered enough petition signatures to require statewide referendums during the November general election on two previously enacted laws allowing wolf hunts. But even if voters repeal both those measures, the newly approved one will remain in effect.

The Natural Resources Commission allowed a wolf hunt last fall.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

PHILLIPS - An 82 year old man from the Phillips area died after his kayak overturned in Price County.

An emergency call came into the Price County Sheriff's Department just before 4:00 Wednesday afternoon.

A kayaker reported that another kayak had overturned on the Elk River about 4 miles east of Phillips.

The report was that the man was out of the kayak, but still in the water.

The victim was found unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's kayak had collided with another kayak while trying to get past fallen trees which blocked the river.

Strong currents from recent rains swamped the victim's kayak.

The other kayaker was able to call for help from a nearby residence.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with family and friends can be a great time. But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few injuries every year from fireworks. That's far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries. But the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

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MADISON - A Sun Prairie man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword last year has been committed to a state mental hospital.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with a psychiatrist's report Wednesday that 41-year-old Matthew Skalitzky was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

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- You might enjoy getting on the water during this holiday weekend, but watch out for foreign plants and animals hitching a ride on your boat. Aquatic invasive species can attach to people's boats and trailers as they're entering or leaving the water.

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WAUSAU - Police officers in Wausau will now wear body cameras, according to a department release Wednesday.

The department also released video from one of the department's first traffic stops using the body camera on its Facebook page.

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PHILLIPS - At a Phillips dairy farm on Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker announced that the state will pour $3.2 million into supporting more than 3,600 Youth Apprenticeships across the state next school year.

Both numbers are Wisconsin records.

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