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State representatives talk state budget and wolf de-listingSubmitted: 01/23/2017
Dakota Sherek
Dakota Sherek
Reporter/Anchor
dsherek@wjfw.com

State representatives talk state budget and wolf de-listing
EAGLE RIVER - In the next couple weeks, Gov. Scott Walker will release Wisconsin's budget for the next two years. Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) thought it would be a perfect time to host listening sessions in a number of Northwoods communities. 

One of the sessions was at the Eagle River library Monday. Some people brought up the poor road conditions in the area. Tiffany says transportation funding is one of the items he will be looking at closely in the upcoming budget. 


"Rural road funding, transportation is a big issue, want to make sure that the rural parts of northern Wisconsin...that we get our fair share," said Tiffany. 

Swearingen says that is not the only area where a fair share for the Northwoods is needed. He says some rural school districts, particularly the Rhinelander school district, has trouble getting proper funding. 

"Clearly rural schools remain a priority, making sure that the Northwoods gets their fair share of the pie," Swearingen said. "You know the school funding formula, certainly as it relates to Rhinelander, has been a frustrating issue for me since day one, since the day I got elected." 
 
Swearingen said another important issue is getting northern Wisconsin more access to broadband, something he says would help rural schools, and ultimately help the economy.

Not in the budget, but also on Tiffany's mind is Grey Wolves.

A new bill to take gray wolves of the endangered species list hit the U.S. Senate floor last week. The bill aims to get the wolves off that list and to give control back to states.

"After the bills that were introduced by Congressman Duffy and Sen. Johnson over the last week or so, it really appears that there's a good chance that we're going to see de-listing and without judicial review," said Tiffany.

Tiffany says that not having judicial review is important, because otherwise the legislation would "ping-pong" through the court system. He says it is time for the state to control the wolf population. 

"The Fish and Wildlife Service, they've acknowledged that they don't have enough people to be able to do this, so if they can't do it at the federal level, they should leave it to us at the state level," said Tiffany.

If wolves are de-listed, it could open the possibility of bringing back Wisconsin's wolf hunt. 


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/27/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We take our Long Summer Weekend to Langlade County:

We talk about the importance of lumber industry in Langlade County and throughout Wisconsin, and we talk to Northcentral Technical College and a local lumber company about how NTC is like a pipeline of talent for the industry.

We show you the Langlade County Fair's annual horsemanship showcase and introduce you to some of the competitors.

And when you go shopping for produce, you normally take a list and pull straight from the store shelf. But tonight we take you to a Deerbrook farm where you buy a season's worth of vegetables without knowing what you'll get.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more on our long summer weekend in Langlade County tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LANGLADE - A legacy that started in 1947 lives on in the small community of Langlade. 

Bob and Joni's bar has gone through three generations of owners and a few name changes since it opened more than 70 years ago. 

But one thing has remained the same. 

"If you're not laughing, smiling, having a good time, you're probably at the wrong bar," said Bob and Joni's manager Jeremy Walters.

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RHINELANDER - News that his wife was cheating on him may have led a Waukesha man to light a van on fire, shoot off a gun, and trigger the Oneida County SWAT team near Pelican Lake last week.

Prosecutors filed formal charges against 51-year-old Richard Hitchcock in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Hitchcock is accused of burning his van in the woods and firing three shots last Thursday. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office responded with its SWAT team, a drone, and canine units before arresting Hitchcock.

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RHINELANDER - Seventeen-year-old Ashlee Martinson was "incapable of making rational choices" when she killed her mother and stepfather in Oneida County two years ago, her lawyer argues.

Attorney Mark Schoenfeldt is arguing for a reduced sentence for Martinson, who is currently serving a 23-year prison term.

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OCONTO - Logging crews in northern Wisconsin are trying to make up for rainy weather that's slowed down their operations.

Logging experts tell WLUK-TV that it typically takes three or four days of dry weather for the ground to be parched enough for trucks to operate on logging roads.

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MADISON - A judge has ordered computer maker Apple Inc. to pay more than $506 million in a patent infringement case brought by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation after the two sides agreed on final damages.

In 2015, a jury found Apple infringed on a patent held by the foundation, which supports research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The patent involves chip technology developed at the university. The technology was used in processors installed by Apple in a number of products.

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MADISON - Now that Wisconsin has landed a coveted Foxconn plant it will need to quickly transition to a more highly skilled workforce than the assembly lines that established the state's manufacturing legacy.

The electronics giant known for making Apple products in China Foxconn has not said what type of jobs it will offer in order to produce liquid-crystal display panels that are used in televisions and computer screens. But some of the higher-end positions could be for engineers and software developers and those jobs aren't always easy to fill.

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