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Retired, active scientists form Wisconsin Green Fire, responding to 'threat' to science from state governmentSubmitted: 04/21/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Retired, active scientists form Wisconsin Green Fire, responding to 'threat' to science from state government
RHINELANDER - Two years ago, Gov. Scott Walker moved to cut 18 positions from the DNR's scientific research staff.

Last December, the DNR removed language about human causes of climate change from its website.

A state group, which will launch Saturday, calls moves like those a "threat" to science.


Former DNR employee Bob Martini, who lives in Rhinelander, is on the board of Wisconsin Green Fire. The former water resources scientist said DNR employees are under a gag order.

"I've never seen such a group of demoralized people," Martini said. "They feel that they can't use their scientific expertise to do what they were hired to do."

Green Fire is a group of about 70 retired and active scientists from organizations including the DNR and the UW System. Martini said Green Fire experts will make themselves available to the Legislature, local officials, and the media.

"We hope to try to fill the gap that was created when the DNR scientists could no longer speak," he said. "They can't even talk to the press, even if they're a world expert on a subject."

Martini says the group includes experts in almost every natural resources field.

"Many of our members already have a presence in the state government, local government, [and] the press. Many of them are already recognized as experts," he said.

Green Fire intentionally planned its launch for Saturday, which is Earth Day.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

STELLA - A cat died in a house fire in Stella Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to the call around 1:30 p.m., several miles east of Rhinelander.

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DNR hosts meeting about CWDSubmitted: 02/22/2018

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THE NORTHWOODS - A positive CWD test led to baiting and feeding bans starting in Lincoln and Langlade Counties and extending in Oneida, this month.

Hunters don't have a say, but the DNR took the first step to help the community understand the current CWD landscape. It hosted a meeting at Tomahawk high school on Wednesday.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

DNR wildlife biologist Janet Brehm gave a presentation. She said people were upset about the ban. Brehm emphasized that the ban was not put in place by the DNR, it's a part of Wisconsin state law. 

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WAUSAU - Police arrested a Florence County man in connection to a Wausau homicide case this week.
Online court records show Lee Franck, 56 doesn't face homicide charges, but instead domestic abuse counts.

According to the Wausau Pilot and Review paper, the criminal complaint shows Franck got into an argument with Lyle Leith a few days before the 77-year-old was found dead at his Wausau home on Kickbusch Street.

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MINOCQUA - You don't need to wait for the grass to turn green for golfing.

Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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MINOCQUA - A Lakeland Union High School student could face punishment for putting a shooting threat in a bathroom last week.

According to a press release, the Minocqua Police Department believes the girl officers talked to today is likely the person who left graffiti referencing the Parkland, Florida school shooting in an LUHS girls' bathroom on Thursday.

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WISCONSIN - A central Wisconsin state representative believes smaller communities in Wisconsin should not be treated as a welcome center for sex offenders, particularly sexual violent ones.

Democrat State Representative Katrina Shankland voted for a motion in the state budget to keep sex offenders in their original counties where the crimes took place.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September because it go rid of the rule that keeps offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

Shankland is trying once again to keep these offenders in their original home counties with a budget amendment that has already passed the assembly.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September to keep offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

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MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.

Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.

For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.

This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.

"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."

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