November mining referendum appears likely in Oneida Co. as mining ordinance clears committeeSubmitted: 06/13/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

November mining referendum appears likely in Oneida Co. as mining ordinance clears committee
RHINELANDER - In November, people in Oneida County will likely vote on whether they support mining the mineral deposit in the town of Lynne.

Ore valued at millions of dollars lies below county forest land there, and mining companies have been interested in the zinc, lead, copper, and silver for decades.

On Wednesday, the county's Planning and Development Committee unanimously supported a plan to put an advisory referendum on mining on the ballot for the November general election.

"The taxpayers own that property. All of you out there, all of us sitting here, we own the county forest lands," said supervisor Ted Cushing, a member of the committee. "The only way to do this properly is to poll everybody."

The committee also approved a new mining ordinance as part of its zoning code. A new state law puts a July 1 deadline on mining ordinance changes.

The approved ordinance includes few major changes fromĀ the one the public commented on last week.

Mining permits will have to be approved by a majority of the county board. A plan to require a two-thirds majority on the votes was scrapped. Mining opponents in attendance audibly protested when the change was made.

Both the new mining ordinance and the referendum proposal will go before the full county board next Tuesday.

"It's right to let the public vote on this issue and vote on the town of Lynne issue, whether we should proceed after due diligence," said county board chair Dave Hintz. "The day when politicians think they're smarter than their electorate, I think we really have a problem."

Mining opponents seemed to like the referendum idea, too.

"Hopefully, we can come up with a once-and-for-all solution. If the [referendum] resolution can help us get there, I think, from my perspective, I would certainly support it," said Jeff Brown, who lives in the town of Lynne.

If approved, the referendum on the November ballot will read, "After performing their due diligence, should Oneida County allow leasing County owned lands in the Town of Lynne for the purpose of metallic mineral exploration, prospecting, bulk sampling and mining?"

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MADISON, WIS. (AP) - Madison officials say Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents violated city policy by detaining at least six immigrants without letting police know ahead of time.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says the department has a working relationship with ICE, but the federal agency did not follow protocol. Koval says ICE has agreed to call the assistant police chief before making arrests in Madison. This time the agency called the Dane County Communications Center.

Koval says the arrests were made at separate workplaces and are not considered to be part of a raid. He says the community is in "hyper-warp distress mode."

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says ICE told city officials the people arrested are believed to have committed serious crimes, but he does not know the specifics of the investigation.

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16-year-old Angel Marie Simonson was found safe in Marshfield according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

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RHINELANDER - A man died after a house fire in Rhinelander on Friday night.

According to a press release from the Rhinelander Police Department, Rhinelander police and firefighters responded to the fire at 320 Rose Street near Hodag Park around 7:30 p.m.  

Firefighters went inside the house soon after they arrived and found an unresponsive man on the floor.  Firefighters and paramedics tried to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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THREE LAKES - After 30 years, Dr. George Karling decided it's time to retire as the Three Lakes District Administrator.

He plans to leave after the school year ends, but the school board is already preparing to find his replacement.

Early next month, the Three Lakes School District will host two input sessions for the public.

Three Lakes residents can go to give their opinions on what they want in a replacement. 

Karling's decision to retire comes about a month after he faced criticism for allowing the district to be featured in a campaign ad for Gov. Scott Walker. 

People who can't make it can still send their thoughts to the Three Lakes Board of Education. People can submit comments by writing to:

Board of Education, Three Lakes School District
6930 West School St. 
Three Lakes, WI 54562 

or email: tr@threelakessd.k12.us.

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RHINELANDER - A house fire in Rhinelander left one man dead Friday.

Emergency responders got the call around 7:30 p.m. for a home near Hodag Park.

Steve Smith heard a dispatch call over his step-sons radio about the fire at his neighbor's home on Rose Street.

"We walked out the front door and it was plain as day," said Smith. "The flames were rolling out of the front window."

At first, Smith wasn't sure if anyone was in the home. "There was a man they brought out," said Smith. "unfortunately, I heard he was deceased,"

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier confirmed the victim was found dead on the scene.

"Life saving measures were done by the paramedics. Unfortunately, the male had passed away," said Gauthier. "At this point, it appears that it was due to something left on the stove."

Gauthier says more details about the victim will be released on Monday. 

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WOODRUFF - Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport hosted a fun-filled day for family and friends on Saturday.

This comes about five months after one of its helicopters crashed, killing three Spirit employees.

Regional manager Charles Kotke said those men were in mind today,

"Today is a day of bringing people together, as well as a celebration of our 25 year anniversary," said Kotke. "This team did an amazing job getting us back to caring for our patients and doing what we need to do to care of our community."

Flight paramedics showed off the aircrafts to people and the helicopter was a big hit.

"They definitely like to look at the aircrafts. See how we transport patients from point A to point B," said Northern Region Supervisor Ryan Short.

Next Saturday, Spirit is celebrating with more associates. The second part of the celebration will be in Stevens Point.

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