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.
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?"
FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.
The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.
The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects.
One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.
For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.
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