Gov. Evers discusses non-partisan redistricting plan in WausauSubmitted: 01/27/2020
Story By Stephen Goin

Gov. Evers discusses non-partisan redistricting plan in Wausau
WAUSAU - When the invisible lines separating congressional districts shift every 10 years, the political party in power usually decides where on the map those lines are drawn. In 2011, Republicans in Wisconsin are accused of using this power to create maps that unfairly favored conservative candidates. 

Soon, a non-partisan commission created by Gov. Tony Evers could help redraw the Republican maps the governor called "some of the most gerrymandered in the United States."

"When elected officials can rely on the safety of their seats rather than the quality of their work, again something's wrong," said Evers. 

Early Monday, Evers signed Executive Order #66 creating the People's Map Commission. In Wausau, Evers said the commission would not include any elected or political party officials; only non-partisan citizens.
The Executive Order states the commission is expected to draw "fair and impartial" maps after holding hearings in each of Wisconsin's eight congressional districts.

According to a Marquette University Law Poll, more than 70% of Wisconsin voters want to see the state's legislative maps redrawn by a non-partisan commission. Currently, 50 out of 72 counties have passed resolutions supporting nonpartisan redistricting. 

In Wausau, Evers said the new maps would not tip the scales in favor of Democrats.

"We have maps that are gerrymandered now in one way, it makes no sense to have them gerrymandered the other way. We can't do this, this has to be non-partisan," said Evers.

The commission is instructed to prepare maps for the state legislature to consider as soon as 2020 Census data becomes available. The state legislature would ultimately have to approve the new maps before the governor would sign them into law. If both sides couldn't reach an agreement, the process would move to the courts.

Lincoln County Board Supervisor Hans Breitenmoser also spoke out in support of the commission Monday.
During Evers's State of the State address last Wednesday, Evers invited Breitenmoser as a guest and thanked him for introducing a trend-setting resolution in support of non-partisan redistricting.

"In 2017, Hans, who is a dairy farmer and Lincoln County board supervisor, introduced a resolution supporting nonpartisan redistricting, kicking off a trend across our state. Today, 50 counties, representing 78 percent of the people of Wisconsin, have passed similar resolutions. Hans is up in the gallery with us tonight - Hans, thank you for your work on this important issue, said Evers during the address.

Breitenmoster said Monday the issue of gerrymandering goes beyond party.

"The people in Lincoln County and all across the state - Conservative, Progressive, Independent - never again want this task to be done down in Madison behind closed doors by high price lawyers hired by political party bosses regardless if those party bosses are democrats or republicans," said Breitenmoser.
Breitenmoser said he wants to see more transparency in the redistricting process. 

"This work should be out in the open and close to the ground," said Breitenmoser. "The job of the People's Maps Commission is to end political gerrymandering in Wisconsin and we the people, we the people, will have to make sure that happens." 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos expressed clear disdain for Evers's plan Monday. 

"He can form whatever fake, phony, partisan process he wants to create, but I have no doubt in the end we will do it the way we always have, which is to follow the constitution," Vos said.

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NATH hosts e-cycling fundraiserSubmitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - Traffic slowed to a stand-still on Highway 8 West out of Rhinelander but not because of any accident or construction.

NATH and The Good News Project partnered for the third year in a row to host an e-cycling fundraiser.

"There's still a huge line of cars waiting to drop off their things and that's been going on since before we opened at 8. It's been a very busy and very successful fundraiser," say Rick Covin, Board Member for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing.

NATH operates Frederick's Place in Rhinelander. This is their third year partnering with The Good News Project out of Wausau to host the electronics recycling event.

"We're having anyone from the area able to bring their electronics, even vacuum cleaners, stereo systems, computers, TVs, monitors, and for a small fee which is much less than you would have to pay at the dump," says Covin.

A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping fund the shelter's operation. COVID and other complications forced NATH to cancel many of their successful fundraising events, like the Harvest Hoedown normally scheduled for October.

"While our expenses have not gone down, even gone up some, our income, which is fundraising grants, and gifts, has gone down," says Covin.

If you didn't make it Friday, don't worry! You can stop by from 9 to noon Saturady.

"We'll all be here ready to take their recyclables and all that stuff that's been gathering dust in their basement, closet, and garage, gather that up, those old electronics you have to pay through the nose to get rid of at the dump, bring 'em here, and we'll give rid of em for a small fee and it'll go to a good cause," says Covin.

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MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a synagogue last year as part of a neo-Nazi plot, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Yousef Barasneh, 22, of Oak Creek, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal civil rights charge, U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin said.

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KENOSHA - A Kenosha police officer wounded in a shootout last week while investigating a vehicle break-in has been released from a hospital, Wisconsin Department of Justice officials said Friday.

A release by the department's Division of Criminal Investigation identified the officer as Justin Pruett, who has been with the Kenosha police force for two years. He suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the Kenosha News reported.

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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KINGSTON, MO - Attorneys for a Missouri man accused of killing two brothers from Wisconsin are seeking to have two charges of abandoning a corpse dismissed in the case.

Garland Nelson, of Braymer, is facing the death penalty in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. They disappeared after visiting Nelson's farm in July 2019 and their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.

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MINNEAPOLIS - President Donald Trump's campaign on Friday announced details of his visits on Monday to Minnesota and Wisconsin, two Midwestern states that he's counting on winning.

The campaign says Trump will highlight "Joe Biden's failures on jobs and the economy" during his two airport events.

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