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Local community leaders discuss struggles with rough roadsSubmitted: 06/01/2016
Story By Ben Meyer

Local community leaders discuss struggles with rough roads
MOSINEE - This spring, Rhinelander voters approved raising their own taxes, with the money going to repair the city's cracked and rutted roads. Rhinelander's street struggles are not alone. The city is just one part of a bumpy road system across Wisconsin.

One survey found less than 10% of Price County's roads are rated "good" or better. Meanwhile, like Rhinelander, the City of Marshfield will ask for more money from taxpayers to fix ITS worst roads.

Those are just a few examples of the struggles in our area to build and maintain better roads.

Marshfield's city administrator says street quality is the number one complaint from people in his town.

"The long-term success is whether or not you can provide a good long-term surface 30, 40, or 50 years out that's going to be durable," says City Administrator Steve Barg. "That's the bigger issue, as opposed to just keeping up on the filling of cracks and the potholes."

People from across the area met in Mosinee Wednesday to discuss their own community's challenges with poor roads. Many complained last year's state budget did little to help transportation funding for northern Wisconsin.

"Some of the similarities we've heard is, one is, frustration. 'It shouldn't be this hard,'" says Craig Thompson, Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin Executive Director. "Other states are figuring out a way to fund their transportation system. Wisconsin hasn't been able to yet."

Wisconsin legislators delayed budget talks for weeks last year while debating the transportation budget. They ended up cutting millions from what Governor Scott Walker first wanted to spend.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

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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CRANDON - A plant that scientists believed had disappeared from Wisconsin has been spotted in the Northwoods.

"That's the scientific name, Calypso bulbosa," said Kevin Doyle, Botanist for Bureau of National Heritage Conservation. "The common name is calypso orchid."

The plant is small. Itsleaves are about the size of a thumbnail and the whole plant is only three to eight inches tall in its full bloom.

A volunteer found it in the white cedar swamps near Crandon. Now Doyle and others hope to preserve it.

"We're hoping to collect seeds from the population," said Doyle. "Hopefully collect some capsules and at that point we can kind of preserve some options."

And its all thanks to one volunteer.

"It's a great example of how we can collaborate with people who are already going out on their own time botanising and finding cool things," said Doyle. "And we need more people to get involved."

If you are interested check out their website: 

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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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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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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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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