EAGLE RIVER - A Wisconsin lawmaker wants to pass a Blue Lives Matter bill after the deadly ambush on officers in Dallas last week. The bill would make certain crimes against law enforcement officers hate crimes. But some local officers think the bill might need to be reworked before it's passed.
Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) wants to pass the Blue Lives Matter bill in the wake of the Dallas shooting. The bill would also apply to crimes against firefighters and EMS workers.
Some people criticized the bill, saying professions like law enforcement shouldn't be categorized with other protected groups such as racial or religious minorities.
One Vilas County Sheriff's officer thinks the bill needs some work.
"It creates a divide," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain David Gardner. "I think all lives matter. [It] doesn't matter if it happens to be an officer or a bus driver or even a person out there that's protesting. We all matter."
Gardner says he hasn't seen officers targeted here in northern Wisconsin, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.
He says seeing what happened in Dallas is hard to explain to those who don't wear the badge.
"This is one individual. It's not a group of people," said Gardner. "It's one individual that completed a heinous act. It's part of our job, we understand that, but it doesn't mean that we don't have feelings either."
Gardner thinks another bill might not be the answer either. He says making a law with harsher punishments might not stop a shooter from carrying out an attack.
"I don't think it's going to change his decision. Whether there's a law on the books or not, I think he'll do it anyway," said Gardner. "We need to look at how we can control that behavior. I think there's other avenues we can look to also."
To honor the people who died, the Vilas County Sheriff's officers are wearing their mourning badges.
RHINELANDER - Donations to members of the military will fill the lobbies of local banks soon as part of a care package donation drive.
Rhinelander's Military Support Group kicked off its 19th donation drive this fall, partnering with People's State Bank for the third year.
"We have vets working for us, we have families of vets, a lot of our base is vets, that's just a strong community base for us," said commercial banking specialist Stacy Timm.
Nearly 7,300 items were donated in 2017 and 8,900 items were collected last year.
A brat fry earlier this month, raised just under 700 dollars to help send those donations to veterans and active duty service members.
Support group member LeRoy Eades said donations mostly go to Wisconsin service members who can't make it home for the holidays.
"A lot of them won't be home for Christmas, so this is just a little piece of Christmas we're giving to them," said Eades.
Peoples State will accept donations until Veterans Day on November 11. Donation drop-offs can be found at bank locations in Rhinelander, Wausau, Rib Mountain, Weston, Eagle River, Minocqua and Marathon.
ST. GERMAIN - Few things can ruin a Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin - except maybe a lack of fish.
"A lot of those Lake Erie perch are ending up on the plates of Wisconsin restaurants and Wisconsin suppliers, so when something happens to Lake Erie … then the restaurants and suppliers can feel that," said DNR Fisheries Supervisor David Boyarski.
Faced with a shortage of yellow lake perch, Cathy Kuske, DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant manager, has found a way to combat the issue.
"When I ask the distributor how much they have, he'll tell me how many cases and I'll order twice as many cases as I normally do, just so we don't run out," said Kuske.
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