SCHOFIELD - You might feel like sending Wisconsin lawmakers a message: "Your account is seriously past due." It's been more than two weeks since the unofficial deadline to pass the next two-year budget went by.
Lawmakers can't seem to agree on two key issues: transportation and school funding. The state faces about a $1 billion shortfall in transportation funding.
Gov. Walker wants to keep borrowing down, but he also doesn't want to raise the gas tax or registration fees.
"I think we're a lot closer than we think," Walker said during a bill-signing stop in the Wausau area Monday.
"We've even been talking on the plane a little bit about it. I meet every week, I'll meet again with the Speaker [Robin Vos] and the Majority Leader [Scott Fitzgerald]. I talked to both of them over the weekend about some ideas. We've got a few things we think in the next few days might be the next step forward."
Walker says that when he was Milwaukee County executive, he didn't set the budget until November. But that budget typically isn't due until fall anyway. A Milwaukee County report for 2017 noted the county executive's budget recommendations are due Oct. 1.
Walker noted that, unlike the federal government, state services like parks and schools continue "as is" until a new budget is passed.
Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) called June 30 an "artificial deadline."
"I don't hear from any taxpayers, any constituents that say, 'I want the budget done fast.' They want it done right, and so taking some time, taking a few extra weeks to get something done right for our constituents, that's a good process," Nygren said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander told residents this week its municipal water is safe to drink, responding to concerns of elevated chemical levels in city water.
On Monday night, the city said it had shut down Well 7 on June 24 after a test for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) came back showing excessive levels.
But on Tuesday morning, the Oneida County Health Department couldn't offer a similar assurance about the purity of private wells in the area.
PFAS refers to a group of manmade chemicals that may cause higher cholesterol, low infant birthweights, and lower female fertility, among other health risks. The manmade chemical is found in products like food wrappers, stain-resistant fabrics, and nail polish.
RHINELANDER - The city of Rhinelander took a municipal well offline after its water was found to contain excessive levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the Oneida County Health Department and the city.
Since that well is turned off, "the public water system is ok to drink," stated the health department release.
"Based on current, available information, we can conclude that the water is not considered a potential threat to health and is safe to drink," read the city's release.
Some studies have shown people with PFAS expose may be at risk of increased cholesterol levels, worsening response to vaccines, a higher risk of thyroid disease, lower fertility in women, and an elevated risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women.
RHINELANDER - Running the master streamer on a Rhinelander firetruck gave Nick Heise a sense of control over an exciting situation this morning. The junior firefighter got the chance to do something he s never done before: go into a burning building and put out the fire.
"You can call us crazy, but we actually like to do it," Heise said. "Fire rolling over our heads and got to play with it and learn some stuff about fire behavior."
Rhinelander firefighters were practicing controlled burns along Ohlson Lane, just behind the Home Depot. Crews lit four sets of fires, with two on the top floor and two on the ground level, then burned the whole thing down and worked on putting that out.
RACINE - A Racine woman is accused of leaving her 3-year-old grandson in a hot vehicle while she shopped at the Dollar Tree.
A criminal complaint says police were called when someone spotted the toddler in the vehicle with the windows up Friday when temperatures were in the 90s. The complaint says first responders broke a window to rescue the boy who was "limp and very warm to the touch."
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