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?"
RHINELANDER - It's easy to slip on ice, skid on roads, or get stuck in the snow.
One thing that also happens is joint pain from common winter activities.
Shoveling heavy snow is one of the biggest problems Rhinelander Chiropractor Dr. Tony Lowenberg sees causing this pain.
He said shoveling is a physical activity that can cause excessive stress on the body; especially for people who don't lift heavy often.
"Lifting and the twisting creates wear and tear on their body. Then [people] feel it as pain and then their muscles get tight because they are not used to lifting stuff," said Dr. Lowenberg. "It's more people that are not used a physical job, shoveling can be [troublesome]."
TOMAHAWK - After a bitterly cold November, road crews in Tomahawk enjoyed a warm up on Monday. But temperatures shifting above and below freezing this week will create perfect conditions for a lot more work. John Cole is the Director of Public Works for the City of Tomahawk. He says that pothole issues are something that his crew fights all season long.
"It's job security, it's not a good job security, but it is job security for sure because you always have potholes to fill," said Cole. "When you get that expansion and contraction, we get water in those cracks, and when you get the traffic and people driving on them."
In Tomahawk, Cole sends crews out every week to look for potholes and fill them. He also sends out crews whenever they get a call about a bad pothole.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander student made it onto her school bus and to class unhurt last Tuesday, but she almost didn't. A recent close call left Bowen Bus Service employees wondering if Rhinelander will be the next to see a student killed while simply trying to get to and from school.
On Hwy 8 last week a student was nearly hit by a truck at her bus stop, leaving the bus driver in disbelief. In a surveillance video from the bus, you can hear the bus driver say "That car like just missed you. That truck just missed her."
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