ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Board Chair used the term "off the table" to describe metallic mining in the town of Lynne going forward.
Nearly two-thirds of the county said "no" to mining exploration in an advisory referendum question on Tuesday.
The county board doesn't have to follow the wishes of voters in the referendum. But Chair Dave Hintz now calls the chances of the board moving forward on mining "remote."
"The answer was not yes. The answer was no," Hintz said Wednesday. "So, we will not go through that due diligence process, which means mining of the Lynne property is off the table, not on our agenda at this point."
The Lynne ore deposit contains valuable minerals below county-owned land in western Oneida County. Mining companies have showed interest for years. But it's also near the Willow Flowage, a major water resource in the county.
This year, the county board put the referendum question asking about mining on the November ballot.
"We would like to put this thing to bed for quite a while," said Jeff Brown, a Lynne resident and member of the Protect the Willow anti-mining group.
Brown calls the group a team of political "rookies." But nearly 12,000 Oneida County voters agreed with the group's message on Tuesday. Sixty-two percent of the county voted "no."
"The people across the board, Republicans and Democrats, have said, 'It doesn't matter what party we're at, we don't want a mine in Oneida County on the county forest land,'" Brown said.
Hintz admitted the board could act against the wishes of the voters, but said it wasn't likely.
"I think it's a remote possibility. I do not give that a strong chance of success," he said.
"We don't have a social license to lease our public lands in the town of Lynne for mining. I hope that our county board will listen to what their constituency has made clear," said Pete Zambon, who handled communications and coordinated canvasses for Protect the Willow.
The Lac du Flambeau Tribe also fought hard for a "no" vote, on the ground and through television commercials.
"I think the people have spoken loud and clear," said tribal president Joseph Wildcat Sr. "A lot of the tribal community is happy, and also, I think, the residents of an area like the Willow. We're all trying to protect the resources."
Hintz said he was most impressed by the Oneida County turnout. More than 19,000 people voted on the mining question.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A business development agency in the Northwoods pictures new homes, apartments, and jobs coming to Lac du Flambeau in the next decade. Building those and making them a reality may get a boost from a new tax deferral process.
Lac du Flambeau has been identified as an "Opportunity Zone." Essentially, it allows investors to avoid paying taxes on capital gains through things like profits made through trading stocks.
PHILLIPS - You can still get protection with a flu shot. The Price County Health Department says it's not too late. In Wisconsin, the number of people taking advantage of the flu vaccine is up this year.
Last year, 37 percent of people in Wisconsin received a flu shot during the flu season. This year, that number slightly rose to 38 percent.
Many of us worry about the flu during the winter months. But it can still be a problem through the warmer months because of airplane travel. Travel between the northern and southern hemispheres will allow the flu to spread anytime during the year.
Even in late February, we are still encouraged to get the shot.
TOMAHAWK - Two local car mechanics told us a stretch of Highway 51 near Tomahawk is so bad, they won't even drive on it. Both said the road is rougher than they've ever seen it, a condition echoed on roads throughout the Northwoods.
But the nine-mile stretch near Tomahawk especially stands out for some drivers.
"[Highway] 8 to Highway S, the southbound lane, is buckling so bad, you just bounce down that road. The cars, when they bounce down there, the suspension just takes a beating," said Gary Luedke, the service manager at Heritage Chevrolet in Tomahawk.
Luedke has seen problems with ball joints, tie rod ends, and even tires with chunks missing. All of the damage comes from bad winter roads like Highway 51.
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