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Rhinelander GOP Rep. 'surprised, confused' by Walker's loss, willing to work with Gov. Elect EversSubmitted: 11/07/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

Rhinelander GOP Rep. 'surprised, confused' by Walker's loss, willing to work with Gov. Elect Evers
RHINELANDER - Northwoods Republican State Rep. Rob Swearingen felt a mixture of surprise and confusion when Governor Walker lost to Tony Evers early Wednesday morning.

Walker won all Northwoods counties, but couldn't get close enough in places like Milwaukee, Madison, and Kenosha.

Swearingen told Newswatch 12 he thought voter approval of the state's economic direction would be enough to carry over into a Walker win.  The Northwoods representative says he's willing to work with new governor Tony Evers, but added this election was not a "mandate" to take on more liberal policies.


"Let's produce some more bi-partisan legislation, but I will not sacrifice my Republican values either," Swearingen said.

Swearingen easily won his race against Democrat Chris Meier for the 34th Assembly District, by a 61-38 margin. He thinks his work on better broadband, rural school funding, and tax cuts all gave voters a clear choice.

"All these things put together gives the Northwoods a real good boost and I'd like to think I've been a big part of that over the last three terms," Swearingen said.

Tony Evers' experience as State School Superintendent could help Swearingen accomplish his goal of finding a better funding formula, but the Republican wants to make sure it's a balanced solution.

Swearingen says Evers' idea of the Fair Funding Formula, which funds schools better in a uniform way across the state but calls for more spending, doesn't work in his mind, but he's willing to compromise.

"Parts of it are probably just fine. Maybe we can incorporate that with some Republican ideas and values and move something forward," Swearingen said.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ADAMS COUNTY - A Facebook Post from the Adams County Sheriff's Office says the remains of a man who was reported missing in June of 2017 have been identified.

The human remains found by deer hunters in the town of Monroe on October 20th this year were identified as William J. Sheeran.

Local and state investigators processed the area. 

No criminal activity is suspected in Mr. Sheeran's death.

No other information is being released at this time.

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CRANDON - Forest County Ties that Bind Us works to provide cancer prevention education and helps people dealing with cancer in its community. Founders of the group never expected it to grow as much as it has, and certainly never thought they'd get nationally recognized for their work. 
 
"It was really exciting," said Kadie Montgomery. 

"I was surprised," said Jodie Stamper. 

Montgomery and Stamper have been a part of Forest County Ties that Bind Us from the beginning. 

"I never thought that it would get this big when we first started it," said Montgomery. "I thought it would be a little organization but little Crandon and Forest County really took off with the whole thing." 

Now, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health named Ties that Bind Us a Community Star of 2018. The award honors people or organizations that are dedicated to rural health. 

"I think this is our goal that we've been looking for is just to say we are a rural community, we do help one another… it's an amazing feeling to be able to say 'Yeah, we're doing that,'" said Montgomery. 

Through community support with events like the annual Colors of Cancer Run, the Forest County group purchased two robots to allow kids in cancer treatment to still attend school, continually hosts cancer prevention events, and provides food and gas gift cards to cancer patients.

"[Forest County is] more than 30 minutes away from a hospital so for patients who have cancer who have to travel to medical appointments frequently, they have radiation, they have chemo, things like that," said Stamper. "It becomes a struggle for patients." 

"Being a rural community, we're excluded from a lot of other non-profit organizations and funding," said Montgomery. "So we really needed to create something that worked for our community and our county."
But neither Montgomery or Stamper ever imagined that Ties that Bind Us would work so well. 

"We just thought if we could make a difference in a few people's lives it'd be awesome but to be recognized at this level is just really rewarding," said Stamper. 

The award was officially announced Thursday, which was also National Rural Health Day. 

Both Montgomery and Stamper credit community support for the group's success. If someone is interested in donating or volunteering for the group, visit their Facebook page.


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RHINELANDER - Volunteer Michael Wiernasz thinks the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry should grow more food in their greenhouse.

"Broccoli plants and kale plants [are great] in the fall for the community garden," said Wiernasz.

Not much grows in the greenhouse after August, but with the right equipment they could do more.

"Watering system and electric ventilating system [would allow] the greenhouse to extend the [growing] season into the fall months," said Wiernasz.

Garden curator Tom Jerow agrees.

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CRANDON - More than 3 million high schoolers regularly use e-cigarettes.

That number jumped 78 percent since this time last year, according to numbers released Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The agency is looking to take action against e-cigarettes. It's looking to keep them away from kids by banning the sale of sweet and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes in places accessible to kids. If it's successful, they'll no longer be available at convenience stores and online.

"What adult is going to smoke cotton candy or crème brule? The kids, that's what attracts them or makes them interested," said Forest Co. Public Health Nurse Holli Denton on Thursday.

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MARSHFIELD - Apartments and a retirement home needed to be evacuated in Marshfield Thursday as police dealt with an armed man.

Around 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Marshfield Police rushed to 1907 S Vine Avenue after an intoxicated man called claiming his gun had been stolen.

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MINOCQUA - Instead of working on the roads, members of the Minocqua Public Works crew hovered above Oneida Street on Thursday morning.

"We're all cross-trained and we all do everything throughout public works," DPW Director Mark Pertile said.

Pertile's talented team tested bulbs and planted a train set in front of the balsam Christmas tree in Veterans Park.  It was some of the final work to do before the "Island City" hits the holidays.

"Downtown is really starting to pop," Pertile said.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says in his first comments to reporters since his election defeat that "We're not going to retreat. The state of Wisconsin is not going to go backwards."

Walker also said Thursday that he's open to Republican proposals to move the date of the 2020 presidential primary and change membership of some state boards and commissions.

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