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WI Representative introduces bill for clean water initiatives.Submitted: 01/21/2020
WI Representative introduces bill for clean water initiatives.
Story By Newswatch 12 team

MADISON - Representative Katrina Shankland introduced a bipartisan bill to create a new state trust fund for clean water initiatives.

The fund could only be used on water quality projects. Funds could not be transferred to other accounts except under extreme conditions.

Additional provisions include a rapid response fund and the creation of a new oversight committee.

Representative Shankland said of the bill "The clean water fund will help us ensure the money is there when we need it."

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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WAUSAU - The 4th Annual Grand Prix of Wisconsin Powerboat Nationals race weekend event that was scheduled for August 29th - 30th at Bluegill Bay Park in Rib Mountain has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

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MENOMINEE RESERVATION - A 2019 bill aiming to create a task force focused on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, or MMIW, failed to come up for a vote in Madison. Attorney General Kosh Kaul knows the issue is too important to public safety to do nothing.

"I think that this is too important an issue to wait for the next legislative session and then not be sure what's gonna happen so we went ahead and created this task force," says Kaul.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Task Force will bring together leadership from Wisconsin's 11 tribal nations, along with municipal, county, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement.

Their first priority is getting a firm grasp on just how bad this issue really is.

"Well as far as data goes, we don't have accurate data," says Rachel Fernandez, an organizer with Manikanaehkem, Community Rebuilders. Manikanaehkem is based in the Menominee Nation, advocating for a holistic approach to healing communities.

"We get lost in that shuffle of violence -- of everything that's going on," says Fernandez.

There are three ongoing investigations announced at the July press conference for the Task Force. Fernandez says there are far more, and more coming forward every day.

"The women are leading right now and we're doing this work because we honor those ancestors who endured years and years of struggle, oppression, assimilation, genocide -- now that everybody is ready, and I think that's a key word, ready, to talk about everything, it's important that we do our part in leading," says Fernandez.

Allyship is important, but the job of non-natives is to support, not lead. "Saving them" was a rallying cry for centuries of genocide, forced assimilation, and other forms of historical and ongoing violence against Indigenous people. Even well-intended, the idea carries forward the colonizer mentality.

"I tell my friends that are trying to do that. "Oh what can I do, I'm gonna come to that meeting, I'm gonna do this" and I'm like - you need to slow up, and you need to listen, and you need to understand that you're not here to save us, you're here to stand with us," says Fernandez.

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KENOSHA - A 29-year-old man suspected of shooting and wounding a Kenosha police officer last weekend is under arrest in Indiana, authorities said Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON - The number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak took hold in the U.S. five months ago, but layoffs are still running extraordinarily high.

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- The Rhinelander school district announced today a blended reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year. The blended option will include high school and middle school students attending in-person classes twice a week, with the remainder of the week being online. Meanwhile, K-5th will have a four day school week, with Wednesdays off for a school-wide cleaning. Despite the district's decision to offer partly online classes, not all parents are ready for their students to return back to the school hallways.

"We have to put health in front of money. we have to put health in front of other important things to make sure everybody is okay to continue to enjoy the things we like so much. and if this is just one way we can keep her safe and the family safe,..again we just decided as a family that's the best route for us," Rhinelander parent, Kate Bauman said.

For parents wanting an alternative option, they can sign up for the districts online option by tomorrow night, August 9th, 2020. 

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