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Vocke and Felzkowski respond to Gov. Evers' mask mandateSubmitted: 07/30/2020
Story By Morgan Johnson

Vocke and Felzkowski respond to Gov. Evers' mask mandate
RHINELANDER - Politicians across the state and across the region were quick to react to Governor Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate.

We reached out to Democrat Ed Vocke who is currently running for the 12th state senate seat. He applauds Evers' statewide order.

"The underlying function of the state of Wisconsin is to protect people's health and well-being.A mask mandate is absolutely necessary in order to do that," said Vocke.

On the other side of the spectrum Ed Vocke's republican opponent Representative Mary Felzkowski said the governor overstepped his power, yet again.


"He's doing a one-size-fits-all. I think it's getting kind of ridiculous at this point. That's what we have local public health offices for; I think they're doing an amazing job," said Felzkowski.

Both Vocke and Felzkowski are running unopposed in their respective primaries.

That means they will likely be matched up in the November general election.

Governor Evers' order requires all Wisconsin residents to wear face masks while indoors until the end of September.

Evers' order goes into effect this Saturday August 1, making Wisconsin the 34th state to require face coverings.

Anyone age 5 years or older must follow the order. A number of exceptions were included in the mandate, including for members of the state Legislature and the state judiciary.

Exceptions are also made for eating and drinking, for speakers at religious services, reporters delivering news reports, and for people who have breathing issues.

In addition to the mask mandate, Evers also declared a new state public health emergency.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

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CRANDON - A plant that scientists believed had disappeared from Wisconsin has been spotted in the Northwoods.

"That's the scientific name, Calypso bulbosa," said Kevin Doyle, Botanist for Bureau of National Heritage Conservation. "The common name is calypso orchid."

The plant is small. Itsleaves are about the size of a thumbnail and the whole plant is only three to eight inches tall in its full bloom.

A volunteer found it in the white cedar swamps near Crandon. Now Doyle and others hope to preserve it.

"We're hoping to collect seeds from the population," said Doyle. "Hopefully collect some capsules and at that point we can kind of preserve some options."

And its all thanks to one volunteer.

"It's a great example of how we can collaborate with people who are already going out on their own time botanising and finding cool things," said Doyle. "And we need more people to get involved."

If you are interested check out their website: 

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MINNEAPOLIS - President Donald Trump's campaign on Friday announced details of his visits on Monday to Minnesota and Wisconsin, two Midwestern states that he's counting on winning.

The campaign says Trump will highlight "Joe Biden's failures on jobs and the economy" during his two airport events.

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NATH hosts e-cycling fundraiserSubmitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - Traffic slowed to a stand-still on Highway 8 West out of Rhinelander but not because of any accident or construction.

NATH and The Good News Project partnered for the third year in a row to host an e-cycling fundraiser.

"There's still a huge line of cars waiting to drop off their things and that's been going on since before we opened at 8. It's been a very busy and very successful fundraiser," say Rick Covin, Board Member for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing.

NATH operates Frederick's Place in Rhinelander. This is their third year partnering with The Good News Project out of Wausau to host the electronics recycling event.

"We're having anyone from the area able to bring their electronics, even vacuum cleaners, stereo systems, computers, TVs, monitors, and for a small fee which is much less than you would have to pay at the dump," says Covin.

A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping fund the shelter's operation. COVID and other complications forced NATH to cancel many of their successful fundraising events, like the Harvest Hoedown normally scheduled for October.

"While our expenses have not gone down, even gone up some, our income, which is fundraising grants, and gifts, has gone down," says Covin.

If you didn't make it Friday, don't worry! You can stop by from 9 to noon Saturady.

"We'll all be here ready to take their recyclables and all that stuff that's been gathering dust in their basement, closet, and garage, gather that up, those old electronics you have to pay through the nose to get rid of at the dump, bring 'em here, and we'll give rid of em for a small fee and it'll go to a good cause," says Covin.

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KENOSHA - A Kenosha police officer wounded in a shootout last week while investigating a vehicle break-in has been released from a hospital, Wisconsin Department of Justice officials said Friday.

A release by the department's Division of Criminal Investigation identified the officer as Justin Pruett, who has been with the Kenosha police force for two years. He suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the Kenosha News reported.

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MINOCQUA -

 The walleye population in Minocqua's Chain of Lakes has been struggling. The Wisconsin DNR has placed strict policies on walleye fishing in the area which has put a strain on anglers. 

Because of that, fishing guides in Minocqua have had to suggest new alternatives to tourists in order to protect the walleye population.

"Numbers just skyrocketing," said Kurt's Island Sport Shop's Alec Steinberger on the surge of new fishermen.

But, with the walleye population struggling to reproduce naturally, fishing guides have had to direct new fishermen to different species.

"I recommend you go out and catch crappies and panfish and bass and have a good time," Steinberger said.

While the Wisconsin DNR has placed a strict "catch and release" restriction on walleye in Minocqua, it doesn't mean that anglers can't bring in those fish from other lakes.

"All the rest of the lakes don't have that restriction. So, you can still go out and fish and catch walleyes on a lot of lakes and come back with your limits everyday," said Dewey Catchem and How Owner, Jeff Bolander.

He knows better than anyone else that this summer has been especially busy for fishing.

"You've got the normal people that fish who are fishing more often," Bolander said, "You've got the people that don't normally fish are taking it up and finding out either they like it or they don't."

And Steinberger realizes these new anglers can cause a strain on an already low population.

"When you've got people coming up and taking walleyes out of the chain that aren't being naturally reproduced, you're actually taking out more fish than can be reproduced into the lake," he said.

The DNR is hoping that by next summer the walleye population in Minocqua can return to normal levels and fisherman can resume catching the fish without the strict policy.



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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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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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