New Bill Would Create Task Force on Violence Against Tribal Women Published on 09/19/2019 under News
Several legislators joined in Lac du Flambeau yesterday to discuss a bill aimed at addressing violence against tribal women and girls.

Anecdotally, Native American women have a higher rate of being abused, abducted, and even murdered; but accurate statistics are lacking. An example the used, in 2016, the National Crime Information Center says there were more than 5,700 reports of missing American Indian women and girls. But the DOJ's missing persons database only logged 116 cases.

That is one area this bill would address. They are looking to create a task force that would focus on steps to take regarding violence against indigenous women in Wisconsin.

The bill has received bipartisan support. Sponsors include three Democrats in State Senator Janet Bewley and Representatives Beth Meyers and Amanda Stuck as well as Republican Rep. Jeff Mursau.

The legislators unveiled the bill at the Sexual Assault-Domestic Violence Tribal Directors meeting in Lac du Flambeau. They'll continue to seek additional co-sponsors before bringing the bill to committee.

In Other News

Marshfield Clinic to Acquire Weston, Park Falls Hospitals from Ascension
Published on 10/16/2019 under News Two Northwoods healthcare providers have reached an agreement for Marshfield Clinic to purchase Ascension hospitals in Weston and Park Falls. The two providers made that announcement via a joint news release yesterday. It says Marshfield Clinic will acquire St. Claire's Hospital in Weston, as well as their Diagnostic and Treatment Center. In addition, they'll also acquire the Flambeau Hospital in Park Falls. Marshfield Clinic CEO Susan Turney says, "Our goal has long been to create an integrated medical campus in Wausau that will allow us to provide the highest quality care close to home for our patients, families and communities." With the acquisition, Turney says they will abandon the previously announced plans to build a new hospital in the Wausau area. As for the Park Falls facility, Marshfield Clinic and the former Ministry Health Care entered into a joint sponsorship agreement in 1994 to operate the 25 bed Flambeau Hospital. Marshfield Clinic will take over full operation with the agreement. They hope to finalize the agreement and permitting by next spring.
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Rep. Felzkowski Joins Lincoln County Board for Conversation
Published on 10/16/2019 under News Representative Mary Felzkowski met with the Lincoln County Board to discuss a wide range of topics at their meeting last night. As part of an effort to create dialogue between elected officials at the state and county levels, the Lincoln County Board had sent out an informal, open-ended invitation for officials in Madison to come and participate at a board meeting. Rep. Felzkowski took the board up on that offer last evening. After she gave a brief rundown of the additional funds made available to the county through the state budget, the floor was opened up to questions from the supervisors. During that hour long conversation, they spoke on more than a half dozen topics that affect residents of Lincoln County. Most of the time was dedicated to redistricting and medical marijuana, two issues that have been addressed through advisory referendums in Lincoln County. While Felzkowski did not support the push for changes to the redistricting, she anticipated a medical marijuana bill she authored will be taken up this fall in the assembly. They also touched on medicaid expansion, solar energy, broadband, and partisanship in general. While they may have disagreed on some of the topics, the supervisors were appreciative that the conversations took place. They invited Felzkowski back for similar discussions and hoped that State Senator Tom Tiffany and Governor Tony Evers' offices would follow suit.
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Lincoln County Board Hears 2020 Budget Overview
Published on 10/16/2019 under News The Lincoln County Board are on track to approve their 2020 budget next month, but last night the supervisors got an overview of the spending plan. As he does each October, Finance Director Dan Leydet walked the board through the highlights of the budget which he described as essentially balanced. The overall budget came in at $40.5 million with tax levy of $14.7 million. The levy was up ~$195,000 or 1.35%. While the net new construction was relatively flat, the equalized value continued its slow recovery following the recession. Leydet noted that the county valuation had finally caught its 2010 peak. As for of the average mill rate, the county's portion fell 1.6%. Leydet cautioned that is an average and the number will be different for residents depending on where they live and how other taxing entities set their levies. Several changes in the county led to a budget that looks slightly different based on the Pinecrest and Lincoln Industries transitions, and how they are shown in the ledger. Leydet went over some concerns for the budget going forward including shortfalls in road funding and capital improvements. He says recent cuts to balance the budget are also beginning to encroach on services. He also reminded the supervisors about the expiring vehicle registration fee or wheel tax. If the board does not renew the fee, they'll likely have to find alternative revenue sources or cut to make up the nearly $600,000 generated by the fee each year. The budget will be back on the agenda in November for a final approval.
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Harley Temporarily Suspends Livewire Production
Published on 10/16/2019 under News NEW YORK (AP) — Harley-Davidson is suspending production of its highly anticipated electric motorcycle because of technical issues that arose during a final quality check. The manufacturer is counting on the LiveWire motorcycle to attract younger customers and counter flagging sales in the U.S. as its traditional customer base ages. The company is staying in contact with dealers and assured customers they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles, though it didn't specifically outline the issue.
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Tiffany Announces $242,000 in Third Quarter Fundraising for Congressional Race
Published on 10/16/2019 under News Following the launch of his 7th district congressional campaign, Tom Tiffany raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars. By starting the campaign in September, the state senator had to file third quarter fundraising through the September 30 reporting period. According to that filing, the campaign raised $242,000. Tiffany released a statement after the filing saying, "The great support we received in September is humbling and I am thankful for the generosity of so many grassroots conservatives who are joining our team. As we recapped yesterday, 5 candidates have announced plans to run for the recently vacated seat including two challengers for Tiffany for the Republican nomination. An election date hasn't been set.
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Lincoln County Board Recap-October 2019
Published on 10/16/2019 under News With the budget presentation and conversation with Rep. Mary Felzkowski taking more than an hour and a half, the rest of the Lincoln County Board meeting moved along quickly with just two action items on the agenda. The first was to review and renew the Lincoln County Forest Annual Work plan. The document is approved each fall to set goals and programs for forest management. It is required to received a grant for Forest Administration. It was approved by the board with minimal discussion. The second item was an ordinance addressing short term rentals. The topic appeared on the agenda in August, but was not approved at that time. The county took up the item to comply with changes made by the state legislature. The sticking point in Lincoln County was the definition of a short term rental and whether it should be set at 6 days or 2 days. The initial proposal at the August meeting was for the longer threshold. There was some concern on how that would affect weekend rentals. The topic was sent back to committee and changed to the two day minimum. After several of the board members explained the reasoning behind their votes, the measure was passed on a 12-6 vote.
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Wausau School Board President Enters 7th District Congressional Race
Published on 10/15/2019 under News The 7th district congressional field continues to grow, with a fifth candidate entering the race. Wausau School Board president Tricia Zunker launched her campaign yesterday morning. The announcement on Indigenous Peoples Day was fitting as Zunker, if elected, would become the first Native American to serve Wisconsin in congress. During her announcement, Zunker said while she is running as a Democratic candidate, her job is representing all of her constituents, or people over party. She brought up a number of issues during her announcement including support for farmers, the environment, education, and affordable health care. A news release emphasized her family ties to unions, farming and the military. In addition to her role on the Wausau School Board, Zunker teaches law remotely at several universities and serves on the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court. _____ Another politician decided against running in that race yesterday. State Senator Janet Bewley said she will not enter the election and will instead continue to serve the residents of her 25th Senate district. In the announcement she specifically praised Zunker saying,  "I've had the pleasure of talking with Tricia Zunker in the past and have been impressed with her grasp of the issues facing our northern cities, villages and towns. The 7th CD deserves a congressperson who understands the needs of our friends and neighbors and I look forward to seeing how her campaign unfolds in the coming months."
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7th District Congressional Field Stands at Five Candidates
Published on 10/15/2019 under News With Tricia Zunker's announcement Monday, 5 candidates have now announced intentions of running for the 7th district congressional seat. Quickly recapping the field... In addition to Zunker, Lawrence Dale has also thrown his hat into the ring to become the Democratic nominee. His announcement came earlier in the day, Monday. Three candidates are also vying for the Republican nomination, State Sen. Tom Tiffany was the first to announce. Jason Church, a veteran and former aide to Senator Ron Johnson and political newcomer Michael Opela have also indicated they'll run. The seat became vacant late last month after Rep. Sean Duffy resigned to spend time with family and his newborn daughter. We do still await dates for the special election to be held early next year.
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Tomahawk Officers, K-9 Wear Pink Badges for Breast Cancer Awareness
Published on 10/15/2019 under News The Tomahawk Police Department continues to raise awareness for breast cancer, now including their police canine. Each October, the Tomahawk officers and staff trade in their regular badges for a pink version. The badges carry an image of pink handcuffs intertwined with the well known pink ribbon of breast cancer awareness. It also carries the inscription "arrest cancer...unlock the cure." This year the department partnered with Oak Ridge Embroidery to create a special pink collar and badge for Vali, the long serving K-9 partnered with Officer Tom Tollefson.
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Drive with Caution, Vehicle/Deer Strikes on the Rise
Published on 10/15/2019 under News Deer are becoming more active, and officials with the DoT are cautioning motorists to be on the lookout. Traffic safety officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) note that deer/vehicle crashes typically peak during October and November as the days shorten and bucks pursue potential mates. Consistent with previous years, Wisconsin driver's again reported striking more than 21,000 last year. Locally, that includes 303 deer in Lincoln County and 243 deer in Oneida County. The DoT reminds driver's to buckle up, slow down, and scan the road ahead, particularly during at dawn and dusk when deer are most active. If you do strike a deer, the DoT advises the vehicle occupants to remain in your vehicle and call law enforcement. If the deer is causing a safety hazard on a well-traveled road call 911, otherwise utilize the law enforcement's non-emergency number. WisDOT works with private vendors, county highway departments and law enforcement to manage deer carcass removal.
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