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Undetectable With Eyes and Nose
2:50 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

In Winter, Your Home Could Be Sheltering Radon

Radon test kits are available at local health departments.
Credit National Cancer Institute

It’s National Radon Week.  Health officials are reminding people to get their homes tested for the dangerous gas to prevent long term exposure.

Oneida County Public Health Nurse Charlotte Ahrens says the problem with radon is that it’s colorless and odorless.

“People have no indicators they they’re being exposed to this gas.  The gas is produced by a breakdown of uranium in soil, and in rock and in water.”

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Next report in November
2:19 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Federal Shutdown Slowed State Jobless Reporting

Unemployment lines in Depression-era Chicago
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

The recently-ended federal government shutdown is affecting more than federal programs: it's also slowing down the state's reporting on unemployment.

The Department of Workforce Development routinely puts out local jobless numbers the fourth week of the month. Not this month, as state economist Tom Walsh points out.

But Walsh says some local trends were seen...

 

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Bill would override local restrictions
1:56 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

City Deer Hunts Possible Statewide

Credit ironcooker.com

After several successful years, Rhinelander's city council decided not to hold an in-city bow hunt for deer this year. But if a bill circulating in Madison becomes law, the city might have to open a hunt again.

City council member Alex Young says Assembly Bill 8 allows for bow and arrow and crossbow hunting within city limits statewide. Young says Rhinelander has set forward restrictions during its hunts that aren't in the state bill. He says the bill preempts local restrictions..

 

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Legislation With Broad Impact
11:45 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Frac-Sand Bill Also Has Implications for Metallic Mining Activities

A state Senate bill regulating frac sand mining could overturn local rules relating to the proposed Penokee mine. 

The bill authored by Senator Tom Tiffany has drawn attention for how it would limit local control over nonmetallic mining. 

But the bill also contains provisions that regulate blasting for ANY type of mine or quarry. 

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Two reasons cited in report
11:21 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Minnesota's ACA Premiums Are Lower

Credit oakmontlibrary.org

  

Wednesday, the group Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a report saying Minnesota residents are paying far less in premiums under the Affordable Care Act. Rhinelander and Wausau are two cities the report compared to Minnesota communities.

Citizen Action's Robert Kraig told the media during a conference call his group could find two reasons why the higher rates are being offered....

 

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Wildlife Rehabilitation
4:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Let Out the Bears

Mark Naniot, wildlife rehabilitator at Wild Instincts, climbs into a treehouse to move a sedated bear.
Natalie Jablonski WXPR News

Wisconsin's bear hunting season ended this month.  

That’s good news for a group of young bears that spent most of the year at a wildlife rehab center.  They finally have the chance to be released back into the wild.  As WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski reports, that release is also good news for the bears’ caretakers…who finally have a chance to get some rest.

Bear release day dawns cloudy and damp. Just east of busy traffic on Highway 47, Mark Naniot has rounded up interns and a small crew of volunteers. 

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Hearing Thursday in Madison
6:00 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Frac Sand Bill Could Change Local Non-Metal Mine Control

Frac sand mining
Credit midwestenergynews.com

A state Senator says many people are said to be heading to Madison Thursday morning to give testimony on a bill that would limit local governments control over frac sand mining.

The bill was authored by State Senator Tom Tiffany and Assembly Represenative Joan Ballweg. The bill would limit the powers of local governments to regulate placement of non-metallic mines. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, whose district includes some of the frac mines, said the issue relates to local control...

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Challenges in Rural Education
5:26 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Lawmakers Learn About Rural Schools

Task Force on Rural Schools
Credit Ken Krall / WXPR News

Eleven Assembly members from both parties came to Rhinelander Wednesday to learn more of the challenges facing rural schools. Ken Krall reports area school leaders had much to say.

The Speakers Task Force on Rural Schools first heard from Rhinelander Superintendent Kelli Jacobi who outlined Rhinelander's history, including cutting $11 million from the budget and closing five buildings, including 4 schools in the past ten years. She says a combination of factors are providing local schools with increasing problems, not the least of which is the drop in state aids...

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A Closer Look at New Laws
4:25 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Mining Critics Call for Independent Testing, Scrutinize Legislation

The state’s Sierra Club is calling for independent testing of a proposed iron mine site.  The group has long been against Gogebic Taconite’s plan to mine in the Penokee Range. 

Dave Blouin is mining chair for Wisconsin’s chapter of the Sierra Club.   Blouin says recent findings of asbestos-like fibers underscore the need for watchdog testing.

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Hands-Off Approach OK'd
3:42 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Van Vliets to Be Passively Managed

Natural Resources Board members have approved a plan to passively manage the Van Vliets.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Presque Isle’s Van Vliet Hemlocks will become a State Natural Area.  And the mostly old-growth parcel will be managed with as little interference as possible.  The state Natural Resources Board voted today to approve the DNR’s recommendation to passively manage the entire area. 

Tom Olson President of the group Friends of the Van Vliet spoke at the meeting, citing widespread public support for letting the hemlock parcel manage itself.

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