Northwoods news as reported by WXPR. Taken from our daily weekday 1:00pm newscast.
A group in Forest County is trying to help people learn how to use digital devices by hiring a digital navigator, who will travel through the county offering technical support. The position has been funded by a $375,000 grant from Google. Next, Gov. Tony Evers' administration is trying again to limit the amount of chemicals known as PFAS in groundwater, after the Natural Resources Board killed the last proposal in February. Finally, libraries across the country, including in the Northwoods, have seen a rise in challenged books in recent years.
A drunk driver who caused an accident that killed an 8-year-old boy over the weekend was charged in Lincoln County Court Monday with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Then, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels is calling on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to halt all paroles in the state, even though a governor can't unilaterally order them to stop. Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit Milwaukee Thursday. And as the weather starts to feel like fall, we explore the factors that impact fall colors.
Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and his Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, have agreed to a televised debate on Oct. 13, ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election. Then, the Phillips School District just finished a major renovation project, thanks to a successful referendum two years ago. The Boys and Girls Club of the Northwoods is looking for staff to fill open positions before opening this fall. And multiple accidents over the weekend left two people dead in Lincoln County.
A new privately funded get-out-the vote initiative in Wisconsin's largest city has the support of Milwaukee's mayor, but Republicans say it's an attempt to improperly bolster turnout. Then, health experts are concerned about the upcoming flu season as concerns over COVID wane. And the archery crossbow deer season starts this weekend.
Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Republican challenger Tim Michels have agreed to debate just one time ahead of the Nov. 8 election. That debate will be October 14. Then, Feed Our Rural Kids is thanking the Vilas County community for helping it surpass its fundraising goals last month. Lincoln County's 4-H program could be in jeopardy as the county battles a $1.2 million budget deficit. And the Wisconsin Restaurant Association reports 73 percent of restaurants don't have enough employees to support existing demand.
Another 1,200 acres along the Ontonagon River will be protected following a sale between the Trust for Public Land and the Ottawa National Forest. The government has renamed more than two dozen lakes and other sites on federal land in Wisconsin to remove a racist term for a Native American woman. A Michigan election board has approved a November ballot question asking voters to put the right to an abortion in the state constitution. And the Rhinelander District Library is welcoming the public to an open house to see its new resources and programming.
Seth Wakefield, the man who helped Christopher Anderson plan the murder of Hannah Miller, will spend five and a half years in prison. Then, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services expanded eligibility yesterday for who can get the monkeypox vaccine. Gov. Tony Evers is calling for spending nearly $2 billion more public K-12 education. And Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its 24th house in the Northwoods yesterday.
President Joe Biden assailed the extreme right in Labor Day remarks to union workers in Milwaukee and outside Pittsburgh. Then, the EPA is proposing a rule that will designate two PFAS chemicals as dangerous. And Northwoods residents continued a tradition that's more than 50 years old – waving goodbye to summer travelers outside Whitman's Bar in Hazelhurst.
As summer comes to a close, local business leaders say the season looks on track to set records for tourism. Then, President Joe Biden is making Labor Day visits to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania ahead of midterm elections in November. And a pilot program approved by Congress could give rural Michigan communities a leg up when applying for federal dollars.
It's the first day of the new school year for most students across the Northwoods. The City of Rhinelander is making sure parents are aware of road construction around some of the schools that could impact dropping off and picking up students. Then, applications could become available for student loan forgiveness in the coming weeks. But in states like Wisconsin, those relief amounts could be taxed. Finally, a federal judge says Wisconsin voters with disabilities can get help returning their ballots, contradicting a state Supreme Court ruling in July.
Granite Peak closed its deal on acquiring Big Snow Resort in the Upper Peninsula. The name of the resort and ski hills will be changing. Then, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced $75 million in new funding for school districts across the state. And the Northwoods Kiwanis Club raised more than $28,000 to support people impacted by Russia's war in Ukraine.
The Wausau School District is getting ready for the first day of school with a new mobile app to improve communication between the district and parents. The Aspirus Ironwood Hospital kicked off a multi-phase renovation project to update technology and remodel patient rooms. And after a Northwoods vet clinic that spayed and neutered pets closed earlier this summer, humane societies are grappling with a problem that's two-fold. They're dealing with an overpopulation of pets, and they're struggling to get those pets fixed before giving them up for adoption.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced $10 million in grant funding Tuesday to help homeowners treat, replace and reconstruct private wells. Then, late summer is a common time for blue green algae blooms to appear. But as the climate changes, these blooms are becoming more common, even on lakes scientists wouldn't have predicted. Finally, scientists in Georgia have found three female sturgeon with mature eggs – a sign that the prehistoric fish may be reproducing in Georgia for the first time in 50 years.
Wisconsin Republican Assembly speaker Robin Vos fired Michael Gableman Friday, ending a 14-month, taxpayer-funded inquiry into the 2020 election. Then, Christopher Terrell Anderson pleaded guilty in Oneida County Court Friday to murdering Hannah Miller. And Gov. Tony Evers stopped in Rhinelander Friday to make his case for re-election ahead of Wisconsin's general election in November.
Turnout in Wisconsin's primary election reached nearly 26 percent, the highest it's been for a non-presidential primary in 40 years. Vilas County is hoping to take the first major step toward creating a drug treatment court later this month. And nearly 6,000 vials of the Monkeypox vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin.
Tim Michels won Wisconsin's GOP primary to face Gov. Tony Evers in November. Mandela Barnes won the state's Democratic Senate primary. And two incumbent Northwoods sheriffs will hold onto their offices, fending off challenges from within their own departments. Then, Rhinelander City Administrator Zach Vruwink announced his resignation Monday. He's the sixth administrator to leave since 2015. Finally, Gov. Evers announced the Department of Corrections has selected a site for a new youth prison.
Voters are taking to the polls today to decide the primary races for Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senate. Then, Wisconsin is set to receive nearly $31 million to fight the opioid epidemic, as overdose deaths rise. And the Vilas County ATV Alliance plans to build a challenge trail within the county forest.
A fire early Monday morning heavily damaged a building that housed long-time Minocqua business Copy Cat Printing. Police said no one was injured in the fire. It shut down traffic in the area for several hours Monday morning. Wisconsin's primary election is quicky approaching. Voters will decide the Republican candidate for governor, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and the Vilas and Lincoln County sheriffs. Finally, ten students who are incarcerated at McNaughton Correctional Facility graduated with a heavy machinery certification from Nicolet College last week.
Absentee voting is underway for Wisconsin's August primary. In the race for Vilas County sheriff, Captain Gerard Ritter is running against current Sheriff Joe Fath. Fath says he's running for a third term because he's excited for the department's upcoming projects. Hear his perspective today, and then tune in tomorrow to hear from Captain Ritter. As the election gets underway, election clerks in the area express concerns for safety and security. Finally, Rhinelander got a clearer picture of what a new skate park could look like after Over It and ArtStart presented a feasibility study to city council.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission will roll out a new public information campaign in the next few months aimed at teaching people about how elections work. Meanwhile, four people with disabilities have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to ensure they can get help returning ballots, after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that only a voter can return their absentee ballot in person. Then, the price of gas has dropped 70 cents in the past month. And a new mural is coming to Rhinelander's Hodag Park.
Northwoods counties are back at the medium COVID community level. Cases in the region have dropped slightly, but remain steady statewide. Then, Wisconsin's Republican gubernatorial candidates debated Sunday. And U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson dropped out of the Democratic primary race to face Republican incumbent Ron Johnson in November. Finally, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature added the monarch butterfly to its red list of threatened species last week.