Possible downtown reconstruction discussed at open forumSubmitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray

MANITOWISH WATERS - A Manitowish Waters woman wants to change the look of the area's downtown.

Some local residents aren't thrilled with her plans.

The town used a forum to talk things out.

Newswatch 12 was there and talked with the town's supervisor.

"It's creating a lot of tension in the community. I think we have to find a way
to fix it and to ease their feelings." said Manitowish Waters Town Board
Supervisor, Eric Behnke.

Construction can cause tension.

You can find that feeling in Manitowish Waters.

One person in the community want to upgrade a local park.

But a good portion of the funding would come from a private donor.

"It's creating a lot of hardships, people are not happy about it and as a town
we need to find a way to make this situation better." Behnke said.

Liz Uihlein owns businesses in the area.

She wants to change the look of the community and she could.

But the town hasn't approved her proposal.

That's why the chamber sponsored a town forum so people could talk and ask
questions about the donations.

"Is there a process that you use to evaluate them? At what point do we say, you
know, 'Too much of our budgets is these donations and it's not what we have
funded'?" said town resident, Scott Bertz.

"As well as how much of this is the town's plan and how much of this is someone
else's plan?"

But many of those questions don't have answers.

That's because donations don't need a vote by the town's people.

"Unfortunately with our policy, if it's a donation, some of the town board
members can use that money without townsmen approval," Behnke said.

"I think that's what we need to focus on."

But the possibility of voting on donation spending is still up for question.

"The one thing we can do is be open and honest with people. We have to
communicate with people about what's going on," said Behnke.

"If they don't have an opportunity to vote on these projects, then they really
don't know about them. So I think it's our job to communicate with the people
about what's happening and educate them on where the money's coming from and
what it's being used for."

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MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.

Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.

The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.

Mauston is about 70 miles northwest of Madison.

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APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.

The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.

The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.

Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."

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MOUNT HOREB - A southern Wisconsin school district has cancelled plans for elementary school students to read a children's book about a transgender girl after a group threatened to sue.

The Capital Times reports ( ) that the Mount Horeb Area School District released a statement saying it won't proceed with its planned reading of "I Am Jazz."

Parents were told last week that Mount Horeb Primary Center students would read the book because one student identifies as a girl but was born with male anatomy.

A Florida-based group, the Liberty Counsel, threatened to sue, saying concerned parents had reached out and that reading the book would violate parental rights.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Liberty Counsel as a hate group that advocates for "anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty."

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TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.

The La Crosse Tribune reports ( that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.

The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.

Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.

Several Tomah VA officials including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.

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WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.

Daily Herald Media reports ( ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.

A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.

The nine-day season runs through Sunday.

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RHINELANDER - People deposited more than just money at a Rhinelander bank Friday morning.  A blood drive at People's State Bank allowed donors to double down on what they gave.

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MOSINEE - This past week, hunters took the time to head out in the woods, sit in their tree stands, and wait for a buck to come their way.

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