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NEWS STORIES

The City of Eagle River could give up ownership of Olson Memorial Library propertySubmitted: 07/02/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


EAGLE RIVER - The City of Eagle River wants to reduce its involvement with the Olson Memorial Library.

The city council, on Monday, voted unanimously to give the library property to another local town if it wants it.

The Eagle River City Council disagrees with the library's board and foundation on whether they need to get design bids for the library's remodeling project.

That project includes an addition that would double the size of the library.

The library's board hopes to buy the renovation plans designed by Jeff Visner of Design/Build by Visner.

Board members say professional projects like designs don't need to be bid out.

The foundation got more than $2.5 million in donations based on those plans.

"Our major donors donated on the plan that we showed them which was Design/Build by Visner and they are becoming increasingly unhappy that with the fact that we are now looking for other designs," said Library Board of Trustees president Laurie Stoegbauer.

But the city council says they need to take bids for the project.

"The city has been torn by this decision. We have the opinion of two attorneys that tell us we need to bid the entire project. The trustees and the foundation believe they have the ability to control some of this project. We're not going to go against the advice of our attorneys. We want the library to go forward so for the sake of no longer having that split, we've decided to step back," said Eagle River City Council member Jerry Burkett.

The library board will now approach the towns of Lincoln, Washington, Conover, Cloverland, St. Germain, and Arbor Vitae to see if they'd like to take over ownership of the property. Those towns are part of the joint library system.

"We're optimistic. They've all been very supportive and the City has been very supportive in the past. They have supported our library for years," said Stoegbauer.

If another town decides to take the library, the City of Eagle River would still be a contributing member of the joint library system.

The library serves about 14,000 people.

Stoegbauer says the library will seek bids for the construction.

The city clerk/treasurer will no longer serve as the library's fiscal agent as of August 15th, meaning the board may need to find a new owner and fiscal agent by then.

The city council, library board, and library foundation members all agree giving the property over to a town would be a good step.

They say they all want the library project to move forward.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.

If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.

"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.

Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.

"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/30/2015

- Find out how a local group is trying to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly population.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.

Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.

"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."

A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.

Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.

"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.

The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.

For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.

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MADISON - Republican state senators are met behind closed doors Tuesday to talk about the three main issues that have held up passage of a Wisconsin state budget for the past month.

State Sen. Paul Farrow said Tuesday that senators planned to talk about roads funding, changes to the prevailing wage and the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks stadium plan.

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FERGUSON, MO - A Justice Department report summary has found across-the-board flaws in police's response last summer to the protests in Ferguson, including antagonizing crowds and violating free-speech rights.

The Associated Press obtained the summary, which cites "vague and arbitrary" orders to keep protesters moving that violated their rights of assembly and free speech.

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COLUMBUS, OH - A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg by an Ohio policeman firing at a dog is recovering after surgery as her family questions how the officer responded.

Columbus police say Ava Ellis was hit accidentally June 19 when an officer fired at a charging dog at a home in suburban Whitehall. Police say another relative had flagged down the officer for help after Ava's mother cut herself on glass.

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WAUSAU - Kids who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities can't use most playgrounds. One Wausau family wants to change that.

The Hoerter family has big plans for Wausau's new accessible playground. The 30,000- to 50,000-square foot play area, called JoJo's Jungle, will give every child the opportunity to play.

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