September 28, 2018
Wisconsin's 12th Senate District contains communities in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas Counties.

Committee Assignments:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism Committee (Vice-Chair)
  • Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues Committee
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
Weekly Recap

This week, AT&T along with AAA put on It Can Wait presentations to the Florence and Tomahawk schools.  The presentation of real life stories of the human cost of distracted driving, in particular texting and driving, was powerful.  Hopefully the It Can Wait program will give young people pause before exercising risky behavior.  
Thank you to the staff at Tomahawk High School, AT&T and AAA for hosting It Can Wait. Rep. Felzkowski and I were pleased to join in the event.
Rep. Felzkowski and I also participated in the Merrill Board of Education Legislative Committee meeting on Monday.  We had a wide-ranging discussion about school issues.  Thank you to committee members and Dr. John Sample for the robust discussion ranging from enrollment trends to opportunities for retired teachers in the classroom.  In particular, I appreciate the strong relationship schools like Merrill are developing with their business community to foster the learning experience.
Thanks for the great discussion at the Merrill Board of Education Legislative Committee meeting.
More Rural Broadband Grants

Gov. Scott Walker and the Public Service Commission announced $7 million in new Broadband Expansion Grant Awards will be disbursed via 37 new grants to extend high-speed internet access to as many as 1,100 businesses and 14,000 residential locations. 

There have been 138 Broadband Expansion Grants totaling $20 million awarded since the program was created. These grants have been matched with $32 million in private and local dollars to assist with the build-out of an effective communication infrastructure for Wisconsin’s rural families, small business, the telemedicine and tourism industries.

Some projects in or very near the 12th Senate District include:
  • Bertram Communications, LLC (Shawano County) fixed wireless project - $274,065. This project will build a fixed wireless service in rural areas of Shawano County in the vicinity of Shawano Lake and west of Shawano. The proposal would install antennas in nine service sites. There are 2,344 households and 110 businesses within the footprint of this project. 
  • Oneida County Economic Development Corporation fixed wireless Phase V project - $117,500. This project will build six towers and install fixed wireless equipment on those towers. This will be the fifth phase of this build out in Oneida County. There are 267 businesses and 3,127 residences in the footprint of these towers. 
  • Town of King Charter Communications cable project - $372,223. This project will extend Charter Communications cable facilities in the Town of King, in Lincoln County just east of the City of Tomahawk. The project will build past 10 businesses and 247 homes (and 57 vacant lots).  
  • Town of Nashville Northwoods Connect fixed wireless project - $56,000. This project will build two wireless towers in the Town of Nashville in Forest County. The broadband service provider is Northwoods Connect, and this project will complement the Northwoods network in Oneida County. The fixed wireless service will reach 20 businesses and 485 homes within the footprint of the antennas. 
Wolf River Bridge

This week the Natural Resources Board heard from citizens in support of a master plan amendment to allow for the construction and designation of a new, fully-developed, approximately ¼ mile ATV/UTV trail across the Upper Wolf River State Fishery Area (UWRSFA) near the Langland Ranger Station. Part of the amendment would allow an all-user bridge across the Wolf River in Langlade County. The bridge would provide a key connection between White Lake ATV trails located west and east of the Wolf River. 

The proposed bridge will be a freestanding truss bridge with no center support in the river allowing the current flow of the river to be uninterrupted. The project will be paid for entirely by monies already allocated from the user funded Snowmobile and ATV/UTV Recreation programs. The bridge will be available for use by silent sports enthusiast as well as snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs.

Now that the NRB has approved the project unanimously, it will go back to the Langlade County Forest and Parks Committee to determine if they will vote to allow the project to proceed. Representatives Felzkowski, Mursau and I supported the amendment to the UWRSFA master plan and I have provided a copy of the letter below that we sent to the Natural Resources Board. 
New State Park Reservation System

Beginning Dec. 17, 2018 people booking a campsite at Wisconsin State Park System properties will be able to use a new, improved - and less expensive - reservation system.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is contracting with a new reservation provider, Camis USA, Inc., that was awarded the reservation contract through a competitive bidding process. Camis USA currently operates reservation systems for Michigan, Maryland and Washington state parks. 

All reservations that are booked through the current provider, Reserve America, will be transferred to the new system.

Under the new system it will cost users $7.75 to make a reservation, compared to the current price of $9.65. Customers can also expect many enhancements when making reservations, including better searchability for campsites, and a mobile-friendly website that makes it easier than ever to make a reservation from a phone or tablet. The new system will also accommodate reservations for shelters and amphitheaters.

Camis plans to open a call center in Kenosha that will employ between 12 and 15 operators depending on the season.

During the first two weeks in December, there will be a transition period to the new system, and campsite reservations will not be available. On Dec. 17, the Camis system will be open to make reservations. Campers can make reservations for sites up to 11 months in advance of their arrival, either online or by phone.

All customers who have previously made reservations with Reserve America will receive email notifications confirming their reservations are in the new system.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced this week the state has been awarded a two-year federal grant totaling nearly $24 million to support a comprehensive response to Wisconsin’s opioid crisis. The funding is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response grant program.

Wisconsin’s annual allocation of $11,979,333 will be used to support projects backed by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, reduce the nonmedical use of opioids, reduce opioid overdose related deaths, and expand medication-assisted treatment. Many of these efforts will also be expanded to include more high-need communities.

This funding builds on the efforts the state has already taken to fight the opioid epidemic. Governor Scott Walker created the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse (link is external) which is co-chaired by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren, and issued executive orders based on recommendations, including the creation of the Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery to study the “hub-and-spoke” opioid treatment model.

To date, Governor Walker has signed into law 30 pieces of legislation under the HOPE agenda, all related to prevention, treatment and recovery to combat the opioid crisis and help save lives. In 2017, 916 people died in Wisconsin of opioid overdose caused by prescription drugs or heroin, or both, compared to 827 in 2016. There were 701 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2017, compared to 568 in 2016. Heroin-related deaths were up in 2017 to 407, compared to 371 in 2016.

Survey Results

This week's survey results are from the question asking if the federal government should remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act.

District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
September 29 3rd Annual Fly Into Fall Antigo
September 29 Beef-A-Rama Minocqua
September 29 Chili Blast Merrill
September 29 Crivitz Fall Harvest Fest Craft Show Crivitz
September 29 Apple Fest Niagara
September 29 Langlade Co. 4-H Community Day Antigo
September 29 Tows for Joy Charity Ride Lakewood
October 4 Boulder Junction Fire Department Blood Drive Boulder Junction
October 5-7 Annual Midwest Musky Classic Phelps
October 6-7 Northwoods Art Tour
October 6-7 Cranberry Fest Eagle River
October 6 Lena Taste of Fall Lena
October 6 Cran-A-Rama Manitowish Waters
October 6 Lincoln Lager Barleyfest Merrill
October 6 5th Annual Hibernator 100 Laona
October 6 Oktoberfest Antigo
October 6 Cranberry Crush Casino Night and Music Fundraiser Eagle River
October 6 6th Annual Wellness Walk at the Rat River Trail Blackwell
October 7 Lions Pancake Breakfast Merrill
October 11 Marshfield Clinic Blood Drive Minocqua
October 13 ZOO BOO at Wildwood Wildlife Park Minocqua
October 13 Harvest Fest Boulder Junction
October 20 LDF Lions "Food for Kidz" Minocqua
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
As always, if you have any events for our calendar, comments or thoughts regarding the subjects of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me.
Copyright © 2018 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.

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