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MADISON — A legislative committee has approved a Republican bill that would close thousands of acres around a potential mine site in far northern Wisconsin.

The Senate mining committee approved the bill on a 5-2 vote Thursday morning. The vote clears the way for a full vote in the Senate. GOP leaders say the bill could come before the body this month.

The measure would close about 3,500 acres around the site to public recreation. The proposal’s author, Sen. Tom Tiffany, says the measure is designed to protect mine workers and government regulators from bands of protesters roaming the woods.

Gogebic Taconite is looking to dig a 4˝-mile long iron mine in the Penokee Hills near Lake Superior. The company has hired armed guards to protect the site.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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