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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/22/2017
- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Crandon and update you on the death of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning. Three people were put in jail following the reported incident.

A lake in Conover has flooded, but not just from the rain. We'll bring you the details.

And we'll show you a Rhinelander pasty shop that is getting ready to re-open its door nine months after it caught on fire and closed down.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.




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 LOCAL NEWS

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RHINELANDER - After nearly 40 years as a pharmacist, Tom Welke has been robbed, threatened at gunpoint, and had his pharmacy burgled.

"It just kind of goes along with the job, in a way," Welke said in Rhinelander's Apothecary Pharmacy on Thursday afternoon.

One of the main reasons lately for those crimes tends to be people trying to get their hands illegally on pseudoephedrine pills, which they can use to make meth.

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CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.

People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.

Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.

"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."

Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.

It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.

"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."

Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.

That leaves some people frustrated

"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."

In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.

"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.

Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.


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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Thursday, volunteers faced mosquitos, ticks and rain to conserve 96 acres of land.

The Marshall Wildlife Conservation Center in Lac du Flambeau hosted a volunteer work day to dismantle a deteriorating pier and platform on a new conservation land donation.

Northwoods Land Trust Executive Director Bryan Pierce says the land has a creek and pond with many swans and beavers.

"We're going to be installing a brand new pier, so it will be a real nice wildlife observation area for people to look at the water, the swans and cranes," said Pierce.

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CRANDON - UPDATE 5:10 p.m. Thursday

Forest County Medical Examiner Larry Mathein was still at work in Fond du Lac as of 5 p.m. Thursday night, trying to determine a preliminary cause of death for 25-year-old Savanna Larson.

We had expected that autopsy to be complete by the afternoon.

Mathein's report will establish a preliminary cause of death for Larson. That report may guide any potential charges against the three people taken to jail in the case.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

GREEN BAY, WI - Firefighters had to rescue a man after his minivan became wedged in a drawbridge in downtown Green Bay.

Officials say the van got stuck between one of the opening spans and the fixed roadway on the Walnut Street Bridge early Thursday.

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CHICAGO - A three-judge federal appeals panel has affirmed that a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" was coerced into confessing and should be released from prison.

Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach's death two years earlier. Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family's Manitowoc County salvage yard.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Four Republican senators say they are not ready to vote for the GOP health care bill, putting the measure in jeopardy.

The four are Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. They say in a statement that they are open to negotiation before the full Senate considers the measure.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is urging Republican senators to reject a Medicaid expansion he turned down but that most states accepted under the health care law passed by former President Barack Obama.

Walker said in a statement Wednesday that there are "no excuses" for Republicans in Congress not to repeal the law and not allow the Medicaid expansion to grow.

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