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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/26/2016
- Tonight on Friday Night Blitz we will bring you scores from high school football games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

River Falls vs. Merrill

Rhinelander vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood

Oconto vs. Antigo

Phillips vs. Tomahawk

That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.




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 LOCAL NEWS

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EAGLE RIVER - You might think a business incubator focuses on creating jobs.  But the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation lives by the mindset of creating opportunities, knowing when you do that the jobs tend to follow.

VCEDC started its first business incubator in Eagle River in 2012.  That building filled up, so they moved into two across Highway 70, including the Eye on Entrepreneurs building in 2015.  Project Manager Barry McLeane says creativity now pours out of all six of their current sites, from Phelps to Manitowish Waters.

"I've listened to some pretty bizarre ideas over the last three or four years and it's OK," McLeane said.  "It's OK, because bizarre ideas settle down into something really substantial."

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VILAS COUNTY - Police still need to arrest the person who killed a Phelps woman back in May.

Hikers found the body of 47-year-old Luann Beckman on a trail near Noseeum Lake.

Investigators then ruled it a homicide and sent all the evidence to the state crime lab in Madison.

The Vilas County Sheriff told Newswatch 12 they've interviewed dozens of people and have a list of suspects, but they need DNA evidence for an arrest.

"We're waiting for the science to point us in the right direction," said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath. "It would be wonderful to develop a DNA profile to lead us to somebody. Or be able to get a full profile to be able to compare to people in the area that we've gotten leads on."

Sheriff Fath told Newswatch investigators had to submit some evidence to the FBI crime lab. He said the state crime lab found a partial DNA profile and needs to send it to a place with more advanced technology.

"I mean we still get calls from the community, but it's not substantive," Fath said. "You know it's, I heard this, I heard that, I think this, I think you might want to talk to this guy, which we do. But we will continue to follow up on those leads."

He said investigators do think the suspect is local and someone Beckman knew.

If you have any information, you can call the anonymous tip line, 1-800-78-CRIME. 

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LINCOLN COUNTY - Last summer, a Lincoln County highway worker died when a car crashed into him in a work zone.

Marcus Wydeven, 50, worked for the Lincoln County Highway Department for nearly two decades.

Police say then 84-year-old Mary Robinson of Antigo was the driver.

But it wasn't until more than a year later, prosecutors decided to charge Robinson with homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.

Robinson appeared in court for the first time on Friday.

Lincoln County District Attorney Donald Dunphy said it took a year to charge Mary Robinson because state patrol and the sheriff's office didn't finish the crash investigation until a few months ago. He said it took him some time to go over the investigation and come to this decision.

According to the criminal complaint, Robinson drove past three warning signs on Highway 17 before hitting Marcus Wydeven, who was wearing a reflective vest and holding a stop sign.

Investigators say Robinson was driving between 50 and 60 miles an hour when her car hit Wydeven.

"Was there criminal negligence? Which is defined as negligence to a high degree," Dunphy said. "Now, that requires more than blowing a stop sign and hitting somebody. And I had to go through every page of those documents to make sure that this wasn't just an accident."

Dunphy asked for a $5,000 signature bond.

He said he thinks given her age, her potential sentence, if convicted, will be mitigated.

He added he's never had a defendant age 85 or older.

"I don't believe a defendant like this belongs in jail," Dunphy said. "At least not pre-conviction. I have no doubt that she will show up for her court appearances."

Robinson's son came to court with her, and said it's a terrible situation and they are sorry for it.

Robinson will be back in court in September. 

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MADISON - A new study suggests that Wisconsin's villages have struggled more with economic recovery than larger cities since the big recession of 2008-09.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the study also found the controversial Act 10 that was passed to limit collective bargaining by public workers saved local governments about $100 million, or 1.5 percent of total spending, in 2012.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

FITCHBURG - Investigators will try to determine why a house exploded in Fitchburg, critically injuring a man and causing damage to at least two dozen other homes in the neighborhood.

Authorities say the 57-year-old man has significant injuries as a result of the explosion just before 7 p.m. Thursday. Fire officials say three nearby houses have major structural damage and 23 others have moderate to minor damage. Fire Chief Joe Pulvermacher says debris from the explosion landed about a-half mile from the scene.

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MADISON - The attorney for a Wisconsin inmate featured in the hit Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" has filed a motion seeking permission to perform extensive scientific tests on evidence she believes will show he's innocent.

Prosecutors believe Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach in his family's Manitowoc County salvage yard in 2005. A jury convicted him in 2007 and he was sentenced to life. Avery insists the authorities framed him.

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FITCHBURG - Investigators will try to figure out why a house exploded in southern Wisconsin.

The blast critically injured a man and caused damage to at least two dozen other homes in the neighborhood.

The 57-year-old man has significant injuries as a result of the explosion just before 7:00 p.m. Thursday night in Fitchburg.

Fire fighters say three nearby houses have major structural damage and 23 others have moderate to minor damage.

Debris from the explosion landed about a-half mile from the scene.

While the cause has not yet been determined, witnesses say there was a strong smell of gas.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state investigators are assisting Fitchburg police.

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MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is promising $4.5 million for job creation and to clean up blighted property in a poor neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side where the recent fatal police shooting of a black man led to violent unrest.

Community leaders say frustration over unemployment and economic disparities underlie the violence and destruction of property that rocked Sherman Park for two nights following the Aug. 13 killing of Sylville Smith.

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