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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/18/2018
- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We take you live to the Medford area where a standoff started after someone called 911 just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

We'll tell you about a public bus service that now serves Park Falls but is expanding its service to Phillips.

And last year's Eagle River World Snowmobile Derby champion from Tomahawk will give away his racing helmet, jacket and pants in a raffle to send members of Tomahawk's VFW to this year's honor flight. Tonight Nick Van Strydonk tells us why he chose to do this.

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

EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Derby started as a small oval racetrack on Dollar Lake.

The race began back in 1964 thanks to Chanticleer Inn's John and Betty Alward.

They wanted a way to keep business up during the slow winter season for themselves and fellow resort owners.

Their son Jake still runs the inn and remembers the excitement behind the "newness" of the sport.

"Every factory wanted their machine first! Money was not the object… it was getting the right machine the right equipment….The right this and that. People flew to Minneapolis to get and engine or a part!" says Alward.

The 55th World Championship Derby is this weekend.

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RHINELANDER - Wednesday night Alex Young, the sole candidate running to be Rhinelander's next mayor, told the community why he is the right person for the job. There were supposed to be three candidates until an issue with campaign papers came out. 

"I think that I've got experience that I've gained from my years of involvement in different levels of government that I can bring to bear on the office for the mayor," said Young, who spend over ten years as a city councilman. 

Young was the only participant in the forum at the Rhinelander District Library Wednesday. But it wasn't supposed to be that way.

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MEDFORD - UPDATE: Police in Taylor County arrested a man who shot at officers during a standoff near Medford on Wednesday evening.

31-year-old Jake Wendt is being held on $30,000 cash bond. 

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office reports it arrested Wendt after a "lengthy phone negotiation" with the suspect, according to a news release sent late Wednesday night.

No one was injured during the standoff.



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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's police chief hoped to fill two jobs in his department last summer.  A field of eight finalists led to zero job offers, but this week Lloyd Gauthier's force might finally get back to full strength.

The Rhinelander Police and Fire Commission approved hiring Tyler and Logan Pontbriand on Monday.  Their hires would bring the total force in Rhinelander to 17, including the chief and captain positions.

The Pontbriand twins are deputies with the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.  Logan started as a corrections officer in May 2015 while Tyler was hired as a deputy in January 2016.

Gauthier says they had six qualified applicants after reopening the application process in November, but the Pontbriands - who both live in Rhinelander - had qualities you simply can't teach.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - Preliminary estimates show unemployment in Wisconsin reached a record low in December.

The state Department of Workforce Development released figures Thursday that show the unemployment rate in December was 3 percent. That's a record for December and matches the lowest rate on record.

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MADISON - Governor Scott Walker wants the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a welfare overhaul package this year that includes tougher work requirements and additional drug testing.

Walker unveiled the proposals Thursday. They are backed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Sen. Chris Kapenga.

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OSHKOSH - A defendant accused of initiating a fatal police standoff at a Neenah motorcycle shop will be allowed to represent himself at his upcoming trial.

That's after a judge allowed the ninth and tenth lawyers assigned to the case to withdraw.

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MILWAUKEE - A historically red district in Wisconsin that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in 2016 has voted in a Democrat in a special election.

Patty Schachtner beat GOP state Representative Adam Jarchow to become the first Democrat to represent the 10th Senate District in at least 16 years.

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