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TOP STORY

Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

"(It) ranks us (third) in the entire state for judge need," says Nielsen. "At first blush, you'd look at little Vilas County and say, how is that possible? The answer to that is, there's only one judge."

Other Northwoods counties like Iron, Price, Langlade, and Taylor also only have one judge.

Forest and Florence Counties share a judge.

Most of those counties' caseloads have gradually dropped.

But about 5,200 cases were opened in Vilas County last year, a number that's creeping upward.

"The sense of pressure that sometimes just invades the whole room because of the amount of work everybody knows needs to get done, it's palpable, it's felt in the courtroom," Nielsen says.

That can force court staff a feeling of rushing through their work.

"When you're dealing with a volume that is that high, you can't devote enough time to individual cases or to individual litigants to really do the kind of justice to them that ought to be done," Nielsen says.

The latest "judge need" statistics show only Jackson and Wood Counties have a higher need.

The Vilas County Board would need to agree with Nielsen's request for another judgeship.

Then, the State Legislature could move to grant the new judge through a bill this fall.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS
Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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One person dead after being pulled from lakeSubmitted: 07/29/2014

WOODRUFF - Woodruff police want to know what happened to a person who died after ending up in the water.

The Woodruff Police Department was called to Indian Mounds boat landing about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Two DNR rangers there had pulled an unconscious male from the lake.

Medical personnel at the scene told officers the victim had died, and the coroner was called.

An autopsy will be performed.

No name will be released until the victim is positively identified.


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WPS planning to change ratesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

THE NORTHWOODS - If Wisconsin Public Service gets what it wants, you'll see an increase on one part of your energy bill. But WPS thinks it will be offset by rate reductions for many customers.

WPS puts a $10 fixed monthly charge on residential electric bills. That's true no matter how much power the customer uses. The cost helps cover equipment like meters and wires all customers need.

Right now, some of the cost for equipment gets passed on in per-unit energy charges. WPS wants to raise the fixed cost to $25 per month to better reflect delivery costs.

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Three Lakes business enjoying a successful first summer in businessSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods store offering a little bit of everything calls its first summer in business a success so far.

Three Lakes Mercantile and General Store opened up earlier this summer.

Every inch of the store is covered with something.

The store manager says that it's a "one stop shop" for anything you need.

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Election voting under way in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MILWAUKEE - Early election voting is underway at city clerks' offices across Wisconsin.

Voters who can't make it to the polls for the primary election next month are able to cast ballots. It's the first election since the Legislature put limits on the process. In-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is to take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Northwoods paddleboard business successful in fourth yearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - The popularity of paddleboarding continues to contribute to the success of a newer Northwoods business.

5 Toes on the Nose Paddleboard Rentals brings paddleboards anywhere in the Northwoods.

We caught up with paddleboard business owner Sarah Weyenberg Tuesday.

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Act 10, voter ID, domestic registry decisions nearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court plans to rule Thursday in three major cases.

The court is planning to issue its ruling on the collective bargaining changes Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature approved in 2011, despite massive protests that led to a series of recall elections.

Elements of the law have been upheld by the state Supreme Court and two federal courts already.

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