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McDonald's hostage taker to spend more than 26 years in mental institutionSubmitted: 08/27/2014
SHAWANO COUNTY - The man who held a Wittenberg McDonald's employee hostage in April will spend more than 26 years in a mental institution.

Tuesday, a judge sentenced 29-year-old gunman Travis Keiler of Gillett to 26 and a half years in a mental institution.

Keiler had been found not guilty by mental disease or defect for taking hostages and failing to comply with an officer.

Two misdemeanor charges for carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct were dismissed.

Keiler held McDonald's employee Jacob Kujawa hostage for more than an hour in late April. No one was hurt in the situation.

Keiler told hostage negotiators he thought he was being followed that morning by "all different types" of police cars. Some of them had what he called "fire plates" on them.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 LOCAL NEWS
Snowmobile clubs prepare for the new seasonSubmitted: 08/27/2014

NORTHWOODS - Before the flurries fly, important preparations need to happen for snowmobile trails.

You'll find snowmobile clubs in the Northwoods busy this time of year.

The main focus is cleaning and organizing equipment.

The Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club operates about 150 miles of trails. Working inside the shop now helps them later on in the season.

"We looked at our shop and we've been doing about the same thing every year," says Club President Curt Christensen. "We never really moved the equipment out or took a real close look at things so we decided to do a major cleaning project this year to get the shop ready."

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Leadership Oneida County seeks more applicants before deadlineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Going back to school takes a lot of time and money, but there's another way you can get a step up in your career without stepping in the classroom.

Leadership Oneida County is a nine month course offered to people who strive to be leaders. About 100 graduates of the course come from various backgrounds but have the same reason to take it.

"Go through this course to learn more about their community and learn more about their personal strengths as leaders, and to build their own professional network. The point of the course is to really connect leaders to their community," said Tim Brown, UW-Extension Community Resource Development.

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Man who caused an elementary school to be put on lockdown could have charges dismissed Submitted: 08/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Police think Michael Schettino pointed a handgun at another driver on Highway 51 in May. Police say he then drove through the parking lot of MHLT Elementary school in Minocqua. The school was put on lockdown because of what happened.

Schettino was in court Wednesday. He took a plea agreement. His two misdemeanors could be dismissed if he follows the terms of the agreement for 2 years.

"The state has the option if they have evidence indicating that you have not complied with the terms of the agreement to bring this matter back into court," Judge Michael Bloom told Schettino, "and if they presented evidence to establish that you were not in compliance that I could enter judgment on your pleas without any further proceedings and go immediately to sentencing."

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Public transportation could come to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Changes could come to public transportation in a few Northwoods counties.

Last week, the Oneida and Forest County boards approved supporting the creation of the Northwoods Transit Commission. The commission would improve and offer more transportation options for people in Oneida and Forest Counties.

"Right now, there are a lot of different, disconnected transportation services that are provided; be it by city, county, or by private entities. The transit commission would help put this all together," said Dianne Jacobson, director of Oneida County's Department on Aging.

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Vilas County denies another referendum for ATV trails in Phelps, approves access for County Highway A to Forest County ATV trails Submitted: 08/26/2014

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PHELPS - Voters in Vilas County didn't want ATV's or UTV's on County roads or property in 2004. Tuesday, the County Board was considering asking voters about that topic again.

That won't happen. The county board voted 14 to 5 not to put an ATV question on this fall's ballot.

The county held a referendum in February of 2004. More than 60 percent of voters said they didn't want ATV'S or UTV's on county roads or properties.

The Vilas County Board chairman told the crowd he was against having the referendum again Tuesday night, but he still wanted to give the people what they wanted.

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Small businesses like new grocery store find success in Boulder JunctionSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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BOULDER JUNCTION - One thousand people live in Boulder Junction. Small businesses may struggle in towns that are a similar size. But that's not necessarily the case for the small Northwoods community.

"We're working hard at it. It's been good," said Coontail Market co-owner Steve Coon.

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ArtStart takes next step with new development directorSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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RHINELANDER - In the last three years, ArtStart in Rhinelander grew from an idea to a highly successful gallery and event space.

This month, ArtStart took its next step.

The organization hired its first full-time employee - development director Melinda Childs.

She's been impressed to see the arts appetite in Rhinelander.

She comes from an arts-rich community in the Twin Cities.

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