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Accused driver had received license only weeks before deadly crash, case moves forwardSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.

Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.

New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.

Wisconsin State Patrolman Justin Bender testified for the prosecution. He was the officer that reconstructed the car crash. He says the car was going at least 114 miles per hour when the driver lost control, but could have been going as fast as 126 miles per hour.

The Special Prosecutor Jodie Bednar-Clemens argued that Ginter was driving the car without thinking of the passengers' safety.

"Clearly, when you are going 120 miles an hour, on a 35 mph road, which is extremely hilly, you're traveling over the center line, you've got somebody in the vehicle who is begging you to slow down and refusing to do it, I think that is criminal recklessness," Bednar-Clemens said.

The criminal complaint shows that the 16-year-old surviving passenger told an officer she had her eyes closed and didn't want to be there before the crash. It also said that she had told Ginter to slow down earlier in the car trip, which he did in that instance.

But the 16-year-old testified for the defense in court, and testified she never said a word to Ginter about speed or anything.

"I never begged, I never said a word (to Ginter) until I felt the car swerve," the girl said in testimony.

Brian Bennett, Ginter's defense attorney, argued that was enough to stop the case.

"That witness has been subpoenaed, she is out in the hall today and she will testify that, what the state just said is not in fact the case," Bennett said.

The surviving passenger also said the car felt like it was going 60 mph before the crash, even though her eyes were closed, but the re-creation expert from the state patrol put the speed at 114-126 mph.

The criminal complaint had also showed that the 16-year-old girl had told an officer her eyes were closed before the crash because she was nauseous.

The prosecution attributes that sickness to the extremely high speed they believe Ginter was driving, but the girl testified that was out of context.

She said she always gets nauseous while riding in cars, so she frequently closes her eyes to deal with the sickness. That became an issue with Judge Leon Stenz.

According to testimony, the car that was crashed was under the girl's father's name, but she said she was making payments for it. Stenz asked if she had the same type of nausea while she was driving. She said it did happen, but she could control it, and if she couldn't she would pull over to the side of the road.

There had also been testimony from the 16-year-old girl that Ginter was her best friend, and that he had recently moved into her family's home.

After more than an hour in court, Judge Stenz decided there was enough evidence for the case to go ahead. Ginter could spend 60 years in prison if convicted of the charges. He'll be back in court in August.


Story By: Newswatch 12 Team

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 LOCAL NEWS
Update-Man dead after being pulled from a Vilas County LakeSubmitted: 07/31/2014

CONOVER - We now know the man pulled from the water of a Vilas County lake Wednesday died.

The Sheriff's Department says the man was in Upper Buckatabon Lake in Conover.

They now say the man collapsed over the side of his boat before being rescued from the water.

The first call to the sheriff's department yesterday afternoon said it appeared the man was hit by his own boat.

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Sokaogon Chippewa Health Fair draws attention to well-being on reservation with unique challengesSubmitted: 07/31/2014

MOLE LAKE - Health workers often face different challenges on the Sokaogon Chippewa reservation in Mole Lake compared to elsewhere in the Northwoods.

"I think they're a little different. We have a (few) more challenges. Sometimes, for a lot of people, it's more crisis than prevention, or preventative services," said Tammy Queen, who works at the Sokaogon Chippewa Health Clinic. "A lot of times, they'll come in when something's bad instead of coming in before something gets really bad."

On Thursday, the tribe wanted to get people thinking about their health before problems occur.

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Former school janitor will spend three years in prison for having child porn Submitted: 07/31/2014

PHELPS - A former janitor for the School District of Phelps will spend three years in prison for having child porn.

Richard Buell, 62, pled guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography.

The district attorney dismissed the eight other counts of child pornography.

Buell will also spend three years on extended supervision.

He can't have any contact with children.

He also can't have access to a computer or the internet.

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Repairs to Mike Webster Stadium starting soonSubmitted: 07/31/2014

RHINELANDER - Renovations to Mike Webster Stadium in Rhinelander will soon get underway.

Last week, the School District of Rhinelander's Capital Projects Committee got approval for their preliminary plans for the stadium. They're looking to do many things.

One of the main projects they want to complete is to get the track fixed so the school can hold track meets again.

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Look out for fake checksSubmitted: 07/31/2014

ANTIGO - You should look out for fake checks if you live in the Antigo.

Police believe a white man, a white woman and a black man are trying to use the checks in the area.

The group is driving a white four door Mercury Cougar. There should be damage on the driver's side hood above the headlight.

Police say the checks have business names of Grainger, Viking Electric and Northwoods fire protection. They also may be written out to Renee Reefer, Renee Rewler or Joseph Norris.

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Phillips couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary Submitted: 07/31/2014

PHILLIPS - A Phillips couple proves that hard work and love can make a marriage last.

Russell and Dorothy Sawallish just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

The couple got married on July 29, 1939.

Over the years, the couple always seems to work through their problems together.

"You have your troubles and you work through them. We never had really serious, serious trouble. We had trouble but they got better," says Dorothy.

"God always settled our serious problems," Russell said.

Russell and Dorothy met when they were kids.

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More specialty food stores in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 07/31/2014

NORTHWOODS - It seems more all-natural and specialty food stores are popping up around the Northwoods. Antigo and Three Lakes welcomed new all-natural and specialty food store this year. And last week, Eagle River welcomed one, as well.

"We were painstaking about finding things that you cannot find at other shops here in the Eagle River area," said Homeward Bound Specialty Foods owner Patti Katz Black. She and her husband, Dave, opened their Eagle River store last week.

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