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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.

Right now, the city of Rhinelander has a cab service, and the Department on Aging has its own bus. This commission would seek to unite services like these as one entity. That way people could call one number, ask for a ride, and be put through to the appropriate, and closest, transportation option. This plan does not look to alter the rates that private transportation companies currently charge.

"Ideally, even 'for profit' businesses would be part of a contract potentially to offer some rides in that community where they're currently operating," Jacobson said. "This adds no additional funding from the county. It really allows our counties to take advantage of a program that's already there, that helps fund transit commissions so that we can provide more transportation options."

Vilas County is looking to join in the project with Forest and Oneida Counties in September. In October, the three counties will apply for state and federal funding. Additional state funding will be used to help pay for a transit manager who will coordinate transportation services.

Officials hope to have the commission operating toward the end of next year.

Story By: Anthony Bruno

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 LOCAL NEWS
Northwoods biologists consider options to increase average size of panfishSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Fishermen catch about 60 million panfish per year in Wisconsin.

But the size of those panfish has been getting smaller.

Overharvest seems to be part of the problem on many lakes.

Now, the DNR is proposing a way to increase the size of bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, and perch on several lakes.

Their regulation plan comes from decades of data collection.

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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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Woman dies in Lincoln County crashSubmitted: 08/26/2014

MERRILL - A woman died in a crash near Merrill Tuesday morning.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's office got a call just after six this morning.

The accident happened in the Town of Pine River on County Road G east of French Ridge Road.

The driver was the only person in the car which left the road and crashed. She died of her injuries at the scene.

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Woman who tried to hire someone to kill fiance will spend about three years in prisonSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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WAUSAU - Jessica Strom will spend about three years in prison for offering a man $1,000 and sex to kill her fiance.

The 33 year old Merrill woman was sentenced Tuesday.

"Out of the billions of people that could potentially be partners in life [the] two of you chose the single worst combination," says Circuit Court Judge Neal Nielsen.

Strom's fiance was former Lincoln County district attorney John Schellpfeffer.

The state argued this wasn't the first time Strom and Schellpfeffer had problems.

"In 2009 there was a criminal damage to property complaint, disorderly conduct," says Prosecuting Attorney Ralph Uttke. "Mr. Schellpfeffer called saying Ms. Strom was smashing the window to his house with a hammer and left, she was arrested a short time later."

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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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Woman faces felony for illegally keeping a gun and selling itSubmitted: 08/26/2014

ONEIDA COUNTY - A 28-year-old Merrill woman faces a felony for illegally keeping a gun. She also sold it to an undercover police officer.

Bonnie Wolff was arrested earlier Tuesday morning for selling a stolen assault rifle officer in Rhinelander. Wolff is a convicted felon. She's not allowed to have a gun under state law.

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