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

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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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Family gets new houseSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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ANTIGO - Just a few months ago, the Moore Family was looking for a new affordable home. They filled out paperwork with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in Langlade County and were told yes.

"We look for a number of things; we look for an identified need, and the need for housing if the current housing is not serving the family's needs," said Langlade Habitat for Humanity President Paul Grinde.

For the home to become theirs, the Moore's must put in 500 sweat-equity hours divided between themselves and volunteers. Leaders say it doesn't matter what set of skills you have, all you need to do is donate a little bit of your time.

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

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

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

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

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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 stores 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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Kids channel inner artistic characters on stage Submitted: 07/31/2014

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LAND O' LAKES - Kids in Land O' Lakes will play cartoon characters discussing their life during a play Friday. Organizers hope this helps them to show their artistic side.

You can expect to hear great sounds at Land O' Lakes Elementary School Friday. Kids from ages 6 to 14 have been learning about the art of performance this summer. They'll play cartoon characters discussing their life on a talk show.

"It's been really amazing to come to the theatre program the last two years. The first year we probably had 60, 70 people. Last year we had 100 people come to the recital," said Land O Lakes Area Artisans treasurer Lynn Richie.

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