RHINELANDER - We're learning more about the man who drowned in Lincoln County yesterday afternoon.
Forty-two-year-old Xavier Patton drowned yesterday in Crystal Lake. He was trying to help his daughter who was struggling in the water.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department says shortly after one o'clock they were called to a Tomahawk resort where Patton and his family were spending the day at the beach.
"One of the daughters appeared to have some problems; he was going to help her. While going to do that, one of the daughters yelled for help; mom went in and got the daughter out. Then Xavier started to flail in the water and then went under," says Lt. Tim Fischer, from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.
Patton's cousin pulled him out of the water and gave him CPR. An ambulance took him to Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A witness told us today it looked like Patton was suffering some kind of medical emergency, and wasn't under water long enough to drown. But the Sheriff's Department assures us that's not the story they got yesterday from bystanders.
"Being around the water is a dangerous time. Use flotation devices, life jackets, use the buddy system, understand your own limits- these are all things people have to cognizant of when they're on the water whether you're in two feet of water or 12 feet of water," says Lt. Fischer.
We also spoke with Deputy Medical Examiner Scott Krause today and he says they've ruled Patton's death an accidental drowning. Their examination revealed water in his lungs, and no other signs of medical distress.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - A week with little to no rain pushed fire risks dangerously high across northern Wisconsin. A fire in Bayfield spanning 9-thousand acres destroyed 17 homes. Fire crews want everyone to be smart about burning this time of year.
A small burn got out of control on Loop Heights Road in Pine Lake today. Fire Chief, Brian Gehrig, says the weather conditions make it easy for fires to get out of control.
WOODRUFF - The capitol may be far away but one of our local legislators wants to bring it closer. Assemblyman Rob Swearingen is meeting with constituents around the 34th district.
He visited Woodruff and Eagle River today.
Swearingen is five months into his freshman term. He wants to make sure people can put a face to his name.
He also wants reach those who might be skeptical of him because of his political party.
"You get that, just because I have the "R" in the back of my name that you're automatically not going to be friendly to those issues. And we encourage you to reach out. I may respond and it may not be the response you want to hear, but if you're going to ask me an honest question I'm going to give you an honest answer," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen says everyone's working hard on the budget in Madison. He's hearing a lot of concerns about school funding locally.
"I just really feel that people should be engaged with their own local legislators so the legislator knows them, and knows how they feel. And I showed him my tax bill and he got a real perspective for someone who's on a fixed income and how all the costs for education impact one of his constituents," says Shirley Kufeldt, from Conover.
"We're looking for more funding for the K-12 funding program. I think there's been a lot of heightened awareness in the capital on both sides of the isle and in the Governor's office. So I'm looking for hopefully some good results to help rural schools as the budget moves forward before the Governor signs it in the first part of July," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen's first budget motion was to allow Nicolet College to be eligible for state aid based on enrollment. That motion passed unanimously.
He says his weekly drive to his office in Madison is a reality check.
"There's the state capitol and you realize that your office is inside that building. It's a really surreal feeling to walk into that building each morning. Every time I press that button, whether it's green or red, I am voting on behalf of over 50,000 people in the 34th Assembly District. And that is something you don't take lightly," says Rep. Swearingen.
Swearingen will continue district dialogues on Monday. He'll be in Florence, Rhinelander and Crandon.
Florence, May 20th 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Maxsells Restaurant Inn & Pub, 209 Central Ave, (US Highway 2)
Crandon, May 20th 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Forest County Courthouse, Board Room
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