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NEWS STORIES

Take a Tour of the Oconto Marijuana Grow SiteSubmitted: 09/06/2012

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RHINELANDER - Last week we saw one of the biggest drug busts in state history. Agents found millions of dollars in marijuana in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near the border of Oconto and Langlade Counties.

The Feds have given clearance for the media to trek out to the site. Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm was there today to bring you an inside look.

We headed into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to take a look at some of the sites where law enforcement cleared more than 8,000 marijuana plants last week.

A mile deep into the forest, we toured a few of the grow sites law enforcement raided last week. It's the third bust in three years; all reported by citizens. A fisherman spotted this one.

"There were marijuana plants six to eight feet tall right here," says Jeff Seefeldt, a Ranger with the US Forest Service.

In the last two busts the sites were fewer, and much larger. They were easier to see from far away. This one had 22 smaller sites. It wouldn't have been as easily seen from the air, so it seems the growers are paying attention. Add that to 1.5 million acres of forest land--- and few rangers to cover it-- it makes for a tough fight.

"People are going here, and going there, but still I can't cover 350,000 acres," says Seefeldt.

When asked if he thinks it's possible that there are sites just like this somewhere else, he said, "Very possible. I believe that."

Since people working on these large-scale don't typically leave, they end up in makeshift shelters like the one we saw on our trip. All the garbage that accumulates over the months they're here just ends up in big piles.

So why grow here in the Northwoods, where the growing season is so short?

"One of the reasons we think they're here is the abundant water supply. As you've seen with these sites we're right along a river. We have a lot of lakes and rivers in the Northwoods. It's really remote, it's easy to get away from people and not be found in these parts," says Suzanne Flory, a Public Affairs Officer for the US Forest Service.

What rangers most want people to know is it's dangerous to stick around if you stumble upon a grow site.

"If you see something unusual, especially from spring through summer when the growers would be on site, make sure you just leave real quietly. These people have been found to be armed and dangerous," says Flory.

Authorities say you don't need an up close look to know if something is wrong out there. When you're out in a remote area, and a large patch of land is cleared with other plants in their place, leave immediately and contact your local forestry department.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
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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Look out for fake checksSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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

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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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Hawkins Library incorporates science into their summer reading programSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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HAWKINS - You could face challenges trying to get kids to sit down and read during summer. But kids in Hawkins believe they're doing more than reading this summer. It's all part of a country wide theme called Fizz, Boom, Read.

"The whole idea is to get kids excited about reading, to keep them coming to the library to check out great books, and hopefully have some happy teachers at the end of the summer," says Hawkins Library Director Arlene Mabie.

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Law limiting collective bargaining upheldSubmitted: 07/31/2014

MADISON - After protests, recall elections and lawsuits, a state supreme court decision came down Thursday morning on the law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

The court has upheld the 2011 law in a split decision.

The court ruled 5-2 Thursday morning that the law is valid.

The decision came in a challenge filed by the Madison teachers union and a union representing Milwaukee public workers.

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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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