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NEWS STORIES

Take a Tour of the Oconto Marijuana Grow SiteSubmitted: 09/06/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Man seriously injured in motorcycle crash Submitted: 09/20/2014

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MARATHON COUNTY - A 51-year-old Mosinee man was sent to a hospital with serious injuries after a motorcycle crash Saturday.

The crash happened on County Road WW at US 51 in Marathon County around 11:30 a.m.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says the motorcyclist was driving east on County Road WW when he tried to avoid a stopped car in front of him. The motorcycle crashed leaving the rider and the motorcycle in oncoming traffic.

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Packers purchase strip mall near LambeauSubmitted: 09/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers franchise is gobbling up more land around Lambeau Field.

Brown County real estate records show the business entity created by the Packers, Green Bay Development, has purchased a strip shopping center for $725,000.

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Wisconsin still struggling with obesity,almost 30% of adults obese, ranks 22nd nationwideSubmitted: 09/20/2014

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Nearly one in three adults in Wisconsin is considered obese according to a report by the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the data and trend, the state isn't slimming, but the increase has almost leveled off over the last few year.

Wisconsin ranks 22nd in the U.S. and still lags behind states like West Virginia and Mississippi. Thirty-five percent of people there are considered obese.

Specialists like Eric Filipiak at Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill say a healthy transition starts by finding the right environment.

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Northwoods county struggles keeping young people despite better than average unemployment rate.Submitted: 09/20/2014

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PARK FALLS - Northern Wisconsin struggles keeping its young people. That leads to fewer young families and shrinking communities in the area, but rural communities are trying to reverse that trend.

Park Falls Area Community Development Corporation Administrator Frank Kempf says Price County wants to help young people find good work in their area, but the problem is finding the jobs that young people are going after.

"The young people who are leaving to go to work, and we just don't have the jobs to bring them back to stay here and live here with the jobs that they want," Kempf said.

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Hundreds wear purple, walk to raise money for Alzheimer's researchSubmitted: 09/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Doctors think more than 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease by 2050. Researchers hope to find a cure to get rid of the disease.

Hundreds of people hit the streets of Rhinelander to raise money for Alzheimer's research today. The Walk to End Alzheimer's also helps fund programs and services to help families affected by the disease.

Event organizers believe the walk gives families who feel hopeless a way to be proactive.

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Update: Body of missing boater found in Kenosha CountySubmitted: 09/19/2014

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KENOSHA - Update: 9/19/14 4:15pm

Sheriff's officials say the body of a missing fisherman has been recovered from a lake in Kenosha County.

Authorities say the body of 66-year-old John Spoor, of McHenry, Illinois, was found in about 7 feet of water Friday morning.

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Fall color contest looking for best shots in NW WisconsinSubmitted: 09/19/2014

PRICE COUNTY - Fall could give you the chance to win some cash for your photography. Travel Northwest Wisconsin is looking for the best fall photos from the area.

The photos must come from areas in northwestern Wisconsin like Iron, Rusk and Sawyer County. Price County Director of Tourism Kathy Reinhard believes her area will offer good opportunities for photographers.

"It's just spectacular. It doesn't matter if you're on the trails doing silent sports, motorized sports, or if you prefer the water trails canoeing down the Flambeau River, you'll find beautiful color throughout the county."

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