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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
Rhinelander Railroad Association members put on Christmas train displaySubmitted: 12/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Members of the Rhinelander Railroad Association want more kids to get into model trains.

That's one of the reasons they have a train display in Rhinelander.

People had the chance to stop by and look at the display on Saturday.

"We do this to try to encourage the kids to get into model trains and later they can get into the bigger stuff that's a little bit more complicated," says the club's president Jim Brown.

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Furry friends get pictures with SantaSubmitted: 12/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Some pet owners view their furry friends as their kids. Like some parents, they want their furry child to get a picture with Santa.

That's exactly what pet owners did Saturday. Pawz and Clawz in Rhinelander put together their second Pet Pictures With Santa event.

Store owner Dan Gallagher says he put this together for a local dog organization.

"That's the primary goal for the event. Just to have a really good time for people to come out and be generous to a really good dog rescue organization 'It Matters To One'," said Gallagher.

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Off-duty bouncer severely beaten in MadisonSubmitted: 12/20/2014

MADISON - An off-duty bouncer at a Madison bar has severe injuries after he was beaten by two customers.

Police say the 21-year-old bouncer at The City Bar was entering the men's restroom early Saturday when he saw two men with a white powdery substance. Police say one of the men ingested the substance.

The bouncer told the men he was going to notify a manager, and he was attacked. The men left with three other males.

Police say the bouncer was taken to a hospital where he was treated for a broken nose, a fractured orbital socket and a facial laceration that required stitches.

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Police arrest Hamilton protesters blocking highwaySubmitted: 12/20/2014

MILWAUKEE - Dozens of demonstrators have been arrested while blocking traffic on Interstate 43 during a march to protest the death of a black man shot by Milwaukee police earlier this year.

Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic during rush hour Friday, calling for charges against officer who shot and killed 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton in April. Officer Christopher Manney shot Hamilton 14 times after a struggle in a downtown park, spurring weeks of protests. Manney was later fired for not following proper procedure.

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Humane Society blames lead bullets for bald eagle deathSubmitted: 12/20/2014

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MILWAUKEE - One bald eagle has died and another is in serious condition in Wisconsin after ingesting lead from ammunition.

The Dane County Humane Society has treated two bald eagles with lead poisoning in the past two weeks. The birds likely swallowed lead while feeding on deer or other wildlife carcasses that had been shot, or by eating waterfowl that had ingested lead.

The first bald eagle survived only a day after it was brought into a Humane Society facility last week with acute lead poisoning. The Humane Society hopes a second bird found Friday will survive.

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Two suspects arrested in connection with a stolen credit card Submitted: 12/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Thursday we told you the Oneida County Sheriff's Office needed your help finding two people. Deputies believe they used a stolen credit card. Now the two suspects are in custody.

Tips from the public helped the sheriff's office find Andrew Washburn and Brieanna Persike. Both of them are from Wausau.

The stolen card was used on Wednesday in Rhinelander.

The sheriff's office says they will go to court in the future for their involvement in the incident. Deputies say the media and public's help were crucial in finding the suspects.

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Scientists from UW-Madison win 'Amazing Race'Submitted: 12/20/2014

MADISON - A team of ``Sweet Scientists'' from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has become the latest winner of ``The Amazing Race.''

Amy DeJong and Maya Warren won $1 million and beat out three other teams in the last leg of the race from Manila in the Philippines to Los Angeles.

The finale of the CBS show's 25th season was broadcast Friday night. In the show, Warren jumped from a window like a stunt actor, and DeJong competed in a grueling memorization challenge.

Warren says she wanted to inspire people and show others that she and DeJong were ``much more than lab coats and goggles.''

The ``Sweet Scientists'' team is named for DeJong and Warren's research topics of candy and ice cream.

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