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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
Volunteers start setting up Oneida County FairSubmitted: 07/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Volunteers started preparations Monday for the Oneida County Fair.

About 50 people helped set up.

A lot of work was completed ahead of schedule thanks to volunteers.

Fair leaders think most of the setup will be done Monday.

"We're hoping to be done pretty much today with the initial setup," says Fair Coordinator Nancy Gehrig. "K&M Amusement is already setting up today, which normally they aren't setting up until Tuesday. So yeah, we're ahead of the game already."

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Police search for hit and run driverSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MERRILL - Police need your help finding the driver of car involved in a hit and run accident over the weekend.

It happened around 3:30 in the morning on Saturday in the town of Merrill.

No one was hurt in the crash.

The victim was driving east on Hillside Drive, just west of County Rd K.

That's when a small silver car sideswiped the victim's dark blue Dodge Avenger.

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Wisconsin schools get money for energy efficiencySubmitted: 07/28/2014

APPLETON - More Wisconsin school districts have begun to take advantage of a change in state law allowing them to borrow money to help fund energy efficient projects.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports (http://post.cr/1plXwIE ) 55 districts raised more than $23 million without having to ask voters to approve a referendum. The amount raised has nearly tripled since the previous year.

The two-year-old law allows schools to borrow money for energy conservation projects over multiple years in a way that diffuses costs to taxpayers.

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AirVenture gets underway this week in OshkoshSubmitted: 07/28/2014

OSHKOSH - Aviation enthusiasts from as many as 70 countries will gather in Oshkosh this week for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.

The convention draws about a half million people to the weeklong event near Wittman Regional Airport.

Thousands of planes have already landed at the airport.

On Monday, NASA representatives will talk about their plan to take people to Mars starting in 2030.

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Trial date set for former Assembly Majority LeaderSubmitted: 07/28/2014

WAUKESHA - The former majority leader of the Wisconsin Assembly will go on trial in October for sexual assault.

State Representative Bill Kramer is accused of shoving a woman into a car, groping her and making inappropriate comments.

The charges date back to a GOP event in April 2011.

During a hearing Friday, a Waukesha County Circuit Judge set a jury trial for October 28th.

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Pilots take to the sky in Air Cup Race Submitted: 07/27/2014

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WAUSAU - You can find adrenaline and speed at a race track, but nothing compares to racing 300 miles per hour in the sky.

46 Pilots from across the country competed in the EAA AirVenture Cup Race. This is the 17th year racers took to the sky, but it's the first time they made a pit stop in Wausau.

The chairman for the race says it's all about having fun with your friends.

"It's really about how well you can fly your airplane. It promotes efficiency, flying accuracy, a flight planning; it's really just about having fun," said EAA AirVenture Cup Race Chairman Eric Whyte.

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team inspires Northwoods crowdsSubmitted: 07/27/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Two things unite a special group of 24 of our nation's heroes - traumatic injury and softball. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is made up of veterans and active duty servicemen who served in the Global War on Terrorism.

"I thought the world was over. And I thought there was no way in the world I'd ever do anything again," Army veteran and Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball player Rick Wilk said of losing his leg.

Wilk came home safely from two deployments only to lose his leg below the knee to a drunk driver in 2010. Within a year of losing his leg, Wilk was up and running, literally. Now, three years after losing his leg, he plays softball better than most people with all their limbs.

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