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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
Integrys auctions off property in St. Germain Submitted: 09/18/2014

ST. GERMAIN - Investors could try to grab lakefront property in St. Germain today.

Integrys is the parent company of Wisconsin Public Service.

The group sold its property in the auction.

"We don't need the property, there's no use for it and there's no sense in us hanging on to it. We've carved it into some very large lots and given now with this auction, people the opportunity to own a nice chunk of land on a really pristine, small lake," said Integrys Spokesperson Kerry Spees.

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Absentee voters need to send in copy of photo IDSubmitted: 09/18/2014

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Nearly all voters in Wisconsin will need to show a photo ID to vote this November. That includes people who send in absentee ballots. A federal court made that ruling within the last week.

Absentee ballot applications have been changed to follow the state's voter ID law. A person now needs to send in a copy of their photo ID with their application. If they don't, they won't get an absentee ballot.

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Harvesting season approaching for cranberries, not as deep red color this yearSubmitted: 09/18/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Cranberry growers in the Northwoods will start harvesting soon. Lake Nokomis Cranberries Manager Michael O'Brien says the weather has delayed the harvest for many farms in the area, but that doesn't mean they'll see a poor harvest this year.

Lake Nokomis Cranberries in Eagle River will start their 21 day harvest on Monday. They've had to deal with the challenges from a late winter and cool summer. They were planning on harvesting earlier in September, but will be delayed until Sept. 22st.

"You start out behind right from the beginning and we never got the heat in the July, and so we've been battling that all year," O'Brien said.

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Cars for sale in a local parkSubmitted: 09/18/2014

ANTIGO - People looking to buy a car could go to a dealer, or go online.

How about going to a park instead?

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Pair of trails opening after storm clean upSubmitted: 09/18/2014

RHINELANDER - A pair of trails will open Friday in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest after weeks of storm clean up, according to a U.S. Forest Service press release Thursday.

The majority of the Flambeau Trail and the ATV 421 trail will be open.

Officials with the Forest Service say the two trails are some of the most heavily used motorized trails in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Detective team arrest 3 people for growing marijuanaSubmitted: 09/18/2014

BRUCE CROSSING, MI - Detectives from the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team, or UPSET arrested three people for growing marijuana.

It happened Wednesday at 11:30 in the morning near Bruce Crossing.

UPSET detectives seized nearly $6,200 in cash, 130 marijuana plants, a gun, 5 pounds of marijuana that had already been made, 1 gallon of what detectives think was hemp oil and illegal mushrooms.

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Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation raffles neon Hodag signSubmitted: 09/18/2014

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation is holding the 2014 Neon Hodag Sign Raffle.

Your support will help in raising money to award more scholarships for RHS graduates annually.

The RASF is a non-profit charitable organization with a volunteer governing board that raises money and distributes scholarships to Rhinelander students, many of whom may not get scholarship support from other sources.

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