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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
Dog kills 7-year-old boy in eastern WisconsinSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOWN OF HUSTISFORD - A 7-year-old boy has died after being severely bitten by a dog in Dodge County of eastern Wisconsin.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the incident was reported just before 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Town of Hustisford.

Lt. Brian Loos says that a 911 caller said the boy was bleeding profusely. He says dispatchers began to talk the mother through CPR while numerous agencies responded. But the child died at the scene despite extensive lifesaving efforts.

The statement says names, addresses and additional information about the nature of the incident and the dog won't be released for now out of respect to the family.

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Kids with disabilities tour local businesses, practice networking skillsSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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RHINELANDER - Kids with disabilities can sometimes have a difficult time finding a job.

Special education teachers at Rhinelander High School want to change that. They set up the "Amazing Race To Employment" for their students.

Students with disabilities went to different local businesses today. The race gave them a chance to ask managers questions about working at the business.

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Apple Crunch promotes healthy eatingSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Students across the region crunched into apples at the same time Friday.

It was in celebration of Food Day.

Food Day raises awareness of where food comes from and eating healthy.

Click "Play Video" to see why serving something as simple as apples is leaving a lasting impact on young kids.

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A family remembers father's legacy, cycling changed his life Submitted: 10/24/2014

MINOCQUA - 55-year-old Robin Kuzel tragically died early Thursday morning after his bicycle and a truck collided along Highway 51 in Minocqua. The driver of the truck, 28-year-old Adam Lynch, is in jail. He could face multiple charges, but Kuzel's family is focusing on the kind of man he was.

"My dad was a good Christian man. He loved the Lord, he loved his family. A very hard worker. Spent most of his time working," said Robin Kuzel's son, Ken Kuzel.

That's the way Ken remembers his father. 55-year-old Robin Kuzel started biking about 10 years ago to lose weight.

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Educating the Northwoods about human trafficking Submitted: 10/24/2014

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WOODRUFF - Human trafficking makes an estimated 32 billion dollars every year. It's the third largest criminal industry in the world and Wisconsin is right in the center of it.

Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery.

The two biggest types of trafficking are sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

Sister Celine Goessl has been researching Wisconsin's human trafficking problem for a few years.

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A local author launches first novel of a new seriesSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MINOCQUA - A new novel may catch your eye this weekend at a local bookstore. On the cover is a picture of girl by a Northwoods Lake. The book is titled "Exit Point" and is written by new author Alicia Sanftleben.

Sanftleben grew up and lives in the Minocqua area. Her novel focuses on a young girl who, after a near death experience, is forced to rethink her life's path.

The novel is the first part of a series of books. It follows the young girl's journey on her new life and efforts to save the world from destruction.

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Nearly a century later, Goodman's Draxler honored with Purple HeartSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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GOODMAN - John Draxler deserves the respect and honor from the people of his hometown of Goodman, and all of northern Wisconsin.

He's always had it.

But on Friday, 96 years after his combat injuries during World War I, and 40 years after his death, it became tangible.

Draxler's family was presented with a Purple Heart.

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