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NEWS STORIES

Central Wis. Man Gets Ten Years for Texting & Driving HomicideSubmitted: 11/12/2012

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RHINELANDER - A central Wisconsin man will spend a decade in prison for killing a man by texting and driving.

John French admitted to texting his girlfriend and speeding right before he ran a stop sign and slammed into two cars in 2010. He killed 32-year-old Robert Walker.

Today a Wood County Judge sentenced the 23-year-old to ten years in prison, and seven additional years of extended supervision.

The crash happened the same month Wisconsin's texting and driving law went into effect in 2010.

"You're not allowed to compose a text message or email message and send it. That's utilizing your fine motor skills of typing into a keyboard because it's taking your attention away from operating that motor vehicle," says Lt. Lloyd Gauthier, from the Oneida County Sheriff's Department.

It can be tough to enforce this law because it's hard to see exactly what people are doing. There are plenty of complexities to it too. You can't type or send a text, but the law doesn't keep you from reading one or even going on the internet. But the law still makes room for that.

"It's specifically sub-categorized as inattentive driving. So if we're investigating a motor vehicle accident and the driver is telling us that they were reading a text message on their phone and not focusing on driving, yes, the appropriate citation would be inattentive driving," says Lt. Gauthier.

The fine for inattentive driving is the same as texting and driving, up to $400. In both cases you can lose four points on your license. Still, two penalties that are much better than taking someone's life.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/25/2014

- A new jobs plan from Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke focuses on what she hopes to do to improve rural areas in the Northwoods. Coming up on Newswatch 12 tonight find out her goals and hear why political analysts believe forestry and timber was left out of the plan.

- We visit with fish farmers from Langlade County. Silver Moon Springs knows everything there is to know about running a successful trout farm. We head to the farm and learn why Aquaculture is catching on in Wisconsin.

- And fur trapping is still very much a part of the lives of people in the Great Lakes region. For many, it's their livelihood. Newswatch 12's Ben Meyer visited the National Trappers Convention in Escanaba this week to bring you more.

We'll have the details on those stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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More than 50 boats featured in weekend boat showSubmitted: 07/25/2014

MINOCQUA - Many people enjoy boating during the summer months.

This weekend you can check out the beauty and workmanship of antique boats in Minocqua. More than 50 boats will be on hand for the 22nd Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Show. The event is free to the public and features classics from the early 1920's to the 1960's. It will kick off tonight with a boat parade before the Min-Aqua Bat waterski show... and continues all weekend on the docks of The Boathouse Restaurant.

Boat owners and the public get together to share their love and stories of these antique beauties.

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Summer temperatures impact local toy salesSubmitted: 07/25/2014

RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.

That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.

"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.

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Garden tour Saturday to raise money for hospiceSubmitted: 07/25/2014

RHINELANDER - You can learn how to improve your garden while also supporting a Northwoods hospice provider.

The Master Gardeners of the North and Ministry Hospice will host a garden tour Saturday, July 26th. People will get to tour six gardens in Rhinelander's historic courthouse neighborhood.

Organizers hope the event will raise at least $2,000. That money will go to patients who are unable to pay for their services.

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Wisconsin leads nation in producing mink peltsSubmitted: 07/25/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of mink pelts.

Some of those pelts come from the northwoods, with mink farms in the Tomahawk and Irma areas.

The state accounted for one in three U.S. pelts last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin produced 1.13 million mink pelts last year.

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team to play in Northwoods this weekendSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Wounded warriors won't let their injuries stop them from playing softball this weekend.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team will travel to Lake Tomahawk to play the Lake Tomahawk Snowhawks this weekend.

The Lake Tomahawk Snowshoe Baseball Team needed to raise $40,000 to bring the team to Lake Tomahawk.

They also had to renovate the field.

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Packers shareholders meeting at Lambeau FieldSubmitted: 07/24/2014

GREEN BAY - The only publicly owned team in U.S. professional sports is holding its annual shareholders meeting.

The Green Bay Packers are expecting more than 12,000 shareholders Thursday for the meeting at Lambeau Field. The Packers have about 364,000 owners.

The meeting is held in the open bowl of Lambeau. Shareholders will vote for three nominees to the board of directors, Associated Banc-Corp CEO Philip Flynn, Schreiber Foods CEO Michael Haddad and University of Wisconsin-Madison's Dr. Elizabeth Trowbridge.

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