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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Hulsey launches write-in candidacy for governorSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Just 12 days before the election, state Representative Brett Hulsey says he is running for governor as an independent write-in candidate.

Hulsey lost the Democratic primary to Mary Burke, earning 16 percent of the vote.

Hulsey announced Thursday that he was mounting a last-minute write-in campaign, but if it appears the effort is helping Republican Governor Scott Walker, he will stop.

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Wisconsin health officials start Ebola hotlineSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin state health officials have launched an Ebola hotline.

The state Department of Health Services announced Friday that the line is for fielding questions Wisconsin residents have about the Ebola virus. The toll-free number is 844-684-1064.

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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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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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Wisconsin court won't reconsider voter ID caseSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to reconsider whether the state's voter photo identification law is unconstitutional.

Republicans passed the law in 2011. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant group Voces de la Frontera as well as the League of Women Voters challenged the mandate in separate lawsuits. The state Supreme Court concluded in July that the law is constitutional in both cases.

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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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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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