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NEWS STORIES

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


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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/28/2014

- People in the Northwoods didn't let the chillier temperatures stop them from heading out for Black Friday this morning.

- Kids in Eagle River got a special treat at the Northwoods Children's Museum. The museum brought in two live turkeys for their annual Turkey and Traditions event. Every November, two turkeys are brought in to help teach kids about where their Thanksgiving meal comes from. Hear about the importance of the program coming up on Newswatch 12 tonight.

- If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, a local model train show can help transport you to Santa's Village.

- And homemade pizzas turn into more than sauce and dough at one Eagle River household. We'll meet Gary Anderson tonight on Newswatch 12 and tell you how his pizza making turned into a fundraising tool to help people in the Northwoods.

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

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Local author writes book after 11 years of researchSubmitted: 11/28/2014

PRESQUE ISLE - You can learn a lot about your family history after 11 years of research.

Presque Isle's Richard Fields now knows five generations of his family name, and 1200 people related to him.

He started his research in 2003. Fields finished this year.

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Holiday Model Train Show Opens in MinocquaSubmitted: 11/28/2014

MINOCQUA - If Black Friday and the snow didn't get you into the Christmas spirit just yet, a local train display could help.

The Northwoods Model Railroad Club opened Santa's Village Friday.

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Black Friday Shopping in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Many people woke up early and headed to the store for Black Friday.

It is considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year because it can mark the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Northwoods Children's Museum hosts turkeys for educationSubmitted: 11/28/2014

EAGLE RIVER - People who head to the Northwoods Children's Museum will get a special surprise.

The museum in Eagle River is hosting a couple of live turkeys this month.

Workers say the live animals help children understand exactly where their Thanksgiving meals come from.

The program has been running for about 10 years.

Turkey and Tradition draws a lot of people to Eagle River every November.

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Funeral set for 3 children who died in U.P. crashSubmitted: 11/28/2014

DAGGETT, MI - A funeral has been scheduled for the three children killed in a weather-related crash in the Upper Peninsula.

TV station WBUP-WBKP reports (http://bit.ly/1vpSGy8 ) the funeral for Michael, Maxwell and Joelle McCue is set for Sunday at the Carney Free Church in the Menominee County community of Carney. The children ages 11 to 14 died Monday after their van smashed into a semi-truck on snowy U.S. 41 near Daggett.

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List of holiday events around northcentral Wisconsin this weekendSubmitted: 11/27/2014

NORTHCENTRAL WISCONSIN - Here is a list of some of the special holiday events going on around northcentral Wisconsin this weekend.

FRIDAY
Boulder Junction
26th Annual Christmas
5-8 p.m.
Downtown Boulder Junction

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