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NEWS STORIES

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

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
Input sought on proposed ATV trailSubmitted: 07/30/2014

RHINELANDER - The DNR wants your input regarding a proposed area ATV trail.

A public open house will be held August 19th at the Northwoods Community Elementary School in Harshaw.

People will have the chance to talk about the proposed trail for a portion of the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area.

The Nokomis ATV Club has asked for an ATV trail to be added across the southeast portion of the wildlife area.

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Some school districts fight to keep Common Core educational standardsSubmitted: 07/30/2014

MADISON - Some Wisconsin school districts worry about Governor Scott Walker's recent move away from Common Core educational standards.

Walker has asked the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a bill in January to repeal Common Core.

He wants to replace it with standards set by the public.

Common Core is the set of curriculum standards that specify what is taught in grade-school classrooms throughout the state.

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Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading around NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A virus that usually affects kids seems to be spreading around the Northwoods.

Pediatricians we spoke with have seen more people with hand, foot and mouth disease come in during the last month.

The symptoms include a fever, mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, but the rash can be found on other parts of the body.

The infection is spread through close contact including through saliva, coughing and sneezing.

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Northwoods paddleboard business successful in fourth yearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - The popularity of paddleboarding continues to contribute to the success of a newer Northwoods business.

5 Toes on the Nose Paddleboard Rentals brings paddleboards anywhere in the Northwoods.

We caught up with paddleboard business owner Sarah Weyenberg Tuesday.

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Wabeno man pleads guilty to hurting toddler, could face future chargesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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CRANDON - A Northwoods boy will never walk or talk again. That's because Brandon Brunette threw the boy across a room.

Brunette pled guilty to one felony for child abuse in Forest County court Tuesday. He could spend as many as 40 years in prison.

Brunette was originally charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dropped, as part of a plea deal.

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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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