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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
Art competition winners announced Tuesday nightSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Artists found out who won the Northern National Art Competition Tuesday night.

Artists from across the country submitted artwork to the art competition held at Nicolet College in Rhinelander this year.

Organizers expect about 200 people at the reception.

Some of the artists that submitted work will be at Nicolet.

The artists competed for $8,500 in prize money.

The entries come from all over the country, but there is art from the Northwoods on display.

Artists from Rhinelander, Antigo and Lake Tomahawk have work in the show.

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Kids compete in annual Worm RaceSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Kids found one of the biggest races of the year in the Northwoods Tuesday.

The Rhinelander District Library hosted their annual worm race.

Teams of two faced off with worms in hand.

Each believing their worm would win the trophy this year.

"ShadowWind is the fastest racer. Because he is never beaten," said 10-year-old Louis Malias.

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Library Page Program teaches students research skills to use in collegeSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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ANTIGO - The Antigo Public Library can help high school students better prepare for college.

The library's page program helps students become familiar with all of the library's resources. The students get paid to work at least 12 hours a week during the school year. They have a lot of responsibilities like shelving books and helping the librarians.

Librarians think getting them familiar with library will help them succeed in college.

"It's surprising how many kids go to college freshman year and they don't understand how the Dewey Decimal system works," says Children's Librarian Jackie Rammer. "They don't understand how to find a book in the library. Getting experience at a small library, such as the Antigo Public Library, will help you."

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Laona man faces meth chargesSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - Prosecutors believe a Forest County man made meth and had other people buy ingredients for him.

36-year-old Shandon Tallier of Laona faces four felony charges.

Police became suspicious when Tallier bought ephedrine or pseudophedrine more than 50 times during the last year. Those are drugs commonly used to make meth.

Tallier was also blocked from buying the drugs more than 20 times in the last year. That's because he already bought more than the federal limit allows in a 30 day period.

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Wisconsin & Northwoods see home sales grow in June Submitted: 07/22/2014

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Home sales across Wisconsin are up for the first time in 2014 compared to previous year statistics recorded by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

A strong June for home sales could hint at good news for the rest of the year. Home sales statewide were up more than four percent compared to June 2013.

More than 600 homes were sold in Northern Wisconsin last month. Realtors like Bonnie Byrnes, Headwaters Real Estate, deal with water-front property in the Manitowish Waters area. She credits the second home market for some of the boost in northern numbers

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Downed power line starts small fire near RhinelanderSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Gusty winds forced a domino effect that caused a small fire south of Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Winds blew over a tree, which sent a power line to the ground.

The electrical current started the fire.

It happened just before 11:00 on Hat Rapids Road near Highway 17.

Firefighters were glad the land nearby wasn't too dry with drought.

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Trek Bicycles defends ad - GOP files complaintSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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MADISON -
A spokeswoman for Trek Bicycles says its full page newspaper advertisement complies with Wisconsin law and is constitutionally protected free speech.

The Wisconsin Republican Party on Tuesday filed a complaint with the state elections board saying the ad that ran Sunday in Madison and Milwaukee newspapers was an illegal campaign contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Her father started Trek and she formerly worked for the company.

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