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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
Wisconsin water supplies deal with two contaminants during 2013Submitted: 08/20/2014

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WISCONSIN - Wisconsin keeps high standards for clean drinking water. On a yearly basis, they do a good job at meeting that standard, but during 2013, more water supplies were found with one of two contaminants.

One contaminant, nitrate, was found in more than double the amount of water supplies during the year compared to 2012. The 56 public water supplies found with high nitrate levels is a small number out of the thousands of water supplies in the state, but it can still be a big problem.

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Wisconsin restaurants dealing with rising custard costs Submitted: 08/20/2014

RHINELANDER - Getting a double scoop of custard might cost you double.

Custard prices are up in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Key ingredients in custard are milk, eggs and butterfat. Butterfat is driving the cost of custard up.

A National Milk Producers report shows supply and demand is tight for butter.

Inventories have dropped more than 40% over the past year.

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Man pleads not guilty of killing his wifeSubmitted: 08/20/2014

PORTAGE COUNTY - A Wisconsin Rapids man pled not guilty yesterday to killing his wife decades ago. 55-year-old Joseph Reinwand made the plea in Portage County court.

Pamela Reinwand was 19 when she died in 1984. She was shot in the head.

Police originally thought it was a suicide. but family members and fellow inmates told police they'd heard Reinwand confess to killing her.

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Shawano thinks small in economic development role in Forest CountySubmitted: 08/20/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - A new Forest County economic development leader wants to think small, instead of thinking big.

Gene Shawano Jr. just took over as President of the Forest County Economic Development Partnership.

He will help fill a void left when Executive Director Jim Schuessler and President RT Krueger each stepped down earlier this year.

Shawano wants to bring the focus back to small businesses in the county.

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Wisconsin retains number 2 spot on ACT test Submitted: 08/20/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin retains its number two spot among states on the ACT college entrance exam.

The state's high school seniors scored an average composite of 22.2 out of a possible 36, ranking Wisconsin behind Minnesota. Seventy-three percent of Wisconsin seniors took the exam this year. The curriculum-based test measures students' readiness for the first year of college.

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Concussion Awareness for High School SportsSubmitted: 08/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Football season kicks off this Friday for many high schools across the state.

But one concern from year to year is how to prevent concussions in high school contact sports.

When sport seasons begin, so does important concussion testing. Rhinelander has two tests.

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ACT Exam mandatory for Wisconsin students this yearSubmitted: 08/20/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - College bound high school students in the Midwest need to take the ACT.

One Northwoods high school has seen an increase in how many students are taking the test.

About 60% of students at Northland Pines High School took the ACT last year, compared to about 53% that took it in 2010.

"We're increasing that number every year, doing our best to do that and encourage students to take this test," says Northland Pines High School Principal Jim Brewer. "It's not only just for students that are going to college, it's for anybody to take this assessment and see where they're at."

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