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NEWS STORIES

Lincoln Co. to Try New Method For Repeat OWI OffendersSubmitted: 11/14/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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MERRILL - Statistics show Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of drunken driving in the nation. That's why Lincoln County wants to take steps to tackle a growing problem: repeat OWIs.

Almost one third of all OWI arrests nationwide are for repeat offenders. The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.

It's a problem Lincoln County Judge Jay Tlusty is trying to battle with an OWI court.

Treatment court is something more and more counties across the country are trying.

Lincoln County averages 169 drunk driving arrests every year. Judge Tlusty says a good number of those are repeat offenders.

"Not only would this save money and the judicial resources that are used on it, but also hopefully someday prevent an accident where someone is on a repeat drunk driving situation," says Judge Tlusty.

Criminal DUI convictions already often come with alcohol abuse assessment requirements. But Judge Tlusty says this would be more intensive and their progress would be followed by the court.

"It's part of their sentence that they would be participating in this program if that's something they're prepared to participate in," says Judge Tlusty.

Start up costs will be covered by left over funds from a program that was cut earlier this year.

Judge Tlusty hopes the program will be up and running by spring.

Marathon, Price and Taylor Counties have started these programs and have seen some success. Judge Tlusty says success can be hard to measure.

"The one thing you can't measure is the negative, the things that did not happen because of this. You can't measure the accident that didn't happen, the injury that didn't happen, the death that didn't happen. You can't measure that," says Judge Tlusty.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/01/2014

- Four Wisconsin State Assembly candidates will debate in Wausau tonight. The two Democrats and Republicans will argue about topics like jobs, healthcare and the direction of the area. We'll have a preview of the debate tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Cranberry Fest draws about 40,000 people to Eagle River each year. Organizers think this year will be no exception. They started preparing for this weekend's festival today. Find out more tonight on Newswatch 12.

- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will perform tonight in Rhinelander. We caught them earlier today at a special concert for students in Rhinelander. Hear what brought them here and how you can go to their concert tonight.

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

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Man found guilty of murdering parentsSubmitted: 10/01/2014

IRON RIVER, WISCONSIN - An Iron River, Wisconsin man admits to killing his parents last winter.

45 year old Jim Crain Jr. pleaded guilty in Bayfield County to two counts of second-degree intentional homicide.

The state is recommending 15 to 20 years in prison on each count.

Crain was accused of killing his parents, 79 year old James Crain and 76 year old Eunice Crain.

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Money wanted for education campaign on voter identificationSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MADISON - People need to know that they must carry photo identification to the polls next month.

The Wisconsin state elections board wants to spend about $460,000 to educate residents over the next five weeks.

The Government Accountability Board wants state Legislature to make money available.

It would be used for an education campaign on television, radio, and the internet.

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UW-Marathon County issues voter IDs to students who need oneSubmitted: 09/30/2014

WAUSAU - A local college wants to make sure its students can vote this November.

UW-Marathon County is issuing voter IDs to students that don't have them.

Everyone in Wisconsin needs to have an ID to vote this fall.

The university started making the IDs Monday.

All UW schools will be issuing IDs to students who need one.

"The biggest reason that we're doing this is we really want our students to have that opportunity to vote," says Interim Assistant Campus Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UW-Marathon County Carla Rabe. "Some of our students may not have the proper voter ID, and so for us to offer that opportunity to our students really just encourages them to really take the importance in voting."

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Preserving Wisconsin's wetlands Submitted: 09/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can find hundreds of plant species, different types of animal life, and breathtaking views in Wisconsin's wetlands.

Many people want to make sure wetlands are protected for years to come.

One group recently released a book educating others on wetland conservation.

"My favorite part is waking up and looking out the window. Every day is different. Every season is different," said wetlands owner Scott Eshelman.
Wisconsin wetlands surround Scott Eshelman's property.

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Firefighters practice rescue in sewerSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Firefighters need to practice rescue techniques so they can stay safe when responding to real emergencies.

Members of the Rhinelander Fire Department spent Tuesday in a sewer to practice rescuing people in a tight space.

Click "play video" to see how and why they do it.

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Man faces charges connected to woman's murder & disapperance; Read the criminal complaintSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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WAUSAU - A 34-year-old man will face three charges for the 2010 disappearance and murder of a Wausau woman.

Kristopher Torgerson is charged with first degree intentional homicide, armed robbery and hiding a body. Those charges were filed in Marathon County Tuesday, according to online court records.

Stephanie low had been missing since October of 2010. Torgerson agreed to show police where to find low's body earlier this month.

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