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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Election voting under way in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MILWAUKEE - Early election voting is underway at city clerks' offices across Wisconsin.

Voters who can't make it to the polls for the primary election next month are able to cast ballots. It's the first election since the Legislature put limits on the process. In-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is to take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Reconstruction of Hwy 51, Hwy 47 intersection pushed back to 2018Submitted: 07/29/2014

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WOODRUFF - Construction on the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 47 in Woodruff will be pushed back to 2018. The project was supposed to start in 2017.

That's because DOT supervisors aren't sure how they want to reconstruct the road yet. They're looking at a few different design plans right now.

Project leaders want to make sure they pick the safest option. They also want more community input before they make a decision.

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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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Homeless shelter making progress in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 07/29/2014

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TOMAHAWK - You could learn more about a proposed Northwoods homeless shelter this weekend.

Volunteers in Lincoln County are working on the county's first homeless shelter. Three Rivers United Temporary Housing, or TRUTH, leased the house next to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tomahawk.

They will be hosting an open house this Saturday from 4-6 P.M.

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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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Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Voters could remove mayor in recall Submitted: 07/29/2014

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CRANDON - People in Crandon could vote a new mayor into office Tuesday night after holding a recall election of current Mayor Rob Jaeger.

The recall comes after a group started collecting signatures in May. The small group lead by Larry Alsteen collected enough signatures for the recall.

The city council needed to order the recall as a formality under Wisconsin law. The council eventually ordered the recall after originally splitting its vote in June.

Cindy Bradley has worked as the Crandon city clerk for 17 years. She says they've seen a steady turnout throughout the day.

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