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NEWS STORIES

Zarda Will Serve Four Years for Mole Lake StabbingSubmitted: 11/26/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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CRANDON - The first Mole Lake stabbing suspect was sentenced Monday. 18-year-old Melvin Zarda is one of six charged in the beating and stabbing of a Wausau Man back in February.

"He has clearly indicated that he is part of the Latin Kings. This whole interaction that is before the court is gang-based," says Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono.

Facing attempted murder charges, Melvin Zarda took a plea deal with the state. It required him to tell prosecutors what happened the night of an attack in Mole Lake, and specifically who did what.

"Mr. Zarda is incredibly dangerous. Why? Because he doesn't think for himself, he just acts," says Simono.

Simono detailed for the court the role Zarda admitted to playing in the stabbing.

"That's when Mr. Zarda was told to initiate the first strike. According to Mr. Zarda he asked Mr. Craig McGeshick and Preston Krustensterna to do it and they said, 'No, you were ordered to do it'," says Simono.

Defense attorney Stephen Sawyer said while it's not an excuse, Zarda's choice to join the gang wasn't out of a desire for a life of crime.

"To that point it had been a way to hang out with a bunch of guys that he thought cared about him, he thought would watch his back, protect him," says Sawyer.

Simono did note Zarda came forward with information knowing it could put him at risk, without any guarantee of an easy sentence.

"Part of his agreement is he has to testify truthfully at any forthcoming hearing or trial against any of his co-defendants," says Simono.

Judge Leon Stenz sentenced Zarda to nine years: four in prison, with five years extended supervision, for the second degree reckless injury charge. Then he'll also get three years probation for false imprisonment.

"No one has showed up to support Mr. Zarda and that speaks both ways. Number one, maybe they don't believe he deserves to be supported. Number two, maybe he's the way he is because no one has supported him. But to blame everything on the fact that he had alcoholic parents and a rough childhood ignores the fact that he was given opportunities," says Judge Stenz.

Craig McGeshick will be sentenced Wednesday, and Preston Krusensterna December 7th. The other three suspects are scheduled for jury trial in January.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Cranberry harvest numbers may slide compared to last several years Submitted: 08/19/2014

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MANITOWISH WATERS - Cranberry growers in Wisconsin work hard every year to produce the fruit. But they may not be able to harvest as many berries this season.

Cranberry growers don't expect an overly large crop this year. This comes after several years of great harvests in the state.

The numbers might not be as high, but farmers say they won't be disappointed with this year's cranberry results.

"Overall I think it will be a decent crop," says Bob Winter, owner and manager of Vilas Cranberry Company. "There's been some hail in the southern part of the state and even in western Wisconsin, so that takes its toll, but cumulatively how much that really is remains to be seen. You never know until you get it all in the barn at the end of October."

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Price County Fair starts WednesdaySubmitted: 08/19/2014

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PHILLIPS - People come from as far away as Milwaukee and Green Bay every year for the Price County Fair.

This year's fair starts Wednesday.

The same fairgrounds area just outside of Phillips has hosted the fair for more than a century.

We caught up with organizers and helpers making some final preparations at the fair.

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Fashion show benefits Eagle River Memorial HospitalSubmitted: 08/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Organizers hope a fashion show will bring in more customers and more money to the Eagle River Memorial Hospital Gift Shop and Thrift Shop.

The Partners-Auxiliary of Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital hosted the All Dolled Up Luncheon and Fashion Show in Eagle River Tuesday.

Auxiliary volunteers modeled clothes and accessories from both the shops.

They enable the Auxiliary to make big donations.

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Sen. Ron Johnson: Submitted: 08/19/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - Forest and timber leaders in Northern Wisconsin hosted Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) in Forest County Tuesday. The group of timber experts was touring areas of the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest (CNNF).

Both of Wisconsin's senators toured forests and forest industries in the north over the last two days.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) toured wood products businesses in Laona on Monday.

Foresters and timber experts were urging, to both senators, for more harvesting in the more than one million acres of national forest that covers Northern Wisconsin. The harvest this decade has been far below what it was in the 90s.

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Hunting stores seeing more crossbow interest as new season approachesSubmitted: 08/19/2014

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NORTHWOODS - More hunters will get to use crossbows during the upcoming bow season.

Workers at hunting stores see more customer interest in crossbow hunting.

The Natural Resource Board approved the new season last week. It will run at the same time as the archery season which runs from Sept. 13 - Jan. 4, 2015.

Businesses are seeing more people looking at crossbows as the season approaches.

"We've seen a definite spike in interest in this past year, and especially more now with the season in place for the fall," says Mitch Mode of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander.

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Some Rhinelander High School Students to get Chromebooks this upcoming school yearSubmitted: 08/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Some students in the School District of Rhinelander will get Chromebooks starting this school year.

Freshman and sophomores at Rhinelander High School will get the computers to use at school and at home.

Some elementary and middle school students will also get to use them in the classroom.

Leaders think this will benefit students.

"They're not just learning about how to use the tool," says Instructional Technology Coordinator Heidi Catlin. "Digital literacy, digital citizenship, how to use it appropriately, when is it appropriate to use it, and the different resources that are out there."

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Will the highway department relocate?Submitted: 08/19/2014

RHINELANDER - The highway department may need to relocate.

Kwik Trip has made a formal offer to purchase the current highway department for a new highway Kwik Trip location.

If the purchase is approved, the highway department will move facilities. The details of the proposal have yet to be released. But, the county board has discussed the proposal in numerous closed sessions.

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