RHINELANDER - Deputies think the Oneida County Sheriff's Office is operating smoothly.
But that doesn't mean they'll try to keep everything the same.
The man becoming the county's new sheriff is planning on making some changes to the department.
After more than 30 years on the force, Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired last month.
Within weeks, Lieutenant Jim Wood, who had been around for almost three decades, retired as well.
Chief Deputy John Sweeney worked with them for years.
"Jim had worked in all of the divisions our department has and had a big impact on the training. (There were) a lot of leadership qualities he retired with," says Sweeney. "Much like Jim, Jeff also had an opportunity to serve in a variety of our jobs, in different divisions."
Later this week, Grady Hartman will be sworn in as the new Sheriff.
He was picked by Governor Scott Walker for the job.
A Rhinelander native, Hartman has been with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office since 1999.
"About four or five years ago, I decided that I wanted to eventually become Sheriff of Oneida County, and I set my sights on that," says Hartman.
Veterans like Hartman, Sweeney, Hoffman, and Wood had worked together to lead the office.
That had put Oneida County in a stable place.
But now, two of them are gone and Hartman is running the department.
You can expect some changes with the new lineup.
"We have an organization of very qualified, very quality people. I think we appreciate change as an important part of that. I fully expect that Sheriff Hartman will take some time, review our operations, and I fully expect changes," says Sweeney.
Hartman will be officially sworn in on Friday.
We'll bring you coverage of the ceremony on Newswatch 12.
After that, we should learn even more about just what those changes in Oneida County will look like.
MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.
Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.
Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.
"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."
On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.
Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.
The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.
"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."
Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer.
NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.
They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.
But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.
And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.
That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.
"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate.
Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday.
You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.
All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.
That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.
"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."
If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.
MINOCQUA - Lakeland and Antigo generally square off as rivals in Great Northern Conference competition. But on Friday, nearly a week removed from the prom shootings in Antigo, Lakeland wanted to show that it was on Antigo's side.
"It's hard to react to something like this, because you want to be concerned, and you want to help, but it's hard to know how to help," said Maggie Laurence, a Lakeland sophomore and Student Council member.
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