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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County Expects Sheriff's Office ChangesSubmitted: 01/23/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's search for a new city administrator got a little narrower - from nearly two dozen candidates to a handful. Rhinelander has been without a city administrator since the middle of May when Blain Oborn went to Lake Geneva.

The Rhinelander City Council held a meeting last night to go through a list of candidates. At the end of that meeting, they went front from having 22, down to a list of four.

"We have four candidates that we have coming in," said Rhinelander's Mayor Richard Johns. "And the candidates vary, one's from Eau Claire, Antigo, Kewaskum, and Stevens Point. We pretty much have a local area so-to-speak, rather than out of state."

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EAGLE RIVER - You may not notice the Northwoods trade school tucked along Highway 17 in Eagle River.

One national organization thinks it deserves more attention.

The Advanced Welding Institute will receive an award for its high graduation and employment rates.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is granting the welding school its School of Excellence Award. School administrators are invited to attend the professional development conference in September in Arlington, Va. 

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BOULDER JUNCTION - A Vilas County shooting range will get some financial aid thanks to the Wisconsin DNR.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range got a grant for venue upgrades.

The range also got a grant last year.

It used the money to make its facilities handicap accessible.

Range officials say they will use this year's grant for additions.

Those include making the space more energy efficient.

"[The] money will be used for insulating the clubhouse," says Secretary of the Boulder Junction Shooting Range Pete Drahn. "It'll be used to remove doors and windows that we no longer need, and to replace a window with a more energy efficient window."

The range has gotten grants two years in a row, but it won't happen again next year.

"They've told everybody that received the grants this year that they'll start doing grants only every other year for someone who has received it," says Drahn. "So at the earliest, it would be the year after next."

The range's board members want to make the venue better for shooters, but they say they couldn't have done it without the grant's help.

"These are projects we probably wouldn't do for eons," says Drahn. "We don't receive any money from anybody except the users of the range. So we don't have a lot for our capital needs."

The range also plans to install a new fence to improve the facility's safety.

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RHINELANDER - Many Americans struggle with fitness. But it's a challenge you can tackle even at an older age. And a frequent swimmer at the YMCA of the Northwoods will tell you the same.

Bev Linnihan-Moye didn't start competitively swimming until she was 65. She's now 77 and faster.

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MERRILL - All K-8 students in Merrill Schools will get their own iPads this fall.

Wednesday, teachers were trained on how to use the new technology.

Last year, six third grade classrooms tried out how it would work.

District leaders said parents and students involved in the pilot program liked it.

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MERRILL - We told you earlier in July about the Merrill Citizen's Fire Academy.

People who take the 10 week course this fall will learn more about what firefighters do.

12 people will take the class.

Spots for the course are filling up.

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RHINELANDER - Thousands of people will come to the Oneida County Fair starting Thursday.

The fair has grown a lot in recent years. Organizers try to get new rides and entertainment to draw in bigger crowds.

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