Loading

76°F

74°F

80°F

75°F

80°F

75°F

76°F

71°F

80°F
NEWS STORIES

Rhinelander Police officer and lawmakers work on fighting huffing and drivingSubmitted: 03/01/2013
Story By Lane Kimble


RHINELANDER - It can kill you the first time you try it, but kids and adults seem to be doing it anyway. Inhaling aerosol sprays for a simple high. It's called huffing. But it wasn't illegal in Wisconsin until 2005.

"Having a legal thing that people can do made it more appealing that you can just go to the store and get chemical sprays and dusters and get high off that and not face any consequences," Rhinelander Police Sgt. Kurt Helke said. "At least now there's a consequence to that."

Helke helped lead the charge seven years ago to make huffing a crime. Now it's a class A misdemeanor. But his fight is far from over.

About a month ago, a Rhinelander driver named Matthew Taulbut crashed his car into the curb here, on Baird and Dahl streets near the county courthouse. Police found him slumped over the wheel with aerosol cans in his lap.

But ironically enough, Taulbut, who crashed just a block from where the law is upheld, couldn't be charged criminally with his 4th OWI. Huffing isn't defined as an intoxicant. At least not yet.

State Representative Rob Swearingen is a co-sponsor of this bill making its way around the Capitol. Sergeant Helke contacted him and other lawmakers with hopes of amending the drunk driving laws.

"Essentially what we're going to do is open up the word intoxicant and include the word inhalant, like huffing, and include that so that police actually have some teeth when they try to enforce the law," Swearingen said.

Lawmakers from both sides are coming together to draft the bill. The next stop will be in a legislative committee before heading to a hearing. Swearingen thinks the process should be smooth.

"It's highly likely, depending on any opposition, and I don't know why anyone would oppose this, but pending any opposition, something like this is good, common sense legislation," Swearingen said.

That's good news for Sgt. Helke and police everywhere.

"Unfortunately in most places, they aren't aware or there isn't anything spurned until somebody dies," Helke said. "And we don't want to wait until somebody dies until the awareness is risen."

Awareness and a law, that should make the roads safer.

"I think this is a simple fix, I don't think it's a big deal, but it's something that should get done, needs to get done so they can do their job," Swearingen said.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/01/2014

- A 43-year-old Green Bay man killed himself after shooting at people in cars and leading police on a chase last week in Marinette County. Coming up on Newswatch 12, hear from a 911 call from a person shot at by the 43-year-old man, and see video of the dramatic chase.

- At least 116 thousand people with some type of dementia live in Wisconsin. More than half of them will wander at some point. A new tool could help their families find them. Find out what it is tonight on Newswatch 12.

- The Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce will welcome a new executive director later this month. Find out about Krystal Westfahl tonight on Newswatch 12.

- And a slow and shaky start to the summer growing season didn't hurt some farmers in Langlade County. That's because cooler temperatures can actually help some crops like peas. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek spoke with farmers in Langlade County to find out how successful their harvest was.

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

+ Read More
Successful pea harvest despite cool Spring temperaturesSubmitted: 08/01/2014

ANTIGO - A slow and shaky start to the summer growing season didn't hurt some farmers in Langlade County. That's because cooler temperatures can actually help some crops like peas.

Some farmers just finished harvesting their peas this week.It's the first vegetable crop of the season and farmers at Sunnydale Farms believe it was a great harvest.

They think cooler temperatures helped some of their crops stay healthy.

+ Read More
Minocqua Chamber names new directorSubmitted: 08/01/2014

MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce will welcome a new executive director later this month.

Krystal Westfahl will start at the chamber August 21st. She'll replace Kim Baltus who left to join the Howard Young Foundation.

Westfahl comes to the Northwoods from Appleton. That's where she has been in charge of fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Wisconsin for the past seven years. Before that, she worked as director of the Sampson State Park World War Two Military Museum in Upstate New York.

+ Read More
Barbeque lovers come to the northwoods this weekend for "Pig in the Pines"Submitted: 08/01/2014

ST. GERMAIN - In the south, you can find barbeque on every corner. Up here it's not that easy... But if you're craving it, you can head to Pig in the Pines this weekend.

It's the 10th annual year of the event in St. Germain. There are award winning ribs, live music and family friendly attractions to enjoy.

Barbeque lovers from across the midwest are drawn to Pig in the Pines...and of course everything is finger licking good.

"It does help the community," says St. Germain Chamber Director Penny Wiesmann. "It draws people from all over the Midwest. We have people talking about; this is their fourth or fifth annual year. The smells are incredible. You don't know where to go. You don't know if you should get ribs or pork or brisket or the corn. Try everything. Eat all day long."

+ Read More
Girl, 12, not competent for trial in stabbingSubmitted: 08/01/2014

WAUKESHA - One of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged as an adult with stabbing a classmate to please a fictional online horror character has been found mentally unable to stand trial.

A judge declared the girl incompetent Friday and ordered her committed for treatment. Two doctors who examined the girl had submitted reports saying they didn't think she was competent.

Court documents say the two 12-year-olds plotted for months to kill their former friend to win favor with Slender Man, a character in online horror stories. Documents say they lured the victim into a wooded park following a sleepover and stabbed her 19 times.

+ Read More
UPDATE: Update: Incredible video & 911 call sheds light on Marinette County police chase & shootingSubmitted: 08/1/2014

MARINETTE COUNTY - New dash cam video from a police chase in Marinette County last Thursday afternoon shows just how dangerous the situation was for drivers on the road. 43-year-old Robb DeGroot of Green Bay was crossing lanes into traffic and also shooting at other cars along the way.

Audio released by the Marinette County Sheriff's Office shows the confusion and fear from drivers getting shot at by DeGroot.

"He just fired out the window again," said the Illinois man that called police about the July 25 incident.

DeGroot led police on a more than 20 minute chase in Marinette County. The caller told the dispatch officer that DeGroot was weaving between traffic.

+ Read More
Man arrested after firing shots during domestic disturbance Submitted: 08/01/2014

SHAWANO COUNTY - Police in Shawano County needed to go in and get a man who fired shots early this morning.

At about 2:45 a.m., the sheriff's department got a report of a domestic disturbance in the village of Tigerton.

Reports were a 36 year old man was armed and fired a weapon multiple times with other people present.

Police made contact, but had to make a direct approach.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here