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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.

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Bottled milk makes a comback in Crandon Submitted: 11/23/2014

CRANDON - Not many people buy bottled milk anymore. But a locally owned store in Crandon recently brought it back.

"Grandpa sold bottled milk in 1935 when he came to Crandon and for many years after that,"

Now third generation Jay Schaefer is continuing the tradition at Schaefer's IGA in Crandon.

He's selling another locally owned business product on his shelves.

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Empty Bowls event fills Rothschild with soup, hopeSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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ROTHSCHILD - The Rothschild Pavilion couldn't easily hold the huge number of people on Saturday who wanted something simple " soup.

Lines snaked out the door for the 7th annual Empty Bowls event.

Everyone who tried one of 41 different soups will help fight hunger for others in northcentral Wisconsin.

"It's a true reflection of the caring quality of Marathon County," said The Neighbors' Place Executive Director Tom Rau.

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Wisconsin gun hunt beginsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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The season opens as the sun rises Saturday and will run through Nov. 30. Forecasts for opening weekend called for freezing rain and fog with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s both days.

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Wives and girlfriends enjoy Holiday Open HouseSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The start of the deer hunting season normally leaves wives and girlfriends at home by themselves, but an organization in Rhinelander wants to get them out of the house.

This was the first time Downtown Rhinelander Inc. hosted Holiday Open House Saturday. Businesses along Brown street welcomed wives, girlfriends and families into the their stores.

The owner of Hext Theater in Rhinelander believes this is kind of like a kick-off for the holiday season.

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2 injured, 1 dead in Taylor County crashSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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TAYLOR COUNTY - Slippery road conditions could have caused the death to one person and injured two others in a car crash in Taylor County Friday.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened around 4 p.m. on County Line Road and 11th Avenue in the Town of Roosevelt. Deputies say the driver of a 1997 Ford Explorer lost control while trying to turn North onto 11th Ave. The truck sled into the ditch on the Northeast corner of the intersection. It then struck a utility pole as it was overturning.

The 58-year-old driver, Laverne Palms, was airlifted from the scene with serious injuries.

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Steps to prepare for freezing rain Submitted: 11/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We could see freezing rain in the Northwoods Sunday. If we do, leaders in Oneida County want people to be prepared.

The Oneida County Emergency Management director says it's hard to tell when the roads are slippery. So they want you to take your time on the roads and on the sidewalks.

"Freezing rain, a lot of times you can't tell that it's actually frozen. The ground is frozen," said Oneida County Emergency Management director Ken Kortenhof. "So even when you're walking on your sidewalks, stuff like that, be careful not to slip. Make sure if you have salt you can salt your sidewalks so you don't have problems there as well."

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