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Rhinelander Mock Trial Team headed to state for 27th straight yearSubmitted: 03/08/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas & WJFW News Team


RHINELANDER - Look at the Miami Heat's line in the NBA standings tonight and you'll see a streak of 17 straight wins.

A Northwoods Mock Trial team puts that streak to shame.

Rhinelander's team will go back to state this year for the 27th straight year.

Competitions take place this weekend at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison.

It gives students the opportunity to act as attorneys and witnesses in a court case developed by state bar members.

Rhinelander's racked up 15 state championships and 1 national title over the years.

"I'm very excited, and nervous," team captain Amber Tobeyek said. "I think the whole team is nervous. We're hoping we do our best, we've been preparing for this for so long so we hope everything goes well."

Kathy Vick-Martini has coached the team all thirty years.

They've also has some expert help from Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom and Attorney Jim Jacobi.

"It's enjoyable to see the kids when they start out as freshman, how they develop by the time they're seniors, and it's personally very satisfying to look at this group," coach Kathy Vick-Martini said. "Because they are so talented and they are so good."

If the team wins this weekend, they'll head to the National championship in May.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - Back in November, a 20-year-old Rhinelander man drove and crashed his car after a night of drinking, killing his best friend in the passenger seat.

That driver will now spend nine months in jail.

Randall J. Lego was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Friday. 

He faced two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

According to court documents, Lego's car hit a power pole on River Road just outside Rhinelander.

The passenger, 23-year-old Jacob Juedes, was dead at the scene. Juedes was a husband and father of a young daughter.

Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Patrick O'Melia said it was a tragic set of circumstances.

"The only aggravating factor here, and when I say that I don't mean to diminish the loss here, but is the result of this accident," O'Melia said. "That is the only thing that is not in your favor, which is the result of the action and the permanency of it."

Some witnesses testified to Lego's character and pleaded with the judge to not give jail time.

But, Judge O'Melia sentenced Lego to nine months in jail and seven years probation.

"There's a lot of people in the community who have strong feelings about what should happen," O'Melia said. "But the court can't sentence on community anger or community empathy."

Lego must also complete 200 hours of community service, for which Judge O'Melia wants Lego to speak to kids and teens about his experience. 




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RHINELANDER - If you shopped at Walmart in Rhinelander this summer, you probably noticed things weren't where they usually belong.

That's because crews were busy giving the store a fresh, new look.

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ANTIGO - You can spot plenty of wildlife in orthern Wisconsin. However, you don't typically see a black belly barbado sheep or a royal palm turkey.

You can go check them out at the new It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo right off Highway 45 in Antigo.

The It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo has a simple goal. It wants people to see interesting animals.
"We decided, what the heck, we should open something to the public to so that everybody that does not have farm critters and enjoy them like we do, can come in and pet the critters and learn a lot of stuff," said owner Cheryl Wirz.

Wirz decided to have her family be part of her staff. It's something she really enjoys.

"I love the fact that my kids are here and they're getting a hands on experience," said Wirz.

"I mostly help load and unload the animals from home to here. Also, I fill up all the water when we get here, and I run the food booth," said staff member and son Aiden Wirz.

That all adds up to work for their kids and there are some perks to working for your parents.

"Mostly, they can't fire me," said Aiden, laughing.

Most animals look familiar to the guests when they come right up to them, but what about the specific breeds?

"We try to promote rare and critically endangered breeds of farm animals. Most people don't even know what they are," said Cheryl Wirz.

The Wirz family is also passionate about the quality of food for their animals.

"We do all organic produce and all of our critters eat all organic. In fact, we grow most of their food," said Cheryl Wirz.

Some young kids might be a litte nervous of the animals at first, but the friendly staff is there to help.

"Little ones will be really nervous and scared, but after awhile they're calmed down and they really love it," said staff member Natasha Lewer.

Even with all the hard work that goes into owning a farm, the happy visitors make it all worth it.

"They light up when they're in there. We had a gentleman that was in a wheelchair and all the animals surrounded him and he was just smiling from ear to ear," said Cheryl Wirz.

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PORTAGE CO. - A 47-year-old Almond man now faces charges for his 5th OWI, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Nicholas Felella was arrested by the Wisconsin State Patrol's Wausau Post.

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MINOCQUA - The campus at Lakeland Union High School will add an iconic piece to the area. The school is looking at different places to put the old T-Bird Country Bridge.

The bridge is in the process of being removed because it isn't tall enough. A group then donated it to LUHS.

The school is now looking at three different options on where to put it.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Six months ago, Roger Zerbe had never tried beard balm. But when he went to go buy some, he ran into some difficulties.

"We drove all over Wausau trying to find some, and we couldn't find any," said Zerbe.

Instead of just ordering some off the internet, Zerbe and his girlfriend, Dana Buehler, decided to make their own.

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MANITOWOC - Police have arrested a Manitowoc woman after she allegedly pulled a gun on a man during an argument over a duck.

USA Today Network-Wisconsin reports the 69-year-old woman approached her neighbor on Wednesday evening in attempt to show him that she didn't have his duck.

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