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Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office beefing up St. Pat's patrolsSubmitted: 03/14/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor
lkimble@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Don't expect to get away with drinking and driving this weekend.

On a weekend when everyone's a little Irish, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office wants you to be more than a little smart.

Oneida County will beef up drunk driving and seatbelt enforcement the entire weekend. They're able to do that thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Sheriff's Lieutenant Lloyd Gauthier knows the holiday brings out many more people than an average weekend.

"The possibility of people driving while impaired, and that concerns us," Lt. Gauthier said.

"Our motto at the Sheriff's Office is we're committed to our community. And a big commitment is safety. Wanting people to get out and enjoy the time, have a good time. But take advantage of the programs that are out there through the Oneida County Tavern League, including the Safe Ride Home program."

That Safe Ride program is available at any participating Tavern League Bar. All you have to do is ask a bartender for your free ride.

Lt. Gauthier says people seem to be drinking more responsibly the last few years.

But he also points to a disturbing statistic: more than 500 traffic deaths in Wisconsin last year.

"That's why the DOT is so focused on getting these grants out each year," Gauthier said. "They see that there is a positive side to it with additional enforcement that those numbers are coming down."

The DOT gives out the grants based on where they see roadways that could be safer.

This grant is broad. That means Sheriff's Patrols could be on any road, both county and city or town.

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MOSINEE - The Marathon County Sheriff's Office says a 60-year-old Marathon County man died Tuesday night after trying to push a pontoon boat off a sand bar in the Wisconsin River.

The victim was identified as James A. Bohn of the Town of Knowlton.




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TOMAHAWK - It doesn't look like the candidates for northern Wisconsin's seat in Congress can agree on a debate schedule just yet. 

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Weston) said earlier this week he wants two debates, one in Superior and one in Wausau.

But that's apparently not enough for his democratic challenger. Mary Hoeft said she wants six debates.
Originally Hoeft said she wanted a debate in all 26 counties in the district.

"But people said to me, Mary, when you make this request to the Duffy campaign, make it reasonable," Hoeft said. "So alright I went in my head from 26 down to six." 

Hoeft said more debates would help voters make a more informed decision when they go to the polls. 

"But I'm happier than if he had said zero," Hoeft said. "But I'm not going to stop, though. I'm going to ask the people of the 7th Congressional District, if you want more forums, make sure that your voice is heard."

Hoeft hosted a meet and greet in Tomahawk Wednesday morning. She addressed a group of about 20 people. 

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ANTIGO - People hoping to use the Antigo library will need to find a different location for the next month.

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ANTIGO - A fire left some minor damage to a business in Antigo earlier today.

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RHINELANDER - Trig's Smokehouse in Rhinelander hired 15 new employees to start a second shift. Supervisor Geremiah Young remembers the early days of Trig's Smokehouse. He's worked there since 2009 which was before the plant on Stevens Street was even built.

"We had one little stuffer and now we've got two lines going and looking to possibly get more," said Young.

That demand for more was enough to add a second shift and 15 new jobs at the Smokehouse.

"We're fairly excited about for this second shift. It means a lot more of our product is getting out to the world and we're very excited for that," said Young.

Getting out tons of new product may be more accurate.

"We're doing about 4,000 pounds of just bratwurst and with the first shift, they were doing about 3,000 pounds of sticks. Throughout both shifts I know we can do a maximum of that and right now we're going through quite a bit," said Young.

The day shift goes from 6am-2:30pm when the second shift comes in and takes over right away, making the shift change relatively smooth.

"We've got one person coming in and one person steps out. We exchange what we were doing for the day, what products were ran during the day and we continue on from there," said Young.

With the 15 new night time employees, training can be a challenge. 

"Training… it's going… it's like anybody else, you come off the street and this is a whole different ballgame from what they're used to," said Young.

In addition to the 15 hired employees, the Smokehouse is still looking for about six more.

"It's a fun, fast-paced environment. If you think you've got it, come on in. But be prepared for the cold."

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RHINELANDER - It all started with an idea.

 After visiting a church in Whitewater, Rhinelander's Barbra Thompson came back with an idea for her own community.

Thompson realized her community was missing something. 

The Table event started providing free meals to the people of Rhinelander 20 years ago. 

"A great, great opportunity to serve those in need, and I think our community in Rhinelander appreciates it," said a volunteer from St. Mary's Hospital.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People die from heroin overdoses every day throughout the U.S., and it's a problem we see here in the Northwoods as well. 

That's why Lac Du Flambeau hosted it's first Overdose Awareness Day to help people learn more about drug addiction.

"Having lost my sister last year, and other families that lost loved ones like that, an awareness and education needs to be done in Indian Communities," said organizer Jeanne Wolfe. 
 
A special agent gave a presentation about heroin.

Afterwards the people at the event could talk about ways to prevent drug use in the community.

The event was also a way to deal with grief.

"Nothing has really been done to recognize or talk about our sorrow and the loss a person goes through when somebody dies unexpectedly like that," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe hopes to host the event again next year.


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