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Internet Outage Affects Sheriff's OfficeSubmitted: 03/15/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - Yesterday, you might have had to go without email, Facebook, and even worse -- wjfw.com!

That's because a Frontier Communications fiber optic line was cut.

It happened in Merrill, where a Wisconsin Public Service crew was working.

The outage affected around 8,000 people. For most of us, it was just an annoyance.

But what about vital services, like police, fire and ambulance?

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office normally relies on Frontier.

IT Services Director Lynn Grube says the outage caused a few problems.

Police couldn't communicate with the sheriff's office software. Instead, they had to do manual data entry.

Deputies had to use their radios to talk to dispatch, and dispatch had to run license checks through Lincoln County.

"Inconvenient for sure. But these guys are professionals, they have these procedures in place," Grube said. "So that kind of ensures safety, knowing there's a fall back in place in case there's a malfunction like this."

The outage caused problems for other county departments, too. But Grube says law enforcement had the most trouble.

"Always, because of safety, we want to make sure they have the tools they need to do their job," Grube said. "So they're always our primary concern whenever there's a computer malfunction. So were they impacted the most? I would say yes, because they use a lot of computers in their day-to-day work."

Grube says this is the third internet outage she's experienced in her 23 years with the county.

Service to the sheriff's department went down around 11:30 a.m., and was back up by 6:30 p.m.

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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

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They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

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All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

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