RHINELANDER - Losing internet and cell phone service can be frustrating. It happens to some people every day, especially those who live in rural areas.
Oneida County is working to turn that trend around.
The board's Technology Committee started polling people about their internet service all across the county.
Crescent is the latest town to get its results in and the numbers aren't good. One in three people had no service at all. Fifteen percent of people with service weren't satisfied.
County Board Supervisor Bob Martini lives in Crescent. He knows limited access is a problem all across the Northwoods.
"I think most of the county would have similar numbers," Martini said. "The point is, we want to make sure people have the option to have better service so that we can increase entrepreneurship, increase jobs, improve students ability to interact with their schools at the K-12 level, improve the general life of people."
The Tech Committee plans to present its survey results to the full county board next month.
They'll then work with the board to see how the county can help to improve internet access. Martini wants to make it clear: the internet is important to everyone, whether you use it or not.
"This is the 21st century equivalent of the railroad back in the 1880s," Martini said. "It's absolutely essential, it's not an option, it's not a frill, it's important for everybody. And it'll be more important in the future."
The county can only help so much. There are state statutes that prevent counties and towns from serving as providers.
But Martini knows there are changes the board can make that will help. He suggests the county work on building towers and include laying fiber optic cables when new roads get paved.
We'll tell you why the Northwoods Transit Connection which provides transportation in Oneida and Vilas Counties may discontinue some operations temporarily.
We'll bring you the details of a Rhinelander swimming coach who has resigned from her position after her third year as head coach for the girls and boys team.
And we talk to a group of people who are walking from Portage County to Madison to help bring awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving after a motorcyclist was killed by a drunk driver in July.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
MADISON - Republican legislators are circulating a bill aimed at ending the federal requirement to use reformulated gas in six southeastern Wisconsin counties.
The legislation asks President Donald Trump's administration to grant a reprieve from use of the specially formulated gas that reduces ozone pollution. The requirement was implemented in 1995 in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine and Kenosha counties. Supporters say the gas is no longer needed because of advancements in emission control equipment.
RHINELANDER - An Oneida County detective believes that if a toddler hadn't been left in the care of his stepmother, 28-year-old Ellen Tran, he might still be alive.
Twenty-month-old Avery Edwards died in April of blunt force trauma at a Rhinelander home, and Tran is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death. She said the child slipped in the shower, but evidence pointed to an intentional act.
On Wednesday, Ellen Tran's husband, Trung, was also charged in the death of his son. Prosecutors say he knew leaving the toddler with his wife was dangerous, and he deserves some of the blame.
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