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Northwoods Residents Walk in March of DimesSubmitted: 04/20/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Northwoods Residents Walk in March of Dimes
Photos By Shardaa Gray

WAUSAU - It wasn't exactly nice weather to walk in, but that didn't stop Northwoods residents doing it anyway to raise awareness for babies born too soon, or with illnesses.

"The walk was actually pretty fun considering it was so cold," said march participant, Jodi Sleznikow.

"I had a lot of coworkers and other people that we know that were walking along side of us and it kinda got to be a long three mile walk with our three kids, but it was really fun.

This is the 75th anniversary for the March of Dimes.

The money raised supports programs to help moms complete healthy, full-term pregnancies.

It also funds research to find answers for serious problems that threaten babies.

"As a mother of four children and I lost my first, I just feel that this is a great organization," March of Dimes Fundraiser, Jean Hasler said.

"A lot of people may have forgotten about that because of all the other nonprofit organizations. I think this is just a wonderful cause."

Marcus Brennan was born weighing one pound, ten ounces.

He's now a healthy three-year-old and his nurse says it's pretty amazing to see him walking.

"His heart had stopped. He needed a pace maker. Just to see him here and to see him running around like every other child, is pretty special," said Nadal Nurse, Sarah Walder.

"He was probably one of the longest babies that we've had and we all got to know him in the NICU. So he holds a special place in our hearts."


If you missed the march, Stevens Point, Green Bay and Eau Claire will hold their own April 27th.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mom said her lifestyle completely changed when a new neighbor moved in. 

She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

"When I saw what he was found guilty of I was in shock. I was in complete shock," said Linda. 

He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

"As a parent it's important to be aware of who's in your neighborhood," said Wszalek. 

Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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RHINELANDER - Pretty much everyone in northern Wisconsin knows about the Hodag.  People living in southern Mexico likely don't.  But a Mexican-made handcrafted Hodag will now help Rhinelander students go to college.

Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation member Harlan Larson and his wife went to Oaxaca, Mexico several years ago and met famous woodcarver Armando Jimenez there.  The couple learned Jimenez had traveled to Wisconsin in the past, but he hadn't ventured north of Baraboo.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Some strong to severe storms rumbled through the Northwoods Friday.

Newswatch 12 went out to Lake Tomahawk for the video you see above.

Most of the damage there was minimal.
But people like Florian Bieschke from Minocqua didn't want to risk driving in the storm.

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RHINELANDER - Veterans can be some of the hardest workers. That's the message local business owners heard in Rhinelander on Friday.

Nicolet College hosted the Veterans Business Workshop.

The objective was to tell businesses why they should hire local veterans.

Guest speaker from Wisconsin's Veterans Chamber of Commerce Saul Newton says veterans can bring strong and diverse skill sets into the work force.

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RHINELANDER - Kid got outside and got active at the YMCA of the Northwood's Fit Kids Duathalon tonight. 

Three age groups competed in the running and biking events. 

The five and under group ran around the building and biked through the parking lot, but the older age groups biked through the trails behind the YMCA. 

"It's rugged enough that you have to have a little bit or stamina and a little bit or grit to actually make it through the course," said YMCA Aquatics and Youth and Family Director Matt Steingraber. 
 
Some of the kids even trained for the event. 

The top three in each age group got awards. 

The main purpose of the event was to get kids out of the house and doing something to keep them fit and active. 

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MADISON - Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout plans to announce she is running for governor on Monday.

An email sent from one of her supporters urging attendance at her campaign kickoff event in Black River Falls spilled the news Friday.

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RHINELANDER - People usually drop off canned goods and other non-perishable food items as donations. But on Friday, dozens of kids and adults picked potatoes in Rhinelander to help area food pantries. 

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