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Be on the Lookout in National ForestSubmitted: 05/01/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Be on the Lookout in National Forest
RHINELANDER - Campers, hikers and fishers: you need to be on the lookout. This is the time of year drug cartels scout for places to plant marijuana in the national forests.

If you're fishing or hiking on national forest land be on the look out for these things:

Pieces of land in the middle of the forest recently cleared out, garden tools or fertilizer bags, signs of digging for mass planting and roughly built structures for shelter. There are also often piles of garbage left by growers.

"These are dangerous people. They're dangerous criminals doing illegal activity. So if you do see something that is unusual your best bet is to leave the area as quickly and quietly as possible. And if you have a good idea of where you were that would be helpful to law enforcement but we don't want you to stay and linger to try and get that kind of information," says Suzanne Flory, from the U.S. Forest Service.

Three major grow sites have been found over the past few years. Each originally discovered by people passing by.

Each ranger has hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land to look after. So the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest depends on your help when something illegal is happening inside.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

LAND O' LAKES - Even though it may not feel like it, Autumn has officially begun. Plenty of towns in the Northwoods celebrate the season with a colorama.

This weekend Land O Lakes is hosting its colorama. Land O Lakes has held a colorama for about 35 years.

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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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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. 
 
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The top three in each age group got awards. 

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MOSINEE - Wisconsin's new state budget includes $11.5 billion for education over the next two years.

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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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