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Zoning CommitteeTakes More Time on Helicopter Hangar PermitSubmitted: 05/01/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WOODRUFF - People live in the Northwoods for the peace and quiet it provides. But some important services create plenty of noise. Services like the Ministry Spirit 2 helicopter, which needs a new home.

It's currently housed at the Rhinelander Airport, but the hangar is for sale. Ministry proposed moving it to the Howard Young Medical Center, but some people in Woodruff don't want it there.

Tonight the Oneida County Zoning Committee had an opportunity to decide whether they'd approve the move.

Ministry says housing the chopper at the hospital will help them reach the majority of their patients in the quickest amount of time.

Doctors from the hospital told committee members it would cut down on critical time for heart attack, major traumatic injury and stroke patients.

"If they have a life-threatening problem having the helicopter at Howard Young will offer them a better, higher level of care," says Ministry Medical Group President Stewart Watson.

"I've had a heart attack. When I have my next one I want to be able to call 911, say, 'I'm on my way over. Get it running'," says Woodruff resident Corky Sheppard.

But plenty of people who live nearby object. One reason is noise; but many say it goes way beyond that.

"Several things we as a board had asked for, or questions we had put to the Howard Young Ministry staff simply were not acknowledged or answered," says Woodruff Town Supervisor Judy Allen.

Woodruff residents were given the chance to speak to the committee. Some voiced support for the hangar location. Others said they didn't oppose the helicopter moving to Woodruff, but rather the use of the land for housing and maintaining it right on hospital property.

"The reason that we're here is a land use issue. We're just opposed to how it's going. We would like to see some compromise and some common sense," says Woodruff resident Todd Albano.

Other people also said they wanted a compromise on the location of the hangar in the Woodruff Area.

The committee decided to pay a visit to the proposed site before they'll make a decision on the conditional use permit.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - You often see tomatoes growing in gardens across the Northwoods, but making sure tomato plants stay healthy is difficult here in Wisconsin because of tomato blight.

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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

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. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

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

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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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."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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ADAMS COUNTY - Two men died in a car crash near the Wisconsin Dells Saturday afternoon according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Police got a call around 2 p.m. about a two-car crash on County Road B north of State Highway 23 in Adams County.

A 65-year-old was driving and a 72-year-old was in the front passenger seat. Both those men died at the scene. They were both from Oxford, Wisconsin.

Driving the other car was a 24-year-old man from the Wisconsin Dells. He was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating. The names will not be released until the families are notified. 

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We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - We now know who were the three people killed during Wednesday's double-murder suicide in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says  36-year-old Justin Bohn of Wisconsin Rapids shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 3-year-old son, Devon.



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MERRILL - Five years ago, the tornado in Merrill destroyed Zoellner's Greenhouse.

"They all went down," says April Zoellner.

But the Zoellner family didn't give up. The family was able to rebuild thanks to help from the community.

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