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Marathon County Launches Drug Abuse CampaignSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Story By Lex Gray


WAUSAU - Michael Dixon died in a car crash.

Richie Vue faces charges for killing his girlfriend, Kou Thao for shooting, beheading, and disemembering a man.

We've told you about these three stories before - they happened in Marathon County, but they have more in common than that.

All three involve opiate drug abuse and represent a much bigger problem in the community.

Today, law encorcement and other groups launched the "Pushback Against Drug Abuse" campaign in Wausau.

Community leaders want people to know that drugs like heroin, meth, and oxycontin don't affect just the user - they affect EVERYONE.

"Overall as we compare and track our service calls, we are about 14 percent ahead compared to last year," Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said. "So it's just generated so much more work for all of our officers and detectives. It's hard too keep up at this point."

Hardel says competition among drug dealers is increasing.

They're buying or stealing guns to intimidate each other.

That's why responding to a "shots fired" call is now common for Wausau Police.

"We've had so many of our high profile cases, homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies, etc., that have a very strong drug influence," Hardel said. "In other words, they're committing a crime because of their drug addiction."

The Pushback Against Drug Abuse campaign will continue at a June 4 meeting.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/26/2016

- We'll give you a Wausau chiropractor's reaction to a proposed state bill that would allow chiropractors to write prescriptions for narcotics.

- Plus, we asked Governor Scott Walker for his reaction to the transgender directive for which the Obama administration is being sued by several states including Wisconsin.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground to replace their aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago for power to the local feed mill.

The Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500 year flood criteria.

This designation gave the town residents a choice.

"The determination of the DNR that the dam had to meet the 500 year flood lead us to the idea that we had to be able to release more water. The DNR basically brought this to the forefront and the village responded then," says Amherst Village President Michael Juris

This close knit town of just over 1000 residents took the decision very seriously.

"The residents of the village really had the opportunity to speak on what they wanted the vision of their village to be for the future. Whether to maintain the dam and the pond or to take it out and rehab it," says Juris.

Residents chose to keep the dam and thus the millpond.

With the decision made, the bidding process moved quickly and work has just started.

The new improved structure will use parts of the current one.

"Basically the stop plug structure of the dam is going to remain as it is because we found that in order to meet the 500 year flood requirements of the DNR we're going to be able to use the water that flows through the generating station," states Juris.

There were many options on the table and some that were just too expensive.

"It's been our determination that to dredge the millpond would be an expense that the taxpayers of the village at this time aren't going to be able to shoulder," says Juris

Still, bracing the structure to meet the DNR's strict 500 year criteria does not come cheap.

"We spent a fair amount of time in discussion before this decision was made because this is an expensive decision for a community our size. The original estimate was around 1.2 million dollars," says Juris.

Work moves quickly in Amherst as a completion date is set for this September.

"We expect that the substantial completion will be towards the end of August and with final completion early in September," says Juris.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Langlade County wants to become the new home for the state's forestry headquarters.

Lawmakers have asked the DNR to consider moving the department's headquarters from Madison to northern Wisconsin.

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MEQUON - Authorities say remains found in the Milwaukee River have been identified as those of a Mequon woman who disappeared in November.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office used dental records to identify 53-year-old Jacquelyn Ranallo.

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ASHLAND COUNTY - Investigators want to know what caused a car crash in Ashland County Tuesday morning that killed a Northland College student.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - When John Siewert hears the phrase "Thank you for your service," he always responds with a phrase of his own.

"The pleasure really was mine," the U.S. Navy veteran said with a smile.

Siewert served during World War II, supporting the D-Day invasion in 1944.  Wednesday morning folks thanked Siewert, not with their words but instead with a hug.

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THREE LAKES - You may soon be able to ride your ATV on parts of State Highway 32 in Three Lakes, if the state DOT approves the new route in the next few weeks.

The Three Lakes Nicolet ATV Club wants to connect downtown Three Lakes to the Nicolet National Forest.

To do that, it needs to open up parts of a six-mile portion of Highway 32 from Town Road X or Javen Road to Lake Julia Road.

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