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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

RHINELANDER - A storm spotter class attracted nearly a hundred people to Rhinelander Thursday afternoon.

Attendees of the class learned about cloud formation, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash flooding.

However, Emergency Management Program Assistant Dawn Robinson says the main focus was on how to become a certified storm spotter.

"Storm spotters are a valuable resource to us in the community because we have people out there all the time doing all sorts of activities," said Robinson.

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MINOCQUA - Police officers often meet people on their worst days: after a death, crime, or other bad situations.  The Minocqua Police Department hopes some unpaid additions to their staff can help victims, families, and officers cope with those situations a little better.

The department is looking to add a team of clergy members to form a chaplain program.  The chaplains would be on call and show up to scenes when needed.  Chief David Jaeger had been considering the idea for a while when he heard about police in Oneida County using the same program.

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ANTIGO - Pushups, wall sits, and sit ups may sound like a tough workout for most of us. But dozens of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Langlade County did that and more as part of a national fitness competition Friday afternoon.

Boys and Girls Clubs from around the country are teaming up to help kids become more active with the Nestlé's National Fitness Competition.

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RHINELANDER - For better or worse, drivers in Rhinelander will get an extra week to use the Davenport Street bridge.  The city's contractor for its downtown reconstruction project delayed closing the bridge for repairs to May 8th.

Crews first planned to close the bridge in mid-April, then pushed that back to May 1 due to weather.  Now, weather has further delaying the month-long repairs to the concrete decking.

This is part of a larger project to finish up the downtown reconstruction, which began in March 2016.  The city reconstructed 21 blocks, replacing underground utilities and modernizing the downtown area.

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Springtime snow hurts plantsSubmitted: 04/28/2017

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RHINELANDER - Plenty of people felt spring in the air with the warm weather and sunshine just a few days ago.

But anyone trying to start their gardens early saw all their work covered in snow Thursday.

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RHINELANDER - Childhood friends are no business partners thanks to a class project.

Three students used their Three Lakes Fab Lab to make a septic tank screen hose, which helps stops clogs.

They haven't graduated high school yet, but a company in Illinois is already manufacturing their product.

Three Lakes High School students Tom Stuckart, Jack Connelly and Stephen Gensler had the idea of making their screen hose last summer and started making the prototype when school started in September.

"It's amazing what a little bit of hard work can actually get you. The community has been awesome supporting us and things like that.

 Just having the opportunity to come here and speak is awesome," said Stuckart. 

On Thursday their business JTS Waste products became official as an LLC.

They presented their business at the Annual Oneida County Economic Development Committee meeting in Rhinelander today.

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WOODRUFF - USDA Wildlife Services relocates more than 500 black bears in Wisconsin every year.

Bears can cause a lot of damage, especially when they've just woken up from hibernation.

The DNR receives more than 800 nuisance calls for bears each year.

"They're opportunistic, looking for any food sources out there, grills, bird feeders, any garbage cans anything like that," said DNR wildlife damage specialist Brian Koele. 

Koele says it's important bears don't get acclimated to humans.

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