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

Marathon County Launches Drug Abuse Campaign
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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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

For people with food intolerance, eating a fish fry platter can be nearly impossible.

So, Outboards offers alternatives like gluten-free beer-battered fish.

"We kind of put a twist on things and do it our own way. You can get fries, but you can get quinoa or a fresh vegetable," says McMahon.

When summertime comes, Outboards' patio overlooks the ski show and music on the river.

Outboards serves fish starting at 11 a.m.

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EAGLE RIVER - Once a week you probably leave a recycling bin at the end of your driveway. But what actually happens to that paper, cardboard, and bottles after a truck picks it up? 

Eagle Waste and Recycling in Eagle River gets recyclables from all over the northern half of Wisconsin and even the U.P. 

"As far north as Marquette, Michigan, as far east as Menominee, Michigan, from Chippewa Falls Wisconsin to the west and Wausau to the south," said Eagle Waste and Recycling President Alan Albee.

The facility opened in 2012 and has been growing ever since. 

Albee showed us how recyclables are sorted and packed to be shipped off and made into new products.
Recyclables are unloaded from a truck.

Then they are loaded into basin called a metering drum and then unloaded onto a conveyor belt. 

Workers start pre-sorting.

"Our pre-sort allows us to clean the material up prior to going into our main sorting building," said Albee. 

Then the belt runs into another building where it is sorted further. 

"And then the first thing that we pull out is glass," said Albee. 

Big cardboard items are sorted out through a filter. Then paper is separated from plastic and metals. 

"Metal is sorted by use of a magnet; aluminum is sorted automatically by the use of an eddy current," said Albee. 

Workers separate the different kinds of plastic, then items drop into a baler and are made into bricks. 

"The finished products are sent all over the country depending on what the material is. Paper and cardboard are shipped locally to paper mills in Wisconsin Rapids or over by Green Bay," said Albee. 

It's the only facility of its kind in the Northwoods, and one of the only ones in Wisconsin. 

Right now Eagle Waste and Recycling has two balers. They will be getting a third one this summer to pack cardboard.

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MADISON - A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit a record low in February.

The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low. The previous record was 3 percent unemployment in July 1999.

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RHINELANDER - Golfers can't wait to get back on the course after our long, tiring winter.  We'll need to melt a lot more snow to make that happen, but on a Rhinelander-area lake this weekend, ice will be needed for golfing.

Fisher's Resort on Lake George will host the 13th-annual Ice Golf tournament Saturday.  Golfers shoot real golf balls on nine holes on the frozen lake.  The four-person scramble format costs $40 per team.

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Hodag Sno-Trails snowmobile club.

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HARSHAW - Rhinelander charter school students mixed in math with science, social studies, and reading projects on Thursday.

Northwoods Community Elementary School hosted parents to show off their work. Some classes did the math to plot out a vegetable garden. Others did research on Wisconsin counties and planned a weeklong trip there.

"I added decimals to count up all my rates for my bills, all the admissions to state parks, and renting," explained Oceana Patulski, who did a project on Door County.

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RHINELANDER - On Thursday night, two of three candidates made the case for why they should become Rhinelander's next mayor. A panel of media members, including Newswatch 12's own Ben Meyer, questioned the candidates for an hour, live on WXPR.

The two candidates at the forum argued between the power of a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience. 

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Lincoln Hills bill passesSubmitted: 03/22/2018

MADISON - The state Assembly has put the final stamp of approval on a plan to close Wisconsin's troubled youth prison.

The chamber passed an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan unanimously Thursday that calls for closing the prison outside Irma by 2021 and replacing it with smaller regional facilities. The measure now goes to Gov. Scott Walker.

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