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NEWS STORIES

Mother hopes to find son's missing grave decorationSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Story By Lane Kimble


RHINELANDER - Parents shouldn't be the ones to bury their children. When it does happen, families rely on the little things to help them get by.

But this spring, a Rhinelander family lost the main connection they have to their son who died far too young.

Dean Mueller passed away in an accident in 1997. He was just 9 years old. For 15 years, the Mueller family has placed a small Christmas tree at Dean's grave.

Every year, the family would add sentimental ornaments and trinkets to the tree in his memory.

But this spring, that tree disappeared. Dean's mother Tammy says it happened after the cemetery announced its spring clean up.
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Families had until early last week to collect the things they placed by the graves.

"Yes, they did give us an extra month to get those items off, but my husband went on Tuesday and it was gone," Mueller said. "They said to check by the shed and nothing was there."

The Parks and Cemetery director feels badly, but doesn't see it as his department's fault. Gunder Paulsen wouldn't speak to us on camera, but he did explain families clearly understand the rules.

Winter decorations can stay up from December 1st through April 1st. Then new decorations can go back up May 1st.

This year was a little different with all the snow we had. Paulsen said his crews waited until the last two days of April to do their cleanup.

Tammy Mueller just wants her son's tree back.

"It means a lot," Mueller said. "That was his. It's something we can't give him anymore. Something that he's had for 15 years and 16 in November.

We can't replace it, we can't replace the ornaments."

Mueller says the staff told her they moved it near this shed, but that's the last anyone saw it.

The Parks and Cemetery director did tell Newswatch 12 he's very sorry and is not trying to be a monster, but this kind of thing can happen from time to time.

Tammy says she'd take the tree back, no questions asked.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

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RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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RHINELANDER - Fields of an invasive plant called phragmites stand all along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore. Invasive species workers hope most of the plants stay away from the Northwoods.

But workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. The stand had been chemically treated in the fall, a step that workers hope will help control the spread of the species.

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Rhinelander wants to do it, enough to impose a new sales tax.

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Eagle River will replace infrastructure on Division Street.

Eagle River's mayor Jeff Hyslop says it's about 70 years old.

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The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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"We start with green coffee. It comes in 130 to 155 pound sacks of coffee," said owner of Eagle River Roasters Dan Beihoff.

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