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NEWS STORIES

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

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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/29/2014

- Some parents think the Antigo School District's co-curricular code punishes students too harshly. Students can be banned from playing a sport or doing an extra-curricular activity if they break the code a few times. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek found out how the code works and why the district is standing behind it.

- People could sell Wisconsin wild ginseng root for as much as $1,000 per pound last year. Wisconsin's ginseng is known as some of the best in the world. Some believe it gives people energy and have other health benefits. It's seen an increase in popularity and demand. The state DNR wants to remind people to follow the rules during this year's wild ginseng harvest season.

- And the North Lakeland Discovery Center will welcome a new executive director. The center in Manitowish Waters focuses on connecting people with nature. That's how Azeal Meza first connected with the discovery center. Hear what opportunities he wants to fulfill at the center tonight on Newswatch 12.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12

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2014 numbers good for state banksSubmitted: 08/29/2014

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LAONA - Only one in twenty banks in Wisconsin lost money in the first half of 2014.

Industry leaders see that as a sign of success and progress.

Those numbers had been worse over the past few years, especially during the recession.

Wisconsin banks made about a half-billion dollars in the first six months of the year. Their total assets were above $100 billion.

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North Lakeland Discovery Center welcomes a new executive directorSubmitted: 08/29/2014

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MANITOWISH WATERS - The North Lakeland Discovery Center will welcome a new executive director.

The center in Manitowish Waters focuses on connecting people with nature. That's how Azeal Meza first connected with the discovery center. He says he is excited to move forward as the executive director.

"I was immediately impressed with the organization," says Meza. "I have been part of the bird club for a while, and it's a nice place where I come here with my family to hike the trials, paddle, you name it."

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Wisconsin State Patrol reinforces consequences of speeding in construction zones Submitted: 08/29/2014

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MARATHON COUNTY - Each year in Wisconsin, both highway workers and motorists die or are hurt in crashes that happen in highway construction zones. Drivers need to slow down and obey the posted speed limit. In Marathon County, Wisconsin State Patrol doesn't treat drivers any differently.

Sergeant Travis Wanless of the Wisconsin State Patrol started his Wednesday morning off on Highway 51 by taking up both lanes to slow down traffic for rock blasting.

"We are blasting. I'm going to get you sick here, but I want to make sure these guys know I'm stopping," Wanless said.

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Firefighters and WPS workers work together for confined space trainingSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MERRILL - Firefighters put in a lot of work to help people in a variety of different crises.

They need to go through a lot of training to know how to do that.

The Merrill Fire Department got valuable training this week.

They got the chance to practice rescuing someone from a confined space at the hydro power plant in Merrill.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the Merrill Fire Department to partner with WPS. Anytime we can get realistic training it's very very valuable to us," says the captain in charge of training Mike Drury.

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Gov. Walker warns Potawatomi it could lose gamesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration has warned the Forest County Potawatomi tribe that it could lose about 2,000 slot machines if it succeeds in withholding its $25 million annual payment to the state.

The Potawatomi say they're withholding the money because the state may end up owing the tribe money if Walker approves the Menominee tribe's proposed Kenosha casino. The Potawatomi fear a Kenosha casino would significantly cut into their Milwaukee casino profits.

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Walker says GOP complacency a big concernSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says complacency and fatigue among Republican voters is one of his biggest concerns as he faces re-election in less than 10 weeks.

Walker addressed his concerns Friday on WTMJ-AM when asked about a poll released on Wednesday indicating that Democrats were more enthused about the upcoming election that Republicans. Walker calls that ``one of my biggest concerns.''

The Marquette University Law School poll showed the race between Walker and Democrat Mary Burke to be a dead heat, both among registered and likely voters.

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