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Rhinelander's hanging floral baskets blooming in greenhouse, nearly ready to go upSubmitted: 05/09/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor
lkimble@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - We all could use a little taste of summer, especially on a cool, rainy day like Thursday was. In just a few weeks, summer should be on full display in downtown Rhinelander.

Hanging floral baskets will go up on Brown, Davenport and Stevens Streets early next month. The Rhinelander Women's Club paid $1,000 for them.

All 112 planters are just starting to bloom in Forth Floral's greenhouse. Teams planted the petunias back in April. The Forth Floral crew has been providing the flowers for the last eight years.

Greenhouse Manager Henning Hempel knows the hard work is worth it in the end.

"It adds a lot to downtown Rhinelander and that's what we are aiming for," Hempel said. "That was the whole program from the DRI that we improve the downtown looks and I think it's a good part of it."

Each basket has 25 plants in it. Once they're up, the flowers need watering every day.

If you're interested in helping, you can contact Downtown Rhinelander Inc at 715-362-7374.

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Spietz was a contract worker for a company called TruAssets, which secures abandoned or foreclosed homes throughout the country. The company is based in Arizona.

On Thursday, Spietz testified that in September and October, he took ATVs, bows, a John Deere tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the house to try and secure it for his employer.

"My experience with the work order is that it is our job to make sure the property is secured," Spietz said. "Obviously if I can open the doors and get into it, anybody can open the doors and get into it. So I ended up removing the ATVs with the trailer and them bringing them back to Kaukauna to lock up in my storage facility where they would be under lock and key for the future for whatever the bank decided they wanted to do with their property."

In the criminal complaint, however, Spietz told investigators he took the purse because he thought his wife would like it.

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Schiek then argued Spietz specifically targeted the empty house because he knew its owners were dead.

"Looking back, what did you think you saw?" Schiek asked Spietz during his cross examination.

"Couple spots on the floor, large, dark spots," Spietz responded.

"Knowing what you know now, do you know what that was?" Schiek asked.

"To the best of my knowledge that's where they were killed," Spietz replied.

Spietz's attorney Brian Bennett said since Spietz is not from the area, he wouldn't have known the homicides happened at the house. He argued there was no sign saying no trespassing, nor had he had any knowledge the house was in probate.

"He used his best judgment based on his experience," Bennett said during his closing argument. "Which makes him quite possibly, if he's a burglar, the worst burglar in the world."

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