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NEWS STORIES

Closer to Containing Northern Wisconsin WildfiresSubmitted: 05/15/2013
Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


Photos By Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

DOUGLAS, BAYFIELD COUNTIES - Wildfires destroyed at least 17 homes in northern Wisconsin.

But it looks like the fires might burn out soon.

More than 9,000 acres burned in eastern Douglas and western Bayfield counties in the northwest corner of the state.

The Wisconsin DNR reported the fires about 95% under control Wednesday night.

At least 60 people were evacuated from the fire zone.

Some of the first people are expected to be allowed back to their properties Wednesday evening.

People living downwind of the fires could be see its effects, too.

Air quality problems and smoke could impact those to the south and east of the fire.

One of our viewers in Lublin, in Taylor County, told us he could smell smoke from his home.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.

Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.

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VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.

The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.

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OWEN - A plane crash in central Wisconsin has killed one person and injured two others.

Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick says the victim was a passenger in a Cessna 182 that was trying to make an emergency landing on a road in the town of Hoard at about 9:15 a.m. Monday.

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LAONA - A Northwoods school found a way to teach students skills they'll need after school, and help the community at the same time.

Some Laona High School students helped build a warming shelter at the towns recycling center.

One of Laona's town supervisors brought up the possibility of the building to a school board member.

The school board member felt it was a good way for a small school and town to work together.

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RHINELANDER - A man uses bubbles to entertain kids and parents, but his act Monday night also focused on more than just entertainment.

"My name is Geoff, but most people just call me Bubble Man, Mr. Bubble. One kid called me Bubble-Wan-Kenobi," said bubble artist Geoffrey Akins.

Akins makes a living by blowing bubbles.

"It was nine years ago that I left my job teaching to perform full time," Akins said.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.

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