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Taking the Time to Honor Those Who Serve UsSubmitted: 05/16/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Taking the Time to Honor Those Who Serve Us
WAUSAU - This week we honor people who do very difficult work. In honor of National Police Week the City of Wausau held a memorial service today for those who died while serving us.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, and representatives from the police department and Marathon County Sheriff's Office led the ceremony downtown.

Marathon County has lost law enforcement officers while on duty five times in its history.

State Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley said there is no freedom without the rule of law.

"The quality of life in this country and in this county depends to a great extent to the way in which the police and law enforcement function is carried out," says Justice Walsh Bradley.

Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel says it's important for different agencies to come together on days like today.

Police deal with situations the public can't deal with. And they have to do it with all of us watching closely.

"This is a unique profession. We all respect each other, we all need each other, we all rely on each other to help us through difficult times because we see things that most people shouldn't see. So it is a very close, tight-knit family," says Chief Jeffrey Hardel.

In 2012, 127 officers were killed nationwide. That's down slightly from the 156 killed the year before.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - 50,000 twinkling lights will bring holiday cheer Hodag Park in Rhinelander Thursday night.

"Lights of the Northwoods" is a drive-through light show packed with more than 32 individual displays.

Vice President Shawn Hill says he's excited and a bit nervous to officially share the display tonight.

Those nerves have nothing to do with the amount of snow we got.

"I was thinking as the snow was flying and I was looking at the lights I'm like, This is going to be like one of

those Hallmark movies we watch all the time!' It's really going to be pretty on the lake here with the lights

shining off the snow," says Hill.


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MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life.
"It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury.
Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time.
"When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury. 

Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill.
"As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi.
After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change.
"I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury.
Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family.
"Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi.
Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born.
"It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi. 

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MERRILL - Taxpayers will need to decide if they want to pay more to support the Merrill Area Public Schools.

Wednesday, the school board voted in favor of a four-year referendum for $2.5 million dollars

The district faces a nearly $2 million operating deficit for next school year.

It has used savings to keep the school running for the last few years.

The priorities of the referendum will be enhancing the school's fab lab, addressing maintenance issues, and attracting and retaining high quality teachers and administration.

Wednesday the school board also reviewed budget options if the referendum does not pass.

The referendum question will be on the April ballot. 


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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home.
The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round.
Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too.
"There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani.
Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife.
"There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's snowfall might make you want to bundle up, but the sleigh horses in Eagle River love it.

It takes about two hours to get Rocking W Stables' horses ready for a day of sleigh rides.

Driver Karrie Dollar harnesses and hitches those horses every year.

It's not unusual for her to make friends with the people that go on the rides, but it's the horses she grows close to.

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RHINELANDER - Golden Harvest store in Rhinelander wants you to meet its newest store greeter.

He stands far above six feet at the entrance of the store.

"[He's the] North American Big foot," said Golden Harvest employee Steve Quade.

This new store greeter has many names according to Quade.

"[The northern] big foot version is a Yeti," said Quade.

This Yeti is being sold as an abominable snowman which Quade clarifies is the same thing as a Yeti.

"The Yeti is from the Himalayan Mountains," said Quade.

But aside from being an attraction the price tag on the big guy is far from cheap at nearly $1,700.

What's more shocking is how fast someone purchased it.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Police believe a Three Lakes man sexually assaulted a child repeatedly over the course of five years.

For the protection of the victim, Newswatch 12 will not share their age or gender. 

The victim told police they were a child when David Teresinski, 59, first had sex with them.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim said Teresinski had sex with them more than 30 times since 2012. 

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