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Gov. Walker surveys northwestern Wisconsin wildfire damageSubmitted: 05/16/2013
Story By CNN


DOUGLAS COUNTY - We spent the last few nights taking in the sheer destruction a massive wildfire in Northwestern Wisconsin created.

Thursday, Governor Scott Walker got a first-hand look at the damage caused by a massive wildfire.

The governor and local officials toured the damaged areas in Douglas and Bayfield counties by helicopter.

The fire scorched some 9,000 acres and destroyed 47 buildings, including at least 17 homes.

But the governor made sure to point out the number of buildings saved.

"Seventy-seven structures were saved," Walker said. "Seventy-seven structures. When you look at this from an aerial shot, when you look at the map it is phenomenal particularly when you see the ashes literally yards away from homes and properties and you realize it was the fire service there making sure and it was the DNR crews making sure that those properties were protected, it's just phenomenal."

The fire is completely out as of Thursday night.

The DNR says this is the largest fire in northern Wisconsin in 33 years.

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LA CROSSE - The death of a woman initially thought to be the result of a freak accident on a La Crosse County road has now been blamed on her husband.

Forty-six-year-old Barbara Kendhammer, of West Salem, was found critically injured after authorities responded to a car crash Sept. 16. Her husband, Todd Kendhammer, told authorities a pipe fell from a truck as he was driving, broke through the windshield and hit his wife, who died the following day.

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ELCHO - If you pass through Elcho, you can't miss the hundreds of Christmas lights as you drive down Highway 45.

The Elcho Christmas staple is all thanks to a couple who spends weeks setting up the display, after they spend most of their time saving lives.

Carl Bloechl and Lissa Iwanoski are both EMTs. Carl is also a R.N. in Antigo.

For four years now, the couple sets up decorations at an office building off of Highway 45 in Elcho.

It takes a couple of weeks and they use their time in between shifts to get the job done.

"We just hope we don't get called. Sometimes we do get called and we just drop it all and leave it out here and go," said Bloechl.

The cold winter weather usually slows down the set up, but this year's warmer weather allowed the couple to enjoy the visitors earlier.

"It makes me feel good inside that they enjoy it too, because it is work," said Iwanowski.

The display will be on until the beginning of next year.

The lights stay on from around 4:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.



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ANTIGO - With one of the coldest days of the season so far, most people probably chose to stay inside Wednesday.

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Antigo held its annual chili cook-off. 

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GREEN BAY - Students have left a Green Bay elementary school for the day after a mercury scare.

The students at Lincoln Elementary were dismissed at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the normal time, after being checked for mercury.

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