LITTLE RICE - Summer can be a busy time for first responders, especially in places with a great outdoors.
As the demand for emergency services grows, some local fire crews and EMTs are updating their facilities.
The Little Rice Fire Department upgraded their canteen unit.
It's carries water, gatorade and food to keep crews fueled out in the field.
Plum Lake gave the department a $6,000 grant.
Plum Lake Resource supervisor Bill O'Brion also works at the department.
The new unit will be an asset for all neighboring firefighters.
"We've done lots of funding for different fire departments, but this is a unique project where the emergency service unit will respond to any fire department that needs the assistance or surrounding areas if they ask for help." O'Brion said.
Fire Chief Bob Reimert says this is not only essential to the community, but it keeps his staff busy as well.
"It's just what the people needed. It keeps the elderly people on our department busy," said Reimert.
"It gives them something to do. It gives them a part in the department which they need."
The canteen unit is stocked full and ready to go.
And The Crandon Area Rescue Squad can now comfortably house all it's members.
They built a $1 million, 5,200 square foot addition. They also remodeled the existing 2,500 square foot building into sleeping rooms for the EMTs.
About five years ago the squad found itself outgrowing the old building.
"We had people that wanted to join that lived too far out and they either had to stay in town. But there was no place for them to stay because they didn't have relatives or anybody here. So they used to sleep either on the floor or on a couch that was there," says DeElda Okrasinski, Crandon Area Rescue Squad President.
The squad has 21 members who serve Crandon and surrounding areas.
They received a grant that covered about half the million-dollar cost. But they plan to hold some fundraising events in the future to help pay off the rest.
EAGLE RIVER - These unseasonably warm temps can make it hard for snowmobilers to enjoy the trails. The Wisconsin Snow Report says snowmobile trails in Eagle River are overall in poor condition.
On many of the trails, you'll see more gravel and dirt than actual snow.
"You don't know if the season comes to an end at this point because you never know when Mother Nature will throw a twist at things and give you a 20 inch snowstorm because that can happen. You know, the big lake is still open up north and if the winds come down that way, we could see a lot of Lake Affect snow yet," said Eagle River Sno Eagles Trail Boss Brian Scheid.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
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