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UPDATE: Vilas County Sheriff dies after illnessSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


EAGLE RIVER - The Vilas County Sheriff's Office loses its leader overnight. Frank Tomlanovich gave 34 years of service to Vilas County, and dedicated his life to law enforcement.

The 61-year-old sheriff passed away early this morning. Tomlanovich died in his home after a short illness.

Captain Russ Kennedy says it was a shock for everyone.

"Frank was well liked in the community and extremely well liked by his men; they enjoyed serving under him. Excellent sheriff, a very good man, we'll miss him dearly," says Captain Kennedy.

Captain Kennedy says they are mourning the Sheriff's passing. But the department will have to keep working.

"I've been telling the officers to keep working hard, as always. Keep moving forward, we'll get through this. Ultimately the Governor will have to appoint an interim sheriff to take over the duties that Frank had. He would tell us all the same thing: keep working hard, keep your chin up and move forward," says Captain Kennedy.

The Sheriff started his career at the Eagle River Police Department. Then he was a patrol deputy and detective sergeant with the Sheriff's Office. He became sheriff in 2010.

Governor Scott Walker made a statement today about the sheriff: "Tonette and I send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Vilas County Sheriff Frank Tomlanovich. Sheriff Tomlanovich dedicated his life to protecting and serving the people of northern Wisconsin. We honor his life of public service and send our thoughts and prayers to all who knew him."



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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Fire safety rules might prevent the use of real Christmas trees in some spots.

A bill now approved by the Assembly would ensure live trees are still allowed in churches and the state Capitol rotunda.

National Fire Protection Association guidelines call for banning live Christmas trees in places where 50 people or more gather.

The guidelines also allow limited quantities of combustible vegetation....if local fire officials decide adequate safeguards are in place.

Under the bill, the state and local governments would not be allowed to prevent placement of Christmas trees in the Capitol rotunda or in a church.

Trees in the rotunda and churches would be presumed to be safe during fire inspections.

The Assembly approved the bill Tuesday evening.

Now it goes to the state Senate.

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MADISON - Big changes for Wisconsin's managed forest program cleared the state Senate.

The Program gives participants property tax breaks if they keep their land open to the public....and follow timber management plans.

Land owners can close their property, but get a smaller tax break and must pay a fee.

The bill would cap closed land at 320 acres.

Fees would be reduced for withdrawing from the program early.

Property owners would be able to lease their land.

The changes would eliminate local taxes on timber harvested from program land, but allow local governments to keep 80 percent of closed acreage fees.

Right now 100 percent of those fees go to the state forestry account.

The changes now go to the state Assembly.

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EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County's courthouse expansion could look a little different and sit in a different spot than previously agreed upon, but those changes could save close to a million dollars and speed up construction.  Tuesday, a county committee agreed that's a good path to take.

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WISCONSIN - Coyotes become more active and territorial this time of year.

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The DNR hopes people will take steps to avoid interactions with coyotes.

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EAGLE RIVER - Every year, Vilas County replaces a handful of its old sheriff's department squads cars. But instead of junking the used cars, some end up with new life in other county departments.  This year, the sheriff's department is swapping out seven cars for new Ford Explorers.

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TOMAHAWK - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department blames snow conditions for causing a semi truck rollover Tuesday morning.

The accident happened on Highway 8 north of Tomahawk just after 6 a.m.

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