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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

TOMAHAWL - A Tomahawk police officer pulled an autistic boy to safety after the 10-year-old went too far into a river.

Saturday afternoon around one, Tomahawk police got a call about an unattended child in the water near Kings Road and the Highway 51 bridge.

The child refused to come out.

The officer was familiar with the boy, and knew he was autistic and non-verbal.

The child went further into the water, and the officer saw him go under.

The officer swam in, spotted the child's colored shirt under the water, and was able to pull him out.

The water was 10 to 15 feet deep in the area.

The child's father was contacted, and the boy was released to him.

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TOMAH - After the death of several veterans, a review of the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center finds "systemic failures".

A staff report by the Republican majority of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was released Today.

It found the VA inspector general's office discounted evidence and testimony.

The report says the office also needlessly narrowed its inquiry.....and has no standard for measuring wrongdoing.

The report says the office's failure to publish results of an investigation into the Tomah facility "compromised veteran care."

It also says a culture of fear and whistleblower retaliation continues at the facility.

VA inspectors in 2014 found that doctors were over-prescribing painkillers.

The deaths of three patients remain under investigation.

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CRANDON - When Crandon's Jared Moore first picked up trumpet as a hobby three-and-a-half-years ago, he never thought he would have the opportunity to study at a prestigious performing arts high school.

Now, Jared could study at Interlochen Center For The Arts near Traverse City, Michigan for his four years of high school.

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MINOCQUA - While the rain this weekend stopped some Memorial Day activities, businesses in the Northwoods saw sales boom. Rain made tourists head indoors to see what different businesses had to offer.

Many Minocqua area businesses said the weekend was very busy because of the rainy and cloudy weather. Business was slower Monday compared to the weekend.

At Dan's Minocqua Fudge this weekend, staff saw thousands come in to shop.

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WHITE LAKE - People held grand ceremonies all over of the United States today in honor of Memorial Day.

But perhaps some of the most dignified ceremonies happen in small towns right here in the Northwoods.

With a population of less than 400, White Lake is one of those towns that doesn't let the number of people in the town determine its significance. 

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ANTIGO - A group of tractor enthusiasts showed off their work Monday morning at Antigo's Memorial Day parade.

The Northwoods Tractor Club prides itself on refurbishing old tractors to like new condition.

The not for profit group started with just 20 members and has steadily grown to more than 100.

"Northwoods Tractor Club started in 2011 and it's a group of tractor enthusiasts that kinda thought well maybe we should get together and have an organization, maybe help out the community a little bit. So, we got together with 20 guys back then and now we're well over 100 members," says club President Mike McDougal.

Many of the tractors are hand me downs or ones that are too old to be used in the field.

That's why finding replacement parts can be tricky.

"A lot of times it's the family tractor that had been on their parents or grandparents farm. We reworked it and use it for parades such as today. Our whole general purpose of the organization is to raise money and establish an agriculture tractor museum up just north of Antigo is where we're looking at some land right now," says McDougal.

Many of the tractors date back to the 1930s.

Meeting are held on the last Monday of every month at Quinn's Bar in Neva Corners.

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ARBOR VITAE - Many people enjoy being on the lake and away from work on Memorial Day.

But some volunteers were working hard Monday on local lakes to prevent the spread of AIS.

Volunteers from Clean Boats, Clean Waters work at different lakes to check boats as they come in and out of the water. They often catch common mistakes, and teach boaters how they can help stop the spread of AIS.

"They usually recommend draining the water up away from the landing that way anything mixed in with the water in the boat doesn't get back in the lake," said volunteer Aaron Tomasoski. "Pretty often people will drain it out. It's been that way for a while, but people are starting to get a hang of it. But we are making progress on that."

Clean Boats, Clean Waters is a state-wide volunteer program that grew out of a program called Milfoil Masters, created by Minocqua middle schoolers in 2003.

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