Oneida County pushes broadband connectivity for citizens and businessSubmitted: 06/20/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

RHINELANDER - Many people visit the Northwoods as a place to get away from cell phones, emails, and constant connection.

But people who live here need those options for home and business.

Development leaders say Oneida County is a poorly connected place in terms of technology.

Doing business or personal work through broadband IN the city of Rhinelander works pretty well.

Just about anywhere else in Oneida County, though, can be a struggle.

Having broadband is no longer just a nice perk for people who like technology or who live in the city.

"Internet access is like electricity. It's like getting water to your house. It's critical. They call it the information superhighway, but the internet really is as important as a road when it comes to doing business," says Oneida County Community Resource Development Agent Tim Brown.

Only a few areas have the top level of service in Oneida County.

That leaves smaller communities and rural areas lacking.

Development leaders want county and town governments to work to improve broadband.

But the government can't provide the service.

That would be illegal.

So instead, they need to convince providers to come here.

"There is demand here, that there is money to be made here, and we encourage you to invest in building more connections in our community," Brown says.

You can help the effort.

Follow the link below to take a survey on broadband needs in your area.

Related Weblinks:
Oneida County Broadband Survey

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RHINELANDER - Fifty-one Wisconsin residents lost their lives to domestic violence last year.

Rhinelander's Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will honor those lives Friday night at a vigil.

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SCHOFIELD - Earlier this week, people found out Affordable Care Act premiums would go up by an average of more than 20 percent next year. In some cases, that could make some payments go up $50 to $300 per month.

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RHINELANDER - The yellow Historical Society Museum on Pelham Street looks like many houses here in Rhinelander, but step through the doorway and see early 1900's history packed from wall to wall.

The Historical Society Museum will have an open house Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Pieces of Rhinelander's past are preserved inside the house.

Some of those items include a black and white photo of the original hodag, a drum from the old paper mill marching band, and a dining room set made by the Rhinelander Boat Company.

Not only are those items inside the house artifacts, so is the house itself.

"If the walls were empty there would be stories and neat things to see here. You take that, just the neat house and then of course fill it up with all of the items, every room is just a multitude of stories of different items that are in it," said Vice President of the Rhinelander Historical Society Bill Vancos.

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- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Wisconsin high school football level 2 playoffs begin tonight. We will take you live to Green Bay where the Antigo Red Robins will take on Green Bay Notre Dame. We'll give you a preview of that game and tell you the challenge the Robins will face.

Also, on tonight's Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10, we will bring you highlights from that game as well as from Hudson vs. Stevens Point and Marathon vs. Abbotsford.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods Veterans will be taken care of this flu season thanks to The Rhinelander Veterans Affair Clinic. 

The clinic will provide free flu shots for Veterans starting Friday. 

Half the Veteran population is over 60 years old, which puts them at increasing risk with flu complications.

 Clinic nurse Christina Paris wants to make sure the Veteran community is taken care of. 

"We like to think of our Veterans as part of our extended family. 

And it's heartwarming to know that we can be here to help them and serve them the best we can," said Paris.

Providing this service to Veterans hits close to home for Paris.

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CHICAGO - Seven passengers and a flight attendant reported minor injuries after an American Airlines aircraft caught fire and passengers were evacuated onto the runway at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A spinoff in the Ashlee Martinson saga seems to have come to a close.

The man convicted of stealing from the home where Martinson killed her parents will spend a month in jail.

Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukana, was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Back in August, a jury decided Spietz was guilty on four counts of burglary and theft.

According to the criminal complaint, Spietz took ATVs, bows, a tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the home. Spietz claimed he was securing the property for a company based in Arizona.

In court on Thursday, Spietz's wife, siblings and parents all testified to his character and work ethic. They testified Spietz is a good father to a seven-year-old son and two step-sons. They said he also takes care of his parents who have health problems.

Spietz's attorney said he believes his client is still innocent.

"I believe that Mark had he had intended to steal the ATVs he wouldn't have gone through the bother of finding the titles," said Spietz's attorney Brian Bennet. "I believe that a person doesn't commit burglaries in broad daylight with the name on the side of his truck or trailer."

However, the state said it didn't seem Spietz took responsibility for what he did. District Attorney Mike Schiek asked for jail time.

Judge Michael Bloom agreed. He recalled sentencing Ashlee Martinson.

"And I looked at her sitting right where you're sitting now, before I had to look an 18-year-old girl in the face and send her to prison for 23 years, and I told her, you had a choice," Judge Bloom said. "And Mr. Spietz, you as well had a choice."

Spietz will also spend 18 months on probation. He can serve his jail time in any county jail as long as he clears it with the Onieda County Sheriff's Office. He also received Huber privileges and will be allowed to go to work and help his parents during his jail time. 

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