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NEWS STORIES

Special teams, including Rhinelander woman, work through Arizona tragedySubmitted: 07/05/2013
Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


YARNELL, AZ - Nineteen men died fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona on Sunday.

Five days later, that fire still burns across almost 10,000 acres of the Arizona countryside.

The fire became a serious issue early last weekend.

Special teams were called from across the country to help with the fight.

Rhinelander's Suzanne Flory is a member of one of those elite incident response teams.

She and her team arrived before the firefighter deaths on Sunday.

"This has been a difficult fire for everybody. Prescott is right down the road from here. The Hotshot crew was from Prescott. A lot of them lived in this area with their families," she said Friday afternoon.

Firefighters and support crews grieve the loss of those 19 men.

But they also have to keep fighting a still-burning wildfire while they grieve.

"It's an interesting vegetation type out here. It burns really hot and really fast, and then you'll have some hotspots here and there around the perimeter. Right now, we're at 80% containment. We're hoping for 100% containment in the next couple of days," she said.

Several hundred firefighters are still working in central Arizona.

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LAONA - The Laona Fire Department got a new fire truck this month with many updated features. The department thinks it will be able to protect its community more effectively after the major upgrade.

The department has a few trucks that are getting old, but they hope to slowly get rid of the aging fire trucks and replace them with newer equipment. Laona Fire Chief David Rosio said the department had some help getting the new truck.

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man is charged with fatally stabbing his infant daughter and another man during a domestic violence attack last week.

Twenty-year-old Ruben Garcia was charged Tuesday with first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of his daughter, 5-month-old Kairii Dailey, and 39-year-old Paul Kucharczyk, a family friend.

Garcia also is charged with attempted homicide in the stabbings of 19-year-old Alexia Dailey _ the baby's mother and Garcia's ex-girlfriend _ and Dailey's current boyfriend, 22-year-old Christopher Hamilton.

Prosecutors say Garcia flew into a rage when his ex-girlfriend would not take him back.

Prosecutors say Garcia kissed his baby daughter, apologized and then slit her throat. Police found the girl dead in her crib.

Online court records do not list a defense attorney. Garcia remains in jail.

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CRANDON - A Crandon man will spend more than ten years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl last year.

34-year-old Gerald Schleisner found out his sentence Tuesday.

This was the second time Schleisner has been convicted of sexually assaulting a child.

He was convicted in 2007 in Milwaukee County.

Schleisner apologized to the victim in court Tuesday.

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PELICAN LAKE - Police don't know what caused a fuel truck to crash near Pelican Lake Tuesday.

Thankfully the truck didn't spill any of its payload.

The accident happened around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning on Highway 45 just north of Pelican Lake. The truck made its way over an embankment before stopping in a thick area of trees.

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RHINELANDER - Many hunters know the animals they hunt live off of a certain type of tree.

If those trees aren't around, the animal species could struggle to stay alive.

A part of the U.S. Farm Bill called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will pay forest landowners for clearing younger types of forest.

"It's important in this area because normally what we are doing is setting back the successional stages of the forest," Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership Habitat Coordinator Callie Bertsch said. "This would have normally happened by a natural disturbance, like wind and fire. Obviously we still have wind disturbances, but we suppress fires a lot."

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CRANDON - Prosecutors think a Forest County woman protected her boyfriend after he threw her young son across a room in 2013.

Jennifer Shepard is charged with three felonies in the wake of the incident, including abuse, neglect, and helping a felon. Her boyfriend, Brandon Brunette, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison in October for throwing the boy.

Shepard was in court today to face another felony charge.

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HURLEY - Cars in line wrap around block after block on the snowy streets of Hurley.

"Well, I got here at 11:15, and now I'm through the line, and it's 1:30," says Cindy Brannigan. "But it's worth it."

She calls this time of each month, the last week, "the hard time" for many families in the area. The next paycheck or Social Security check is a week away.

Sometimes, the food supply at home is almost gone.

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