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Special teams, including Rhinelander woman, work through Arizona tragedySubmitted: 07/05/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Special teams, including Rhinelander woman, work through Arizona tragedy
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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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's Natalie Decker signed with Venturini Motorsports earlier this spring.

When she became a part of the group, she noticed they did a lot of events with PADD, People Against Distracted Driving.

She got involved in that cause by bringing it back to Eagle River for the UTV/ATV Championships.

Her and her family took the annual scavenger hunt and turned it into an event to bring awareness to PADD

Decker thinks her young age can help make an impact on other young drivers.

"It's not like we're 21 yet and drinking and driving. That's another bad thing, but this is becoming even worse. I want to hit all the young kids that follow me, even on my Instagram or Facebook," said Decker.

Once Decker gets across the serious message of PADD, then comes the actual scavenger hunt.

The participants in the event had some funny challenges.

"They had to do crazy stuff like get a picture with a purple sock and a high heel, and all these crazy things and stop at all the bars across Eagle River," said Decker.

If you would like to learn more about PADD, follow the link below.


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MERRILL - When you live to be 100, you often often outlive your friends and even family members.

Lenore Ehlert, from Merrill, turned 100 years old on Wednesday.

"Well, actually, it doesn't feel much different, it's just another day," said Ehlert.

While celebrating that milestone, she found herself thinking of her husband who she lost 65 years ago.

Her husband, Merrill Police Captain, Elmer Krueger was shot and killed while on duty in July of 1952.

"July 19th and he died about three days later," said Ehlert.

Records from that time show an officer's death didn't lead to weeks of ceremonies and salutes like it does now.

"After the funeral, everything was just kind of forgotten," said Ehlert.

But decades later, it's not all forgotten. Merrill police officers, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and other first responders were all at the party to show that they were bonded for life after the tragedy years ago.

"It really is truly, that Lenore is part of our family," said Michael Caylor with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to law enforcement, Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Sean Duffy and Attorney General Brad Schimel all wrote Lenore letters wishing her a happy birthday.

"It's quite an honor and I know part of it is for my husband and his memory," said Ehlert.

Elmer's memory was seen all throughout Lenore's special day.

"Know that you're part of the law enforcement family. Elmer was a brother, most of us didn't know him, but he's a brother nonetheless," said Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger.

She was surrounded by friends and family helping her celebrate her 100 years.

"If we're all to live as old and to be as loved as yourself, what a wonderful world this is going to be," said Caylor.

When asked for advice on how to live to be 100, Lenore said to keep your mind and body active, and to eat good food.

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WOOD COUNTY - A man died after a motorcycle crash on State Highway 54 East of School Lane in Wood County.

The crash happened around 4:41 p.m. Saturday in the Town of Cranmoor.

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MOUNT PLEASANT - MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) " A community in southeastern Wisconsin is planning ahead in case it becomes the site for a major Foxconn facility.

The Journal Times reports that Mount Pleasant officials are planning to create the position of project director to handle business related to the project.

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NEWBOLD - Hundreds of people took time to visit the Newbold Fire Department Saturday for their annual picnic fundraiser.

The event featured plenty of food, raffles, face painting, and live music. This was the 49th year for the event.

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TRIPOLI - The Tripoli Log Church celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Most people say it's one of the oldest buildings in that community.

On Saturday, many people who grew up going to the church went back to celebrate its history.

"At four years old I started coming to Sunday school," said Elise Marheine who grew up going to the church.

"I was baptized here and I've been here just about ever since," said Skip Rice, who also grew up attending The Log Church.

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MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) - " The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's request to provide federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding.

The SBA will provide loans for up to $200,000 for damaged homes, $40,000 for damaged property, and $2 million to businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of flooding.

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