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Wabeno chief keeps streets safe Submitted: 07/05/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

WABENO - Tighter budgets challenge families, schools; even police departments.

Wabeno has taken a unique approach to that issue.

Its police department has only one full-time employee: Chief Mick Ashbeck.

"I always had a desire and passion to be law enforcement when I was younger," said Ashbeck.

"I graduated from Wabeno high school here in 1985. Not quite sure yet what I wanted to do at that time."

Instead of following his dream, Mick Ashbeck did what many young men do: he followed the money.

"I was able to get a part-time job in the welding field and I pretty much stuck with it for about 22 years," Ashbeck said.

"And made very good money in the welding field."

But that wasn't his true passion.

So four years ago, Ashbeck went after his childhood dream.

He became Wabeno's police chief in 2009 and Townsend in 2010.

"I started out part time for Forest County Sheriff's Department and part time here in Wabeno, about the same time, early 2008." Ashbeck said.

As a kid, Ashbeck probably pictured himself as just one member of a big force.

But here in Wabeno, he's the only full-time employee.

"It might be a one man department here, but this is not a one man show out here," said Ashbeck.

"It's the collaborative effort of all our officers out here that make this happen."

To Ashbeck and his team, that means keeping the streets of Wabeno drug-free.

That's tough with a small force, so four years ago, they brought on Dutch.

"It only took about four months to raise over $10,000. And that gave us enough money at that time to go out and purchase a K-9." Ashbeck said.

That kind of extra effort recently earned Ashbeck an award.

He was recognized in the Heritage Who's Who Book. Still, Ashbeck credits his team.

"It's a collaborative effort from everybody. Was I there in the mixed of things, yes ok, but it was a collaborative effort from everybody." said Ashbeck.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/27/2016

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People across the country are enjoying the film "Finding Dory" so much that many parents want to buy a "Dory" for their kids. But just going out to get a blue tang without any research may be a bad idea. A local pet supply company tells us why.

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We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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PHILLIPS - Police want to figure out what caused the death of a 16 year old girl in Phillips.

Officers were called to an apartment in downtown Phillips with a report of a medical emergency.

The call was made about 6:00 Thursday morning, after the girl was found not breathing and unresponsive.

She was determined to be dead, but there was no apparent cause.

An autopsy was requested by the Price County Coroner.

No foul play is suspected, but the death remains under investigation.

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MILWAUKEE - A former Uber driver in the Milwaukee area has sued the ride-hailing company in federal court, seeking overtime pay, tips and other expenses on behalf of all current and former Wisconsin drivers.

Lamont Lathan is asking the court to "properly classify" Uber drivers as employees, not as the independent contractors Uber says they are.

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MINOCQUA - Things don't always go well out on the water. That's why Oneida County has a specialized dive team ready to respond whenever there's an emergency.

But funding the dive team is expensive. Saturday, community groups came together to help raise money for the team at the Minocqua Swim Challenge.

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WOOD COUNTY - A motorcycle crash seriously hurt a man late Saturday night.

According to the Wood County Sheriff's Office, it happened around 11 p.m. in the Township of Biron.

Police think the motorcycle driver was making a slight turn on County Highway U and passed another car. 

That's when the motorcycle driver lost control, went off the road and hit a tree. The driver was thrown off the 
motorcycle.

Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries, and they don't yet know the status of his condition. No other people were on the motorcycle.

Police also think speed and alcohol could have played a part in the crash. They are still investigating and will not yet release the name. 

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CRANDON - Pounding rain, howling winds, and flashing lightning�"not the most ideal conditions for camping on Saturday night.

In fact, Saturday night's bad weather couldn't have picked a worse time for thousands of people to set up camp at the Crandon Race Track.

"We were holding onto the awning last night," said Keegan Kincaid, a racer from Crandon. ."It was pouring."

"Our canopy [got] rained [on] so much we had to keep pushing it up so it wouldn't collapse," said Paul Posbrig, a fan from Green Bay.

"It was coming in all over," said Jessie Braden, a fan from Richfield.

But for Crandon fans, the rain certainly didn't dampen the weekend.

"But we made the best of it," said Braden, who comes to Crandon every summer for the Brush Run.

"We had a canopy at one point and put up tarps on the walls as we got downpoured on and it was all windy," Braden said. "If we're going camping, it's going to rain!"

The fans also got their fair share of noise because the rain didn't really affect the race schedule.

"We just had to wait a little bit longer before we could put crews out on the track," said the raceway's announcer, Dave Mullins. "So needed it to dry off a little bit first. But really it was only about a half hour."

But it certainly changed the racers' strategy.

"And so you'll see a lot of changes in trucks and driving styles," Kincaid said.
"Figure out the track, sort out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a racer from Arizona.

But Crandon's track is pretty resilient.

"Most tracks we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day, but Crandon has a lot of clay," Kincaid said.

"Because this is a clay track, it doesn't absorb the water as much, it makes it more like a mud pit," Mullins said.

Sunday's nice weather quickly brought the track's conditions back to normal.

"I thought we were going to be racing in the mud, but turns out because of the sun and wind we're actually going back to our setup we had yesterday," Luyendyk, Jr., said. 

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PRICE COUNTY - A truck versus train crash killed a woman late Saturday morning.

According to the Price County Sheriff's Office, it happened at the intersection of County Road D and the Canadian National Railroad tracks in the Township of Knox.

Police think a 76-year-old man was driving the truck with a 76-year-old woman in the passenger seat, and the truck and the train collided.

Several different agencies responded, including Canadian National Railroad investigators.

Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, and they took the woman to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau where she later died.

Police are still investigating and will not yet release the names.

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