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Troubling evidence, signs of marital problems against accused murderer of wife in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 07/25/2013

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MERRILL - Mark Bucki sat shackled in Lincoln County Court Thursday while prosecutors brought damning evidence against him.

He’s the Merrill man accused of killing his wife, Anita Bucki, back in April.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Gartmann told the court about his department’s investigation.

Mark Bucki called police to say his wife went missing April 26.

"There was no concern in his voice. I noticed that it was a matter-of-fact type tone. He appeared to be confused about whether or not it was 24 hours before he had to report this, but there was no urgency in his voice," Gartmann said.

Things got even more suspicious when Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies got to the Buckis' home.

"The driveway had been freshly graded, and he did not notice any vehicle tracks or footprints leading up to the residence, which he thought was rather strange," Gartmann said.

Strange - and suspicious enough for Sergeant Chad Collinsworth to call for help.

"I received a phone call from Collinsworth indicating there were some very suspicious circumstances, and I believe his exact words were 'you need to get out here'," Gartmann said.

Gartmann testified about what else deputies found: Anita's car, keys, and jacket left behind.

Carpet ripped out in one of the bedroooms.

A shallow but empty gravesite near the home.

On May 10, a couple walking in the woods in Taylor County found a woman's body.

The woman had seven stab wounds to the chest, and severe bruising around her neck, as though she had been strangled.

Gartmann testified that Bucki didn't call to ask about his wife on May 10, 11, 12, or even 13.

In fact, it was Gartmann that contacted him.

Dental records proved the body was Anita.

Bloodhounds found her husband's scent where her body was found.

Gartmann said that relatives and friends told him that's where Mark Bucki often hunted.

Also in court, we learned why Mark might have wanted Anita dead.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office pieced together text messages, emails, and conversations with Bucki to try to answer that question.

Prosecutors point to the Buckis' marital problems as a motive.

Gartmann recounted a conversation where Bucki told a deputy his wife wanted to save the marriage - but he didn't.

"She was adamant about wanting to stay with Mark. She wanted very much to stay with him, and that Mark basically did not want to remain in the marriage, and at some point in time, Mark made the comment that he was okay with the fact that the two of them would go their separate ways, but she was aware of a girlfriend of his, and that she would contact that girlfriend and also the girlfriend's husband," he said.

During his testimony, Gartmann read letters Bucki wrote to his girlfriend from jail.

"It states, 'My to be happiest summer were turned to my worst because of Anita! The feelings I had left for her sure are gone since I been stuck in here'," Gartmann testified on the stand.

Bucki's defense attorneys argued against most of the evidence, because DNA and blood results aren't back from the crime lab yet.

But the judge decided there was enough evidence to go forward with the case.

His lawyers also requested his bond be reduced from $2 million to $100,000.

The judge denied that request.

Bucki's due back in court August 29.

Story By: Lex Gray

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Observing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday Submitted: 04/18/2014

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RHINELANDER - You could find a decent amount of businesses closed early Friday.

That's because many of the owners and employees were in church.

People filled the pews at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinelander on Good Friday.

People honored the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

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Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screenSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.

Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.

His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”

Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.

“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”

Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.

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“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”

His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.

“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”





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Federal appeals court upholds Walker's union lawSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.

U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''

An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.

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Snow and ice won't stop fishermen from enjoying opening weekendSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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A snow plow driver saw smoke coming out of the windows of the home on East Pine Shore Lane just after 1 p.m.

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