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State gearing up for anti-Heroin campaignSubmitted: 07/26/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

State gearing up for anti-Heroin campaign
MINOCQUA - Across the state, police say one drug is their biggest challenge- Heroin.

This year, the Department of Justice will target the drug statewide. The Lakeland area is working on its own campaign.

In Minocqua, the Lakeland Prescription Drug Task Force made it harder to sell and abuse prescription drugs. The problem is, those people who used those drugs are still ADDICTED, and heroin is usually the easiest fix to find. Drug prevention specialist Bob Kovar says we need to prevent addiction in the first place.

"Somebody that's addicted to opiates needs to fulfill that addiction however they can... Typically we're pretty reactive. We kinda don't throw resources at people until we have to. So we end up spending a lot of money on prisons and then our justice system," said Kovar.

The state's campaign will officially start later this summer or early fall. The focus IS on prevention and awareness, but leaders hope it will go further.

"It can't just be an awareness campaign. I think there has to be a real push towards policy change... Healthcare, law enforcement, justice, our schools, we all need to be working together. I think when we work together and we implement programs that are proven to work, yes we can make a difference," says Kovar.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

LAND O' LAKES - Even though it may not feel like it, Autumn has officially begun. Plenty of towns in the Northwoods celebrate the season with a colorama.

This weekend Land O Lakes is hosting its colorama. Land O Lakes has held a colorama for about 35 years.

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RHINELANDER - Kid got outside and got active at the YMCA of the Northwood's Fit Kids Duathalon tonight. 

Three age groups competed in the running and biking events. 

The five and under group ran around the building and biked through the parking lot, but the older age groups biked through the trails behind the YMCA. 

"It's rugged enough that you have to have a little bit or stamina and a little bit or grit to actually make it through the course," said YMCA Aquatics and Youth and Family Director Matt Steingraber. 
 
Some of the kids even trained for the event. 

The top three in each age group got awards. 

The main purpose of the event was to get kids out of the house and doing something to keep them fit and active. 

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RHINELANDER - A well known sex offender in this area will get out of prison again.  Albert Chagnon, 35, is set to be released into Oneida County on Tuesday.

Chagnon was convicted of child pornography possession in 2003.

He was released in 2014, but soon ended up under arrest again for using newspaper clippings of girls' pictures to make a booklet.  That booklet had more than 270 photos in it, many from the Lakeland Times.

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MADISON - Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout plans to announce she is running for governor on Monday.

An email sent from one of her supporters urging attendance at her campaign kickoff event in Black River Falls spilled the news Friday.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Some strong to severe storms rumbled through the Northwoods Friday.

Newswatch 12 went out to Lake Tomahawk for the video you see above.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mom said her lifestyle completely changed when a new neighbor moved in. 

She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

"When I saw what he was found guilty of I was in shock. I was in complete shock," said Linda. 

He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

"As a parent it's important to be aware of who's in your neighborhood," said Wszalek. 

Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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Nicolet College hosted the Veterans Business Workshop.

The objective was to tell businesses why they should hire local veterans.

Guest speaker from Wisconsin's Veterans Chamber of Commerce Saul Newton says veterans can bring strong and diverse skill sets into the work force.

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