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NEWS STORIES

More Northwoods crews head West as national fire problem growsSubmitted: 08/16/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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RHINELANDER - Wildfires out west grew by nearly 50 percent in the past week. The state of Wisconsin has sent more than 300 crew members to help this month alone.

We showed you a crew leaving Woodruff last week for California. Another crew left Woodruff this morning. The 20 person team will go to Montana to fight a fire that started two days ago.

The wildfire situation nationwide is classified on a scale of one to five. Right now the country is at a four.

But that will likely bump up to the highest rating, a five, this weekend. That means we've used 80% of our national resources to fight fires across the country.

"Eighty percent of resources is made up of various equipment from bulldozers to helicopters to personnel to engines," says Jim Grant, from the U.S. Forest Service.

States won't send out all the resources they have. Each state holds back the minimum resources it would need for its own fire threat level.

When the country reaches level five, the military might have to help.

"The activation of the military comes from the president ultimately. When they're activated, it could be any branch of the military, but typically we see the United States Army, and even the Marines a lot of times, involved in this. Before they're put on the fire lines they're given training courses. They're given the basic training courses they need to continue to be safe out there before we put them on the lines," says Grant.

Right now there are $15,000 firefighters on the ground in 14 states. They're battling 40 large fires. To even be considered a large fire, thousands of acres have to be burning.

The fire season could last through October.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/01/2014

- Four Wisconsin State Assembly candidates will debate in Wausau tonight. The two Democrats and Republicans will argue about topics like jobs, healthcare and the direction of the area. We'll have a preview of the debate tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Cranberry Fest draws about 40,000 people to Eagle River each year. Organizers think this year will be no exception. They started preparing for this weekend's festival today. Find out more tonight on Newswatch 12.

- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will perform tonight in Rhinelander. We caught them earlier today at a special concert for students in Rhinelander. Hear what brought them here and how you can go to their concert tonight.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Man found guilty of murdering parentsSubmitted: 10/01/2014

IRON RIVER, WISCONSIN - An Iron River, Wisconsin man admits to killing his parents last winter.

45 year old Jim Crain Jr. pleaded guilty in Bayfield County to two counts of second-degree intentional homicide.

The state is recommending 15 to 20 years in prison on each count.

Crain was accused of killing his parents, 79 year old James Crain and 76 year old Eunice Crain.

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Money wanted for education campaign on voter identificationSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MADISON - People need to know that they must carry photo identification to the polls next month.

The Wisconsin state elections board wants to spend about $460,000 to educate residents over the next five weeks.

The Government Accountability Board wants state Legislature to make money available.

It would be used for an education campaign on television, radio, and the internet.

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UW-Marathon County issues voter IDs to students who need oneSubmitted: 09/30/2014

WAUSAU - A local college wants to make sure its students can vote this November.

UW-Marathon County is issuing voter IDs to students that don't have them.

Everyone in Wisconsin needs to have an ID to vote this fall.

The university started making the IDs Monday.

All UW schools will be issuing IDs to students who need one.

"The biggest reason that we're doing this is we really want our students to have that opportunity to vote," says Interim Assistant Campus Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UW-Marathon County Carla Rabe. "Some of our students may not have the proper voter ID, and so for us to offer that opportunity to our students really just encourages them to really take the importance in voting."

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Update-Inmate captured after failing to return to jailSubmitted: 09/30/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - An inmate who didn't return to jail from Huber release will now get a chance to think about his mistake.

The Marathon County Sheriff's department confirms inmate Tommie Rothenberger has been captured.

He was found in Waupaca County around 5:30 last night.

Rothenberger was let out of the Marathon County Jail Friday morning to go to school at Northcentral Technical College.

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Man faces charges connected to woman's murder & disapperance; Read the criminal complaintSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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WAUSAU - A 34-year-old man will face three charges for the 2010 disappearance and murder of a Wausau woman.

Kristopher Torgerson is charged with first degree intentional homicide, armed robbery and hiding a body. Those charges were filed in Marathon County Tuesday, according to online court records.

Stephanie low had been missing since October of 2010. Torgerson agreed to show police where to find low's body earlier this month.

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Iconic northern tree species could disappear as Northwoods climate warmsSubmitted: 09/30/2014

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FIFIELD - "Here's the paper birch, or white birch. It's one of my favorite trees," Linda Parker tells me as we walk through a part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near Fifield.

But her next thought on the tree is not so pleasant.

"This again is one of the species that occurs at the southern edge of its range here. It's more common to the north," she says. "This is another species in which we expect to see large declines."

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