NEWS STORIES

UPDATE: Storm knocks out power for thousands across the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/26/2013

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - More than 6,000 Wisconsin Public Service customers got ready for the day in the dark Monday morning.

Storms caused major power outages across the Northwoods.

"3:45 a.m. this morning the storm kind of came into our service territory starting in the Minocqua area moving through to kind of Eagle River, Rhinelander, down into the Wausau area," says WPS Community Relations representative Kelly Zagrzebski.

The majority of the outages were in Eagle River, Rhinelander and Wausau.

Merrill, Tomahawk, and Elcho had some outages, too.

"The majority of the damage that we're seeing from this storm is blown fuses, blown transformers, lots of lightning strikes. A little bit of wind up in the Rhinelander area, not so much down in the Wausau location," adds Zagrzebski.

WPS sent more than 20 crews out to turn the power back on.

4,000 homes got their power back by 10 o'clock Monday morning.

"We really want to encourage people to make sure that they give us a call when their power does go out. Don't assume that their neighbors are calling," says Zagrzebski.

They also want to remind customers to stay away from downed power lines.

Those lines may still be live.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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Northwoods man initially charged with homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/22/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A Lac Du Flambeau man will take a plea deal before letting his case go to a jury.

31-year-old James Peterson was originally charged with first degree intentional homicide.

Witnesses told police he showed up to a party in 2013 with a knife and drunkenly started a fight, but other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

Online records show Peterson accepted a plea deal in Vilas County court Monday.

He pleaded no contest to two lesser charges including hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon. He was also found guilty of a second OWI.

Peterson will face sentencing in August.

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Wisconsin DNR to hand out turkey certificatesSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.

The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.

The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.

The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.

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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”

In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions Submitted: 04/22/2014

MINOCQUA - For people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, cooking can be a challenge.

But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.

One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.

People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.

"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."

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Rhinelander receives award to upgrade sewersSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Leaders in a Northwoods community want to make sure that their untreated waste water doesn't get into lakes and rivers.

That's why they applied for an award that will help them upgrade the sewers.

The city of Rhinelander won the award today.

The city got $3,754,000 in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its downtown sewers.

Leaders say a flood with the current system could hurt local waterways.

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It's time to start looking out for ticksSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - It may not feel like summer just yet, but it is time to start thinking about tick prevention.

The peak season for ticks is May through August but healthcare professionals suggest you be on the lookout as soon as the snow melts.

Last year, there were 153 reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in Oneida County alone.

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That backlog includes about 3,500 veterans under the umbrella of the Milwaukee Regional Office, which serves Wisconsin veterans.

The backlog is because of massive case of laggard claims processing across the nation.

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