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Vandals target well-known kids drinking fountainSubmitted: 08/26/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - This cute lion is also a water fountain.

It's cute, kids love it - but someone is making a hobby of trying to ruin it.

The Rhinelander Lions Club put the water fountain in at the Pioneer Park playground a month ago.

The fountain has been vandalized twice since then.

"Last time the drain was packed full of rocks and sand. Obviously in order to get the rocks past the screen that's in the drain, they had to have taken the drain apart from underneath to shove the rocks in and then put it back together," says Rhinelander Lions Club member Scott Campbell.

Rhinelander Lions Club members have been making the repairs.

But event those repairs have been targets for vandalism.

Club members moved the fountain from Hodag Park to Pioneer Park a month ago.

They even paid to have the 30-year-old drinking fountain refurbished.

"It's more frustration than anything because it's not available for the kids to use. It was put down here for the kids that are using the playground to be able to get a drink, especially on a day like this when it's going to be 90 degrees," adds Campbell.

The Lions Club hopes people who see anyone suspicious around the fountain will report it to the police.

We hope whoever has been vandalizing it gets a better hobby.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Just over a week ago more than 10 different agencies rushed out to rural western Oneida County for a man threatening to blow up his house.

When crews got there, 60-year-old Kenneth Welsh was sitting on his porch with a long gun, for three hours he held police up in a standoff.

Last week he was charged with attempted first degree homicide among other felonies.

Welsh appeared in court Friday to hear the judge's decision if there's enough evidence in the case against him to move forward.

Ultimately Judge Michael Bloom did decide to move it forward, but not without hearing testimony.

Welsh didn't waive his preliminary hearing because his public defender said there was information she wanted to get on the record.

"He has a right to a preliminary hearing and this is a very serious charge and I wasn't going to waive that," said Welsh's public defender Mary Roth Burns.

For instance, Roth Burns asked Detective Sergeant Chad Wanta, who testified, about Welsh's medical condition during the standoff, since he had been shot in the shoulder. She also asked about Welsh's wife, Mary Butler, who changed her story multiple times. In the criminal complaint, Butler made inconsistent statements about Welsh was drinking and if he pointed a gun at her before she shot him, which investigators concluded was in self defense.

"The wife said he wasn't going to go down without a fight and made it sound like he was really violent," Roth Burns said. "And he basically went down, he never shot, fired a shot anyone, he never made a threat at anyone."

When asked if she thought Welsh went down without a fight, Roth Burns responded, "absolutely."

In the search warrant investigators found several guns, a few loaded, and one semi automatic shotgun. Roth Burns asked if Welsh ever shot at police during the standoff. The detective testifying said no.

The detective also said when crews shot the bean bag rounds at him to try to arrest him, Welsh said, "Just kill me, just kill me, just shoot me."

Roth Burns said there's other evidence she still needs to see. For instance, police flew a drone over the Welsh home. The detective said Welsh aimed at the drone, but not at police.

"There was a drone, I'd like to see video of the drone if that shows him sitting on the steps waiting for law enforcement to arrive," Roth Burns said. "That's not threatening anyone."

She said it's still early, but they are considering defense strategies—not excluding a possible competency examination.

Welsh will be back in court on May 16 for an arraignment. 

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