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NEWS STORIES

Local veterans take the Honor Flight: Meet AndySubmitted: 09/10/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ninety one local veterans took the trip of a lifetime to the nation's capitol yesterday. The Never Forgotten Honor Flight made its thirteenth trip to Washington D.C.

Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm got to go with them. The veterans shared their stories and wisdom with her-- and perhaps most memorably-- they shared their experiences yesterday.

We'd like to share those with you this week. Tonight, meet Andy.

"Doing a lot of tears, I'll tell you. Because I'm proud of those guys. I don't care how much we served, or how much we suffered; they paid the absolute price," says Andy DeFelice, from Nekoosa.

Andy served with the U.S. Army in the 60's. Normally, that would put him lower on the list-- The Never Forgotten Honor Flight takes the oldest veterans to Washington D.C. first. But Andy is one of three special veterans on the trip.

"You know, I've been a sick man. It's part of the reason I'm here, because I'm a very sick man with Leukemia and Prostate Cancer, and no stomach," says Andy.

Andy's one of three terminally ill Vietnam era vets along for this trip. It's the war he identifies with most, though he served mostly in Germany through the start of Vietnam. Even so, there was no shortage of action in his service.

"We had a great opportunity with "Operation Big Lift", when they airlifted all those troops over on maneuvers," says Andy.

He regrets not keeping in touch with those Army buddies. But that makes this trip with 90 other veterans all the more special.

"Once you're in the service you're in a brotherhood you'll never, ever loose. That's just the way it is. I don't care if you're Army, Navy, Marines or what. You're a brotherhood. That's what I loved about it and I still do," says Andy.

Andy saw the trip as an opportunity to pay tribute to people who died in battle. He couldn't believe anyone would want to honor his service. But his arrival in Washington proved him wrong.

Forty eight years after he left the Army, Andy got to see the memorial built to honor his generation of service men and women. What struck him most was seeing all the names of those who were lost.

"Sadness and shock of all these lives. It's just a waste... a waste," says Andy.

Like many veterans, some memories from war time still follow him. But what haunts him is how other soldiers were affected.

"The way those guys were treated when they came back from Nam; I'll never forget that. Because when you serve, you serve your country. And that's what those guys did. That's the sad part. I don't know, words can't express the way I feel about these guys. All of these guys. And this trip and what everybody's done for us," says Andy.

Seeing the memorial makes him feel like they're finally being treated properly.

"It's time. It's time for all of those troops. God bless them," says Andy.

But the Honor Flight folks didn't let Andy get away without his own fair share of being honored. When they got back from the trip he and his 90 brothers-in-arms got the hero's welcome many veterans didn't get all those years ago.

Tomorrow night we'll go along with the veterans to the World War Two memorial. It was the last of the major wars to get a memorial in D.C. You'll get to meet Joe, from Tomahawk. He'll tell us why he joined his four brothers in the war, even though he didn't have to.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.

If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.

"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.

Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.

"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/30/2015

- Find out how a local group is trying to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly population.

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

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.

Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.

"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."

A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.

Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.

"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.

The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.

For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.

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MADISON - Republican state senators are met behind closed doors Tuesday to talk about the three main issues that have held up passage of a Wisconsin state budget for the past month.

State Sen. Paul Farrow said Tuesday that senators planned to talk about roads funding, changes to the prevailing wage and the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks stadium plan.

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COLUMBUS, OH - A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg by an Ohio policeman firing at a dog is recovering after surgery as her family questions how the officer responded.

Columbus police say Ava Ellis was hit accidentally June 19 when an officer fired at a charging dog at a home in suburban Whitehall. Police say another relative had flagged down the officer for help after Ava's mother cut herself on glass.

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FERGUSON, MO - A Justice Department report summary has found across-the-board flaws in police's response last summer to the protests in Ferguson, including antagonizing crowds and violating free-speech rights.

The Associated Press obtained the summary, which cites "vague and arbitrary" orders to keep protesters moving that violated their rights of assembly and free speech.

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RHINELANDER - With July 4 just around the corner, many people plan their summer BBQs. As you head out to the yard or beach, there are a few precautions to keep in mind.

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