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Lake protection agencies receive AIS grant moneySubmitted: 10/23/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Northwoods lake agencies will get nearly $500,000 dollars from the state to fight aquatic invasive species.

The largest sum, $122,576, will be used to fight invasive species in the Unified Lower Eagle River chain of Lakes. The money will help with removal.

It will also help keep the unwanted species from spreading.

Michele Sadauskas, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Oneida County, says prevention is the key.

"We're trying to put that money into prevention to stop it from even getting into a lake," Sadauskas said.

Sadauskas says 10 percent of lakes in Oneida County have invasive species.

The grant money will help pay for people to get rid of the species before they can spread.

"What we're trying to do is find it quick and manage it," Sadauskas said. "If we find it quick enough, we can just even hand pull the Eurasian (water milfoil) out of the water to where we don't have to use chemicals."

That's because chemicals are expensive. It can cost nearly $1,000 dollars an acre to treat lakes with invasive species.

Groups in Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln, Langlade and Price county received a total of $487,185 to handle aquatic invasive species.

A Minocqua/Kawaguesaga Lake proposal was not accepted. The group requested $199,958 for invasive species clean up. Despite the recent denial, the group has received $341,986 from the Wisconsin DNR over the years.

Sadauskas will use the funds to hire limited term employees for the summer to help spot and deal with invasive species.

The Oneida County Land and Water Department will host two Clean Boat, Clean Water workshops and present to schools to promote prevention of AIS.





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ONEIDA COUNTY - Within a few hours, a jury found a Fox Valley man guilty of stealing things from the house where Ashlee Martinson killed Thomas and Jennifer Ayers Thursday.

The two-day trial for Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukauna, finished up Thursday afternoon, following a morning of the defense arguing it was all part of Spietz's job.

Spietz was a contract worker for a company called TruAssets, which secures abandoned or foreclosed homes throughout the country. The company is based in Arizona.

On Thursday, Spietz testified that in September and October, he took ATVs, bows, a John Deere tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the house to try and secure it for his employer.

"My experience with the work order is that it is our job to make sure the property is secured," Spietz said. "Obviously if I can open the doors and get into it, anybody can open the doors and get into it. So I ended up removing the ATVs with the trailer and them bringing them back to Kaukauna to lock up in my storage facility where they would be under lock and key for the future for whatever the bank decided they wanted to do with their property."

In the criminal complaint, however, Spietz told investigators he took the purse because he thought his wife would like it.

But the state argued Thursday he technically didn't have permission from the company to be at the house after the first visit. Oneida County District Attorney Mike Schiek presented Spietz with the original work order form TruAssets assigned him. The document specifically stated not to remove any personal property from the house, and that contract workers should submit a bid for the property if they do take it from the house.

Schiek then argued Spietz specifically targeted the empty house because he knew its owners were dead.

"Looking back, what did you think you saw?" Schiek asked Spietz during his cross examination.

"Couple spots on the floor, large, dark spots," Spietz responded.

"Knowing what you know now, do you know what that was?" Schiek asked.

"To the best of my knowledge that's where they were killed," Spietz replied.

Spietz's attorney Brian Bennett said since Spietz is not from the area, he wouldn't have known the homicides happened at the house. He argued there was no sign saying no trespassing, nor had he had any knowledge the house was in probate.

"He used his best judgment based on his experience," Bennett said during his closing argument. "Which makes him quite possibly, if he's a burglar, the worst burglar in the world."

Bennett added Spietz gets little supervision from TruAssets, as Spietz testified he has never met a person from the company.

"It seems like a burden to have to come up here, pick up the stuff, store it, mess around with it, hold onto the titles, make sure it doesn't get stolen," Bennett said during his closing argument. "That's not a jackpot, that's a burden." 

Spietz will be sentenced in October. 

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