Teacher accused of selling pot got 'glowing recommendations' during hiring process
Story By Lex Gray
RHINELANDER - Police searched a Rhinelander High School teacher's house because they thought he had been stealing equipment from the school.
They say that's when they found 66 marijuana plants and a sophisticated grow operation. Since we reported that story last week, people have been asking how Joshua Juergens got hired in the first place.
"We got glowing recommendations," said superintendent Kelli Jacobi. "I don't know that those were all completely honest."
Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says the district did a background check on Juergens. That check turned up a record, as does a simple online search of Wisconsin's online court records.
In 2010, Juergens was convicted of disorderly conduct. In 1997, he was convicted of marijuana possession, both misdemeanors.
"We did know that there was a drug issue, a misdemeanor, I believe he was 19," Jacobi said. "We look at patterns in behavior. If something is a recurring thing in a background check, that definitely signals a problem."
But Jacobi says she can't factor certain convictions into the hiring process.
For now, Juergens is on unpaid leave from his teaching job. He'll stay in the Oneida County Jail unless he can come up with his $2,000 bail or get into a treatment facility.
MERRILL - The school bells rang Tuesday morning for students across Wisconsin.
Another school year has begun with kids looking forward to a new year.
It also means that drivers should be on the lookout around schools.
In Merrill, police keep a close watch around school zones the first few weeks of class.
Speed limits drop dramatically as drivers enter school zones.
Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff says it's important to be especially observant this time of year.
"Especially the first week or two of school because kids are excited, and maybe not so excited, about getting back to school," Neff said. "They're thinking about their friends and maybe not paying attention to traffic."
NORTHWOODS - Children went back to school across the Northwoods Tuesday. That's why it's important to make sure you're prepared for anything.
Emergency workers say it's important to have a plan in place for all possible emergency situations. That plan should include emergency contacts, safe meeting locations, and emergency kits in homes and cars. Officials say taking time to plan and practice is crucial.
"Look at things before it happens," says Dawn Robinson, Oneida County Emergency Management Program Assistant. "Make sure your family, your loved ones, your neighbors, make sure everyone has a plan and practice those plans. That way when something does happen, it becomes more, that you know what to do, so be prepared as much as possible, and practice."
Part of being prepared is communication and knowing who to contact. Officials encourage parents to make sure that schools have up-to-date emergency contact information, especially for small children.
RHINELANDER - We'll enjoy great weather this week, but we know it won't last too long. Workers at golf courses across the area know that incoming fall weather spells the end of their season, so they're trying to capitalize on the next few weeks of warm forecasts.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.