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NEWS STORIES

Raising money to bring Connie McCallister home Submitted: 11/17/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


ATHENS - Connie McCallister went missing nine years ago.

She was 16 years old when she went to a party with her 22 year old boyfriend in Milwaukee.

That's when her family believes she was drugged and taken to Mexico by her boyfriend.

It was nine years before police we're contacted by McCallister this September.

Since that, the family has been trying to get her and her three kids back in Wisconsin.

But some claim the family knew where she was all along.

"That is completely untrue and unfounded. But now I'm not looking back, only forward and I'm looking forward to her coming home." said Connie's aunt, Florence Volzka.

McCallister's aunt is leading the effort to get McCallister home.

But that could cost thousands of dollars.

That's why Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens held a soup dinner to raise money today.

"It is not inexpensive. There's a lot of legalities. She had no proof of identification, so it's very hard." Volzka said.

Volzka first talked to McCallister on Skype in September.

She now talks with her every day on the phone.

"On her first one, she was ecstatic, nervous. We both cried. And I got to see her on that one," said Volzka.

"Now it's all through telephone. She's a tough young lady I'll tell ya. From a lot of things that I know now that I didn't know then."

Volzka doesn't know when McCallister will come home.

Wausau police are working with the FBI and her family to help her get back home.

You can help by sending donations to Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens or Athens Area Credit Union.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

SHAWANO - A minivan hit and killed a construction worker in Shawano County Tuesday.

30-year-old Derek Stempa of Shawano had been flagging traffic.

68-year-old Dennis St. John of Hurley was driving the minivan when he struck Stempa.

The Shawano County Highway Department had been doing road work in the area.

That's on Highway 47 near the Menominee Indian Reservation.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is in charge of the investigation.

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RHINELANDER - Students at Rhinelander High School hoped they would be driving home in a new car Wednesday afternoon. The prize was part of the school's year-end celebration. The car was the top prize connected to the school's Positive Behavior Initiatives and Supports initiative.

This is the third year that the school district has been involved with the initiative. Throughout the year students who display good behaviors such as being on time and assisting others in the classroom can receive special green cards.

These cards are collected and are put into drawings where students can win prizes such as free pizzas from Dominos. The drawings are a weekly event but the green cards are also held over the year for an end of the year grand prize drawing.

Brittany Haakenson, an art teacher at Rhinelander High School, has been very involved with the initiative and the planning for Wednesday's assembly. She was excited for the work the initiative has been able to accomplish and for the grand prize; a new car. "It's totally random and whoever gets that special key, there is going to be six keys that won't open the car, but there will be that one winner," said Haakenson.

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WISCONSIN - The bee population could be in danger. Beekeepers in the US lost more than 42% of their colonies in the past year, according to the Bee Informed Partnership. In Wisconsin, beekeepers lost even more than that.

Some beekeepers in Wisconsin lost more than 60% of their colonies over the past year. They think long Wisconsin winters could be one of the reasons why so many bees die.

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MONTREAL, WI - Three-year-old Kolton Ouellette spends his days in a crib, a chair, or a piece of equipment that looks like it belongs in a hospital.

Kolton is not like most three-year-olds. He can't walk, he can't talk, and in fact, he can't even open his eyes fully.

Nineteen months have passed since the crime that put Kolton in this state, suffering from severe and permanent brain damage.

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MERRILL - A one-of-a kind business opened in Merrill this month.   Again and Again is part resale and part online auction, using its own website. The owner moved the business from Wausau after three years partly due to competition.

"In Wausau, I would say yes, the market was already full," said Again and Again Owner Jody Malsack. "You were competing against people that were friends of yours and you knew, and you don't want to step on too many toes. So here (Merrill) it's kind of unique to this area, and I like it that way."

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Rain, storms affect golf seasonSubmitted: 05/27/2015

RHINELANDER - The rainy weather could be hurting some golf courses in the Northwoods. The Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander has had fewer golfers than normal this month.

The club usually has many people pre-book their tee-times for the summer. But this year, not as many people are doing that. The club says it actually had more golfers playing in April than in May this year.

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DNR plans Free Fun WeekendSubmitted: 05/27/2015

WISCONSIN - You might save some money if you decide to go hiking or fishing next weekend. Free Fun Weekend happens statewide on June 6th and 7th. The DNR lets people fish without a license on state waters both days and state parks also waive entrance fees.

"We seem to have a lot more users that want to come in and see what the park is about, take a trip on one of the trails," said Council Ground State Park Superintendent Dawn Bishop. "We do see an increase in use for that weekend."

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