WAUSAU - Northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy didn't know just how much hunger and homelessness affects our communities.
A group of local pastors tuned him in to the problem.
"It surprised me. I think a lot of people aren't aware of how bad this problem is, and I thought I could be part of a growing solution to address those issues of hunger and homelessness in Wisconsin, especially right here in central Wisconsin," Duffy said.
Duffy hosted Wednesday's Hunger and Homelessness Summit in Wausau.
He says nearly 14 percent of people in central and northern Wisconsin faced food hardships in 2011 and 2012.
Thousands spent time in homeless shelters.
But how these issues look in our part of the state is much different than in other areas.
"I think when you think of homelessness, you often times think of urban centers. But the fact is, we have it right here. One of the issues is it's harder to address in smaller communities," Duffy said.
More than 125 people came together Wednesday to give their input and learn about hunger and homelessness issues.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Back in November, a 20-year-old Rhinelander man drove and crashed his car after a night of drinking, killing his best friend in the passenger seat.
That driver will now spend nine months in jail.
Randall J. Lego was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Friday.
He faced two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
According to court documents, Lego's car hit a power pole on River Road just outside Rhinelander.
The passenger, 23-year-old Jacob Juedes, was dead at the scene. Juedes was a husband and father of a young daughter.
Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Patrick O'Melia said it was a tragic set of circumstances.
"The only aggravating factor here, and when I say that I don't mean to diminish the loss here, but is the result of this accident," O'Melia said. "That is the only thing that is not in your favor, which is the result of the action and the permanency of it."
Some witnesses testified to Lego's character and pleaded with the judge to not give jail time.
But, Judge O'Melia sentenced Lego to nine months in jail and seven years probation.
"There's a lot of people in the community who have strong feelings about what should happen," O'Melia said. "But the court can't sentence on community anger or community empathy."
Lego must also complete 200 hours of community service, for which Judge O'Melia wants Lego to speak to kids and teens about his experience.
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