RHINELANDER - Siphanh Phongsavath waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday morning.
Phongsavath faces five charges, two of which are felonies.
Charges include burglary and attempt of misdemeanor theft.
Phongsavath is charged with breaking into the Rhinelander Verizon store back in November.
Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Steve Michlig thinks Phongsavath's choice to waive the preliminary hearing benefits the state.
"This is a case which is a little bit unusual than other cases we have. there are allegations of other charges from other jurisdictions. I think before we resolve this case, we're going to have to take a look at what's going on in the other jurisdictions, including the potential for perhaps some federal charges," said Michlig.
Phongsavath is also suspected to be part of the Latin Kings gang.
The district attorney's office is hopeful the case will be resolved quickly.
"With the potential for other charges out there, it does offer the state a certain amount of leverage," said Michlig."The defendant has many things to worry about and I think that hopefully, it will lead to the ability to resolve this case with a result favorable to the state and probably more promptly than otherwise."
Phongsavath entered a not guilty plea. He'll be back in court March 18.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
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