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Wisc. libraries to get broadband boost Submitted: 02/10/2014

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


THREE LAKES - You could soon get to your favorite websites faster in parts of Central and
Northern Wisconsin.

The state will use $4.2 million from the federal government to boost broadband
at libraries in Wisconsin.

That includes the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes. Demmer Memorial
Library Director Janet Dixon says the upgrade will make their internet three
times faster for the same price they pay now.

"Our patrons are doing a lot of research on our computers now and sometimes
they're awfully slow and we would really like to have that consistent speed for
them," Dixon said.

More than 350 libraries across Wisconsin will get the internet speed boost.

Dixon says the fiber broadband will get their connection from 3mbps to 10mbps.
She believes the upgrade will help rural areas avoid falling behind in
technology and opportunity.

"I think the speed is important for them (patrons)," Dixon said. "So we want to
be able to provide that even though we're up here in the Northwoods, we want to
have good internet service."

Workers will start laying the broadband fiber lines in April. That means
libraries could get the broadband boost by November. State Superintendent Tony
Evers is excited for the project.

"More than 60 percent of our public libraries report inadequate Internet
connection speeds to serve library patrons," Evers said in a press release.
"Many of our libraries are the only public Internet access in their small, rural
communities. Our libraries provide online education resources for students of
all ages including BadgerLink services for job seekers and information on
government services so this upgrade of Internet connectivity will be a welcome
improvement across the state."

Planning for the project started in 2013 and is a part of improving the state's
BadgerNet broadband connection.




Related Weblinks:
List of Libraries getting fiber broadband upgrade

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 IN OTHER NEWS

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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - We now know who were the three people killed during Wednesday's double-murder suicide in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says  36-year-old Justin Bohn of Wisconsin Rapids shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 3-year-old son, Devon.



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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County will need to fill a vacancy soon at the district attorney's office.

The current DA, Al Moustakis, has filed paperwork showing that he won't run for re-election.

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TOMAHAWK - A renovation can do a lot for a business, like boost sales. But for one Tomahawk business, its new look won the store an award.

Many people were excited when the Essence Boutique in Tomahawk won a Wisconsin Main Street award for Best Interior Design. But none more so than the owner, Jenna Meier.

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RHINELANDER - Large machinery moved north and parking spots disappeared on Brown Street in Rhinelander this week.  The city's $9.8 million downtown reconstruction project continued its push, closing down Brown Street from Davenport to Rives Monday.

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