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New Chamber director excited for new year full of opportunitiesSubmitted: 01/10/2017

Katie Thoresen
Senior Producer
kthoresen@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - The new year brings new changes to Rhinelander.

Maggie Steffen started as the new executive director at the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce last week. 

She replaces Bill Clow, who was let go by the Chamber board of directors last October. 

As a Rhinelander native and former executive director of Downtown Rhinelander Inc., Steffen knows the area well and is excited to serve the community. 


"I think the whole city itself is posed in a very interesting spot right now, and it's going to be really fun to be a part of it and the Chamber is a big part of a lot of things that happen, not only in the community but in the area," Steffen said.

Steffen hopes she won't be the only new face at the Chamber this year.

The Board of Directors is currently looking for new board members. 

"We're going to start doing things and we need an active board, and we need people that have great resources, that can help us, both personally or just because they know someone, people that are willing to devote a little bit of their time. We're not asking for a lot of their time," said Steffen. "Pick a project, pick a program, and help us get it done and get it out there."

If you're interested in joining the board of directors, you should reach out to the Chamber of Commerce.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/26/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Courthouse for day 3 of the trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets who is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at knife point in July 2015.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness wants to work with landlords to help people get back on their feet. We talk to the housing program team leader about a meeting coming up in Rhinelander that will allow landlords to share information that can help the homeless find places to rent.

And we talk with The Forest County Health Department director about a program that is encouraging people to limit their time with TV, computers, iPhones and other types of screens for a week.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he hopes President Donald Trump's aggressive negotiating style will get Canadian officials to delay policy changes that will evaporate the demand for Wisconsin milk producers.

Walker said Wednesday that Trump's retaliatory move to impose tariffs on Canadian lumber was aggressive but appreciated.

Dozens of Wisconsin dairy farmers lost a market for their milk after Canada announced plans to change its dairy pricing policy to favor domestic milk.

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RHINELANDER - Rent can eat up more than half of a person's income when they earn minimum wage. That can lead to missed rent payments and even homelessness.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness, or N*WISH, wants to work the landlords to keep people housed.

"This is a new initiative, I guess, to try to build landlord relationships and awareness of homelessness and people in need," said Housing Program team leader Lori Hallas.

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RHINELANDER - People with developmental disorders can hear plenty of negatives when it comes to succeeding in school. That's why a Northwoods school offers a program to help these students prove the doubters wrong.

Nicolet College offers Jump! Start, which helps people with special needs go to college and prepare for the workforce.

College student Ashley Mathy has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition listed on the autism spectrum.

As a high school senior, she was told she would never make it to college because she would fail.

"You're going to have failures. You're going to have people tell you that you can't do things all the time whether you have a disability or you don't have one. And you just have to prove them wrong because if you don't, then you'll just let failure take you away," said Mathy.

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VILAS COUNTY - Day three of the trial for Rodney Teets brought a variety of witnesses to the stand.

The 36-year-old Vilas County man is accused of three counts of sexual assault.

Wednesday began with testimony from a slew of law enforcement.

Each of them went over the night the woman accusing Teets of sexual assault called 9-1-1 .

Prosecutors showed the clothes police believe Teets was wearing that night and showed the knife police found in the pocket.

It is unclear if this is the same knife with which investigators believe Teets threatened the woman.

Next, the court heard from the sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE nurse, who examined the woman in the case.

The nurse read from her report that night, referring to the woman as "the patient."

"The patient appears alert, awake, cooperative, tearful," the SANE nurse testified.

Defense attorney Steven Lucareli asked the SANE nurse if she noticed the woman was hurt.

"No physical injuries whatsoever, whether violent or not?" Lucareli asked. The nurse confirmed this was true.

Then, a DNA analyst from the state crime lab testified she found Teets's DNA from the samples the SANE nurse sent to her.

Lucareli pointed out that the analyst couldn't say how the DNA might have gotten there.

"The DNA doesn't tell us anything about whether a rape occurred?" Lucareli asked. The analyst confirmed this was true.

Prosecutors will call their last two witnesses Thursday, including the main detective in the case. Then the defense will begin presenting its argument.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes you'll sample some of the area's best salads and win some prizes on Saturday.

The pantry is hosting the Garden Fresh Salad Bowl event at Holiday Acres. It's a fundraiser for the pantry, and several local restaurants are participating.

"It should be a very nice event. It's a beautiful setting," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen. "We've got 12 different restaurants that have contributed salads toward this."

About half of the crowd will win handcrafted door prizes from the Northwoods Turners. The event runs from 11 to 1. Tickets are available at the food pantry, CT's Deli, Forth Floral, and People's State Bank.

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RHINELANDER - A wild animal held up traffic on Highway 17 back in December. 

A two - year- old bear was approaching cars just south of Rhinelander.

The bear has been at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander since December 23.

But Rehab Director Mark Naniot found out last week the DNR will release the bear back into the wild.

"The DNR said that they would take the risk to go ahead and do the release and that's what we do here is release animals," said Naniot. 

"Of course it's a bigger dangerous animal and we didn't want to have the liability on us to say that we were the ones that made that decision."

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