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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods County Looks at New System to Help ER Workers Get PagesSubmitted: 10/31/2011
Story By Dana Blado

VILAS COUNTY - Firefighters and EMS crews in areas like Presque Isle and Manitowish Waters aren't always getting the emergency pages Vilas County sends out.

To find out why, we have to take a look at government on the federal level.

This is how some of the pages from Vilas County come through in remote ares of the Northwoods.

That's if they even come through at all according to the Manitowish Waters Fire Chief.

Chief Skrobot says, "We can transmit to Vilas County, and we may or we may not get a response that's intelligible."

This story doesn't change much in Presque Isle where Fire Chief James Nelson says sometimes, listening for emergencies requires time since Vilas County dispatch has to individually choose towers to send out pages.

Chief Nelson says, "The people on one end of town will hear the first page, and the people on the other end of town might not hear it until the third page."

Lt. Gary Peske with the Vilas County Sheriff's Office says this is a result of the FCC's narrowbanding mandate.

He says narrowbanding reduces radio transmission width, which shortens the distance they travel...causing workers to miss pages. "Since the narrowbanding has been implemented, that radio transmission now might only travel 1 1/2 miles instead of the previous 2 miles."

To fix the problem, Peske says the county is looking into a simulcast system, which lets calls go out from multiple towers at the same time.

The total cost is estimated around $1 million.

Peske says, "Once we went to the narrowbanding, we anticipated we would lose some of the transmission distance, but we didn't know exactly how significant it was going to be until it actually happened."

But for Chiefs Nelson and Skrobot, it's money well spent. "We're really concerned about the people and getting care to them as quick as possible."

Keeping the lines of communication open when time is of the essence.

Peske says some funding for the simulcast system is available.

He says the rest would be considered into the budget, or written into a borrowing/leasing agreement.

Peske says once funding is secure, it will take only months for the system to get up and running.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
People Across the Northwoods are thankful for many thingsSubmitted: 11/27/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Aspects of your life that you are thankful for always seem to standout on Thanksgiving.

It did not take long to find people in Eagle River who were thankful for something's.

"I'm thankful I've got a house, I have a roof over my head I can eat every day, I have a job," said Eagle River's Brad Pagels. "There really isn't much I want for or lack for anything."

"I'm thankful for many many things but the one thing I can think of in particular is having the kindest wife in the world someone who I can love and respect for all my days," said Peoria, Illinois Native Ben Prichard.

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Rhinelander residents can give input on city's futureSubmitted: 11/27/2014

RHINELANDER - People living in Rhinelander will find something extra with their tax bills this year.

They'll get a survey.

Cities are required by law to create a comprehensive plan.

They create a new plan every decade.

City leaders hope the survey results will help them plan for the city's future.

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List of holiday events around northcentral Wisconsin this weekendSubmitted: 11/27/2014

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26th Annual Christmas
5-8 p.m.
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Chimney fire significantly damages Conover homeSubmitted: 11/27/2014

CONOVER - Firefighters blame a chimney fire for damaging a Conover home, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

The fire happened around 4:49 p.m. Thursday at 3950 E. Pioneer Rd. That's south east of Conover near Pioneer Lake.

The sheriff's office says the fire significantly damaged the house.

No one was hurt.

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How you can "Go Green" this holiday season Submitted: 11/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Many people "go green" by recycling or riding a bike instead of driving a car to work.

You can also "go green" by shopping this year.

Green Tuesday asks people to buy gifts in their communities.

It also encourages you to keep the environment in mind when shopping.

That could mean buying organic toys or clothes or even meals from organic restaurants.

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Friendship House provides free Thanksgiving meal for the communitySubmitted: 11/27/2014

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RHINELANDER - Many local businesses want to pay it forward this Thanksgiving. That includes Friendship House in Rhinelander.

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National forest seeking committee membersSubmitted: 11/27/2014

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One committee serves the Chequamegon portion of the forest in northwestern Wisconsin. The other serves the Nicolet portion in northeastern Wisconsin. Both panels work to improve relationships between forest users and advise forestry officials on which projects to undertake and spending.

Each committee is made up of 15 members who represent diverse interest groups. Members must be Wisconsin residents and be willing to serve a four-year term.

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