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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
Dog kills 7-year-old boy in eastern WisconsinSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOWN OF HUSTISFORD - A 7-year-old boy has died after being severely bitten by a dog in Dodge County of eastern Wisconsin.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the incident was reported just before 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Town of Hustisford.

Lt. Brian Loos says that a 911 caller said the boy was bleeding profusely. He says dispatchers began to talk the mother through CPR while numerous agencies responded. But the child died at the scene despite extensive lifesaving efforts.

The statement says names, addresses and additional information about the nature of the incident and the dog won't be released for now out of respect to the family.

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Early Halloween celebrationsSubmitted: 10/25/2014

RHINELANDER - Halloween won't be here until next week but the celebration has already begun in the Northwoods.

Hundreds of kids took over the streets of Rhinelander Saturday. They all had one goal in mind...candy!

For many of the kids, this was the second time they've gone trick or treating. Hundreds of people got candy at the YMCA's Not So Scary Halloween Trail.

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Wisconsin sex offenders must stay home HalloweenSubmitted: 10/25/2014

MADISON - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin's 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, says they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says his officers will be out both this weekend and next reminding registrants they're being watched.

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Teen building sugar shack to help school's science department, become Eagle ScoutSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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Wisconsin insurers signing up same-sex couplesSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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The special enrollment period is needed because gays and lesbians who got married this summer were unable to add spouses to their coverage amid the uncertainty surrounding the legal status of their marriages.

People generally can make changes to a health plan during the year only after a ``life-changing'' event, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth or adoption of a child.

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Suspect sought in 2 stabbings near UW-OshkoshSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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Police say the second victim chased the suspect, another struggle ensued, and he was also stabbed.

A university statement says both students were seriously injured but are recuperating at an area hospital.

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A family remembers father's legacy, cycling changed his life Submitted: 10/24/2014

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