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NEWS STORIES

Take a Tour of the Oconto Marijuana Grow SiteSubmitted: 09/06/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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RHINELANDER - Last week we saw one of the biggest drug busts in state history. Agents found millions of dollars in marijuana in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near the border of Oconto and Langlade Counties.

The Feds have given clearance for the media to trek out to the site. Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm was there today to bring you an inside look.

We headed into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to take a look at some of the sites where law enforcement cleared more than 8,000 marijuana plants last week.

A mile deep into the forest, we toured a few of the grow sites law enforcement raided last week. It's the third bust in three years; all reported by citizens. A fisherman spotted this one.

"There were marijuana plants six to eight feet tall right here," says Jeff Seefeldt, a Ranger with the US Forest Service.

In the last two busts the sites were fewer, and much larger. They were easier to see from far away. This one had 22 smaller sites. It wouldn't have been as easily seen from the air, so it seems the growers are paying attention. Add that to 1.5 million acres of forest land--- and few rangers to cover it-- it makes for a tough fight.

"People are going here, and going there, but still I can't cover 350,000 acres," says Seefeldt.

When asked if he thinks it's possible that there are sites just like this somewhere else, he said, "Very possible. I believe that."

Since people working on these large-scale don't typically leave, they end up in makeshift shelters like the one we saw on our trip. All the garbage that accumulates over the months they're here just ends up in big piles.

So why grow here in the Northwoods, where the growing season is so short?

"One of the reasons we think they're here is the abundant water supply. As you've seen with these sites we're right along a river. We have a lot of lakes and rivers in the Northwoods. It's really remote, it's easy to get away from people and not be found in these parts," says Suzanne Flory, a Public Affairs Officer for the US Forest Service.

What rangers most want people to know is it's dangerous to stick around if you stumble upon a grow site.

"If you see something unusual, especially from spring through summer when the growers would be on site, make sure you just leave real quietly. These people have been found to be armed and dangerous," says Flory.

Authorities say you don't need an up close look to know if something is wrong out there. When you're out in a remote area, and a large patch of land is cleared with other plants in their place, leave immediately and contact your local forestry department.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Opening weekend deer hunt number downSubmitted: 11/23/2014

RHINELANDER - Hunters from all over got out on opening weekend to enjoy the start of gun hunting season.

But this year's opening weekend hasn't been as successful as last year's.

About 103 total deer were registered on opening day.

DNR workers say that number is actually down 25% from last season, and that downward trend is continuing into Sunday.

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Bottled milk makes a comback in Crandon Submitted: 11/23/2014

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CRANDON - Not many people buy bottled milk anymore. But a locally owned store in Crandon recently brought it back.

"Grandpa sold bottled milk in 1935 when he came to Crandon and for many years after that,"

Now third generation Jay Schaefer is continuing the tradition at Schaefer's IGA in Crandon.

He's selling another locally owned business product on his shelves.

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Rhinelander Premier Resort Tax will be on spring ballotSubmitted: 11/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - Some Wisconsin cities rely on tax money from tourists to pay for certain things.

Rhinelander's city administrator wants to know if people would support raising sales tax on tourism related businesses.

The question will be on the ballot next spring.

City leaders think the extra tax could bring in about $400,000 every year.

Businesses like restaurants and department stores would see the increase.

The money would help improve the city's roads.

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DNR announces new wetland restoration planSubmitted: 11/23/2014

MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources and federal environmental officials have developed a new plan to promote wetland restoration.

Currently the DNR requires parties that get permits to fill in wetlands to offset the impact by either restoring wetlands elsewhere or by purchasing credits from banks established by other entities that have done restoration work.

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Steps to prepare for freezing rain Submitted: 11/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We could see freezing rain in the Northwoods Sunday. If we do, leaders in Oneida County want people to be prepared.

The Oneida County Emergency Management director says it's hard to tell when the roads are slippery. So they want you to take your time on the roads and on the sidewalks.

"Freezing rain, a lot of times you can't tell that it's actually frozen. The ground is frozen," said Oneida County Emergency Management director Ken Kortenhof. "So even when you're walking on your sidewalks, stuff like that, be careful not to slip. Make sure if you have salt you can salt your sidewalks so you don't have problems there as well."

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Door County fish business subject of federal probe Submitted: 11/22/2014

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MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin company that processes Great Lakes fish for sale worldwide has been caught up in a federal investigation into the illegal trafficking of lake trout, lake sturgeon, whitefish and walleye.

Court records show U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents set up a fake fish store in L'Anse, Michigan, recorded conversations, and raided Dan's Fish in the northeastern Wisconsin city of Sturgeon Bay in Door County.

No criminal charges have been filed, but search warrants served as part of the investigation were recently unsealed.

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Empty Bowls event fills Rothschild with soup, hopeSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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ROTHSCHILD - The Rothschild Pavilion couldn't easily hold the huge number of people on Saturday who wanted something simple " soup.

Lines snaked out the door for the 7th annual Empty Bowls event.

Everyone who tried one of 41 different soups will help fight hunger for others in northcentral Wisconsin.

"It's a true reflection of the caring quality of Marathon County," said The Neighbors' Place Executive Director Tom Rau.

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