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NEWS STORIES

Central Wis. Man Gets Ten Years for Texting & Driving HomicideSubmitted: 11/12/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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RHINELANDER - A central Wisconsin man will spend a decade in prison for killing a man by texting and driving.

John French admitted to texting his girlfriend and speeding right before he ran a stop sign and slammed into two cars in 2010. He killed 32-year-old Robert Walker.

Today a Wood County Judge sentenced the 23-year-old to ten years in prison, and seven additional years of extended supervision.

The crash happened the same month Wisconsin's texting and driving law went into effect in 2010.

"You're not allowed to compose a text message or email message and send it. That's utilizing your fine motor skills of typing into a keyboard because it's taking your attention away from operating that motor vehicle," says Lt. Lloyd Gauthier, from the Oneida County Sheriff's Department.

It can be tough to enforce this law because it's hard to see exactly what people are doing. There are plenty of complexities to it too. You can't type or send a text, but the law doesn't keep you from reading one or even going on the internet. But the law still makes room for that.

"It's specifically sub-categorized as inattentive driving. So if we're investigating a motor vehicle accident and the driver is telling us that they were reading a text message on their phone and not focusing on driving, yes, the appropriate citation would be inattentive driving," says Lt. Gauthier.

The fine for inattentive driving is the same as texting and driving, up to $400. In both cases you can lose four points on your license. Still, two penalties that are much better than taking someone's life.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Fire exit sign caused school fireSubmitted: 11/21/2014

PRENTICE - Administrators now know what caused a fire in the Prentice School art room, and it's ironic.

A sign that guides people to an exit in case of a fire shorted out.

The fire happened last Tuesday. No one was in the school at the time because of a snow day. The fire was contained to the art room.

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DNR to ask for first revisions to invasives listSubmitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources' board is set to consider next month whether to make the first revisions to the state's invasive species list since it was created in 2009.

The DNR has proposed classifying 49 more species as prohibited, which means people can't sell, possess or transport them and must destroy them if they find them on their property.

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Tomahawk Future Business Leaders design t-shirts for eventSubmitted: 11/21/2014

TOMAHAWK - People won't have trouble finding blaze orange in shops across the Northwoods.

One group of Northwoods students is capitalizing on the popularity of the hunting season.

Tomahawk High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) designed and sold shirts at Friday's 49th Annual Venison Feed.

The young business students did more than just put a design on a t-shirt and sell them.

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Going above and beyond in the classroom; Meet the special ed teacher who's Submitted: 11/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - Teachers can be influential and important people in children's lives.

For the ones that go above and beyond in the classroomâ€"it's the students who benefit.

A Crescent Elementary School special education teacher is really making a difference in her student's lives.

Amy Scholz works with four students.


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Some Northwoods school districts give students longer Thanksgiving break for deer huntSubmitted: 11/21/2014

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CRANDON - Students in some Northwoods school districts won't go to school at all next week.

The districts decided not to stand in the way of family hunting traditions.

The School District of Crandon gave students Friday and all of next week off.

They've been giving students the week of Thanksgiving off for as long as anyone can remember.

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Minocqua Winter Park will open weekend after Thanksgiving DaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

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MINOCQUA - Winter enthusiasts will get an extra treat this Thanksgiving weekend in the Northwoods.

Minocqua Winter Park will open up again for a small session during the Friday through Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

This comes just after the park opened for a few days last weekend.

The park doesn't normally open earlier than December, but because of the success of last week's session the park wants to open up again.

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Early snowfall, windy conditions give best condition for early kite skiingSubmitted: 11/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods man believes our early winter has laid the foundation for early kite skiing. The combination of snow and wind gives Mark Collar the chance to use his skis and his kite.

Collar calls wind a friend, but that sometimes seems like the only friend at first.

"There is certainly a learning curve," Collar said. "When you're beginning you're falling."

But the falling didn't stop Collar from falling in love with the sport.

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