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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
Kids enjoy candy at Merrill's Labor Day ParadeSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - The rainy weather didn't stop some dedicated people from coming out to Merrill's Labor Day Parade.

People showed up with rain coats and umbrellas to enjoy their favorite floats.

The kids at the parade were looking forward to the candy.

"If there's no candy I'm not coming," says Nicholas Kriegel.

Leila Linnell got a lot of candy at the parade.

"There's a lot of people who just like throw out all this candy. I got three of these gigantic suckers. And it's like awesome," says Linnell.

Click on watch video to see the rest of the story.

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Merrill businesses find counterfeit billsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

MERRILL - Someone might be making counterfeit bills in the Merrill area.

Several businesses told Merrill Police they were paid with counterfeit money in the last few weeks.

There are many simple ways to tell if a bill is real or fake.

We have a guide, and you can access it by clicking below.

Within the past year, businesses in Antigo and bars in Rhinelander have had problems with counterfeit money.

Contact the Merrill Police Department if you have any information.

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Special chair offers people with disabilities new opportunitiesSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods, especially in the snow. For people with physical disabilities, it can seem almost impossible. A new piece of technology changed Bob Simon's life. Now he's hoping to help others with physical disabilities enjoy the outdoors.

"I used to love to hunt and fish," he said.

But when Simon, who is from Rhinelander, lost his legs during a work accident in 2008, he didn't know if he'd be able to enjoy the outdoors again.

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Manufacturer to move from Prentice to PhillipsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

PRICE COUNTY - The expansion of Northcentral Technical College's Phillips campus helped persuade one manufacturing company to move closer to the campus.

OEM Fabricators will move its Price County facility from Prentice to Phillips.

All 28 employees will also move to the larger shop, which will focus on welding.

The company's president said the tech college's manufacturing expansion factored into the decision.

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One person injured in Rhinelander crash Monday evening Submitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - A person got hurt during a one car crash near Rhinelander today.

The crash happened on North Shore Drive east of Rhinelander around 4pm.

Only one person was in the car.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Town of Pelican Fire Department and the Oneida County EMS were at the crash.

We don't know the cause of the crash yet.

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Lakeshore communities could be marine sanctuariesSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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MANITOWOC - Lakeshore communities from Two Rivers to Port Washington will able to apply for marine-sanctuary status, which could lead to protections for natural resources and improved research on shipwrecks.

An HTR Media report (http://htrne.ws/1lrd3Ix ) says the 875-square-mile area encompasses 33 known shipwrecks and countless others.

Sanctuaries are established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Agency spokeswoman Ellen Brody says she expects the first applications to begin arriving in the fall.

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Fewer people at Merrill's Labor Day Car Show because of weather Submitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - You wouldn't find as many people at this year's car show in Merrill compared to years past.

The car show usually gets about 2,000 people each year.

Organizers say they got about half of that this year because of the weather.

The Merrill Lions Club organizes the event.

This is one of the group's biggest fundraisers of the year.

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