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NEWS STORIES

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

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.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Spirit of the North: water ski team wins state titleSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.

"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.

She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.

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Northwoods composite panels could mean improvements for home foundations Submitted: 07/23/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.

Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.

The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.

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Hoggie Doggies celebrates National Hot Dog DaySubmitted: 07/23/2014

WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.

Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.

The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.

"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."

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Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summerSubmitted: 07/23/2014

RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.

Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.

"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.

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EPA cleans up chemicals from Lindey Cleaners buildingSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - You could find EPA crews cleaning chemicals out of a building in Rhinelander Wednesday.

It's been a year and a half since the city decided something needed to be done about the deteriorating Lindey Cleaners.

You might not notice much change on the outside of Lindey Cleaners, but inside crews from the Environmental Protection Agency were hard at work.

The building on Stevens Street has been empty since 2009. EPA workers think 100 to 150 different chemicals were inside the building.

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Antigo Mayor vetoes ambulance purchase, wants to see city buy from local companySubmitted: 07/23/2014

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ANTIGO - The Antigo City Council will vote again to decide from which company they'll buy the city's newest ambulance.

The city council voted earlier this month to buy the cheapest ambulance.

Antigo's mayor vetoed that because he thinks buying a local ambulance is a better decision.

The Antigo City Council voted earlier in July to buy an ambulance from a company based out of Ohio.

The ambulance from Ohio was $66 cheaper than the bid from a company in Antigo, but the local ambulance would come with an extra year's warranty.

Antigo's mayor felt it was worth it to spend a little extra, that's why he vetoed the council's decision.

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Woman charged with embezzling money from Rescue Squad pleads no contestSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - An Argonne woman will spend time in jail for taking money from a Northwoods Rescue Squad.

Megan Statezny pled no contest in Forest County court Wednesday. She handled finances for the Crandon Area Rescue Squad.

Police say she admitted to spending more than $18,000 using a credit card that wasn't hers.

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