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NEWS STORIES

Lincoln Co. to Try New Method For Repeat OWI OffendersSubmitted: 11/14/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


MERRILL - Statistics show Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of drunken driving in the nation. That's why Lincoln County wants to take steps to tackle a growing problem: repeat OWIs.

Almost one third of all OWI arrests nationwide are for repeat offenders. The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.

It's a problem Lincoln County Judge Jay Tlusty is trying to battle with an OWI court.

Treatment court is something more and more counties across the country are trying.

Lincoln County averages 169 drunk driving arrests every year. Judge Tlusty says a good number of those are repeat offenders.

"Not only would this save money and the judicial resources that are used on it, but also hopefully someday prevent an accident where someone is on a repeat drunk driving situation," says Judge Tlusty.

Criminal DUI convictions already often come with alcohol abuse assessment requirements. But Judge Tlusty says this would be more intensive and their progress would be followed by the court.

"It's part of their sentence that they would be participating in this program if that's something they're prepared to participate in," says Judge Tlusty.

Start up costs will be covered by left over funds from a program that was cut earlier this year.

Judge Tlusty hopes the program will be up and running by spring.

Marathon, Price and Taylor Counties have started these programs and have seen some success. Judge Tlusty says success can be hard to measure.

"The one thing you can't measure is the negative, the things that did not happen because of this. You can't measure the accident that didn't happen, the injury that didn't happen, the death that didn't happen. You can't measure that," says Judge Tlusty.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Tiffany, Wisconsin GOP skeptical of billions of dollars of budget requests from state agenciesSubmitted: 11/22/2014

MINOCQUA - A quick glance at Wisconsin's governmental finances could convince you the state has a hole to fill.

Projections show the state will take in $2.2 billion fewer than its agencies want to spend from mid-2015 to mid-2017.

The state legislature and Gov. Scott Walker will need to figure out how to make the numbers work.

Northwoods Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) points out the money the agencies want is more than the agencies will get.

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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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Wives and girlfriends enjoy Holiday Open HouseSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The start of the deer hunting season normally leaves wives and girlfriends at home by themselves, but an organization in Rhinelander wants to get them out of the house.

This was the first time Downtown Rhinelander Inc. hosted Holiday Open House Saturday. Businesses along Brown street welcomed wives, girlfriends and families into the their stores.

The owner of Hext Theater in Rhinelander believes this is kind of like a kick-off for the holiday season.

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Wisconsin gun hunt beginsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

MADISON - A Wisconsin tradition is continuing as the state's nine-day gun deer hunt gets underway.

The season opens as the sun rises Saturday and will run through Nov. 30. Forecasts for opening weekend called for freezing rain and fog with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s both days.

As of Wednesday the state Department of Natural Resources had sold 615,644 licenses, about 15,400 fewer than at the same point last year. The agency sold 635,165 licenses in all last year.

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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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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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2 men on sinking boat are rescued on Lake MichiganSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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The Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office responded to a call from a man who said his boat was taking on water at about 11 a.m. The boat was less than a mile off the coast of Belgium, Wisconsin, according to the sheriff's office.

The men and their boat were recovered and brought back to shore.

A 31-year-old man from Oak Creek was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. A 24-year-old Neshkoro man was uninjured. Neither man has been identified.

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