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NEWS STORIES

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

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.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Accused driver had received license only weeks before deadly crash, case moves forwardSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.

Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.

New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.

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Hawkins Library incorporates science into their summer reading programSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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"The whole idea is to get kids excited about reading, to keep them coming to the library to check out great books, and hopefully have some happy teachers at the end of the summer," says Hawkins Library Director Arlene Mabie.

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Former school janitor will spend three years in prison for having child porn Submitted: 07/31/2014

PHELPS - A former janitor for the School District of Phelps will spend three years in prison for having child porn.

Richard Buell, 62, pled guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography.

The district attorney dismissed the eight other counts of child pornography.

Buell will also spend three years on extended supervision.

He can't have any contact with children.

He also can't have access to a computer or the internet.

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Look out for fake checksSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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Police believe a white man, a white woman and a black man are trying to use the checks in the area.

The group is driving a white four door Mercury Cougar. There should be damage on the driver's side hood above the headlight.

Police say the checks have business names of Grainger, Viking Electric and Northwoods fire protection. They also may be written out to Renee Reefer, Renee Rewler or Joseph Norris.

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Update-Man dead after being pulled from a Vilas County LakeSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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The Sheriff's Department says the man was in Upper Buckatabon Lake in Conover.

They now say the man collapsed over the side of his boat before being rescued from the water.

The first call to the sheriff's department yesterday afternoon said it appeared the man was hit by his own boat.

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Sokaogon Chippewa Health Fair draws attention to well-being on reservation with unique challengesSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds voter identification lawSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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But that law remains blocked by a federal court decision.

The law was struck down in April by a federal judge in Milwaukee.

His ruling is under appeal.

A federal appeals court would have act for the voter I-D law to take effect.

Four lawsuits have been filed over the law passed in 2011.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued rulings in two cases on the question Thursday morning, concluding in both that the law was constitutional.

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