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NEWS STORIES

Bomb Squad Keeps Northwoods SafeSubmitted: 12/12/2012

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RHINELANDER - The Marathon-Oneida Bomb Squad takes action only once in a while.

But it's often involved in the most critical situations in the Northwoods.

The squad serves 28 counties across the northern part of the state.

It's often on the scene for not only bomb threats, but also hazardous spills, hostage situations, and other dangerous assignments.

"There are other threats to our communities beyond what we always had visualized in the past, and this is a response to that," says Lt. Chad Billeb of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.

A critical team member of the bomb squad isn't a person - it's a $400,000 robot.

The robot is remote controlled, and can see, hear, and even speak through a microphone.

"What the robot does is it allows emergency responders, not just law enforcement but firefighters, hazardous materials teams, to go in and check out a scene or a situation without risking human life," Billeb says.

Dep. Dan Semmerling
Oneida County Sheriff's Department ยป

"The safety there is, we're sending a machine down where we can stay remote, operate that, and stay at a safe distance," says Oneida County Deputy Dan Semmerling.

But the bomb squad is much more than just the robot.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading around NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A virus that usually affects kids seems to be spreading around the Northwoods.

Pediatricians we spoke with have seen more people with hand, foot and mouth disease come in during the last month.

The symptoms include a fever, mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, but the rash can be found on other parts of the body.

The infection is spread through close contact including through saliva, coughing and sneezing.

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Three Lakes business enjoying a successful first summer in businessSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods store offering a little bit of everything calls its first summer in business a success so far.

Three Lakes Mercantile and General Store opened up earlier this summer.

Every inch of the store is covered with something.

The store manager says that it's a "one stop shop" for anything you need.

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Hwy 51 closed near IrmaSubmitted: 07/29/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - Wisconsin State Patrol shut down Highway 51 South near Irma Tuesday afternoon.

An SUV hit a semi around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. No one was seriously hurt.

Traffic going south was rerouted while traffic going north was fine.

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Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Wabeno man pleads guilty to hurting toddler, could face future chargesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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CRANDON - A Northwoods boy will never walk or talk again. That's because Brandon Brunette threw the boy across a room.

Brunette pled guilty to one felony for child abuse in Forest County court Tuesday. He could spend as many as 40 years in prison.

Brunette was originally charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dropped, as part of a plea deal.

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Election voting under way in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MILWAUKEE - Early election voting is underway at city clerks' offices across Wisconsin.

Voters who can't make it to the polls for the primary election next month are able to cast ballots. It's the first election since the Legislature put limits on the process. In-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is to take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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