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Preventing Septic Systems From FreezingSubmitted: 01/16/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - Bare ground, no snowmobiling, and freezing fingers and toes might seem like the worst of this winter's no-snow problems.

But there's one more - this weather might make your septic system freeze.

By the time temperatures drop this low, there's usually enough snow to insulate the ground.

That's not the case this week.

But you can still prevent problems before you have to call a service company.

"I personally am going to put hay over my septic system," said A-1 Septic Service owner Tom Arts. "A lot of people don't know exactly where their drain field is, or they don't know exactly where the pipe is that goes to the drain field. In a case like that, they're better off to spend a few extra dollars get a little bit more straw and put more straw down."

Putting down four to six inches of straw could save you thousands of dollars.

Another easy fix - reduce foot traffic.

Arts says a lot of people feed deer, let their dogs out, and run vehicles over their drain field.

"That's one of the worst things, because that foot traffic of deer or dogs or even people, for that matter, drives the frost down," he said. "It can create problems."

You'll know when your system freezes when the alarm goes off or when waste water backs up into your lowest point of plumbing.

That's usually a floor drain in your basement.

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RHINELANDER - Rent can eat up more than half of a person's income when they earn minimum wage. That can lead to missed rent payments and even homelessness.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness, or N*WISH, wants to work the landlords to keep people housed.

"This is a new initiative, I guess, to try to build landlord relationships and awareness of homelessness and people in need," said Housing Program team leader Lori Hallas.

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RHINELANDER - A wild animal held up traffic on Highway 17 back in December. 

A two - year- old bear was approaching cars just south of Rhinelander.

The bear has been at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander since December 23.

But Rehab Director Mark Naniot found out last week the DNR will release the bear back into the wild.

"The DNR said that they would take the risk to go ahead and do the release and that's what we do here is release animals," said Naniot. 

"Of course it's a bigger dangerous animal and we didn't want to have the liability on us to say that we were the ones that made that decision."

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WISCONSIN - Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes you'll sample some of the area's best salads and win some prizes on Saturday.

The pantry is hosting the Garden Fresh Salad Bowl event at Holiday Acres. It's a fundraiser for the pantry, and several local restaurants are participating.

"It should be a very nice event. It's a beautiful setting," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen. "We've got 12 different restaurants that have contributed salads toward this."

About half of the crowd will win handcrafted door prizes from the Northwoods Turners. The event runs from 11 to 1. Tickets are available at the food pantry, CT's Deli, Forth Floral, and People's State Bank.

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CRANDON - Cutting down your time in front of a digital screen can be a tough task.

But the Forest County Health Department wants you to make a special effort to limit screen time next week. It's encouraging people to participate in Screen-Free Week.

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TOMAHAWK - Unless you find yourself in trouble, you don't usually sit down and talk with a cop. 

The Tomahawk Police Department held its monthly Coffee with a Cop meeting Wednesday morning.

It gives people the chance to pull up a chair and talk to Chief Al Elvins about their questions or concerns.

Those concerns change with the season. 

Warmer weather means kids will be out of school soon and there'll be more foot traffic.
 
And don't forget about those motorcycles. 

"Watch out for the motorcycles. So often they hit a blind spot on us and you don't see them. If you are driving a bike, be aware of your surroundings. Remember that four wheels don't always see your two wheels," said Chief Elvins. 

The city's drug takeback will be open all day on Saturday. The department does it twice a year.

You can bring in any over the counter or prescription drugs to the station's drop-off box.


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VILAS COUNTY - Day three of the trial for Rodney Teets brought a variety of witnesses to the stand.

The 36-year-old Vilas County man is accused of three counts of sexual assault.

Wednesday began with testimony from a slew of law enforcement.

Each of them went over the night the woman accusing Teets of sexual assault called 9-1-1 .

Prosecutors showed the clothes police believe Teets was wearing that night and showed the knife police found in the pocket.

It is unclear if this is the same knife with which investigators believe Teets threatened the woman.

Next, the court heard from the sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE nurse, who examined the woman in the case.

The nurse read from her report that night, referring to the woman as "the patient."

"The patient appears alert, awake, cooperative, tearful," the SANE nurse testified.

Defense attorney Steven Lucareli asked the SANE nurse if she noticed the woman was hurt.

"No physical injuries whatsoever, whether violent or not?" Lucareli asked. The nurse confirmed this was true.

Then, a DNA analyst from the state crime lab testified she found Teets's DNA from the samples the SANE nurse sent to her.

Lucareli pointed out that the analyst couldn't say how the DNA might have gotten there.

"The DNA doesn't tell us anything about whether a rape occurred?" Lucareli asked. The analyst confirmed this was true.

Prosecutors will call their last two witnesses Thursday, including the main detective in the case. Then the defense will begin presenting its argument.

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