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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County Expects Sheriff's Office ChangesSubmitted: 01/23/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Deputies think the Oneida County Sheriff's Office is operating smoothly.

But that doesn't mean they'll try to keep everything the same.

The man becoming the county's new sheriff is planning on making some changes to the department.

After more than 30 years on the force, Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired last month.

Within weeks, Lieutenant Jim Wood, who had been around for almost three decades, retired as well.

Chief Deputy John Sweeney worked with them for years.

"Jim had worked in all of the divisions our department has and had a big impact on the training. (There were) a lot of leadership qualities he retired with," says Sweeney. "Much like Jim, Jeff also had an opportunity to serve in a variety of our jobs, in different divisions."

Later this week, Grady Hartman will be sworn in as the new Sheriff.

He was picked by Governor Scott Walker for the job.

A Rhinelander native, Hartman has been with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office since 1999.

"About four or five years ago, I decided that I wanted to eventually become Sheriff of Oneida County, and I set my sights on that," says Hartman.

Veterans like Hartman, Sweeney, Hoffman, and Wood had worked together to lead the office.

That had put Oneida County in a stable place.

But now, two of them are gone and Hartman is running the department.

You can expect some changes with the new lineup.

"We have an organization of very qualified, very quality people. I think we appreciate change as an important part of that. I fully expect that Sheriff Hartman will take some time, review our operations, and I fully expect changes," says Sweeney.

Hartman will be officially sworn in on Friday.

We'll bring you coverage of the ceremony on Newswatch 12.

After that, we should learn even more about just what those changes in Oneida County will look like.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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