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NEWS STORIES

National Humane Society Files Suit to Protect WolvesSubmitted: 02/12/2013
Story By WJFW News Team


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The national Humane Society wants wolves back on the federal endangered species list.

Tuesday, the Humane Society and other animal rights groups filed a lawsuit to try to make that happen.

The groups filed in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wolves were taken off the endangered list last year in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.

The groups say that move is threatening the recovery of wolves.

Hunters and trappers in Minnesota and Wisconsin killed more than 500 wolves combined during the first season.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp issued a statement in response to the suit.

"When federally delisted in January 2012, Wisconsin's wolf population had recovered and grown to eight times delisting goals thanks to the dedication of partners, hunters, trappers, volunteers, agencies and research institutions. We are successfully out of wolf recovery mode and into wolf management mode," she said. "With this transition came the transfer of management authority from the federal government to the states. This authority enables us to manage wolves for Wisconsin's needs, fostering a healthy wolf population while seeking social balance as wolf depredations continue to rise."

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A man uses bubbles to entertain kids and parents, but his act Monday night also focused on more than just entertainment.

"My name is Geoff, but most people just call me Bubble Man, Mr. Bubble. One kid called me Bubble-Wan-Kenobi," said bubble artist Geoffrey Akins.

Akins makes a living by blowing bubbles.

"It was nine years ago that I left my job teaching to perform full time," Akins said.

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VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.

The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.

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LAONA - A Northwoods school found a way to teach students skills they'll need after school, and help the community at the same time.

Some Laona High School students helped build a warming shelter at the towns recycling center.

One of Laona's town supervisors brought up the possibility of the building to a school board member.

The school board member felt it was a good way for a small school and town to work together.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.

Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department will use a "Hero Dog" to help bolster its K9 unit.

The dog's name is Rex, and he isn't Wausau Police Officer Mark Jaeger's first K9 partner.

"My last dog, Pluto, is 12-and-a-half and he just retired," Jaeger said. "When [Pluto] saw me in the uniform getting in the squad and he didn't get to come along, he was not happy."

Rex just recently joined the Wausau Police Department, but his service to his community and his country, goes further back.

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