NEWS STORIES

Helium Shortage Affects Local Floral BusinessSubmitted: 02/12/2013

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RHINELANDER - Helium-filled balloons will cost a little more this Valentine's Day.
There's a helium shortage. And some florists are worried about their store's biggest shopping day of the year.

Forth Floral Owner Ruth Hempel has seen helium prices rise over the past year. But her store is doing all they can to keep prices low.

“We've tried to do a better job on finding better deals on the actual balloons themselves to offset the increase. At this time of the year though, because it's Valentine's Day, the little bit extra they might have to pay usually isn't a big deal. For most, especially guys, if they want that balloon they're going to buy it.”

Some parts of the country are out completely. Hempel said her business could deal without, but having balloons is an added perk.

“It's just that added exclamation point on the bouquet so as long as we can continue to do it we’re going to hope we can. But if it gets to that point we're just going to have to find some other thing that gives that little punch.”

Helium is also used for welding, medical devices, and some computer parts.


Story By: Ryan Abney

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 IN OTHER NEWS
New Vilas County Board sworn in, already making changesSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Two weeks ago, Vilas County elected its new board.

That included 12 new board members.

The new board was sworn in Tuesday, and right away, they made some big changes.

Members voted to bring back the 21 committee structure.

The Vilas County Board voted in October to cut the number of committees from 21 to 9.

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Roads to blame for 2 car crash in Minocqua Submitted: 04/15/2014

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MINOCQUA - People need to drive slow since roads are still icy. There was a two car crash at 8 a.m. Tuesday on Old Highway 70 in Minocqua. Two people were transported to Howard Young Medical Center. Police say road conditions were a factor.

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Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014

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WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.


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Another snowstorm headed our way hear what people thinkSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - We may want spring, but Mother Nature has other plans. Whether you like it or not more snow is on the way. We got people's reaction to the upcoming snowstorm. Click on the video link to watch.

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Police dispatchers honored for workSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - Police dispatchers don't know what the day will look like when they get to work.

Oneida County dispatchers respond to everything from downed power lines, fires and domestic disputes.

Dispatchers from around the country are being honored this week. National Public Safety Telecommunicators week is being held April 13-19.

“It just depends on what comes in. You know some days can start out pretty mellow. And just like that, it can be all chaos,” says Oneida County dispatcher Mary Goeldner.

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Mark Bucki takes stand in murder trialSubmitted: 04/15/2014

MERRILL - A man accused of killing his wife in Lincoln County speaks in his own defense.

Mark Bucki is on trial for the murder of his wife Anita.

She disappeared about a year ago.

Anita Bucki's body was found a few weeks later in a Taylor County swamp.

She had been strangled and stabbed.

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Rhinelander man who shot uncle pleads out, may avoid further punishmentSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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- A Rhinelander man admitted to shooting and injuring his uncle last August.

But now, he may get all charges dropped without further punishment.

Marcus Alsteens pleaded guilty to one felony charge Tuesday in Oneida County court.

In a deal, prosecutors dismissed three other charges, including attempted murder.

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