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Semi Slides off Interstate Into RiverSubmitted: 03/05/2013
Semi Slides off Interstate Into River
Story By The Associated Press

MENOMONIE - Slippery travel conditions caused a semi to slide off Interstate 94 near Menomonie and into a river.

Troopers have closed all eastbound lanes of I-94 at Highway 25 because of the crash Tuesday morning.

The patrol has called in a dive team because the semi landed in the Red Cedar River.

There's no immediate word on the condition of the driver.

A slow-moving winter storm is expected to drop up to a foot of snow in parts of western Wisconsin through Tuesday.

The storm caused dozens of schools to cancel classes, including the districts of La Crosse, Black River Falls, Toman and Prairie du Chien.

The Univeristy of Wisconsin-Platteville and Viterbo University in La Crosse also called off classes Tuesday as travel conditions deteriorated.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department wants you to stay safe, especially when it comes to fires.

There is a difference between campfires and bonfires.

Campfires are small fires used for cooking and heating, not the kind of fire you need to stand back from because it's so hot.

Always remember to fully put out fires before you leave.

And watch kids when they're near the fire.

"When you're making those fires, they're keeping an eye on how you're doing it. So once in a while they like to try to do it themselves," says firefighter Jon Leiskau.

Wildland fire season is about to wrap up, but you still need to pay attention to burning restrictions.

"Anything bigger than a campfire size: fire with a fire permit, and there is no open burning in the city limits," says firefighter Rick Sparks.

Fire danger signs are changed every day according to the weather conditions.

You can also visit the DNR website for updates.

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MEDFORD - The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Virginia Tech University, and Sandy Hook School in Connecticut all stir memories of deep fear and sorrow.

Mass shootings can happen anywhere, at any time.

In rural areas like northern Wisconsin, county courthouses could be prime targets. Taylor County trained for that possibility this week with an active-shooter simulation.

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins takes pride in his department's connection to the community. 

And many members of the community clearly feel the same way.

Augie's Collectibles owner Richard "Augie" Augustine donated eight ballistic helmets and a shield to the Tomahawk Police Department.

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RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

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VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods. Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

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MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday, courtesy of Invisible Fence of Northern Wisconsin.

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- A Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and allies to socialize and discuss personal issues related to gender and sexual orientation.

However, outside of the campus, there is no supportive group in the Northwoods. Now, the Rainbow Hodags Club is helping to get a community LGBT group started. Club member Don Schindhelm says he wishes a club like this existed years ago.

"I really felt like I didn't know anyone else who was gay or lesbian. It was frowned upon, so I suppressed it for most of my life. That's why I struggled with it for so many years," said Schindhelm.

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