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Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office beefing up St. Pat's patrolsSubmitted: 03/14/2013
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office beefing up St. Pat's patrols
RHINELANDER - Don't expect to get away with drinking and driving this weekend.

On a weekend when everyone's a little Irish, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office wants you to be more than a little smart.

Oneida County will beef up drunk driving and seatbelt enforcement the entire weekend. They're able to do that thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Sheriff's Lieutenant Lloyd Gauthier knows the holiday brings out many more people than an average weekend.

"The possibility of people driving while impaired, and that concerns us," Lt. Gauthier said.

"Our motto at the Sheriff's Office is we're committed to our community. And a big commitment is safety. Wanting people to get out and enjoy the time, have a good time. But take advantage of the programs that are out there through the Oneida County Tavern League, including the Safe Ride Home program."

That Safe Ride program is available at any participating Tavern League Bar. All you have to do is ask a bartender for your free ride.

Lt. Gauthier says people seem to be drinking more responsibly the last few years.

But he also points to a disturbing statistic: more than 500 traffic deaths in Wisconsin last year.

"That's why the DOT is so focused on getting these grants out each year," Gauthier said. "They see that there is a positive side to it with additional enforcement that those numbers are coming down."

The DOT gives out the grants based on where they see roadways that could be safer.

This grant is broad. That means Sheriff's Patrols could be on any road, both county and city or town.

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On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

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"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

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"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

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Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting line…one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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