RHINELANDER - The extra snow means extra, late-season snowmobiling.
In Arbor Vitae, this year has been a little safer than years past.
The Arbor Vitae Fire Department bought a John Deere Gator. They've been using it since mid-December.
The Gator can easily climb snow banks and drive through deep snow.
It will help rescuers reach people faster, even if they're deep in the woods.
"We have miles and miles of snowmobile trails up here, accidents can happen anywhere from one mile off of a highway up to about 20 miles off into the woods," said first responder Ben Woynich. "Vehicles like this give us the accessibility, give us safety and comfort on the way out there, we have great communication abilities with it."
Rescue Chief Stan Lewis used the gator to save a man's life in February.
A snowmobiler rolled into a ravine, and his sled landed on top of him while he was driving about a mile and a half off Highway 70.
It took the department just 20 minutes to reach him after they got the call.
"I was definitely glad, all the time and effort putting into researching and finding out what machine we wanted, and what we wanted the bed to look like," Lewis said. "It made me happy to finally use it and see that it does work and that we're able to use it in practical situations."
The gator cost $30,000. The department used money they get from responding to crashes on state highways.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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