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NEWS STORIES

Equipment Purchase Helps with Backwoods RescuesSubmitted: 03/19/2013
Story By Lex Gray


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/19/2014

- A cool summer and lots of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine, and they worry the harsh weather may have ruined their vineyards. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to the Brigadoon Winery to find out what winemakers are doing to make enough wine this year.

- We meet the new executive director of the Human Service Center in Rhinelander. The group helps people in Oneida, Forest and Vilas counties.

- And a recent report by the National Audubon Society says climatic changes could threaten birds in the Northwoods by the year 2080. We look at the study and hear from an expert on what we can do to stop it.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Northwoods program offers college courses for students with intellectual disabilitiesSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - Some Northwoods groups work hard to make sure everyone can experience college.

The Jump Start program in Rhinelander teaches job skills to people with intellectual disabilities. The program is held at Nicolet College.

Nicolet College, Northland Pines and Rhinelander School Districts and Headwaters work together on the program.

Students learn skills for jobs during the fall semester.

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Northwoods churches invite people in for Back to Church SundaySubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - Northwoods ministers want more people to go to church this Sunday. That's true every Sunday, but they're putting a special emphasis on this week.

Calvary Baptist Church in Rhinelander is one of many churches taking part in National Back to Church Sunday.

A vast majority of Americans believe in God,but a much smaller minority attend church on a regular basis.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

TRIPOLI - A cool summer and a lot of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine and they worry the harsh weather may have hurt their vineyards.

"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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Riverside Athletic Club holds open house on SaturdaySubmitted: 09/19/2014

MERRILL - You can learn more about ways to stay fit and have fun with the family this weekend.

Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill is holding an open house on Saturday. Families can stop by the open house from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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Human Service Center welcomes new executive directorSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A familiar face will lead a Northwoods organization dedicated to helping individuals and families.

Tamara Feest became Executive Director of the Human Service Center earlier this month.

The center is located in Rhinelander and serves Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

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