'Rhinelander Confessions' gets community buzzingSubmitted: 03/27/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - Millions of people share their deepest desires and darkest secrets... on the internet. And it seems like people are sharing more and more personal information every day.

There's a new local Facebook page that's causing debate.

Rhinelander Confessions is part of the latest Facebook trend. Someone from a town or school starts up a community page. Anyone can post anonymously a statement that's supposed to be a "confession".

Some of the postings are funny, a few are sweet, some are not so sweet, and some are downright disturbing. Who knows if any of it's true, but the point seems to be that anyone can say anything about the place the page is dedicated to and the people who live there.

Rumor has it high school students started the page. We asked our Facebook friends what they thought about the page. Some people thought it was all in good fun.

But the majority of our responders, most of them adults, thought the page was just another avenue for things like bullying and sexual harassment.

"I've seen a lot of 'so and so is hot' and 'I would have sex with so and so'," says Jayla Paulson, a RHS Junior.

Some girls actually respond to posts like that about them with amusement.

"I don't see that as being ok. I don't understand why you would want yourself to be exploited like that," says Paulson.

The internet is a gray area when it comes to freedom of speech. We know you can't threaten other people... but what about something like sexual harassment?

"You can't do anything that's going to raise alarm in somebody. Because that would be considered disorderly conduct," says Amanda Young, from the Rhinelander Police Department.

The same rules about verbal harassment apply on the internet. If it happens to you, print the conversation and take it to the police department.

But if you're one of the girls publicly encouraging derogatory comments made about you, you should know it will make things difficult for police if you later feel harassed.

"It's harder to make a determination whether or not it's harassment or if it was actually encouraged," says Young.

A thin line with potentially negative results.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods priest may never experience a mass as large as he did this past Sunday. It was Pope Francis' final mass in the U.S. during his trip. Organizers predicted nearly 500,000 people would attend.

Father Bala of Three Lakes was able to make it to Philadelphia for the mass. He was one of a small group from the Northwoods who made the trip, and he said it felt like an extremely personal gathering.

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