RHINELANDER - Animal shelters need all the help they can get placing pets with families in the community. And correctional facilities look for ways inmates can give back to the community. Two local facilities have partnered to meet those needs.
An unusual partnership? Maybe. But it looks like one that will be mutually beneficial.
Getting a dog ready for adoption often means teaching obedience and social skills, which takes time and resources.
It's a task inmates at the McNaughton Correctional Center will take on to help the Oneida County Humane Society.
"Each case will be different; each dog with have their own specific needs. One dog may need social skills. Other dogs might need just basic skills like 'sit', 'lay down'," says Bria Swartout, from the Oneida County Humane Society.
McNaughton houses inmates who are finishing sentences and getting ready to re-enter society. Many of them already participate in work release programs.
Superintendent Brad Kosbab believes the program will help more than just the animal shelter.
"They'll get some satisfaction that, one, they're doing something from the community. It will give the inmate a sense of accomplishment in the fact that they'll be able to see from start to finish results and what it does for the dog. It will also help, like I said, with some of those interpersonal skills," says Kosbab.
The center will choose inmates based on behavior and records. Kosbab says McNaughton has always had a good relationship with surrounding communities.
"We also want to expand into new relationships and we want to be a good community partner with everybody and this just seemed like a pretty cool way to do that," says Kosbab.
The program won't cost taxpayers any money. The humane society will still have to foot the bill for the upkeep of the dogs, so community support is appreciated. You can contact the Oneida County Humane Society if you'd like to donate.
WOODRUFF - Sixty-three Wildfires burned all across the state in the last week.
The DNR suspended burning permits in 44 counties Monday, including all counties in the Northwoods.
The fire danger level ranged from "High" to "Very High" in most counties.
DNR fire crews have been on stand-by all day Monday.
"On days like today we are fully staffed and on high alert. All our stations are pre-positioning equipment. We're taking equipment from one part of the state and moving it to more critical areas. We are definitely on high alert," said Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele.
RHINELANDER - You can get almost anywhere around Pine Lake on an ATV or UTV. But there are two key Oneida County highways that don't currently allow those vehicles. Now, a Rhinelander-area ATV club is pushing the county to change that.
The Pine Lake ATV/UTV Club hopes the county will allow access on highways W and C. The club formed about a year ago and got town approval to open access to all Pine Lake roads except for North and West Birchwood drives.
MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.
But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.
After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.
Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.
"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired.
[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer.
People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The case of a woman found hanged in her car will go down as an "undetermined death."
Michelle Rosinski was found in a car outside a Lac du Flambeau home on Longs Point Lane last September. Emergency responders tried CPR on Rosinski, but they couldn't revive her. The 45-year-old woman had a choker-style dog collar wrapped around her neck.
The Vilas County Sheriff's Office initially investigated her death as suspicious. But Monday, Lt. Carl Gauger told Newswatch 12 it appears Rosinski probably committed suicide.
VILAS COUNTY - Twelve jurors will consider a he said, she said case involving accusations of a sexual assault at knife point.
The trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets began in Vilas County Court Monday morning.
Teets is accused of sexually assualting a 19 year old woman at knife point in July 2015.
He faces three counts of first degree sexual assault, which he will try to fight in trial.
After several hours of jury selection, attorneys began their opening statements Monday afternoon.
According to the July 2015 criminal complaint, Teets and the woman involved were driving back to his house after watching fireworks with a group of people.
That's when the woman said Teets pulled out a knife and told her to drive down a dead end road. Assistant Attorney General Devra Ayala, who is prosecuting the case, said that Teets admits to always carrying a pocket knife.
Next, according to the complaint, the woman said Teets, knife in hand, sexually assaulted her.
According to the complaint, the woman said Teets told her, "If you tell anyone I'll [expletive] kill you."
According to the complaint, the woman said the group they had been with called both of their cell phones asking where they were. The woman claims Teets said he forgot his keys and told her to say the same.
Later that night, the woman called the police.
When police interviewed Teets, he said the encounter was consensual.
That's what Teets's defense attorney will try to argue. In his opening statement, defense attorney Steven Lucareli said Teets and the woman were friends and often joked with each other.
"He said from day one, 'I cheated on my wife,'" said Lucareli.
Lucareli also said the woman in this case had no injuries from the encounter.
The trial is scheduled on the calendar for the whole week.
Tuesday, the state will start calling its witnesses.
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