Yackel, Russell Vie for Bench in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 03/29/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

MERRILL - Voters across Wisconsin will pick the next State Superintendent and Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday.

But several places have local races, as well.

Lincoln County has an opening for one of its two Circuit Court judges.

John Yackel and Rob Russell will be on Tuesday's ballot in Lincoln County.

Both candidates for Circuit Court Judge say experience is what sets them apart most from their opponent.

But what kind of experience do you want?

"I'm the only one in this race that has made decisions and had to sentence individuals to prison," Yackel says. "I'm the only one in this race that has done what a judge is supposed to do."

Yackel has been on the bench since his appointment by Governor Walker last September.

That was to fill a hole after Judge Glenn Hartley retired.

"The voters now have the opportunity to make this decision. They haven't had this opportunity before," Russell says.

Russell is a Lincoln County native, and returned to Merrill in 1992.

"I've been practicing law here ever since. I have a little over 20 years legal experience," Russell says.

Russell points out that Yackel didn't even live in Lincoln County until his appointment six months ago.

Russell views that as a mark against Yackel.

"I guess the voters are going to decide that. I'm originally from Hayward. I was born and raised with the same Northwoods traditions and values we all share," Yackel says.

The campaign has been almost like a second full time job for each candidate.

"It's been very busy, very stressful, but at the same time, very rewarding because of the people I've met and the places I've been," Russell says.

"I have been getting to know as many people as I can since I took the bench. In the last two months, we've been putting up signs, knocking on doors, doing lit drops, doing interviews," Yackel says.

So who has the advantage going into Tuesday's general election?

"I don't think either side knows how it's going to go," laughs Yackel.

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RHINELANDER - The yellow Historical Society Museum on Pelham Street looks like many houses here in Rhinelander, but step through the doorway and see early 1900's history packed from wall to wall.

The Historical Society Museum will have an open house Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Pieces of Rhinelander's past are preserved inside the house.

Some of those items include a black and white photo of the original hodag, a drum from the old paper mill marching band, and a dining room set made by the Rhinelander Boat Company.

Not only are those items inside the house artifacts, so is the house itself.

"If the walls were empty there would be stories and neat things to see here. You take that, just the neat house and then of course fill it up with all of the items, every room is just a multitude of stories of different items that are in it," said Vice President of the Rhinelander Historical Society Bill Vancos.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A spinoff in the Ashlee Martinson saga seems to have come to a close.

The man convicted of stealing from the home where Martinson killed her parents will spend a month in jail.

Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukana, was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Back in August, a jury decided Spietz was guilty on four counts of burglary and theft.

According to the criminal complaint, Spietz took ATVs, bows, a tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the home. Spietz claimed he was securing the property for a company based in Arizona.

In court on Thursday, Spietz's wife, siblings and parents all testified to his character and work ethic. They testified Spietz is a good father to a seven-year-old son and two step-sons. They said he also takes care of his parents who have health problems.

Spietz's attorney said he believes his client is still innocent.

"I believe that Mark had he had intended to steal the ATVs he wouldn't have gone through the bother of finding the titles," said Spietz's attorney Brian Bennet. "I believe that a person doesn't commit burglaries in broad daylight with the name on the side of his truck or trailer."

However, the state said it didn't seem Spietz took responsibility for what he did. District Attorney Mike Schiek asked for jail time.

Judge Michael Bloom agreed. He recalled sentencing Ashlee Martinson.

"And I looked at her sitting right where you're sitting now, before I had to look an 18-year-old girl in the face and send her to prison for 23 years, and I told her, you had a choice," Judge Bloom said. "And Mr. Spietz, you as well had a choice."

Spietz will also spend 18 months on probation. He can serve his jail time in any county jail as long as he clears it with the Onieda County Sheriff's Office. He also received Huber privileges and will be allowed to go to work and help his parents during his jail time. 

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RHINELANDER - It took 10 years, but Rhinelander may finally get the spark it needs to build a dog park.

An anonymous woman gave dog park advocate Tina Werres a $10,000 dollar donation recently.  Werres raised about $2,000 -- literally pennies at a time with donation jars -- over the last decade.

But many people didn't want to give a lot of money until a specific location was chosen.  Werres says she still doesn't have a spot approved, but this big donation puts her much closer to actually building a park.

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Packers' Abbrederis WaivedSubmitted: 10/27/2016

GREEN BAY - Thursday evening, it was announced that Wisconsin native, Wisconsin Badger alum, and Green Bay Packer Jared Abbrederis has been waived.

According the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wide receiver Abbrederis was waived on Thursday. He was placed on injured reserve on Monday due to a quad injury ever since the game with the Cowboys. From the article, Abbrederis negotiated an injury settlement and wanted to be waived immediately so it would help him potentially be picked up by another team.

Abbrederis was originally drafted by Green Bay in 2014 in the fifth round. He missed that whole season due to an ACL injury and then a big majority of the 2015 camp with a concussion.

This story will be updated if new information is released.

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TOWN OF CRESCENT - Who should pay what to keep a Northwoods lake healthy?  That's -- in part -- the question people around Squash Lake near Rhinelander have debated for months now.

Some want to form a lake district to generate money, but not everyone is on board.  Supporters sent out a petition this summer and got more than 51 percent of landowners to say they support the district.

The organizers say the district fees would pay for DNR divers to clear Eurasian Water Milfoil, which costs around $20,000.  Those fees would cover a grant that's coming to an end.

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MADISON - A 74-year-old man will no longer face disturbing child pornography charges in Iron County.

Instead, Charles Raimondi is now charged in federal court, which could mean a harsher sentence if he's convicted.

Raimondi is accused having a five-year-old girl pose for sexually explicit pictures over a span of about two years.

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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