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NEWS STORIES

Marathon County Law Enforcement Problems Start at the TopSubmitted: 04/05/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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RHINELANDER - 2012 and 2013 won't go down as good years for the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

First, in December, probation and parole officer Kim Hoenisch was fired for stealing drugs from parolees.

But Kim Hoenisch wasn't just any parole officer - she's the Sheriff's wife.

That led to more problems.

In February, the Wausau Daily Herald revealed Sheriff Randy Hoenisch booked fewer than two hours in office this year. He later announced his retirement.

Then last week, an inmate attacked two officers.

Is there a connection?

Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger said "Yes."

"I think there is a relationship, but I want to be clear that there are a lot of leaders who have made decisions here. The Sheriff was one of them, but in the end, the sheriff was the department director with primary responsibility for the jail," he said. "If there were things that weren't done or weren't done quickly or weren't done quickly enough, or well enough, I think that in the end, he doesn't report to anybody but the voters and it's at least in part his responsibility. And we'll be in a much stronger position when we get a new and effective sheriff to help lead us through this particular episode."

The county wants to make sure that new sheriff has the tools they need.

A panel of business leaders will study problems in the jail.

Karger said they already know the jail is overcrowded and has other problems.

It will be the panel's job to make recommendations about how to deal with that.

"They were picked to represent the community. They weren't picked to be jail experts," Karger said. "They were identified as key business leaders recognized as having high integrity in our community."

The panel members need to tour the jail before they meet.

Karger hopes they can start meeting next week and finalize a report by summer.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Leadership Oneida County seeks more applicants before deadlineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Going back to school takes a lot of time and money, but there's another way you can get a step up in your career without stepping in the classroom.

Leadership Oneida County is a nine month course offered to people who strive to be leaders. About 100 graduates of the course come from various backgrounds but have the same reason to take it.

"Go through this course to learn more about their community and learn more about their personal strengths as leaders, and to build their own professional network. The point of the course is to really connect leaders to their community," said Tim Brown, UW-Extension Community Resource Development.

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Mining company pushes back permit timelineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

MILWAUKEE - Gogebic Taconite will take longer than originally planned to apply for a mining permit in northern Wisconsin.

The company says its application to develop an iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties will be pushed back until at least the fall of next year.

Gogebic had planned to submit an application in the spring of 2015 to develop a 1.5 billion dollar iron ore mine in the Lake Superior region.

A company spokesman says Gogebic won't finish all fieldwork this year and will be forced to conduct additional environmental work next year.

The approaching of fall is prompting Gogebic to wrap up some fieldwork already.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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Federal appeals court hears arguments over Wisconsin gay marriage banSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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CHICAGO - Gay couples in Wisconsin could find out soon if they can legally marry in the state.

Federal appeals judges heard arguments on Wisconsin's gay marriage ban in Chicago Tuesday.

A federal judge struck down the ban in June, but the state is appealing to a higher court. The case has been combined with a similar case coming from Indiana, which also has a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Camilla Taylor was representing one of the gay couples in the suit. She said the judges were focused on how the ban impacts the children of gay couples.

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ArtStart takes next step with new development directorSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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RHINELANDER - In the last three years, ArtStart in Rhinelander grew from an idea to a highly successful gallery and event space.

This month, ArtStart took its next step.

The organization hired its first full-time employee - development director Melinda Childs.

She's been impressed to see the arts appetite in Rhinelander.

She comes from an arts-rich community in the Twin Cities.

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Rare WWII B-25 J Mitchell Bomber visits the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - You might have noticed a different type of aircraft flying over the Northwoods Monday.

A 1945 B-25 J Mitchell Bomber landed at the Eagle River airport.

Along with it came some history on what that type of airplane did during World War II.

"WWII guys are listed as the greatest generation, and I can certainly see why," said Army veteran Jim Purcell.

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Elections board: Primary turnout was 12.7 percentSubmitted: 08/26/2014

MADISON - Turnout for Wisconsin's primary elections two weeks ago was even lower than state election officials predicated.

The state Government Accountability Board had predicted turnout would be 15 percent of eligible voters. The agency released figures Tuesday showing the official turnout for the Aug. 12 elections was 12.7 percent.

The GAB said 552,342 people cast votes out of a voting-age population of 4,348,307.

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Public transportation could come to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Changes could come to public transportation in a few Northwoods counties.

Last week, the Oneida and Forest County boards approved supporting the creation of the Northwoods Transit Commission. The commission would improve and offer more transportation options for people in Oneida and Forest Counties.

"Right now, there are a lot of different, disconnected transportation services that are provided; be it by city, county, or by private entities. The transit commission would help put this all together," said Dianne Jacobson, director of Oneida County's Department on Aging.

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