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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
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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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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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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Sentencing planned for attack on corrections officerSubmitted: 09/19/2014

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WAUSAU - A man convicted of attacking a jail officer in Marathon County will learn his sentence today.

22 year old Fredrick Morris pled no contest to agrivated battery and battery by a prisoner.

Prosecutors say Morris was the inmate who threw a punch which knocked a Marathon County jail officer unconscious.

The attack happened last year in March.

Julie Christensen was critically injured and admitted to the hospital.

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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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Audubon Report says climatic changes could hurt Northwoods birds by 2080Submitted: 09/19/2014

NORTHWOODS - Birds living in the Northwoods could be in serious danger.

A recent National Audubon Society report says climatic changes could threaten birds by the year 2080.

Scientists studied 588 bird species and more than half of those are facing trouble.

The study looks at the important climate needs each species requires to survive.

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Fall color contest looking for best shots in NW WisconsinSubmitted: 09/19/2014

PRICE COUNTY - Fall could give you the chance to win some cash for your photography. Travel Northwest Wisconsin is looking for the best fall photos from the area.

The photos must come from areas in northwestern Wisconsin like Iron, Rusk and Sawyer County. Price County Director of Tourism Kathy Reinhard believes her area will offer good opportunities for photographers.

"It's just spectacular. It doesn't matter if you're on the trails doing silent sports, motorized sports, or if you prefer the water trails canoeing down the Flambeau River, you'll find beautiful color throughout the county."

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