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


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: 01/18/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll bring you an update on the search for two Antigo children who are thought to have been taken away to the Black Hills area by their non-custodial mother.

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And we'll introduce you to a local carpenter/welder who takes a little bit of fantasy and imagination and makes it into reality.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINOCQUA - A Green Bay man died in a snowmobile crash in Minocqua Tuesday night.

The Minocqua Police Department says the crash happened at 7:13 p.m. on Lower Kaubashine Road near the intersection of Camp Nine Road and Cedar Falls Drive.

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CORNUCOPIA, WISCONSIN - The National Park Service says it's still too dangerous to explore the Apostle Islands ice caves off the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior.

When accessible, the majestic ice caves have attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the area.

The park service doesn't know if the ice will be safe enough this season.

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MADISON - The state appeals court says a judge properly moved a teen offender into the adult system after saying he thought the boy would be safer there than in the state's troubled youth prison.

The teen was accused of sexually assaulting a fifth-grader.

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VILAS COUNTY - A 77-year-old man died in a crash near Boulder Junction late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol, it happened around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and County Highway H.

Investigators think a van went through an intersection and hit a semi truck.

"There was injury," said Boulder Junction Fire Chief Matthew Reuss. "The two passengers in the van had to be extricated. One was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for further care. The driver of the semi was uninjured and the second passenger in the van was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the driver of the van is a 68-year-old woman from Colby. Crews later took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 77-year-old male from Colby, died in the crash. They were both wearing seatbelts. 

The driver of the semi is 63 years old and from South Range. 

Traffic was rerouted through Boulder Junction for several hours and was reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Several units responded to the scene.

"Because we had multiple patients, we dispatched multiple ambulance units," Reuss said. "We called in resources from Arbor Vitae for traffic control and we called Manitowish Waters for help in extrication and ambulance service as well as Medic 5 out of Howard Young."

State Patrol and the Vilas County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash.

Police will not release the names until the families are notified. 

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STEVENS POINT - A baby in Portage County ended up in the hospital for seizures twice in three days last fall.  Police think the mother's live-in boyfriend may have shaken that baby.

Matthew Huettl, 25, pleaded not guilty to felony charges for first-degree reckless injury and child abuse in Portage County Court on Tuesday.

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RHINELANDER - The farther south you go, the less snow you'll see. That's bad news for people who live there, but great for getting people to come to the Northwoods.

The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association puts in a lot of work, in part to attract more people to its trails. 

The group works with the Oneida County Forest to improve trails.

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