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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
Boy found safe after becoming lost in the woodsSubmitted: 09/02/2014

FLORENCE COUNTY - A family in Florence County needed help finding their three-year-old after he disappeared in the woods Monday.

The boy was missing for nearly two hours Monday morning.

The family was packing up to head home when the boy wandered away around 9:15.

He had walked about a half mile into the woods.

The family says he was very wet but healthy.

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Watch out for kids as school resumesSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - Students went back to class in many districts across Wisconsin Tuesday morning.

The Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to watch out for them.

Some kids might get to and from school on their bikes.

It's the law to give bikers three feet of space when you're passing them.

You also need to stay 20 feet away from stopped school buses.

Parents should make sure their kids know how to stay safe on their way to and from school.

Kids need to watch out for traffic.

Parents should remind them texting while walking can be a distraction.

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One person injured in Rhinelander crash Monday evening Submitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - A person got hurt during a one car crash near Rhinelander today.

The crash happened on North Shore Drive east of Rhinelander around 4pm.

Only one person was in the car.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Town of Pelican Fire Department and the Oneida County EMS were at the crash.

We don't know the cause of the crash yet.

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Fewer people at Merrill's Labor Day Car Show because of weather Submitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - You wouldn't find as many people at this year's car show in Merrill compared to years past.

The car show usually gets about 2,000 people each year.

Organizers say they got about half of that this year because of the weather.

The Merrill Lions Club organizes the event.

This is one of the group's biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Merrill businesses find counterfeit billsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

MERRILL - Someone might be making counterfeit bills in the Merrill area.

Several businesses told Merrill Police they were paid with counterfeit money in the last few weeks.

There are many simple ways to tell if a bill is real or fake.

We have a guide, and you can access it by clicking below.

Within the past year, businesses in Antigo and bars in Rhinelander have had problems with counterfeit money.

Contact the Merrill Police Department if you have any information.

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Locals get a good seat waving goodbye to visitorsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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HAZELHURST - Tourists make a big economic impact in the Northwood, but they don't stay forever. Monday, locals thanked them for coming to the Northwoods this summer.

People stood outside of Whitman's Bar and Grill just off of Highway 51 in Hazelhurst to wave goodbye. The bar has been doing this for 44 years.

One of the owners says this isn't just a party for the tourists, but for locals as well.

"It's also a goodbye summer party for a lot of the locals. Most of the people that come, I know," said Whitman's Bar and Grill co-owner, Mary Whitman. "They may be tourists that come up for a week or weekends, but it's a party. We give away free street corn, free sloppy joes and it's just a thank you.

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State seeks feedback on unemployment insurance systemSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.

Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.

"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.

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