RHINELANDER - Losing internet and cell phone service can be frustrating. It happens to some people every day, especially those who live in rural areas.
Oneida County is working to turn that trend around.
The board's Technology Committee started polling people about their internet service all across the county.
Crescent is the latest town to get its results in and the numbers aren't good. One in three people had no service at all. Fifteen percent of people with service weren't satisfied.
County Board Supervisor Bob Martini lives in Crescent. He knows limited access is a problem all across the Northwoods.
"I think most of the county would have similar numbers," Martini said. "The point is, we want to make sure people have the option to have better service so that we can increase entrepreneurship, increase jobs, improve students ability to interact with their schools at the K-12 level, improve the general life of people."
The Tech Committee plans to present its survey results to the full county board next month.
They'll then work with the board to see how the county can help to improve internet access. Martini wants to make it clear: the internet is important to everyone, whether you use it or not.
"This is the 21st century equivalent of the railroad back in the 1880s," Martini said. "It's absolutely essential, it's not an option, it's not a frill, it's important for everybody. And it'll be more important in the future."
The county can only help so much. There are state statutes that prevent counties and towns from serving as providers.
But Martini knows there are changes the board can make that will help. He suggests the county work on building towers and include laying fiber optic cables when new roads get paved.
RHINELANDER - It won't be much longer before the Hodag water show gears up for the summer, but right now they need to make repairs to their building. Rod Olson says it may cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to make repairs to the building. To watch the video click on the video link.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses donít get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
Police believe they made the right choice handling a report of gunmen near a high school in Wausau Tuesday night.
They found out the gunmen were actually six kids playing a game with toy Nerf guns.
Police eventually ended up giving the high school seniors disorderly conduct tickets.
Some people thought the tickets were excessive, but in a press release in released Thursday by the Wausau Police Department said they "believed there was a serious, potentially life threatening situation".
Someone called the Wausau police around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The person said there were people pointing guns at other people in a car.
Police say they handled the situation different than a traffic stop because of the seriousness of the call.
After police got all the seniors out of the car, they saw the nerf guns.
The teens got the disorderly conduct citations because police say they caused a disruption in the neighborhood.
Leaders at Wausau West High School said in a statement that there's "potential in a game like this for negative consequences."
Some of the students have also been placed on athletic probation.
Six kids got tickets after a battle using toy Nerf guns in Wausau.
Police issued disorderly conduct citations to the high school seniors.
Some residents of Wausau called police when they saw the young people pointing a gun at a car Tuesday night.
But, it was only a toy Nerf gun that shoots foam bullets.
Wausau West High School officials have also placed some students on athletic probation.
(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)
Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuit
MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.
The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.
Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.
ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.
The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts donít know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.
The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.
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