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NEWS STORIES

Lincoln County sees spike in fake emergency callsSubmitted: 04/10/2013
Story By Lane Kimble

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MERRILL - Plenty of kids will experiment with 911 once or twice even if they're not in danger. Most learn their lesson after one time and don't do it again. But 117 prank calls in 6 months from one kid? That's out of control.

"The most recent was a 'man with a gun' call where there was an active shooter allegedly involved in the city of Tomahawk," Lincoln County Sheriff's Lt. Tim Fischer said. "We had to send many resources, lights and sirens to the scene until we realized it was our prank caller."

But it's not just a kid in Tomahawk making those calls. The number of fake 911 calls is going up, tripling in Lincoln County over the last 10 years. In 2012, the county logged 1619 fake calls, averaging 4.4 per day. Lt. Fischer says that causes several safety issues.

"Our squad cars are going lights and sirens, they're typically exceeding the speed limit, greater risks while driving. What people don't think about is if we're responding to a prank 911 call, we might not be available for the real one that's coming in right behind it," Fischer said.

Prank calls are only one piece of the puzzle. A vast majority of fake dials come from pocket dials -- where phone buttons get pushed accidentally in your pocket or purse.

And what about your old cell phones? It can be easy to give them to your kids to play with. Rhinelander Team Wireless store manager Tim Antoniewicz says that should be avoided.

"If you do still want to give your phones to your kids to play with, you're going to want to remove the battery to make it non-functional so it can't dial 911," Antoniewicz said.

That's one call Lt. Fischer hopes all parents decide to make for their kids.

"If you want to play with 911, get a play phone, get a plastic phone, hit 911, learn where those buttons are," Fischer said. "But don't call us to see if it's going to happen."

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Santa gets extra help from volunteer fire department while delivering presentsSubmitted: 12/21/2014

PINE LAKE - Santa normally gets help from elves to make Christmas presents for kids, but in Pine Lake he had help from a local volunteer fire department Sunday.

The Pine Lake Fire Department normally puts its sirens on in an emergency, but this time it was to help Santa bring joy to families who need it the most.

"It is really neat to see the kids when we come pulling into their driveway and they see Santa Claus getting off the fire truck with a big bag of presents. It is really neat to see their faces," said Operation Ho Ho Ho organizer Lynn Larson.

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People in Sugar Camp support local dog rescue organization Submitted: 12/21/2014

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Lincoln County Sheriff's Office finds body of missing Merrill man Submitted: 12/21/2014

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Jeffrey Maruska has been missing since early November.

The sheriff's office found his body with the help of cadaver dogs.

Maruska was found in a wooded area east of where he lived.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is still investigating.

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Snowmobile safety class held this weekendSubmitted: 12/21/2014

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That's why some people went through a snowmobile safety course on Saturday and Sunday.

The course was held at the Sloan Community Center in Lake Tomahawk.

The New-Tom Snow Fleas and the Oneida County Sheriff's office held the course.

A recreational safety officer from the sheriff's office taught the class.

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Furry friends get pictures with SantaSubmitted: 12/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Some pet owners view their furry friends as their kids. Like some parents, they want their furry child to get a picture with Santa.

That's exactly what pet owners did Saturday. Pawz and Clawz in Rhinelander put together their second Pet Pictures With Santa event.

Store owner Dan Gallagher says he put this together for a local dog organization.

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People got holiday shopping done at Christmas market in Minocqua Submitted: 12/20/2014

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MINOCQUA - Many people might be finishing up their Christmas shopping this weekend.

Some people did that shopping at a Christmas market in Minocqua Saturday.

The market was held at Ann Marie's garden shop.

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The bouncer told the men he was going to notify a manager, and he was attacked. The men left with three other males.

Police say the bouncer was taken to a hospital where he was treated for a broken nose, a fractured orbital socket and a facial laceration that required stitches.

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