HURLEY - A suspicious backpack outside Gogebic Taconite's office in Hurley brought in police, sheriff's deputies, and a bomb squad over the weekend.
Instead of a serious threat, a drunk, careless Ironwood man was to blame.
G-Tac is the company exploring a controversial iron ore mine on the border of Ashland and Iron Counties.
The backpack was wedged between a newspaper stand and the G-Tac office.
"We thought it was suspicious due to the recent controversy between pro-mining groups and environmental organizations against the mine. Also, we had Rep. Sean Duffy due to speak that day at a restaurant just around the corner. Those two things kind of heightened our awareness as toward the backpack," said Hurley Police Chief Dan Erspamer.
Hurley Police evacuated two blocks surrounding the backpack and called in the nearest bomb squad, from Wausau.
The bomb squad used X-rays and eventually opened the backpack.
They found only normal items inside.
Tuesday, we learned they found a name inside the bag and talked to that Ironwood man.
"He indicated that he was extremely intoxicated the night before and did not remember where he had placed that bag. He did not even know it was at the G-Tac building. He didn't know where it was," Erspamer said.
The man said he didn't report the bag missing because it also contained some illegal drugs.
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
RHINELANDER - Police think an Oneida County man downloaded hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls using a private chatroom.
During Danial Smith's preliminary hearing Friday, Smith's attorney asked if police had any way of knowing it was his client who downloaded the more than 700 photos.
The state Department of Justice learned a computer near Rhinelander downloaded the pictures in late 2016 thanks to a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The internet protocol (IP) addresses from the downloads were linked to Smith's home on County C in the town of Stella.
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