NEWS STORIES

Minocqua Marathoner Home Safe from BostonSubmitted: 04/17/2013

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MINOCQUA - Co-workers of Matt Thomas hugged him more today than they ever have before.

He's a Minocqua runner who finished his fourth Boston Marathon just before two explosions killed three and injured almost two hundred of people.

"It was just completely different," Thomas said.

Thomas finished his fourth Boston Marathon Monday on what he called a perfect day to run.

Watching for two other Lakeland area friends to come to the finish line…

He said it was like loud, close fireworks or a Revolutionary War style cannon.

"People were like, is that normal? I said, 'I've been here for four years, and I've never seen anything like that'. I think it was about 20 seconds later, but , I don't know, time kind of goes funny, then, in that situation, the second explosion went off," Thomas said.

That was when he knew it was no accident, and no celebration.

"People got blown into the course, and the barricades got blown over by the blast. Right away, by seeing what had happened to the people and the barricades coming out into the course, you knew something was not right," said Thomas.

He looked around him for backpacks or trash cans that could be another bomb, and didn't see any.

Because of that, he decided not to move from his spot a couple hundred yards from the explosions.

Instead, he watched the emergency workers rushing to help.

"It was pretty incredible. To see the response - when the second blast went off, the first police cars and the first fire trucks, first two fire trucks and ambulance were there within seconds," Thomas said.

Boylston Street, once packed with thousands of people, was nearly deserted.

That took just minutes.

But it took closer to hours for the entire Northwoods group to reunite - all of them totally safe.

Thomas could take at least one positive from Monday - his marathon time qualifies him for next year's Boston.

So will he go back to run at that same place?

"My view is, I'm going to run Boston because, if you don't run Boston, then you're giving the people who did this exactly what they wanted which is, you're afraid of doing things you normally did," he said.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Home sales on the rise in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.

Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.

“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”

Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.

“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”

Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.

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State increases fines for parking in handicap spotsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

MADISON - It will soon be three times more costly for drivers to park illegally in a disability parking spot in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday increasing those fines starting Friday.

The new law will increase minimum fines from $50 to $150. The current maximum penalty of $300 won't change.

The law also creates a fine for building owners to not provide enough disability parking spaces on site. Building owners or occupants with at least 26 parking spaces must reserve disabled parking spaces or pay between $150 and $300.

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Sentencing date released for Lincoln. Co. man convicted of killing wifeSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MERRILL - A Lincoln County man convicted of killing his wife and hiding her body will get his sentence this summer.

50-year-old Mark Bucki was convicted earlier this month in connection to the death and disappearance of his wife Anita.

He was convicted on three charges including first-degree intentional homicide, hiding a body and strangling a person.

The first-degree intentional homicide charge carries a mandatory life in prison sentence, according to Lincoln County Judge Jay Tlusty on the day of the April verdict.

Prosecutors want to add more years on top of the mandatory sentence with additional years from the other two charges.

Bucki will be back in court for his sentencing July 3rd.

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Library requests bids for expansionSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A library in the Northwoods met their fundraising goals for a new addition.

Now the Walter E. Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River could see changes to their original plan.

The Eagle River city council members told the library trustees to look for new bids.

This could result in changes to the design that the library fund-raised for over the past two years.

Design and Build by Visner in Eagle River designed the expansion plan they fund-raised for.

"I think there was some disappointment on the part of the person that created the conceptual design that we fund-raised with," said Library Trustees President Tina Koller. "But they've stepped up to the plate and are willing to participate in the bidding process. So this is where I think we can really move forward today."

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Proposed scenic byway takes step forward with planning meetingSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MOLE LAKE - You can drive along plenty of scenic stretches of roads across Northern Wisconsin.

However, the state of Wisconsin only considers one stretch of highway in the Northwoods as an official scenic byway.

Leaders in a handful of counties want to change that by earning a distinction from Wisconsin's Scenic Byways program. They held a public planning meeting in Mole Lake Wednesday.

The proposed scenic highway, The Wolf River Nicolet Scenic Byway, is a more than 100 mile stretch of Highway 55. It stretches from Langlade, in Langlade County, north to the Michigan boarder.

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Outside agencies will investigate officer related deathsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - Police departments in Wisconsin will now need to hire an outside agency to investigate deaths that happen in their custody.

Governor Walker signed a bill requiring the outside investigations today.

Lawmakers hope the new law will prevent police departments from protecting their own officers during investigations.

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Walker signs bill prohibiting cellphone trackingSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin police could not track cellphone locations without a warrant under a bill Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law.

The measure Walker signed Wednesday passed the Legislature in February with no opposition.

Under the new law, police would have to present details about their investigation when seeking a warrant to track a cellphone. That includes the phone's owners or whoever is possessing it, the subject of the investigation, a statement of the crime and a statement of probable cause about how tracking the cellphone is related to criminal activity.

The bill was among 55 bills Walker signed privately.

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