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Students Hear a Sobering MessageSubmitted: 04/25/2013
Story By Lex Gray


THREE LAKES - Every spring, parents send high schoolers into the adult world with some final celebrations like prom and graduation.

But Three Lakes wants to make sure its students make it past those celebrations.

That's why the school invited drunk driving offenders and victims to speak to the students today.

Jeannine Thiel's blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit when she crashed her car head-on into another car.

"I basically had one thing that was not broken," Thiel said. "I had a broken neck, broken back, broken pelvis. Both legs were broken, lacerated liver."

Jeannine survived - but not everyone involved did.

"The other man did die. He was 27," Thiel said. "He was from West Africa, so my alcoholism has reached its way halfway around the world."

Jeannine wants to make sure people right here in the Northwoods learn from her mistake.

She spoke to Three Lakes students Thursday, just days before prom. She wants them to remember one thing:

"It can happen to them."

Deb Jastrow knows that all too well. A drunk driver killed her 21-year-old stepdaughter.

"In the beginning, there was a lot of anger, a lot of frustration," Jastrow said.

Jastrow has spent the last two years doing exactly what Jeannine is doing - helping others avoid the consequences of drunk driving.

"Think before you drink," Jastrow said. "I don't care if you're 18 years old or 80 years old. Think before you drink."

A reminder these students and everyone could use.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The case of a woman found hanged in her car will go down as an "undetermined death."

Michelle Rosinski was found in a car outside a Lac du Flambeau home on Longs Point Lane last September.  Emergency responders tried CPR on Rosinski, but they couldn't revive her.  The 45-year-old woman had a choker-style dog collar wrapped around her neck.  

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office initially investigated her death as suspicious.  But Monday, Lt. Carl Gauger told Newswatch 12 it appears Rosinski probably committed suicide.

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MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.

But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.

Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.

"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired. 

[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer. 

People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.

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- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you what happened on day 1 of the trial for an Eagle River man who is charged with sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint.

We'll update you on the progress of the expansion of the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes.

And we'll take you live to Medford where they're turning the city blue and walking for Autism Awareness month.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Armed with large garbage bags, metal grabbers and plastic gloves, members picked up garbage and debris along a ten mile stretch of the reservation.

One volunteer worked the majority of the day in a blackberry bush, grabbing anything that didn't fit with the natural scenery.

"I would rather see green grass and green trees than tin cans, aluminum cans and plastic," said the volunteer.

57 volunteers came out to help.
Sokoagen Chippewa Environmental Director Tina Van Zile wanted to celebrate Earth Day on a week day because she believed more people would participate.

"Litter bothers me really bad," said Van Zile.

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THREE LAKES - Three Lakes taxpayers will chip in $900,000 dollars to the remodeling and expansion of the Demmer Library.

After years of meetings and votes, that plan became official last week at the town's annual meeting.

The money will accompany $1 million in money from the library's foundation and $100,000 from the Three Lakes Historical Society.

"The library is excited to be able to develop plans for a library that's going to continue to serve the community for many years in the future," said library director Erica Brewster.

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The DNR suspended burning permits in 44 counties Monday, including all counties in the Northwoods.

The fire danger level ranged from "High" to "Very High" in most counties.

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