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NEWS STORIES

Marathon County Launches Drug Abuse CampaignSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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WAUSAU - Michael Dixon died in a car crash.

Richie Vue faces charges for killing his girlfriend, Kou Thao for shooting, beheading, and disemembering a man.

We've told you about these three stories before - they happened in Marathon County, but they have more in common than that.

All three involve opiate drug abuse and represent a much bigger problem in the community.

Today, law encorcement and other groups launched the "Pushback Against Drug Abuse" campaign in Wausau.

Community leaders want people to know that drugs like heroin, meth, and oxycontin don't affect just the user - they affect EVERYONE.

"Overall as we compare and track our service calls, we are about 14 percent ahead compared to last year," Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said. "So it's just generated so much more work for all of our officers and detectives. It's hard too keep up at this point."

Hardel says competition among drug dealers is increasing.

They're buying or stealing guns to intimidate each other.

That's why responding to a "shots fired" call is now common for Wausau Police.

"We've had so many of our high profile cases, homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies, etc., that have a very strong drug influence," Hardel said. "In other words, they're committing a crime because of their drug addiction."

The Pushback Against Drug Abuse campaign will continue at a June 4 meeting.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
100-year-old grandmother sees six generations in one settingSubmitted: 10/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Most people don't get to meet their great, great, great grandchildren. It's one of the perks one Rhinelander woman has after turning 100 years old. All six generations of her family got together Sunday to celebrate their unique family.

"I wouldn't let anything ever happen to you," said 100-year-old, Bea Kofler.

Kofler held her nine day old great, great, great grandson for the first time Sunday.

"He's too precious," Kofler said.

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Wisconsin park begins cutting dead treesSubmitted: 10/19/2014

MADISON - Workers have started removing nearly 140 dead or dying evergreen trees at Peninsula State Park Golf Course in Door County.

The Department of Natural Resources says a 2011 application of a broadleaf herbicide damaged the trees. The agency says federal environmental officials had approved the herbicide but later stopped its sale after determining it damages evergreen trees.

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Voters head to polls early in WisconsinSubmitted: 10/19/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin residents can start heading to their local clerks' offices this week to cast early ballots for the Nov. 4 election.

Early voting is set to begin Monday and run through Oct. 31. Municipal clerks can hold early voting from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday during those two weeks, although each clerk can set his or her own hours. Clerks without regular office hours must make themselves available by appointment.

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A unique way to view the stars Submitted: 10/19/2014

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MONICO - People living in the Northwoods get the chance to see dozens of stars on a clear night, but with the temperatures dropping, it might not be as enjoyable.

A planetarium in Monico gives you that experience without bone chilling temperatures.

Kovac Planetarium in Monico has been in business since 2007. It took the owner 10 years to build it. 5 to put the planetarium together. Then an additional 5 to actually get it inside.

The owner says when people come to his planetarium, most people don't know what to expect.

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Madison police arrest 1 for urinating on squad carSubmitted: 10/19/2014

MADISON - A Wisconsin man has been arrested for allegedly urinating on a marked Madison Police Department squad car.

A police statement says officers observed the 21-year-old Dodgeville man relieving himself on the squad car late Saturday night near a bar on State Street in downtown Madison. It says several people warned the man that police were approaching, but he didn't stop.

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Humane Society takes in more than 60 cats, two dogsSubmitted: 10/19/2014

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TAYLOR COUNTY - More than 60 cats and kittens will need to be nursed back to health. They were found in a home filled with garbage and junk.

The Taylor County Humane Society got the cats and two dogs last week after their owner passed away. The humane society says the animal's owner can be described as an animal hoarder.

Many of the cats are sick, hungry, and very weak.

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Police and fire personnel train for real life situations Submitted: 10/18/2014

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WABENO - Texting and driving can lead to serious and deadly accidents. That's why students in Wabeno put together a real life situation involving drinking and texting while driving Saturday.

Students in Family Career Community Leaders of America at Wabeno High School put this together to strengthen surrounding areas of rescue fire agencies.

They want teenagers to be more aware of distracted driving.

"It was a big deal for all of us. That's why we were focusing on high school students playing the part of victims or younger, even elementary, middle school students," said 17-year-old Kaitlyn Ashbeck. "That way they can see what happens when they're not being a safe driver."

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