WAUSAU - After a rough start to the year, the Marathon County Sheriff's Department could use a fresh start. The new Sheriff told us Thursday he's planning on it.
The wait for a new Marathon County Sheriff ended Wednesday when Governor Scott Walker appointed Chief Deputy Scott Parks to the position.
He took the oath today in front of his family and colleagues, filling the role 20 other people applied for.
It comes months after Sheriff Randy Hoenish resigned following the Wausau Daily Herald's discovery that he'd barely been to work all year. Then in March an inmate attacked a correctional officer, leaving her in critical condition. That led to the jail administrator's resignation, and the formation of a jail study panel. Sheriff Parks says their identification of that panel is an example of renewed commitment to transparency.
"I don't think we've hidden anything. We've opened up our closets and shown you as much as we possibly can. The whole focus here is to demonstrate to community, to you, to the department that we're serious about what we're trying to put in place here and what we're going to do for them. And that's how you start to build that trust back," says Parks.
Sheriff Parks also wants to develop ways to save money while giving people more services than they see right now.
"The top three agencies: Marathon Sheriff, Wausau Police, Everest Metro are combining our services in a number of areas. Our tactical team, SWAT; SWAT is a combination of Marathon Sheriff, Wausau and Everest. We continue to look to see if we can expand that out to some of the other law enforcement agencies," says Parks.
Sheriff Parks wants his colleagues to help hold himself to a high level of accountability
"I challenged each one of them that if they ever see me not holding myself accountable, or acting inappropriately, or what they consider to be inappropriately, I would expect them to address that immediately with me," says Parks.
All part of the new Sheriff's plan to help make the second part of the year less about controversy and more about progress in Marathon County.
THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.
A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.
CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.
The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.
"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.
Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.
"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.
The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.
MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.
The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.
When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.
"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.
Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.
Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.
"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.
The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.
Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.
PRICE COUNTY - One of the men who led police from several counties on an hours-long manhunt near Park Falls in June will soon return home to Florida.
Daniel Schoonover, 23, appeared in Price County Court on Wednesday. He pled no contest to all three charges of escaping a criminal arrest, resisting an officer, and possessing LSD.
Schoonover received a sentence of deferred judgment for the escaping charge and a total for 150 days in jail for the other two charges. He also has six months to pay back more than $900 in court fees.
Back in June, Schoonover and two other men were driving to a music festival in Highbridge when they were pulled over. Police found LSD in the car and tried to arrest Schoonover and the other man, but they took off into the woods. Police from Price, Rusk, Taylor, and Saywer counties as well as the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service all helped in the search. Schoonover was eventually spotted on a county road around 8 o'clock that evening.
He's been in the Price County Jail ever since. That's 144 days, and he will get credit for the time served.
According to the criminal complaint, Schoonover said he ran away because he was afraid of getting arrested in another state. Schoonover said he didn't know about the drugs in the car, and that he only drove with the other men because he knew they were headed to the music festival and needed a ride. Before jail, he worked as a cook in Florida.
His attorney said Schoonover does not have a criminal record anywhere else.
The other two men involved, Adrian Rodriguez and Kevin Sweeney, will return to Price County Court in November and December, respectively.
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