New Marathon Co. Sheriff Promises TransparencySubmitted: 05/09/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

New Marathon Co. Sheriff Promises Transparency
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.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/20/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Rhinelander/Oneida County airport manager is retiring after 28 years, and a new manager will take over. We talk with Joe Brauer about his retirement and introduce you to the new person in charge.

Today the State Senate will vote on a bill inspired by a victim of the March 22nd shootings in Wausau last year. We'll bring you the details and update you on the progress of "Sara's Law."

And we'll tell you why some local Dairy Queen stores are giving away free ice cream cones today.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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ARBOR VITAE - You won't want to wear your best clothes to one race in May.

Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

"It comes from all of the kids and their fundraising in the community, with the help of grandparents and parents and friends," says AVW Principal Rich Fortier.

The race will be at the Minocqua Park Complex on May 5.

To find out how to register, click below.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.

The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.

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WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan says he's hoping bargainers can resolve the final disputes in a government-wide spending bill on Tuesday.

If they can, that would give Congress time to pass the legislation before a midnight Friday deadline and avert yet another federal shutdown.

The Wisconsin Republican has told reporters that he's hoping the legislation can be formally introduced Tuesday. It would provide robust increases for defense and domestic programs for the rest of the federal fiscal year, which runs through September.

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RHINELANDER - The older you get the worse your vision can become. But retired or not, vision screening can be expensive.

The Rhinelander Lions Club offered free eye testing for anyone over 40 on Monday.

The screening took place at the Oneida County Department of Aging.

The purpose of the screening was to help people identify if they are at high risk for eye disease or need to see an eye doctor.

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TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.

Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."

The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.

Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.

"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.

"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.

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In his 20 years with the Vilas County Jail, administrator Bill Weiss can count on two hands how many times an inmate got out earlier than they should.

"It's pretty rare," Weiss said.

Weiss needed to add to that tally last week.  The jail let Edward Chosa Junior go as a "free" man on March 13, however that wasn't his correct release date.

"It was a clerical mistake," Weiss said.

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