NEWS STORIES

Wausau PD Offers Distracted Driving SimulatorSubmitted: 05/16/2013

WAUSAU - We teach our kids to look both ways before they cross the street, buckle their seatbelts, and never drink and drive. But our kids may be teaching us a safety lesson soon. When it comes to texting and driving, adults are worse offenders than teenagers.

Today, Wausau Police went to Wausau West High School. Instead of telling them how dangerous texting and driving can be, they showed them.

This simulator car has an accelerator and brakes, but doesn't actually move. Students who went in thinking they can get away with texting and driving found out otherwise.

"I think they do feel like they do a pretty good job. They might say, 'Well oh yeah I was speeding a little bit'. But they don't even realize the drifting and the danger that it could cause," says Maureen Pilsner, from the Wausau Police Department.

One of our reporters gave it a shot, thinking she did pretty well. But she hit two people, another car, and had two speeding violations.

"Anything that you're texting or reading over the phone while you're driving is not worth dying for or risking someone else's life so it can wait. Hopefully through people's passion on this topic more lives can be saved in the future," says Maggie Deloye, a Wausau West Senior.

The Wausau Police Department is offering the simulator to anyone in Marathon County who wants to learn the dangers of distracted driving. Officers will take it to businesses, schools and community events. If you're interested, you can call the police department.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Statton's General Store will close after ten yearsSubmitted: 04/18/2014

TOMAHAWK - Statton’s General Store in Tomahawk will close its doors after ten years.

Dick and Rita Statton opened the business in May of 2004.

“I decided it was time for a change,” says Dick Statton.

Dick worked in manufacturing for 32 years before opening the business.

He wanted to try something new.

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Snow and ice won't stop fishermen from enjoying opening weekendSubmitted: 04/18/2014

EAGLE RIVER - The snow on the ground makes it seem more like January than mid-April.

The record-breaking snow will make it more difficult for lakes to melt in time for the fishing opener on May 3rd.

Fishing guides have just two weeks until opening weekend.

They say they're having flashbacks to last year's late season ice, but they're not worried.

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Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screenSubmitted: 04/18/2014

MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.

Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.

His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”

Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.

“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”

Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.

“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.

“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”

His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.

“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”





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UPDATE: Name released in Tomahawk house fireSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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TOMAHAWK - A man in a wheelchair couldn't make it out of a burning Tomahawk home Thursday.

The fire killed 70-year-old Kenneth Pietila.

A snow plow driver saw smoke coming out of the windows of the home on East Pine Shore Lane just after 1 p.m.

Tomahawk firefighters found an active fire spreading throughout the home.

Pietila, in his wheelchair, couldn't be saved.

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Observing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday Submitted: 04/18/2014

RHINELANDER - You could find a decent amount of businesses closed early Friday.

That's because many of the owners and employees were in church.

People filled the pews at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinelander on Good Friday.

People honored the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

"His death which looks really bad for us is really good because it's in our place," said Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor, Richard Krahn.

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Fire does $1.5 million in damage in Marathon CountySubmitted: 04/18/2014

EDGAR - Fire did $1.5 million dollars in damage at a Marathon County Highway Department garage overnight.

Someone driving by shortly before three this morning saw smoke coming from the building along State Highway 97 near Edgar.

One of the garages was on fire at the Marathon County Highway Department's location in the town of Wien.

Firefighters from Edgar and Stratford rushed to the scene.

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RHS Mock Trial team recognized for accomplishments Submitted: 04/18/2014

RHINELANDER - A Northwoods team broke their own state record last month by winning a 17th state title.

A pair of state legislators honored them Friday.

Republican State Representative Rob Swearingen and Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany honored the Rhinelander Mock Trial Team at the Oneida County courthouse today.

"It's on behalf of myself and Senator Tom Tiffany from the 12th senate district," said Republican State Representative, Rob Swearingen.

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