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Nicolet College Graduate Makes History Submitted: 05/18/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


RHINELANDER - Students around the Northwoods graduated today. One local graduate made history at Nicolet College.

"As a Nicolet Grad, not only will your education enhance you as an individual, but you will enhance the greater good of the Northwoods community as an educated citizen of our democracy," says Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster.

Hundreds of Nicolet College students walked across the stage after accomplishing their goal… earning a college degree. But one student was challenged in a way no other Nicolet graduate has experienced. Jeff Hedberg is legally blind.

"Other people can follow in my foot steps and do exactly what I did. They just need to put one foot in front of the other and believe that there are people out there that will give them a chance and opportunity," says Hedberg.

Jeff's wife Sylvia Hedberg Thomas says it all started a couple of years ago when her husband decided to go back to school. The director of disability service reached out to him to help build a plan that would ensure Jeff reached his goals.

"When Bob told Jeff everything that he would be able to do, Jeff's like 'You really think I can do that?' And I was sitting there going, 'Well yea. Of course you can," says Hedberg Thomas.

Everybody either has or will have a disability to some extent within their lifetime. Technology can and will help most of them get through the challenge of their situation," says Hedberg.

Even though Jeff's tutor Charmaine Jacques helped him out, she says she learned from him as well.

"I learned a little bit of brail from Jeff and I learned a lot about his software that he uses," says Jacques.

This isn't the last stop for Jeff. He plans to get his masters at Stout University.



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VILAS COUNTY - A 77-year-old man died in a crash near Boulder Junction late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol, it happened around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and County Highway H.

Investigators think a van went through an intersection and hit a semi truck.

"There was injury," said Boulder Junction Fire Chief Matthew Reuss. "The two passengers in the van had to be extricated. One was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for further care. The driver of the semi was uninjured and the second passenger in the van was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the driver of the van is a 68-year-old woman from Colby. Crews later took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 77-year-old male from Colby, died in the crash. They were both wearing seatbelts. 

The driver of the semi is 63 years old and from South Range. 

Traffic was rerouted through Boulder Junction for several hours and was reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Several units responded to the scene.

"Because we had multiple patients, we dispatched multiple ambulance units," Reuss said. "We called in resources from Arbor Vitae for traffic control and we called Manitowish Waters for help in extrication and ambulance service as well as Medic 5 out of Howard Young."

State Patrol and the Vilas County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash.

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Hejtmanek lives on West Horsehead Lake in the Oneida County town of Cassian. His best option for internet service is DSL provided by Frontier, a technology which is a distant memory for many people in cities.

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