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NEWS STORIES

Special teams, including Rhinelander woman, work through Arizona tragedySubmitted: 07/05/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


YARNELL, AZ - Nineteen men died fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona on Sunday.

Five days later, that fire still burns across almost 10,000 acres of the Arizona countryside.

The fire became a serious issue early last weekend.

Special teams were called from across the country to help with the fight.

Rhinelander's Suzanne Flory is a member of one of those elite incident response teams.

She and her team arrived before the firefighter deaths on Sunday.

"This has been a difficult fire for everybody. Prescott is right down the road from here. The Hotshot crew was from Prescott. A lot of them lived in this area with their families," she said Friday afternoon.

Firefighters and support crews grieve the loss of those 19 men.

But they also have to keep fighting a still-burning wildfire while they grieve.

"It's an interesting vegetation type out here. It burns really hot and really fast, and then you'll have some hotspots here and there around the perimeter. Right now, we're at 80% containment. We're hoping for 100% containment in the next couple of days," she said.

Several hundred firefighters are still working in central Arizona.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MARSHFIELD - Marshfield will break ground for its new library tomorrow morning. The ceremony and small dig is thanks to years of work.

The city will build the new library on the corner of Maple Avenue and Veterans Parkway. That's practically Kitty-corner to the current library, which will become a community center.

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RHINELANDER - In 2003, two bikers found the body of Kenneth Wells in the Wisconsin River behind Trig's in Rhinelander.

At first, police believed Wells drowned. But, more than a decade later, investigators took another look at the case—and this time they called it a homicide. 

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WESCOTT - The body of a man who jumped in a Shawano County lake to rescue his 10-year-son has been recovered.

The body was found after authorities resumed a search of Shawano Lake early Thursday.

Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber says the boy was tubing on the lake without a lifejacket Wednesday and lost his grip while trying to get back on a pontoon boat.  Bieber says the boy's father jumped in the water, and the boat carrying the boy's grandfather and 9-year-old brother drifted away.

Sheriff's officials found the 10-year-old boy in the water near a buoy.

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Authorities say a man has gone missing in Shawano Lake in northeastern Wisconsin after he jumped in the water to rescue his 10-year-old son, who was later found safe.

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RHINELANDER - A Norther Lights Tour scientist explained Rhinelander's role in potato breeding and genetic studies on Wednesday night.

Every year about 50,000 varieties of potato are tested to see if they could be commercially sold.

Only about one in a 100,000 will become a named potato variety.

"The Rhinelander agriculture research station on Highway C is really where that process starts by making the cross pollination, raising those plants for the first time in a greenhouse and then evaluating them in the fields there for a couple years," said UW- Madison Assistant Professor of Horticulture Jeffry Endelman.

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EAGLE RIVER - Gov. Walker's administration often promises to lower property taxes.

And this year, it has.

But the cuts are pretty small. Wisconsin's budget agency predicts the average home will save $1 this year and $2 next year . 


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MADISON - A convicted sex offender from Rhinelander can keep pictures of children he cut out of magazines.

A state appeals court dismissed new charges against Albert Chagnon Thursday.

Prosecutors charged the 33-year-old last year with 23 counts of intentionally photographing a minor without consent. Chagnon was about to be released from prison when a guard discovered a notebook in his pants containing photographs of fully-clothed young girls cut out of magazines or newspapers, including the Lakeland Times.

Chagnon argued that the charges should be dismissed because he didn't take the photographs. The 4th District Court of Appeals agreed with him Thursday, saying state law doesn't cover Chagnon's conduct.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau School District will use a large grant to renovate the school's planetarium. The current Wausau School District planetarium was built in the late 1960s, and it needs some upgrades.

The school just received a $230 thousand grant to complete the project. It is expected to take two years to complete.

"The first year is running the software, showing it, using it in our classrooms in our curriculum," said planetarium director Chris Janssen. "Finding out, 'is this going to work 100% of the time?' Year two then is going to be the actual, physical structure upgrades. The dome will get replaced, seats, cement contractors will come in and tilt the floor and so-on."

The planetarium can hold 54 people, and organizers are hoping to keep it that way.

"For curricular needs, when you have two classes come in, and the classes are about 26 kids each, you gotta have that sweet spot of about 50-54 seats. When you tilt the floor, you lose some space, so I really want to try and keep it at about 50 seats."

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