Local woman celebrates 100th birthday with special balloon releaseSubmitted: 07/05/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

WAUSAU - One Wausau nursing home pulls out all the stops for one woman's very special birthday.

"I can remember many years ago, when she was around in her forties, she says, ‘Don, I'm not going to live long.' And I say, ‘Mom, I will be at your 100th birthday party'" recalls Donald Koy, Martha Koy's son.

Friday was a special day for Martha and her family. She turned 100. But Martha's age isn't what brought her friends and caretakers at the Mount View Care Center together: it was Martha herself.

"She's just always been full of life and spunk, and pizazz, and always has to dress nice, and always has to have her coffee right away in the morning," says Erika Degroot, one of Martha's caretakers.

Martha may be queen for the day. But Erika Degroot and other caretakers say she reigns supreme everyday.

"She's always making sure we're okay. I mean, this woman's 100 years old and has totally earned the right for us to just care for her and she still cares for us, and pats us on the arm, and pats us on the back, and are you okay, and why don't you sit down and have coffee with me, or you're working too hard," says Erika.

Donald Koy told the staff he wanted to throw his mother a birthday party. The staff jumped right in to help plan. This made the celebration extra special.

"Many residents, you know, I'm sure they don't like to be in a nursing home. My mother loves it," Koy says.

Martha and her partygoers released 100 balloons in honor of Martha's twin sister, Monica, who was also a resident at Mount View Care Center. She died 3 years ago.

"We wanted Martha to have a way to honor her twin. So we thought, 'Why don't we do a balloon release and let Martha release a couple of balloons for her sister? And then we're like, 'You know what? She's 100. Let's get a hundred balloons and let everybody put balloons out' because we all knew Monica as well, and the whole family's here," Degroot adds.

One hundred balloons for one hundred years. The secret to making every one of those years count is simple.

"Just go along [with it]," says Martha.

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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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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce wants to push economic growth and work closer with businesses.
But to do that, the chamber needs a new director first.  That process is just starting.

The Chamber Board of Directors voted to fire executive director Bill Clow October 3rd.  Clow had only started last December.  Eric Britton has been serving as interim director since then.

Past president and current board member Brett Aylesworth says the chamber sent out a job description to all members this week, asking if anyone is interested.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill choir teacher will be sentenced today for sexual assault.

Last month, 26 year old Chase Tonar plead no contest to sexual assault of a student by school staff in Lincoln County Court.

Tonar is accused of having sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

Police arrested Tonar in July.

The Lincoln County District Attorney says he will ask for jail time, as well as sex offender reporting and counseling.

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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.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northwoods didn't get a lot of bitter cold or snow early last winter.  That forced Vilas County to keep its snowmobile trails closed much later than it hoped.

But the county set its target opening date for this year, with hopes we see a very different winter.

The county set a projected date to open trails of December 12.  That allows deer hunters to get through their season without worrying about snowmobiles in the woods.

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MADISON - A University of Wisconsin student charged with sexually assaulting and choking a woman is expected to face additional charges after investigators say they were contacted by dozens of other women.

Police say officers searching Alec Cook's Madison apartment found a black book with names of women he had met and what he wanted to do with them, including his sexual desires.

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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.

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