Community shows off its attractions through a 21st century scavenger huntSubmitted: 07/22/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

PHELPS - Take a scavenger hunt. Give it a 21st century twist, and you get Geocaching.

"Geocaching is a very inexpensive opportunity for the people in town to get together with their families and do something else without having the computer screens always in front of the kids," says Arlyne Becker, Phound It in Phelps co-coordinator."

Arlyne and her husband recently organized a free Geocaching event in Phelps.

Treasure hunters take a list of coordinates and use their GPS's to find containers like this called Geocaches.

"They have little trinkets and stuff in there that you can trade," Becker says.

Once you find a Geocache, you take a trinket out, and put one in.

That way the Geocache remains full for others.

"It's fun to do that because I really like finding things," says 6-year-old Abraham Meinka.

Abraham and his dad, Kevin, play this never-ending game in Wisconsin and their home state of Michigan.

"I like to get him out into a wild area to have him experience nature. I think he has a good time finding things and looking for them," Kevin says.

Geocaching isn't just a fun, inexpensive way to get the family outdoors.

It also helps them find some of their new favorite places.

"You get out into these parks and wild areas that you would not know about except for you're there geocaching and some of them, you know, we now regular because they're just such interesting, neat places," Kevin Meinka says.

The 21st century scavenger hunt started in 2000 in Oregon.

Since then, it's expanded worldwide.

Now there are more than 2 million Geoecaches located around the world.

Arlyne lives in West Bend now but decided to organize the event in her hometown to show people what Phelps has to offer.

"The people that have come in here, a lot of them have been, 'We've heard about it. We don't know what it is. We're from Chicago. You know, get us going on this. And what a perfect opportunity for them all to get to try it," Becker says.

Those geocachers can now put Phelps on the worldwide geocaching map.

Related Weblinks:
Geocaching website

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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TOMAH - The Tomah VA Medical Center will end a lease agreement for a shelter for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Foundation has operated the shelter for nearly 20 years.

Tomah VA spokesman Matthew Gowan says there have been more than 30 incidents involving shelter residents recently.

They include a suicide attempt, a drug overdose and criminal violations.

The center has given the foundation notice that it will end the lease in January.

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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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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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MERRILL - A former Merrill High School choir teacher will go to jail after a judge found him guilty of sexual assault last month. 

26-year-old Chase Tonar will spend three years on probation and 15 years on a sex offender registry. As a part of that probation, Tonar will serve four months in jail.

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

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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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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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