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Tuning into a different kind of retirementSubmitted: 08/02/2013
Story By Lex Gray

Tuning into a different kind of retirement
RHINELANDER - From the outside, Jeff Santy's house looks like a typical retiree's dream: a view of the lake, and peace and quiet.

But Santy's retirement dream is a little different.

"You don't have to be a rock star to feel like one," Santy says.

Santy helps people feel and act like rock stars. He started teaching music and bringing bands together after he retired from teaching English at Rhinelander High School in 2006.

"Sometimes the kids come to me and say, ‘Here's four or five of my friends, we want to be in a band, we've got a name for the band, we've got matching jackets,' and I'll say ‘What do you play?' and they'll say ‘Oh no, no, that's up to you.'"

It's not always kids living the rock star dream.

"I've had a gal who was retired just a few years ago from teaching, and she said I've always wanted to be a drummer," Santy says. "She was 57 years of age and when she started, she said ‘I should have started this 50 years ago.'"

Carly Reich started playing guitar and keyboard when she was 15 years old.

"My brother had put ads up all over town looking for band members and he got no responses," Reich says.

Two years ago, Reich and her brother found Santy's Tunesmith Academy. Santy helped them bring their band, Violet Skies, together.

"I tried taking private lessons, I tried teaching myself, and I tried playing as a group lesson," Reich says."I think the main thing for me was, there's an obligation to the other people in your band to keep getting better and to keep up with what you've learned. So that makes me a lot less likely to slack off."

Tunesmith Academy is fun for the bands and fun for Jeff, but how does it fit in with the quiet Lake George community?

"We got a phone call once when we were pumping the music, and I thought ‘Uh-oh, there's the sheriff's department calling me and saying you gotta shut this down,'" Santy says. "And yet it was someone across the lake calling with a request. They wanted to hear a certain song."

A certain song that brings you back to a time when anything was possible.

"I think kids dream of being sports stars or rock stars," he says. "I can't help them with the sports star end of it, but I can help them with the music end of it."

Violet Skies and other Tunesmith Academy bands will play this weekend at the Oneida County Fair.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store.

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CONOVER - Hundreds of people gathered in Conover to celebrate all things winter. On Saturday the fifth annual Northwoods Blizzard Blast was held. 

There were horse drawn sleigh rides, sledding, giant ski races, and plenty of other winter activities.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - People from as far as Iowa and New York travelled to the Northwoods on Saturday to take on a unique challenge. Boulder Junction held a new winter sports event that proved to be quite a success.

"I'm just really happy to see this all come together," said Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.

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PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures.
Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture.
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CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.

The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.

"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.

"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.

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MINOCQUA - Many Lakeland Union High School parents kept their children home from school Friday. Threats to shoot up the school felt all too real after 17 people died in a Florida school this week. The high school stayed open Friday, however the atmosphere felt different.
Friday students walked through a crowd of police and sat in nearly empty classrooms.
"I didn't want to take the chance that something was going to happen to my son," said Lakeland Union High School parent Jennifer Stough. 
 
Stough's 17- year- old son Zach had a lot to look forward to this weekend. Instead she kept him home Friday.
"I have friends that went to school today and that makes me nervous," said Zach.
Yesterday a student and teacher found shooting threats on a ladies bathroom stall suggesting a repeat of what happened in Florida.

"It's not a joke and we take these things seriously," said Minocqua Police Chief Dave Jaeger.
Minocqua police quickly got involved. However, the threats didn't stop there.

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Megan Danielczak's down payment was actually taken by an undercover agent of the state Division of Criminal Investigation. Danielczak believed the agent was a "hitman."

Danielczak was arrested Thursday at her workplace in Tomahawk. She's currently in Oneida County Jail, facing charges for solicitation to commit first degree intentional homicide.

"We've had other cases involving domestic violence and things like [that], but this is my first time that I've seen that in 28 years," said Rhinelander Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier.

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