Dogs learn obedience from McNaughton Correctional Center inmates Submitted: 08/19/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Animal shelters need all the help they can get placing pets with families in the community.

A Northwoods humane society has found that help from a couple of inmates.

It's not every day inmates hear panting at the McNaughton Correctional Center.

"I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems a lot less like an institution and more like a town, let's say. The attitudes reflect that." said McNaughton Correctional Center Superintendent, Brad Koshbab.

"I couldn't ever imagine having a dog program like this in a prison setting," said McNaughton House Inmate, Stewart Gasper.

"Here it is. It's great."

The correctional center recently teamed up with the Oneida County Humane Society to start a dog program called New Beginnings.

Six dogs are brought in for a six week training at the facility.

"We're teaching these dogs basic commands so that they can find a good home," inmate, John Rassbach said.

"When they do get to a good home, they'll know how to act and not be chewing things up. And just learning how to behave in a normal environment."

Some of the dogs that come in don't always have the best background.

Two year old Bea was starved.

"You can see the change just the brief time that they're here just to go from maybe anti-social animal, to the outgoing, more loving," said inmate Joseph Athans.

"Like Bea, who you seen earlier. She was more skidish and stuff and now she's already opened up in a few days."

Getting these dogs ready for adoption often means teaching obedience and social skills.

That usually requires a lot of patience.

"They all need to be loved and cared for and they do need a very good home to go to," Rassbach said.

"That's what they need and that's what they're here for."

"You learn how to nurture an animal and be loving, kind, considerate, a provider and care giver." Gasper said.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/20/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

In the last few years, Northwoods counselors have gotten scientific evidence to force drunk drivers to be truthful. We'll show you how the "BioMarker" project works and update you on the progress of the program in Wisconsin and Oneida County.

We'll bring you a preview of the Level 1 High School postseason football game between Merrill and Rice Lake which takes place tomorrow.

And we'll show you all the hoopla in Green Bay as fans get excited about tonight's big rivalry matchup between the Packers and the Chicago Bears.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - When people think first responders, cops, firefighters and EMTs usually come to mind. 

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It's Nicole Lea's job to be at her best when you're at your worst.

"There's no other reason your calling us to say, 'Hey, hope you're having a great day.' It is their worst day when they're calling us," said Lea.

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RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Land Trust helps protect about 12,000 acres of natural lands in six northern Wisconsin counties.

That amount of conservation is a big job. But the organization employs just one full-time and two part-time staff members.

The Land Trust relies on the help of about 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission, volunteers like Nancy Richmond.

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MADISON - About 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data posted on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows 55,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

21,700 have come in from three conservative counties near Milwaukee.

Over 183,000 were cast statewide.

Republican candidates typically must do well in those Milwaukee suburban counties to counter the Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Madison.

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MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

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GREEN BAY - MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has to accept results of the election, even though Trump hasn't said whether he will if Hillary Clinton wins.

WLUK-TV reports Thursday that Walker said following an event in Green Bay that "The bottom line is whether he does or doesn't, there's going to be a new president."

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THREE LAKES - With the presidential election right around the corner, voters will be changing history for the United States.

For voters in the town of Three Lakes, they'll also be voting for a library, town office and possibly even a police department reconstruction plan. Wednesday evening, supporters of the Demmer Library came together to inform others in the community about that vote.

Members of the Three Lakes community that are in favor of expanding the Demmer Library joined forces to call every single registered voter in the area. 

"Just informing people about the referendum and for others I've found a lot of support. There are a lot of 'yes' votes out there and we're definitely grateful for that," said supporter Colette Mahlerwein.

For Laura Wipperman, her vote has already been decided.

"I love the idea of a campus kind of concept where people could get from one building to the other easily and share some spaces because I believe that's going to save us money in the long run," said Wipperman.

When voters see their ballots in now less than three weeks, they will also be asked how they feel about the proposed expansion project with the library, town offices and police department.

"I feel very passionate about not only keeping the library in Three Lakes but allowing it to thrive," said Wipperman.

The first question voters will see will be, "Do you support up to nine hundred thousand ($900,000) additional taxpayer dollars being placed on the levy for the Library expansion?"

"A 'yes' vote on question one would have an estimated annual impact of $7/year per $100,000 worth of value on your home for 20 years," said Mahlerwein.

The second question voters will see will be, "Do you support up to 1.8 million additional taxpayer dollars being placed on the levy to replace the existing structure for the Town Office, Police Department and Community Building with a new smaller structure?"

"A 'yes' vote on question two would have an $11 a year increase on your home valued at $100,000 for the next 20 years," said Mahlerwein.

After they crunched the numbers, Mahlerwein's family didn't have to go far to find the money.

"I can find that in spare change at my house. My girls and I actually did a little challenge to see if we could find that in spare change and we did," said Mahlerwein.

For those making phone calls on Wednesday night, their main goal was to educate the voters so that they are prepared to make a decision.

"I hope that it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. I hope that the timing works out well because a presidential election brings out voters and that it will inspire people to vote and that they'll vote 'yes'," said Mahlerwein.

If you still have questions on the proposed plans, please call the Demmer Library at 715-546-3391.

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