RHINELANDER - Rhinelander residents love the Hodag.
Soon, they'll be able to see more of them around Rhinelander.
Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. auctions off Hodags painted by local artists every year.
DRI hopes to raise $10,000 this year.
That money will help DRI improve downtown Rhinelander.
"We're trying to create events. We're also trying to do economic restructuring and helping recruit businesses and retain the existing businesses. There's just an organization part where we disseminate information from our office. And there's a downtown beautification piece," says Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. President Mark Gutteter.
This is the first year artists will decorate mini hodags.
DRI decided to make the change after hearing from members of the community.
"The original Hodags were 7 or 8 feet long, and 6 feet tall. There was a lot of interest in those but they're not applicable to everyone - everyone's yard or in front of everyone's business so we had a lot of people interested in smaller Hodags. So this year's Hodag is about 2 feet tall, maybe 2.5 or 3 feet long," added Gutteter.
The Hodags will be unveiled and auctioned off at the Hodag Howl on October 26th.
DRI will auction off five mini Hodags.
Five others will be displayed at local businesses.
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.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
MINOCQUA - Only about one-third of students showed up to classes at Lakeland Union High School Friday morning, with many staying home after police verified a shooting threat.
More police officers were on hand at the school Friday morning.
On Thursday evening, Minocqua Police Chief Dave Jaeger confirmed the discovery of shooting threats in the ladies' bathroom near the LUHS auditorium. The threat noted an attack would be similar to Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which killed 17 people.
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