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NEWS STORIES

Teacher accused of selling pot got 'glowing recommendations' during hiring processSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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RHINELANDER - Police searched a Rhinelander High School teacher's house because they thought he had been stealing equipment from the school.

They say that's when they found 66 marijuana plants and a sophisticated grow operation. Since we reported that story last week, people have been asking how Joshua Juergens got hired in the first place.

"We got glowing recommendations," said superintendent Kelli Jacobi. "I don't know that those were all completely honest."

Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says the district did a background check on Juergens. That check turned up a record, as does a simple online search of Wisconsin's online court records.

In 2010, Juergens was convicted of disorderly conduct. In 1997, he was convicted of marijuana possession, both misdemeanors.

"We did know that there was a drug issue, a misdemeanor, I believe he was 19," Jacobi said. "We look at patterns in behavior. If something is a recurring thing in a background check, that definitely signals a problem."

But Jacobi says she can't factor certain convictions into the hiring process.

For now, Juergens is on unpaid leave from his teaching job. He'll stay in the Oneida County Jail unless he can come up with his $2,000 bail or get into a treatment facility.

He returns to court November 21.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Audubon Report says climatic changes could hurt Northwoods birds by 2080Submitted: 09/19/2014

NORTHWOODS - Birds living in the Northwoods could be in serious danger.

A recent National Audubon Society report says climatic changes could threaten birds by the year 2080.

Scientists studied 588 bird species and more than half of those are facing trouble.

The study looks at the important climate needs each species requires to survive.

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Riverside Athletic Club holds open house on SaturdaySubmitted: 09/19/2014

MERRILL - You can learn more about ways to stay fit and have fun with the family this weekend.

Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill is holding an open house on Saturday. Families can stop by the open house from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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Sentencing planned for attack on corrections officerSubmitted: 09/19/2014

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WAUSAU - A man convicted of attacking a jail officer in Marathon County will learn his sentence today.

22 year old Fredrick Morris pled no contest to agrivated battery and battery by a prisoner.

Prosecutors say Morris was the inmate who threw a punch which knocked a Marathon County jail officer unconscious.

The attack happened last year in March.

Julie Christensen was critically injured and admitted to the hospital.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

TRIPOLI - A cool summer and a lot of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine and they worry the harsh weather may have hurt their vineyards.

"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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Human Service Center welcomes new executive directorSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A familiar face will lead a Northwoods organization dedicated to helping individuals and families.

Tamara Feest became Executive Director of the Human Service Center earlier this month.

The center is located in Rhinelander and serves Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Child sex-related crimes send Rhinelander man to jailSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man inappropriately touched a young girl this May.

The victim was younger than 10 years old.

Blaine Ciardo admitted his actions and apologized in Oneida County Court on Friday. But Ciardo will spend another year in jail. He has spent almost four months in jail so far.

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