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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
Tour and workshop to help businesses draw more customers to Northwoods Submitted: 10/01/2014

VILAS COUNTY - The beautiful scenery, resorts, and other attractions draw many tourists to the Northwoods.

Local businesses want to keep it that way.

While the summer season wrapped up a month ago, some businesses are already thinking about next summer.

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Young eagles struggling to find foodSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Birds of prey in the Northwoods could struggle to find food this fall. Young eagles in particular are struggling to feed right now. Animal rehabilitation groups have seen spikes in the number of starving eagles this year. The late start to the spring may be one of the problems.

"It's not the most amount of eagles that we've ever had, but it's the largest amount of starved juvenile eagles that we've ever had," said Wild Instincts Director Mark Naniot. "We saw a lot of the eagle chicks coming in that were very small compared to what we usually see. They normally fledge around the 4th of July or about a week before they start leaving the nest. We were getting some that were not even close to leaving the nest at the end of July."

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Walker slightly ahead of Burke in new pollSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MADISON - With less than five weeks until Election Day, a new poll shows Gov. Scott Walker is slightly ahead of Democrat Mary Burke in the race for Wisconsin governor.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows Walker with 50.5 percent support among likely voters compared with 44.7 percent for Burke.

That 5.8-point lead is just above the poll's 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

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Organizers prepare for Cranberry FestSubmitted: 10/01/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Cranberry Fest draws about 40,000 people to Eagle River each year. Organizers think this year will be no exception.

They started preparing the fairgrounds on Wednesday for this weekend's festival.

A majority of people who come to the festival are visiting from out of town.

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Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra visits RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Sounds of Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini filled Rhinelander High School's auditorium Wednesday. Those same sounds were in concert Wednesday night.

Students attended a concert by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra that morning.

The Northwoods Concert Association brought the symphony into town. They were able to play at the high school thanks to the Hodag Schools Foundation.

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UPDATE: 17-year-old suspect admitted to bomb threats at Medford Area Senior HighSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MEDFORD - Medford Police wants a 17-year-old charged with a bomb scare felony after Wednesday's evacuation of the high school.

The suspect made two different bomb threats through the social media app "Yik Yak."

He referred to bombs in his locker.

Medford Area Senior High was evacuated and searched after 1 o'clock.

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Craft brewing discussion teaches public about beer industrySubmitted: 10/01/2014

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MINOCQUA - Brewing craft beers in Wisconsin gets more popular every year. People always want to learn more about it.

Minocqua Brewing Company turned into a classroom for beer enthusiasts Wednesday night. Experts from around the state shared the history and science of making beer in Wisconsin.

People could also learn how big of an industry brewing is turning into.

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