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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
Milwaukee police vote 'no confidence' in chiefSubmitted: 10/31/2014

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police have taken a vote that expresses no confidence in their chief after he fired a white officer who shot and killed a black man in a downtown park.

Union president Mike Crivello announced Friday that about 99 percent of the votes expressed no confidence in Chief Edward Flynn.

He did not say how many of the union's 1,600 officers voted, only that it was a majority.

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Hire me then fire me, Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants to eliminate positionSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - Hire me then fire me. That's what a Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants voters to do.

Jerry Shidell is a libertarian from Rhinelander. You'll find his name on the ballot for State Treasurer. He plans on getting rid of the job.

Shidell says the treasurer doesn't have many responsibilities and the position costs too much.

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25th Senate candidates differ over mining law, agree on importance of broadband and educationSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - The mining issue might decide the winner of the 25th State senate district. The huge district covers a large portion of northern Wisconsin stretching from parts of Vilas County to parts of Barron County. Two types of mines have caused controversy in the district. A proposed taconite mine in the north, and sand mines in the west.

Gogebic Taconite is proposing a four-mile open pit taconite mine in Ashland and Iron County. Project leaders say the project will lead to 700 direct jobs, as well as numerous spillover jobs because of the construction of the mine.

Republicans rewrote and passed the state's mining law in 2013. Many believe the rule change weakened water protections, but Republican candidate Dane Deutsch doesn't agree.

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Sex offenders must follow strict rules on HalloweenSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - Sex offenders on probation or parole need to follow strict rules on Halloween. It's part of the state Department of Corrections' trick-or-treat safety plan.

Sex offenders need to stay home tonight. They can't wear any costumes or have any Halloween decorations up. Their porch lights also need to be off during trick-or-treating hours.

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100 Yards of Halloween DecorationsSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - A lot of people in the Northwoods will put out decorations for Halloween. But one Rhinelander woman and her daughter have gone above and beyond. They've grown their display for the past 10 years to extend between their houses and covering more than 100 yards.

"We had four boys and we wanted a girl and she was born on Halloween, so my husband said, 'Look, we finally got our witch!'" said Linda Klaver.

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Drivers surprised by icy roadsSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - Drivers got an icy surprise as they hit the road this morning.

People needed to show a little caution as they got used to driving on snow and ice again.

Some accidents tied up traffic for a time. In Wausau, one lane of Highway 29 was shut down near Highway 51.

An accident caused the problem shortly after 4:00 a.m. The road was fully open again around 6:00 a.m..

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School District of Rhinelander passes 2014-15 budget; sees increase in enrollmentSubmitted: 10/31/2014

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RHINELANDER - The School District of Rhinelander will get a little bit more funding from property taxes this year. Rhinelander passed a referendum in 2013.

The district gets 4 million dollars per year through 2016.

On Monday the district approved the tax rate and mill levy for the year. Taxpayers will pay $10.99 per thousand dollars of property values.

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