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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
Northwoods Parish raising money for school, church upgradesSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods Parish wants to raise at least two million dollars to renovate its schools and church.

Nativity of Our Lord Catholic School needs technology and infrastructure upgrades. One of the school's buildings hasn't been updated since the 1950s.

School leaders think it's important to also upgrade the school's wireless ability. The school has SmartBoards, iPads, and laptops, but they want the equipment to work better.

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Northwoods farmers behind on corn harvestSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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ANTIGO - Some corn farmers in Wisconsin need to catch up on harvesting.

One Northwoods farmer is about 2 weeks behind this year.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the worst.

Dairy farmer Butch Maly in Antigo wishes his corn season started a few weeks earlier.

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President Obama scheduled to campaign for Burke on TuesdaySubmitted: 10/22/2014

MADISON - A date has been set for President Barack Obama's campaign stop in Milwaukee next week with Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Burke's campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki says that Obama will be with Burke on Tuesday. The president's stop comes as Burke is locked in a tight race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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State water use declines in 2013Submitted: 10/22/2014

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STATEWIDE - Cooler temperatures helped the state use less water in 2013 than it did in 2012.

The state DNR found Wisconsin's groundwater and surface withdrawals dropped by 6% from the year before.

Power generation makes up 74% of the state's water use.

Cooler temperatures in 2013 meant power plants didn't need to use as much water to cool down equipment.

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Many Northwoods voters will consider whether to accept federal BadgerCare moneySubmitted: 10/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Voters in Oneida, Lincoln, Florence, and Iron Counties will tell the state whether it should accept federal money to expand BadgerCare.

That's Wisconsin's health insurance program for low-income people.

Gov. Scott Walker rejected federal money offered by the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama promised that money would cover at least 90% of the cost of expansion for years into the future.

Walker has said Wisconsin can't trust the federal government to keep paying the money.

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20 flu-related hospitalizations in Wisconsin so far in OctoberSubmitted: 10/22/2014

MADISON - State health officials say the flu season is off to a strong start in Wisconsin.

State epidemiologist Thomas Haupt says influenza hospitalizations have been unexpectedly on the rise in October. 20 people have been hospitalized in the past three weeks. Haupt tells WISN-TV (http://bit.ly/1wo5JOD ) one or two hospitalizations are common this time of year, but not 20.

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Volunteers needed for new community warming centerSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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MERRILL - The first community warming center in Merrill is set to open in less than two weeks. However, Merrill Area United Way organizers still need volunteers to help manage the center.

The group recently re-fit the former Lincoln Community Bank Drive-Thru on W. Main Street in Merrill to serve as the center. It will help homeless people stay warm from November to April at night. The Lincoln County Homelessness Task Force reported more than 20 homeless living in the area as recently as July.

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