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NEWS STORIES

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


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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/29/2015

- A Northwoods group that strives to help make students job-ready got special recognition from Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday. Find out which group and why.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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ST. GERMAIN - A wide open, snow- and ice-covered lake can mean a fun and fast time on a snowmobile.

You will get a chance to find out just how fast your snowmobile can go when the 13th Annual St. Germain Snowmobile Radar Run starts in St. Germain.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods supermarkets want to be prepared for the Superbowl this Sunday. Some local stores have ordered a lot more food for this week to make sure they don't run out of Superbowl staples.

The assistant store director of Trig's in Rhinelander has ordered extra shipments of soda, pizza, and snack food. The store wants to be prepared but it doesn't expect food to sell as quickly as it does during other times of the year.

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods group that strives to help make students job-ready got special recognition from Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday.

Rhinelander-based Partners in Education, or PIE, was one of 17 individuals and groups honored with the 2014 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award.

The non-profit started in 2009.

It works with local businesses and community leaders to offer additional educational opportunities to School District of Rhinelander students.

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MINOCQUA - People in Minocqua brought back a Northwoods tradition this year when they rebuilt the city's giant snowman.

For a few years, the giant snowman didn't get built, because of poor weather conditions.

"Who doesn't love to build a snowman?" asked Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Krystal Westfahl. "And to have the opportunity to build a 30-foot snowman brings out every kid in us."

Volunteers in Minocqua helped build the enormous snowman, named Snowmy Kromer, just outside of the Chamber of Commerce. He used to be built near the Island City Ice Cream store. But this year, they wanted to try a new spot.

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CRANDON - The School District of Crandon needs a new superintendent midway through the school year.

Jim Asher told the school board Monday he was retiring, effective immediately.

Asher told us he had been wrestling with the decision since November.

He said he made the decision "for him," and that it had nothing to do with the district.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Children and adults at Lac du Flambeau Public School worked hard to construct a traditional Ojibwe Winter Lodge.

People worked together for nine months to build it.

The entire lodge is made from natural materials. Both the gathering of materials and the construction of the lodge were done in a spiritual way: acknowledging and thanking the earth.

"Native people, we look at the trees, we look at the animals, we look at the fish. We revere those things as our relatives. A lot of non-native people look at those things as a resource," said Ojibwe Language and Culture Instructor Wayne Valliere.

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