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NEWS STORIES

Raising money to bring Connie McCallister home Submitted: 11/17/2013

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ATHENS - Connie McCallister went missing nine years ago.

She was 16 years old when she went to a party with her 22 year old boyfriend in Milwaukee.

That's when her family believes she was drugged and taken to Mexico by her boyfriend.

It was nine years before police we're contacted by McCallister this September.

Since that, the family has been trying to get her and her three kids back in Wisconsin.

But some claim the family knew where she was all along.

"That is completely untrue and unfounded. But now I'm not looking back, only forward and I'm looking forward to her coming home." said Connie's aunt, Florence Volzka.

McCallister's aunt is leading the effort to get McCallister home.

But that could cost thousands of dollars.

That's why Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens held a soup dinner to raise money today.

"It is not inexpensive. There's a lot of legalities. She had no proof of identification, so it's very hard." Volzka said.

Volzka first talked to McCallister on Skype in September.

She now talks with her every day on the phone.

"On her first one, she was ecstatic, nervous. We both cried. And I got to see her on that one," said Volzka.

"Now it's all through telephone. She's a tough young lady I'll tell ya. From a lot of things that I know now that I didn't know then."

Volzka doesn't know when McCallister will come home.

Wausau police are working with the FBI and her family to help her get back home.

You can help by sending donations to Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens or Athens Area Credit Union.

Story By: Shardaa Gray

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Local union fundraiserSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.

Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!

"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."

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Unemployment up in Wisconsin's largest citiesSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.

Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.

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Northwoods composite panels could mean improvements for home foundations Submitted: 07/23/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.

Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.

The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.

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Wisconsin to stop enforcing birth control lawSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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The decision riled birth control advocates and Democrats, who said Wednesday that Wisconsin law is not affected by the decision.

The Supreme Court ruled that companies with religious objections, like Hobby Lobby, can avoid the contraceptives requirement of the federal health care overhaul law.

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Hoggie Doggies celebrates National Hot Dog DaySubmitted: 07/23/2014

WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.

Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.

The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.

"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."

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EPA cleans up chemicals from Lindey Cleaners buildingSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - You could find EPA crews cleaning chemicals out of a building in Rhinelander Wednesday.

It's been a year and a half since the city decided something needed to be done about the deteriorating Lindey Cleaners.

You might not notice much change on the outside of Lindey Cleaners, but inside crews from the Environmental Protection Agency were hard at work.

The building on Stevens Street has been empty since 2009. EPA workers think 100 to 150 different chemicals were inside the building.

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Update: Woman dies in swimming accidentSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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STAR LAKE - Update: 7/23/14

47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.

Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.

The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.

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