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Safe year on Wisconsin roadsSubmitted: 12/27/2013
Safe year on Wisconsin roads
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - The death toll on Wisconsin roads will be fairly low for 2013.

This year is on pace to be one of the safest ever.

Preliminary figures from the state Department of Transportation show 519 people have died in Wisconsin crashes through Sunday.

The number is below last year's total of 601 and the annual average of 571.

Michael Panosh, with the State Patrol's Bureau of Transportation Safety, says 2013 is on track to rival 2009, when there were 542 deaths.

That was the safest year since World War II.

Police think increased traffic enforcement helped.

They also feel people are more educated about seat belt use and driving while intoxicated.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL -
It might be hard to imagine running a business with your mother or daughter-in-law, but for one pair, a shared hobby helped create their DIY studio.

Mother and daughter-in-law duo Diane and Alicia Kucirek opened The Painted Door in Merrill just one month ago.

They take old, worn out furniture and make it new again using chalk paint.

The pair decided to open the studio when both of their houses started to get jam-packed with finished chalk paint projects.

Diane says anyone can learn how to give new life to old furniture with some lessons.

"You just learn as you go. It's so easy to repair anything you don't like, fix it, or change direction with it," says Diane.

Alicia says the first month of business was insane, mainly because of the community's support.

Support comes from outside of Merrill, too.

"We've had people come from all over Wisconsin saying, 'Tell me about this chalk paint!'"says Alicia.

The Painted Door has workshops every Thursday.

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MADISON - A man accused of stealing an arsenal of firearms from a southern Wisconsin gun shop and sending an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump has admitted at trial that he committed the crimes.

Joseph Jakubowski took the stand Monday in Madison, saying he robbed Armageddon Supplies near Janesville April 4 and took guns, magazines and bullets.

After the robbery, the 33 year old self-proclaimed anarchist spent 10 days on the run before he was discovered some 130 miles away in Vernon County.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board approved spending nearly $8,000 on a study for the public fishing pier on Highway 51 in Minocqua.

The findings will help board members decide whether to replace the entire bridge or just repair parts of it.

Public Works Director Mark Pertile says the exact age of the pier is unknown but he guesses it's around 100 years old.

"When you look underneath you'll see some of the problem areas. Some of the things we check are the railings to make sure they are stable. But the wood [is starting to] rot," explained Pertile.

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HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.

The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."

The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.

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RHINELANDER - With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.

"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.

Wednt hauls boats for Shoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.

"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said.  "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."

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RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.

The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.

Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.

The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.

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RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.

Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway.  The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.

They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time.  About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.

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