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Statewide magazine honors Rhinelander middle schoolersSubmitted: 01/23/2014

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Readers of Wisconsin Outdoor News magazine could find two different writings by
local students in their latest issue.

Both are by eighth graders at James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander.

Tyler Fredrick won first prize in a statewide poetry competition for his poem,
"The Message of Winter".

The project started as a joint assignment from his eighth grade teachers.

"I was kind of thinking, hey, this would be cool to enter. Chances are I
probably won't win, but it would be pretty cool if I did win," Tyler said.

The contest challenged students to write poems or prose about outdoor experiences.

Tyler took first prize statewide.

"I live in Rhinelander. It's really cold here. I might as well do winter.
That's how I came up with 'The Message of Winter'," he said.

"Tyler's writing really stood out in the fact that he had all of the types of
figurative language - similies, metaphors, personification. It was a really
neat representation of what we've been doing in class," said eighth grade
English teacher Karie Blemke.

Rhinelander eighth grader Grace Payfer took second prize in the prose division
with her work, "Springtime's Gift".

She wrote about her family's tradition of collecting maple sap in the woods.

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VILAS COUNTY - Day three of the trial for Rodney Teets brought a variety of witnesses to the stand.

The 36-year-old Vilas County man is accused of three counts of sexual assault.

Wednesday began with testimony from a slew of law enforcement.

Each of them went over the night the woman accusing Teets of sexual assault called 9-1-1 .

Prosecutors showed the clothes police believe Teets was wearing that night and showed the knife police found in the pocket.

It is unclear if this is the same knife with which investigators believe Teets threatened the woman.

Next, the court heard from the sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE nurse, who examined the woman in the case.

The nurse read from her report that night, referring to the woman as "the patient."

"The patient appears alert, awake, cooperative, tearful," the SANE nurse testified.

Defense attorney Steven Lucareli asked the SANE nurse if she noticed the woman was hurt.

"No physical injuries whatsoever, whether violent or not?" Lucareli asked. The nurse confirmed this was true.

Then, a DNA analyst from the state crime lab testified she found Teets's DNA from the samples the SANE nurse sent to her.

Lucareli pointed out that the analyst couldn't say how the DNA might have gotten there.

"The DNA doesn't tell us anything about whether a rape occurred?" Lucareli asked. The analyst confirmed this was true.

Prosecutors will call their last two witnesses Thursday, including the main detective in the case. Then the defense will begin presenting its argument.

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RHINELANDER - Rent can eat up more than half of a person's income when they earn minimum wage. That can lead to missed rent payments and even homelessness.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness, or N*WISH, wants to work the landlords to keep people housed.

"This is a new initiative, I guess, to try to build landlord relationships and awareness of homelessness and people in need," said Housing Program team leader Lori Hallas.

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RHINELANDER - People with developmental disorders can hear plenty of negatives when it comes to succeeding in school. That's why a Northwoods school offers a program to help these students prove the doubters wrong.

Nicolet College offers Jump! Start, which helps people with special needs go to college and prepare for the workforce.

College student Ashley Mathy has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition listed on the autism spectrum.

As a high school senior, she was told she would never make it to college because she would fail.

"You're going to have failures. You're going to have people tell you that you can't do things all the time whether you have a disability or you don't have one. And you just have to prove them wrong because if you don't, then you'll just let failure take you away," said Mathy.

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CRANDON - Cutting down your time in front of a digital screen can be a tough task.

But the Forest County Health Department wants you to make a special effort to limit screen time next week. It's encouraging people to participate in Screen-Free Week.

"We're missing part of the world," said Forest County Health Department Director Jill Krueger. "We need to reconnect, go back, and discover all of the things that we loved before we had all of this technology."

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes you'll sample some of the area's best salads and win some prizes on Saturday.

The pantry is hosting the Garden Fresh Salad Bowl event at Holiday Acres. It's a fundraiser for the pantry, and several local restaurants are participating.

"It should be a very nice event. It's a beautiful setting," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen. "We've got 12 different restaurants that have contributed salads toward this."

About half of the crowd will win handcrafted door prizes from the Northwoods Turners. The event runs from 11 to 1. Tickets are available at the food pantry, CT's Deli, Forth Floral, and People's State Bank.

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TOMAHAWK - Unless you find yourself in trouble, you don't usually sit down and talk with a cop. 

The Tomahawk Police Department held its monthly Coffee with a Cop meeting Wednesday morning.

It gives people the chance to pull up a chair and talk to Chief Al Elvins about their questions or concerns.

Those concerns change with the season. 

Warmer weather means kids will be out of school soon and there'll be more foot traffic.
 
And don't forget about those motorcycles. 

"Watch out for the motorcycles. So often they hit a blind spot on us and you don't see them. If you are driving a bike, be aware of your surroundings. Remember that four wheels don't always see your two wheels," said Chief Elvins. 

The city's drug takeback will be open all day on Saturday. The department does it twice a year.

You can bring in any over the counter or prescription drugs to the station's drop-off box.


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WISCONSIN - Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

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