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UPDATE: Suspect in burglary pleads not guiltySubmitted: 01/24/2014
Story By Kalia Baker


RHINELANDER - Siphanh Phongsavath waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday morning.

Phongsavath faces five charges, two of which are felonies.

Charges include burglary and attempt of misdemeanor theft.

Phongsavath is charged with breaking into the Rhinelander Verizon store back in
November.

Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Steve Michlig thinks Phongsavath's
choice to waive the preliminary hearing benefits the state.

"This is a case which is a little bit unusual than other cases we have. there
are allegations of other charges from other jurisdictions. I think before we
resolve this case, we're going to have to take a look at what's going on in the
other jurisdictions, including the potential for perhaps some federal charges,"
said Michlig.

Phongsavath is also suspected to be part of the Latin Kings gang.

The district attorney's office is hopeful the case will be resolved quickly.

"With the potential for other charges out there, it does offer the state a
certain amount of leverage," said Michlig."The defendant has many things to
worry about and I think that hopefully, it will lead to the ability to resolve
this case with a result favorable to the state and probably more promptly than
otherwise."

Phongsavath entered a not guilty plea. He'll be back in court March 18.

Footprints in the snow led to his capture.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

STEVENS POINT - A baby in Portage County ended up in the hospital for seizures twice in three days last fall.  Police think the mother's live-in boyfriend may have shaken that baby.

Matthew Huettl, 25, pleaded not guilty to felony charges for first-degree reckless injury and child abuse in Portage County Court on Tuesday.

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VILAS COUNTY - A 77-year-old man died in a crash near Boulder Junction late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol, it happened around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and County Highway H.

Investigators think a van went through an intersection and hit a semi truck.

"There was injury," said Boulder Junction Fire Chief Matthew Reuss. "The two passengers in the van had to be extricated. One was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for further care. The driver of the semi was uninjured and the second passenger in the van was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the driver of the van is a 68-year-old woman from Colby. Crews later took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 77-year-old male from Colby, died in the crash. They were both wearing seatbelts. 

The driver of the semi is 63 years old and from South Range. 

Traffic was rerouted through Boulder Junction for several hours and was reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Several units responded to the scene.

"Because we had multiple patients, we dispatched multiple ambulance units," Reuss said. "We called in resources from Arbor Vitae for traffic control and we called Manitowish Waters for help in extrication and ambulance service as well as Medic 5 out of Howard Young."

State Patrol and the Vilas County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash.

Police will not release the names until the families are notified. 

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RHINELANDER - The streets of downtown Rhinelander changed quite a bit over the last year. The construction will pick up again this spring, but there is a possibility for some last-minute changes to those construction plans.

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MERRILL - Republicans planned to go after the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, quickly after taking control of Congress and the White House. Less than a month into session and the House of Representatives started picking apart the healthcare law. Many Americans are wondering what will happen to Obamacare. Congressman Sean Duffy held a town hall at Les & Jim's Lincoln Lanes in Merrill this afternoon to answer the public's questions. 

According to Duffy (R-Weston), the Affordable Care Act will be repealed because it is effective for 20 million people, but not for all of America. 

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RHINELANDER - When police arrested Alexander Durand for stealing a car, they found he had been stealing mail as well.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office arrested Durand, 21, Saturday for driving a car stolen from a house near Rhinelander. During that investigation, officers found a lot of other people's mail on Durand's property.

The mail was from all over Oneida County as well as other counties.  The Sheriff's Office will contact the people whose mail has been found.

Durand is due in court January 23.

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RHINELANDER - The farther south you go, the less snow you'll see. That's bad news for people who live there, but great for getting people to come to the Northwoods.

The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association puts in a lot of work, in part to attract more people to its trails. 

The group works with the Oneida County Forest to improve trails.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Vilas County Jail hopes to add two new corrections officers in 2017. But the jail needs more applicants by Friday.

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