RHINELANDER - An Independence Day celebration wouldn't be the same without the sparkle and shine of fireworks.
But some types of fireworks aren't allowed in Wisconsin. Using those illegal fireworks in spite of the law can be very dangerous, especially, around children.
It's illegal for you to light fireworks in Wisconsin without a permit.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the Rhinelander Fire Department want you to remember some important details.
"Anything that leaves the ground, or goes bang is an illegal firework. Certainly, if you're lighting off even the legal ones, like the fountains, they can cause brush fires and house fires. You wanna make sure that you're lighting them on either bare dirt, or a concrete blacktop driveway," said Terry William, Rhinelander's Fire Chief.
The fine for using illegal fireworks is nearly $1000.
Your first noise complaint means fireworks will be confiscated.
Rhinelander's Fire Chief says the second call is often too late.
"Unfortunately, the way we end up dealing with the people that use [illegal] fireworks are when the firework goes off on their finger, a traumatic injury from the explosion, or significant burns," continued Williams.
Leaders at the Oneida County Sheriff's Department also want to remind you that many combat veterans live in the Northwoods.
The noise from illegal fireworks could trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
Using fireworks in most state parks and forests is also illegal.
If you're caught using them anyway, that fine will cost you up to $200.
EAGLE RIVER - These unseasonably warm temps can make it hard for snowmobilers to enjoy the trails. The Wisconsin Snow Report says snowmobile trails in Eagle River are overall in poor condition.
On many of the trails, you'll see more gravel and dirt than actual snow.
"You don't know if the season comes to an end at this point because you never know when Mother Nature will throw a twist at things and give you a 20 inch snowstorm because that can happen. You know, the big lake is still open up north and if the winds come down that way, we could see a lot of Lake Affect snow yet," said Eagle River Sno Eagles Trail Boss Brian Scheid.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
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