RHINELANDER - Like many people who report to court, Marilynn Collins never intended to end up here.
"We don't know exactly when, but it's coming to an end," Collins said.
Finding out she'll soon lose her job with Ascension made an opportunity at the Oneida County Courthouse sound like a convenient fix. Collins heard about a court reporter introduction class in Rhinelander and signed up.
"This is just baby steps," Collins said. "You feel like you're back in typing school, you know, typing class back in high school is how i kind of feel right now."
For two hours on Tuesday nights, a group of eight students like Collins and Kerri Ison sit at their stenographer machines listening and learning.
"Trying to put letters to make a word that really, to no one else, makes any sense," Ison said, with a laugh.
Those key combinations and letters make plenty of sense to 27-year veteran reporter Jean Wood.
"It's repetition, over and over," Wood said.
Wood volunteers to teach the free eight-week class with two other court reporters.
"They'll have a huge leg up when they start school," Wood said. "When I went to school, I didn't even know what the machine looked like."
Students learn the basics of court reporting: keys, letters, and word formation. It's a slow-moving lesson plan with an underlying urgency. The National Court Reporters Association predicts a shortage of 5,000 reporters by next year.
"It is a lot and it's a big undertaking," NCRA President Chris Willette said.
Willette visited the Oneida County class Tuesday night to thank the students and teachers. She hopes this class -- which is one of 50 across the U.S. -- will help close a growing gap in a profession that has a real impact.
"Preserving the record that means the difference, perhaps, between life and death," Willette said. "This is an opportunity to get their hands on that machine and see if it clicks with them. If it's something they think they would like to do for the rest of their life."
Willette says reporters can work beyond these walls, too, doing closed captioning for live TV and sports events. But Marilynn Collins is already hooked, hoping to spend a lot more time in a room she's choosing to stay in.
"Try it out, see if it's for me and then I think I will pursue it," Collins said.
Students of the class will still need to get a two-year degree before working in court reporting. Starting wages can be just shy of $50,000.
TOMAHAWK - Thirty-two-year-old Eric Lee Moen of Wausau is charged with shooting and killing his friend of four and a half years, Charles K. Ramp with a long gun. Moen is currently in Lincoln County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.
On Friday morning, Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins held a press conference to explain what police think led up to the shooting.
RHINELANDER - Snow plows can't do their job very well when cars sit in their way. That's why Rhinelander's winter parking ban will return in just a couple of weeks.
Starting December 1st, cars can only park on designated sides of the street during the day. On even-numbered days, cars park on the side of the street with even addresses. On odd numbered days, cars must park on odd-numbered sides of the street.
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32. Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.
The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond. He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses. He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.
Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.
Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years. Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him. The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.
Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.
"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."
You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.
ROSENDALE, WI - An explosion and fire at a cheese plant in Fond du Lac County sent one person to the hospital.
The sheriff's office says 36-year-old Travis Klotzbach, of Brandon, was using a cutting torch on an empty 55-gallon barrel in the auto shop at Knaus Cheese near Rosendale when the explosion happened just after 7 a.m. Friday.
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