MOLE LAKE - You don't find too many people hanging around the Lake George boat launch in mid-January, but Rollie Woltjen wants to see plenty of his workers there all summer long.
"It's so important for us to have those people at the landing," Woltjen said.
The Rhinelander-area lake association president has had a home on Lake George since the late 1980s, but only lately has the fight to stop aquatic invasive species been top of mind. Woltjen and Scott Campbell work hard to find people to check boats for AIS and keep Lake George clear of eurasian watermilfoil.
"In the past, we had done it with volunteers, but volunteers are getting harder and harder to come by," Woltjen said.
That made the $4,000 check to help pay workers his lake association received Monday morning so important.
"It's great that they are so active in trying to help groups that want help and want to help themselves," Woltjen said.
Woltjen's association was one of 31 groups to receive more than $84,000 in funding from the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa tribe in 2018. Libraries, snowmobile clubs, fire departments, and even the Forest County Humane Society cashed in on the generosity.
"This it the highlight of my January," humane society president Jay Schaefer said.
Schaefer says almost all - about 85 percent - of his $100,000 budget comes from donations like Mole Lake's. Groups needed to submit documents explaining why they need the money and what they would use it for.
"They're very casual on the application and yet very sincere," Schaefer said.
Gaming compacts with the state require tribes to give a portion of casino earnings to local governments. Mole Lake reaches far and wide with its donations, offering money to groups in Forest, Langlade, and Oneida counties, with a focus on protecting the environment.
"We don't see them daily or utilize their services daily, but sometime throughout the year we do need their service and when you need their service it's always a good part for us to remember them," Tribal Chairman Chris McGeshick said.
McGeshick simply calls the donations "holding up their part of the bargain," whether that means feeding more dogs or removing a few more invasive species from a lake.
"We all have a responsibility here and we just want to make sure that everybody understands we will be a responsible partner," McGeshick said.
The tribe ultimately gets to decide who receives the funding each year, but McGeshick says groups that protect the land, air, and water while promoting tourism get special consideration.
STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store,
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
MINOCQUA - Many Lakeland Union High School parents kept their children home from school Friday. Threats to shoot up the school felt all too real after 17 people died in a Florida school this week. The high school stayed open Friday, however the atmosphere felt different. Friday students walked through a crowd of police and sat in nearly empty classrooms. "I didn't want to take the chance that something was going to happen to my son," said Lakeland Union High School parent Jennifer Stough.
Stough's 17- year- old son Zach had a lot to look forward to this weekend. Instead she kept him home Friday. "I have friends that went to school today and that makes me nervous," said Zach. Yesterday a student and teacher found shooting threats on a ladies bathroom stall suggesting a repeat of what happened in Florida.
"It's not a joke and we take these things seriously," said Minocqua Police Chief Dave Jaeger. Minocqua police quickly got involved. However, the threats didn't stop there.
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