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Correctional staff shortage adds up to costly overtimeSubmitted: 05/18/2018
Correctional staff shortage adds up to costly overtime
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - A shortage of correctional officers to work in Wisconsin's prisons cost taxpayers more than $42 million in overtime last year.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says there are currently 920 unfilled corrections jobs, or a vacancy rate of about 12½ percent.

The worker shortage has been a long standing problem in the Department of Corrections. Overtime pay grew 1.3 percent in 2017 from 2016, a smaller increase than previous years. Despite efforts by corrections officials to recruit and retain more workers, the shortage isn't showing any signs of improvement.

The Journal Sentinel reports the problem was most severe at Waupun Correctional Institution and Redgranite Correctional Institution, where more than 20 percent of the jobs were open. More than 17 percent of the jobs are open at four other prisons.

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ARBOR VITAE - Last summer the Northwoods LBGT community and allies come together to celebrate love, diversity and acceptance.

After last year's successful festival, the Rainbow Hodags planned an even bigger one for this year.

More than 75 people celebrated gay pride at the second annual Pride Fest in Arbor Vitae.

Lots of laughter, live music, and dancing filled the park. 

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FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.

The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.


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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.

The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects. 

One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.

For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.


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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Back in the early nineties, an event in Lake Tomahawk gave thanks to veterans. This year, a group of community members decided to bring it back.

The Vets and Guides event invites veterans from King, Tomah, and other areas to come to Lake Tomahawk for a day of fishing, food, and a good time.

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RHINELANDER - People could drop off almost anything with a plug at an electronic recycling event in Rhinelander June 22.

Computers, laptops, and TVs filled boxes in the Charter NEX Films parking lot.

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- In the last week, more than a dozen people in the Wausau area found their cars damaged or broken into.

In a span of six days, at least 17 vehicles were either keyed, had windows bashed in or had stuff stolen from them.

"Some weirdo doings some weirdo stuff that's how I look at it," said Jon Radtke who lives in the neighborhood where items were stolen from a handful of unlocked cars."It's kind of (strange) for this area. We really don't have a lot of problems in the area."

Last Friday, two vehicles parked at the East High Apartments on Street and Adams Street and three more just down the street were broken into.

"We're working on who [is doing] this," said Wausau Police Officer Brian Burkhardt.

He says a few days after the break-ins around 7th Street; he received calls of 12 cars being vandalized, nothing stolen just vandalized.

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ONEIDA COUNTY -
Ruffed grouse appear to be less active this spring compared to last year.

Recent surveys showed drumming activity was down 34 percent across the state.

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