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"Lights of the Northwoods" almost ready for tonight's ribbon cuttingSubmitted: 12/14/2017
Story By Natalie Cardona

RHINELANDER - 50,000 twinkling lights will bring holiday cheer Hodag Park in Rhinelander Thursday night.

"Lights of the Northwoods" is a drive-through light show packed with more than 32 individual displays.

Vice President Shawn Will says he's excited and a bit nervous to officially share the display tonight.

Those nerves have nothing to do with the amount of snow we got.

"I was thinking as the snow was flying and I was looking at the lights I'm like, 'This is going to be like one of

those Hallmark movies we watch all the time!' It's really going to be pretty on the lake here with the lights

shining off the snow," says Will.





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 IN OTHER NEWS

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RHINELANDER - Around 9:30 Wednesday morning police and fire crews responded to a semi versus car accident.

The crash happened on Highway 47 near Birch Lane in Rhinelander, just across the street from the Shell gas station.

The driver of the car was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries after pulling out in-front of the semi.

The truck driver was unharmed.
Oneida County Sheriff's Department says a citation is possible.

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WAUSAU - Gov.-elect Tony Evers feels lawmakers could have passed the lame duck session bills with more transparency. He's upset they were passed without much discussion and late at night.

Evers said his interactive session in Wausau on Wednesday was the opposite.

More than 125 people shared their ideas during his "Building the People's Budget" tour.

"The contrast between what's going to happen today and what happened a week or so ago in the State Capitol is going to be striking for you," Evers said.

Evers expects to propose more spending on schools when his budget comes out next year.

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WOODRUFF - We know how to handle the ice and snow here in the Northwoods, but it doesn't hurt to get a reminder on ice safety as that ice starts to firm up.

DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz says no one should go onto the ice with the assumption the ice is one hundred percent safe.

There are different types of ice and it can change day to day. Sometimes it changes hour to hour.

"We do encourage people to check with some different places like bait shops," said Walz. "Do some precautions like carrying a spud bar or obviously drill some holes on your way out."

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RHINELANDER - He runs a warehouse instead of a "workshop", drives a truck instead of a sleigh, but the jolly and bearded Jeff Dillenberg still felt a little bit like Santa Claus on Wednesday afternoon, helping deliver some early holiday gifts to well-deserving girls and boys.

"This week was a busy one," Dillenberg said.

The Rhinelander Slumberland warehouse manager got ready to ship out dozens of twin and full-size beds. They're destined for families whose children sleep on the floor or a couch.

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EAGLE RIVER - Newswatch 12 spoke with a man who got two scam calls from someone pretending to be an Eagle River police officer and another pretending to be a firefighter.

Both scam calls asked for donations.

Eagle River Fire Chief Michael Anderson says he thinks the caller is a local because the department is taking donations for a second station, but not over the phone.

"I believe they probably read [that we need donations] in the paper and thought that they would just take advantage of the current situation. Though, we will always take donations, we will never call and solicit donations from you. And we will never ask you for your credit card information," said Anderson.

If you do receive one of these calls you are asked to report it to your local police department.

Law enforcement reminds everyone to never wire money to someone over the phone who you don't know.

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RHINELANDER - Lori Edwards admitted on Tuesday she thought getting a maximum 40-year prison sentence for Ellen Tran was unlikely.

A jury convicted Tran in the Oneida Co. homicide of Lori's young son Avery.

But in an interview Tuesday after the sentencing, Edwards said she was shocked Tran was only given 15 years in prison by Judge Patrick O'Melia. Tran will serve seven years on extended supervision after the time in prison.

"To get the 15 and seven was a shock," Edwards said. "That was a lot less than what I expected or what I think she deserved."

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TOMAHAWK - Some police officers deal with drugs on a daily basis.

A new report shows that the drug Fentanyl is on the rise now, and it's the number one cause of drug overdoses.

This drug not only puts the abuser's life on the line but the officers' lives too.

Tomahawk police officer Matt Gorell said the drug is extremely dangerous.

If officers come into contact with it by breathing it in or even touching it, they could die in a short period of time.

Gorell said when they respond to overdosing calls or drug stops they carry Naloxone, a drug used to counter opiate drugs and heroin overdoses.

"We have to take [fentanyl] very seriously. Fentanyl is so potent an amount the size a pinhead is enough to kill [an average person]," said Gorell.

He said fentanyl can often times be found mixed with heroin and the survival rate of the user is very low without a counter drug like Naloxone.

Overdose drug deaths hit a record high last year killing more than 70,000 people.

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