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Man who attacked Minocqua nurse practitioner with hatchet, meat tenderizer sentenced to maximum prison timeSubmitted: 06/12/2019
Story By Ben Meyer

Man who attacked Minocqua nurse practitioner with hatchet, meat tenderizer sentenced to maximum prison time
RHINELANDER - Exactly one year ago, Joseph and Jillian Buza walked into Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua for an appointment.

In a duffel bag, they had a hatchet, a meat tenderizer, and a revolver, planning to use the weapons to inflict pain on a nurse practitioner trying to wean Jillian off opioids.

On Wednesday, Judge Michael Bloom called their violent act "outrageous" in sentencing Joseph Buza to eight years in prison, the maximum sentence for the crimes.

"The specific intent accompanying this plan was to cause the victim severe pain by chopping her hands and feet," Bloom said. "The acts of the defendant reflect a person of despicable character."


On June 12, 2018, the Buzas, upset they couldn't get a higher dose of opioids for Jillian, went to the Minocqua Center with a bag of weapons.

"It was a one-and-a-half pound hatchet, a meat tenderizer hammer, [and] a loaded .38 special revolver," said Oneida Co. District Attorney Michael Schiek.

In what defense attorney Steven Richards called "a crazy, ludicrous scheme," the Buzas said they planned to hurt the practitioner, then kill themselves in front of her.

In court on Wednesday, Joseph Buza called himself "a foolish old man."

"I was out of my mind," he said. "It was just craziness."

Marshfield Clinic employees forced their way into the exam room as Buza held the weapons to the practitioner's face. Four of those employees made statements on Wednesday.

"How can he call himself a human being?" asked one of the workers.

"The defendant came to hurt. He came to kill," another told Judge Bloom. "Had he not been prevented from carrying out his plan, we would be here for a murder trial."

A third said, "my sleep has been disturbed with nightmares of that day where we're all killed or of my children growing up without their mom."

Buza will spend five and a half years on extended supervision after his eight-year prison sentence.

Jillian Buza died while in custody in December.

In a statement, Marshfield Clinic said it's "pleased" with the maximum sentence and highlighted its safety improvements at the Minocqua Center in the past year.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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- The Rhinelander school district announced today a blended reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year. The blended option will include high school and middle school students attending in-person classes twice a week, with the remainder of the week being online. Meanwhile, K-5th will have a four day school week, with Wednesdays off for a school-wide cleaning. Despite the district's decision to offer partly online classes, not all parents are ready for their students to return back to the school hallways.

"We have to put health in front of money. we have to put health in front of other important things to make sure everybody is okay to continue to enjoy the things we like so much. and if this is just one way we can keep her safe and the family safe,..again we just decided as a family that's the best route for us," Rhinelander parent, Kate Bauman said.

For parents wanting an alternative option, they can sign up for the districts online option by tomorrow night, August 9th, 2020. 

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RHINELANDER - A lot of businesses have suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rarely do we hear about a business that benefited from more people staying home.

But Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander actually saw an outstanding season.

Sandy Lang of Hanson's Garden Village said the rush for vegetable seeds started soon after the rush for T.P.

"It was like the floodgates opened. And it's just now slowing down and this is almost the middle of august. That's unprecedented," said Lang.

And it's more than just vegetables. Perennials, annuals, and biennials have all sold well, even after a strange start.

"We didn't think we were going to be able to have the public on property this year," Lang said.

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WAUSAU - The 4th Annual Grand Prix of Wisconsin Powerboat Nationals race weekend event that was scheduled for August 29th - 30th at Bluegill Bay Park in Rib Mountain has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

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KENOSHA - A 29-year-old man suspected of shooting and wounding a Kenosha police officer last weekend is under arrest in Indiana, authorities said Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON - The number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak took hold in the U.S. five months ago, but layoffs are still running extraordinarily high.

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