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home : news May 24, 2016

Sen. Ron Johnson hears concerns about wolves in the North
Daleth Mountjoy/River News

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, talks with Eric Koens from the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association about the problems caused by wolves in northern Wisconsin.
Daleth Mountjoy/River News

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, talks with Eric Koens from the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association about the problems caused by wolves in northern Wisconsin.
Wolves have been a frequent topic of conversation in the Northwoods since a judge reinstated federal protection for the animals under the Endangered Species Act.

The debate over the status of wolves in the Great Lakes region continued Monday during a rural small business roundtable event hosted by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) in Rhinelander. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


DPI: '50 Shades' incident did not meet state's definition of immoral behavior
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Mercer teacher and volleyball coach Robyn Schoeneman did not cross the state's threshold for immoral conduct when she rented the R-rated film "50 Shades of Grey" for a group of underage students on a road trip to an Oconto Falls tournament in August 2015. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Minocqua Town Board OKs $180,000 engineering contract
The years-long process to get a new building for the town of Minocqua's fire department cleared another hurdle Tuesday as the contract to develop the building's plans was approved by the Minocqua Town Board.

The architectural and engineering services contract, totalling $180,000, is with MSA Professional Services. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Minocqua, Woodruff police departments receive ATVs
The Minocqua and Woodruff police departments have received, thanks to the Bombardier Recreational Program, one all-terrain vehicle each.

Minocqua police chief Dave Jaeger said his department has been using a utility vehicle, or UTV.

"We have been using those for our bigger events, like Fourth of July and Beef-A-Rama," he said. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Lee Lech accused of violent sexual assault
In records released by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, former deputy Lee Lech was accused by a co-worker in 2014 of violent sexual assault, an allegation leading to his ban from the department and ultimate resignation.

Lech is now a deputy in Clark County. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Area providers discuss statewide broadband expansion
National and local broadband providers met May 13 in Antigo to discuss efforts to increase Internet connectivity in the Northwoods. In particular, the providers discussed the impact of the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF2), as well as the state-provided Broadband Initiative Grants recently expanded by Gov. Scott Walker. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Authorities investigating death of Phelps woman
Authorities are investigating the death of a Phelps woman who's body was found Tuesday.

According to a press release from the Vilas County Sheriff's Department, the department's dispatch center received a wireless 911 call before 1 p.m. Tuesday. The caller said she was walking on a trail behind some apartments in Phelps and found a dead body off the trail. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Eliason attorneys move to dismiss criminal charges
Attorneys for two St. Germain businessmen charged with 10 counts of securities fraud filed a joint motion in Vilas County Circuit Court Monday asking the court to dismiss all charges against their clients.

In their motion, defense attorneys Stephen Kravit and Dean Strang argue the criminal securities fraud statute is void because it is unconstitutionally vague. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Judge: Eliason legal advisor appears to be target of DFI probe
A hearing scheduled for May 13 on a motion to quash a subpoena issued to the lawyer who provided legal advice to two St. Germain businessmen accused of securities fraud was canceled when Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese recused herself from the case, according to court records. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Fried, Hallstrom, Pederson, Wentland vie for vacant LUHS board seat
Four people have declared their candidacy for a seat on the Lakeland Union High School Board of Education.

Minocqua town supervisor and former Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Lake Tomahawk school board member Billy Fried, MHLT teacher Wade Wentland, Emily Hallstrom and Leonard Pederson have all applied for the seat vacated by Joe Fahrenbach last month. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

County board passes resolution for State Forestry Department relocation
The Oneida County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday joined the chorus of local officials lobbying to bring the State Division of Forestry office to Oneida County.

The Rhinelander City Council passed a resolution last week asking the state to consider Rhinelander for the soon-to-be relocated office and Tuesday the county board passed a similar resolution. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Federal regulations impact Wisconsin less
The impact of federal regulations on the Badger state is less than on most other states, a new analysis shows, but the burden of federal rules has nonetheless been growing over the years.

The study, from Patrick A. McLaughlin and Oliver Sherouse at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranks each of the states and the District of Columbia according to how federal regulations affect each state's economy. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Preliminary investigation into house explosion reveals the cause
The explosion that destroyed an unoccupied seasonal home in the early morning hours of May 13 in the town of Sugar Camp was caused, according to preliminary investigation results, by gas vapor.

That's the explanation from the Division of Criminal Investigations-Office of the State Fire Marshall through an Oneida County Sheriff's Department press release earlier this week. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Feingold visits Rhinelander as part of 72 county campaign tour
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson's opponent in the 2016 election, former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, was in Rhinelander Saturday.

He served in the senate from 1993 to 2011, when he was defeated by Johnson in a re-election bid.

In early 2015, Feingold announced he was running again for the Senate seat and will face off against Johnson this November.

While in Rhinelander, Feingold toured the downtown area, which is undergoing a massive street reconstruction project. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Former Northern Way gets use as a training site for firefighters
Hillestad Pharmaceuticals in Arbor Vitae last year purchased the building across from the Perkins restaurant that last housed the Northern Way.

Years ago, it was known to several locals as Lola's.

Later this summer, construction of a new, 4,480 square foot addition to the rear of the current Hillestad building is scheduled to begin. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Former Oneida County ADA takes over as tribal court prosecutor
A veteran assistant district attorney for Oneida County recently took over as the tribal court prosecutor in Lac du Flambeau, a job that also includes additional duties as tribal attorney.

Jodi Bednar-Clemens started the new position March 29. A former Iron County district attorney, she has also worked in Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties as either a special prosecutor or assistant district attorney. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Michalsen announces candidacy
Matt Michalsen, a teacher and coach at Lakeland Union High School as well as a Lake Tomahawk town supervisor, is the most recent Democrat to announce his candidacy to oppose incumbent Republican Rob Swearingen in this November's election for state assembly. Michalsen was given the floor briefly at the start of Tuesday's Minocqua Town Board meeting. Earlier this week, Eagle River Democrat Lawrence Dale also announced his candidacy for the 34th District seat.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Woodruff Town Board gets fire truck committee clarification
The question of what to do in the town of Woodruff with regard to whether or not the town should buy a new, $730,000 ladder truck for its fire department continues and has now, for the time being, gone beyond just the one piece of equipment.

At the board's April 26 meeting, supervisor Barry Seidel said he didn't believe there had been enough done to explore the idea of participation by other towns in the area. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Authorities investigating cause of Sugar Camp explosion
No one was injured early Friday in an explosion that destroyed a seasonal home in the town of Sugar Camp.

A press release from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office said the dispatch center received a 911 call at approximately 4:46 a.m. from a person reporting an explosion.

The caller stated he had broken windows in his house. The press release goes on to say that upon arrival of emergency personnel, it was found the house at 5078 Sand Lake Road in the town of Sugar Camp was totally destroyed and there was a small fire in the basement. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Single-car crash in Woodruff Saturday kills one person
A 31-year-old Lac du Flambeau man died Saturday as the result of a one vehicle crash Saturday afternoon on Brunswick Road south of Woodland Drive in Woodruff.

A press release from the Woodruff Police Department said Adam J. Lisner was transported to Howard Young Medical Center where he was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the crash. The Woodruff police department is investigating the cause of the crash.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Manitowish Waters: Town board misses boat on funding for Rest Lake landing
After months of discussion the Manitowish Waters Town Board voted again on Tuesday to continue researching improvements for the Rest Lake boat landing. However, those efforts may all be for naught since the board's collective dragging of feet cost them the funding that made the project possible in the first place.

The board also rejected a maintenance agreement for the pavillion in Rest Lake Park that would have secured private funding for all operations instead of turning to taxpayers.(subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DA lowers boom on Woodruff man accused of stealing from Cassian couple
A 50-year-old Woodruff man accused of stealing over $570,000 from an elderly town of Cassian couple between May 2013 and July 2014 is now facing 108 separate charges after Oneida County district attorney Mike Schiek amended the state's complaint.

Brian B. Smith has been facing criminal charges related to the alleged theft since August 2014. He was originally charged with one count of forgery, one count of identity theft for financial gain and theft of movable property over $10,000. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oneida County Public Works and Solid Waste Committee talks jobs
At a short meeting on Thursday, the Oneida County Public Works and Solid Waste Committee discussed adding one new part time new limited term employment position in solid waste, and discussed the problems facing the Solid Waste department's program to employ McNaughton inmate at the recycling sorting line.

Highway commissioner Freeman Bennet requested a LTE employee be added to help during the week and on Saturdays at the yard to help at the Oneida County Dump. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Newbold Town Hall to host 'The Fix Is In' animal clinic
The Newbold Town Board decided at Thursday's meeting to allow the Wisconsin nonprofit organization The Fix Is In to use the town hall in the future, after hearing from Karla Ortman from the organization, as a site for a temporary mobile veterinarian clinic to spay and neuter dogs and cats.

The Fix Is In is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to offering a high quality/high volume affordable spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats.

The program started in 2012. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

LdF woman accused of assaulting tribal police
A 19-year-old Lac du Flambeau woman accused of striking two members of the Lac du Flambeau Tribal Police is being held in the Vilas County Jail on three felony charges and five class A misdemeanors.

According to the criminal complaint, tribal police were dispatched to a residence on Cemetery Road at approximately 1 a.m. April 28 where Autumn S. Williams was allegedly found laying in the yard. When officers made contact with Williams, she allegedly became verbally and then physically abusive toward them, the complaint states. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Three accused of smoking synthetic pot in minivan with child
Three people have been charged with a host of felony and misdemeanor counts following a traffic accident in Lac du Flambeau.

According to the complaint, the vehicle the three were traveling in was seen moving erratically and eventually left the road.

When officers got the people out of the vehicle, it was determined they had become overcome by "pope" (synthetic marijuana) they had smoked in the vehicle. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Attorney General Schimel's opinion slams door on agencies' implied authority
In a move that will likely have major consequences for Wisconsin's administrative state, attorney general Brad Schimel said this week DNR officials have no 'implied' authority to regulate high-capacity wells in the state. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Summer Snow Shack: 'It's not a snow cone!'
Minocqua is about to get a new business and it's not a typical Northwoods product.

The Summer Snow Shack, owned and operated by Bob and Peg Hille, will offer Hawaiian shave ice, a dessert using a unique recipe.

"Ours is the authentic recipe from the Hawaiians," Peg Hille said. "We visited our son stationed in Hawaii and he said, 'Mom, you've got to try this stuff.' I said, 'Okay, it's like a snow cone.' But it's not a snow cone - that's the big thing, it's not a snow cone." (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lake Tomahawk sets dates for town clean-up
Dates have been set for Lake Tomahawk's annual town clean-up. During the town board meeting Wednesday, Paul Schalkofske said he would like to hold the clean-up the weekend of Memorial Day with a second set of dates available in June.

Exact times and dates will be posted at the town's information center, along with items Schalkofske will be willing to take. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tech Byte: Saving a webpage as a PDF
Printing a webpage from the internet is as easy as clicking File and selecting Print. However, the final product isn't always pretty. The formatting is frequently off, white space is in odd places from where photos or ads were and extra pages of comments can be printed uselessly.

A nice feature to use is the ability to convert a webpage as a PDF file. The file is cleaner, formatted correctly and can be saved to the computer for reference in the future.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Justices open door to fresh assault on CCAP
The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 5-2 last week to dismiss a rules petition filed by the State Bar of Wisconsin in 2009, paving the way for a new attempt to cull and expunge records from the state's online circuit court public database.

The vote took place in an open rules conference, according to an alert from the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Court hands down mixed verdict on open records
Some police agencies have been using a federal law to justify the redaction of identifying driver information from accident reports, but a state court of appeals struck down that reasoning this week.

The Driver's Privacy Protection Act does not mandate redaction of drivers' information, the court stated in a long-litigated decision. However, in a mixed verdict, the court said police might have to redact such information in other reports, such as incident reports, if the information source is the Department of Motor Vehicles. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

T-Bird construction
A pair of large construction cranes operate on both sides of U.S. Highway 51 during construction of a replacement for the Bearskin Trail bridge on Tuesday, May 10, in Hazelhurst.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hwy. 51 update
Work crews are continuing with the marsh excavation and backfill along the west side of Highway 51 from Oak Ridge Road to Little Bearskin Rd. Marsh excavation and backfill have also continues along the west side of the highway just south of Jackson Heights Rd. Drains are also being installed in these areas. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sign of summer
A crew from the town of Minocqua took advantage of little to no traffic early Wednesday morning to setup the large planters in the downtown area for the summer season.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vets honored
Four members of the Lakeland post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars were recognized May 12 for 65 years of membership in the organization. Pictured, from left, are World War II veterans Ferdinand Gehrke and Rich McPherson and Korean War veteran Harold Else. Not shown is Korean War veteran Lyle Gehrke.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Minocqua's fire committee recommendation on board agenda
The next phase of the new fire station for the town of Minocqua is back in the town board's court.

Minocqua's Fire Department Building Committee voted Thursday to recommend to the town board it approve a contract with MSA Professional Services for a total of $180,000.

Monday, May 16, 2016

All paws on deck: Lakeland Area Dog Park needs volunteers
The Lakeland Area Dog Park Corporation will host a meeting at 5:30 p.m Tuesday night for anyone interested in helping with the dog park.

Vickie Abraham, Sally Winger and Stephanie Mulleady have been working on the dog park for three years but are at a point where they need more hands.

The dog park has received a lot of support from the community and now that all levels of town and county meetings have been passed, volunteers are needed to make the park a reality.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fatal accident in Woodruff Saturday
Authorities are investigating the cause of a one vehicle accident early Saturday afternoon in Woodruff.
Saturday, May 14, 2016

SAND LAKE BLAST
UPDATE- No one was injured early Friday in an explosion that destroyed a seasonal home in the town of Sugar Camp. A press release from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office said the dispatch center received a 911 call from a subject reporting an explosion. The caller stated he had broken windows in his house.
Friday, May 13, 2016

MHLT school board member facing misdemeanor charges
A member of the Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Board of Education is facing misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property charges in connection with an incident at her Lake Tomahawk home Sunday afternoon.

The battery and disorderly conduct charges include the domestic abuse enhancer. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 13, 2016


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