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home : news : county/state news May 24, 2016

Forestry officials: Grant denial means loss of local control
State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Rep. Mary Czaja (R-35th district) visited the Oneida County Forestry, Land and Recreation Committee last Wednesday to discuss the reasons the Joint Finance Committee denied Oneida County's request for a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship grant for a parcel of land located at McCord Road and U.S. Highway 8, known as the McCord CCC Camp. (subscriber access)
Monday, May 9, 2016


grass fire
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Crescent Fire Department personnel extinguished a grass fire off Lair Road Thursday afternoon. According to DNR Forestry Technician Phil Puestow, the DNR has determined the cause of the fire was "debris burning." Puestow said local fire crews have been busy lately because while wooded areas are "starting to green up, it's still dry enough out there for a fire to get away from you very easily." He warned the public not to burn without a permit and to always follow all conditions and burning regulations. Violators may receive a citation.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

State inmates coming back to county jail
Come next month, state inmates - and state money - will be headed back to Oneida County, sheriff Grady Hartman said Thursday.

Hartman told the county's Public Safety committee the sheriff's department has signed a contract with the state of Wisconsin to house prisoners in the county jail for a fee of $51.46 per inmate per day. The county may receive up to 100 inmates at a given time, but Hartman said in the past the number was closer to 60 inmates. (subscriber access)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Former ADA takes over as tribal court prosecutor
A longtime 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)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Van Stippen announces candidacy for the 12th Senate District
A Deerbrook Democrat is suspending his campaign for state Assembly to launch a campaign for state Senate.

In February, Bryan Van Stippen announced his candidacy for the 35th Assembly District. On Thursday he announced he was switching tracks and will now take on Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) in the 12th Senate District.

"It was not an easy decision to make, but as a father and small business owner, I care deeply about our community and I know I am ready to take on this race," Van Stippen said in a press release.

Saturday, May 21, 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)
(2 comments)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Three injured in two-vehicle accident in Eagle River
Three people were injured Thursday evening in a two-vehicle crash in Eagle River.

According to a press release issued by Vilas County chief deputy Patrick Schmidt, a call came at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday reporting a two-vehicle accident with multiple injuries. The location of the traffic crash was State Highway 70, directly in front of Parson's Chevrolet of Eagle River.

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.

Though the alleged victim gave a detailed account of the sexual assault to police, which has now been released to the newspaper, that person chose not to move forward with a prosecution complaint. The assault allegedly occurred in 2011 while the officers were off-duty. (subscriber access)
(1 comments)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Vilas authorities investigating 'suspicious' death in Phelps
The Vilas County sheriff's office is investigating the death of a 47-year-old woman whose body was found Tuesday afternoon near a walking trail in Phelps.
Wednesday, May 18, 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)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

LUHS teacher to challenge Swearingen in November election
Lakeland Union High School social studies teacher Matthew Michaelsen has announced his candidacy for the state legislature.

Michaelsen, who is running as a Democrat, will challenge Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) this fall.
(2 comments)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Area providers discuss statewide broadband expansion
National and local broadband providers met Friday 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.
(1 comments)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

First timber cut under Good Neighbor Authority
The first timber has been cut under the new Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF).

"Through our partnership with the WDNR Division of Forestry and the hard work of Forest Service and State employees, we are able to make progress on our sustainable forestry goals," Forest Supervisor Paul Strong said in a press release announcing the cut. "Good Neighbor Authority promises to be a major tool in delivering conservation activities on the national forest."
(1 comments)

Wednesday, May 18, 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, visited Rhinelander Rhinelander Saturday afternoon.

Feingold served in the Senate from 1993 to 2011, when he was defeated by Johnson.

In early 2015, Feingold announced he would run against Johnson this November.

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

National organization sues Obama over transparency
A national nonprofit organization focused on transparency and accountability in federal agencies has sued the Obama administration to end what it calls the Obama administration's practice of delaying government responses to Freedom of Information Act requests that the administration considers politically sensitive or embarrassing.

The Cause of Action Institute filed the lawsuit against 11 federal agencies, plus the Office of the White House Counsel and White House counsel Neil Eggleston. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Newbold Town Hall to host 'The Fix Is In' animal clinic
The Newbold Town Board decided Thursday to allow the Wisconsin nonprofit organization The Fix Is In to use the town hall 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. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Oneida County Public Works and Solid Waste Committee talks jobs
The Oneida County Public Works and Solid Waste Committee last week authorized a new part-time limited term employment position in solid waste, and discussed the problems facing the Solid Waste department's program employing McNaughton inmates at the recycling sorting line.

Highway commissioner Freeman Bennett came before the committee to request an LTE employee be added to help at the Oneida County Landfill during the week and on Saturdays. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 16, 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. Chief justice Patience Roggensack and justices David Prosser, Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman, and Rebecca Bradley voted to dismiss, while Shirley Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley voted against dismissal. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Schimel 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 last week DNR officials have no 'implied' authority to regulate high-capacity wells in the state.

Schimel was responding to a request for an opinion from the Assembly Committee on Organization, which asked, among other things, whether the state Supreme Court in Lake Beulah Management District v. Department of Natural Resources (2011) had considered and applied in its decision a newly passed 2011 law that the DNR must have explicit statutory authority to impose permitting requirements and conditions on high-capacity wells. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Preliminary results point to propane in Sugar Camp blast
The state fire marshal's office investigation into an explosion early Friday morning at 5078 Sand Lake Road in the town of Sugar Camp is pointing to gas vapor as the cause of the blast, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department said in a press release Monday afternoon.

According to sheriff's captain Terri Hook, the home had a propane gas tank.

"At this time no foul play is suspected," the release states.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Early morning explosion destroys Sugar Camp home
The state fire marshal's office is investigating an explosion that destroyed a seasonal residence in Sugar Camp early Friday morning and damaged five other homes in the neighborhood.


Friday, May 13, 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)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tiffany to host Great Lakes Wolf Summit
State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Representative Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) have announced plans to host Great Lakes Wolf Summit in September.

"Last week's wolf depredation in Shawano County showcases the unfortunate results of the wolf population being allowed to run rampant in Wisconsin," the two lawmakers said in a press release.
(1 comments)

Friday, May 13, 2016

USGS survey equipment leaves some residents puzzled
Lakeland Area residents have in recent weeks reported strange sightings of helicopters flying overhead outfitted with large nets.

One man, who owns a cabin on Brandy Lake, saw what he called a "150- to 200-foot tall fish basket" being pulled by a helicopter around 4 p.m. on Friday, April 22 - which isn't too outlandish of a claim considering the Northwoods' affinity for larger-than-life mascots such as Mercer's loon, Woodruff's penny, etc. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Connecting the courthouse
The Oneida County Administration Committee took the first step Monday toward providing Wi-Fi at the Oneida County Courthouse in Rhinelander. The committee is discussing connectivity issues in the historic building because it must comply with a recent decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding electronic filing of court documents. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

County fair committee regrouping following resignations
With summer around the corner, the Oneida County Fair Planning Committee is in need of more people to help plan this year's event.

The committee has lost three members in the last two months. Tom and Aprelle Rawski's resignation letter was read at the April meeting and at the May meeting president Jim Intripedi, a former Oneida County Board Supervisor from District 6, also resigned. (subscriber access)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Professor sues Marquette over suspension
In what could be a landmark free speech case in Wisconsin, Marquette University professor John McAdams has filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County against the university, accusing officials of illegally suspending him in 2014 and subsequently moving to terminate his tenure and fire him.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the suit on McAdams's behalf. (subscriber access)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New unit joins Newbold search and rescue team
After a year of hard work, a handler and her canine partner have officially joined the Newbold search and rescue team.

Mary Poer and her partner Tayah, a German Shepherd, put all of their skills to use during the Law Enforcement Training Specialists International (LETS) test. The intense examination spanned five days, from April 27 to May 1, at Camp Lakeview in southern Indiana.
(1 comments)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sen. Ron Johnson hears concerns about wolves
Wolves have been a frequent topic of conversation in the Northwoods since a judge reinstated protection for the animals under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The debate over the status of wolves in the Great Lakes region continued May 2 during a Rural Small Business Roundtable event hosted by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshksoh) in Rhinelander. (subscriber access)
(1 comments)

Monday, May 9, 2016

'See Me For Who I Am'
David Chrisinger's grandfather, a World War II veteran who was in combat during the battle for Okinawa in 1945, was one of several members of his family to serve in the U.S. military.

His father and uncle are Vietnam-era veterans.

A Rhinelander native and graduate of Rhinelander High School, Chrisinger didn't serve in the military.

He took a different path, a path that has led him to the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point where he's an associate lecturer and teaches a veteran reintegration class.

He's published a book containing 20 essays written by post-Sept. 11 veterans titled "See Me For Who I Am." (subscriber access)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Oneida County generates second-highest tourism revenue in Northwoods
The start of the summer tourism season is still a few weeks away, but the state has already received some good tourism-related news. The department of tourism has reported increases in direct visitor spending in all of Wisconsin's 72 counties in 2015.

As a whole, statewide tourism spending rose 4.39 percent to a total of $11.9 billion - which marks a 30 percent increase to the tune of $4.5 billion over the past five years. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 9, 2016

County ATV system to open May 13
The Oneida County ATV/UTV Trail System (as administered by the Oneida County Forestry, Land, & Outdoor Recreation Department) will officially open for the 2016 spring/summer/fall season effective 5 p.m., Friday, May 13, the county forestry department announced late Friday.
Monday, May 9, 2016

Political Digest
Final 2015-16 HOPE agenda bill signed into law

Gov. Scott Walker signed this session's final Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda bill into law in late April, and bill author Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said he was proud the state is continuing to work toward addressing its prescription opioid epidemic.

The bill signed into law allocates an additional $2 million to Wisconsin's Treatment and Diversion programs, which help expand treatment opportunities to people who need them, including those who live in rural and underserved areas of the state. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Survey: Companies opt for freelancers because of Obamacare
Field Nation, an online work platform for connecting businesses and workers, and Future Workplace, an executive development firm, are out with a new survey saying the economy is being fundamentally transformed into a "gig" economy, and one of the primary reasons is Obamacare.

The companies released the survey this week of 600 human-resources decision makers and 959 freelancers, which finds that the Affordable Care Act is triggering companies to hire more freelance workers. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 6, 2016

County approves CUP for Minocqua dog park
On a 5-0 vote, the Oneida County Planning and Zoning committee on Wednesday approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for an outdoor dog park near the Minocqua Walmart.

The Lakeland Area Dog Park will be located on land zoned for business use along Northridge Way and bordering Plaza Drive to the north. The parcel is being donated by William Gardner. The park will include two separate fenced areas, totaling about 1.65 acres, so large and small dogs will be able to run around without a leash, according to an April 12 Lakeland Times article on the project. A parking lot with 10 spaces will also be part of the park.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hartman recognizes OC corrections officers
May 1-7 is designated National Correctional Officers Week.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan recognized corrections officers nationwide. His observation of the changing of the roles of corrections officer proved timeless calling upon the nation to "honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections."

Friday, May 6, 2016

Freedom and forgiveness: 'Incredible journey' leads to America
Lottie Andruscavage makes her home in the Rhinelander area now but she endured many hardships before making her way to northern Wisconsin. After her earliest years in her Polish hometown, she was detained in a Russian labor camp from 1940-1942. (subscriber access)
(2 comments)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Johnson kicks off re-election campaign with Rhinelander roundtable
Increasing broadband coverage in the Northwoods was one of several topics discussed Monday when U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) stopped at the Quality Inn in Rhinelander for a rural business roundtable. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Three area school districts receive Fab Lab grants
Gov. Scott Walker's 2015-2017 biennial budget investment in the Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Lab) program is paying dividends in the Northwoods. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New overtime rule is on the D.C. fast track
Last summer the federal Department of Labor proposed significant changes to the Fair Labor Standard Act's overtime pay requirements, and now the Obama administration is putting the new regulation on a fast track to be finalized, possibly within the next 10 days. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Northwoods Marine Corps League detachment continues to grow
Like other veterans groups, members of the Leathernecks of the North help veterans and their families whenever and wherever possible. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lincoln County sheriff recognizes corrections officers
Lincoln County sheriff Jeff Jaeger is recognizing the corrections officers on his staff as a part of National Correctional Officer week.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bartelt stepping down from county clerk post; two candidates to seek position this fall
Come January, a new clerk will be in charge of elections in Oneida County.

Ending a long career in local government, late last month Mary Bartelt advised the county board she will not run for re-election this fall. (subscriber access)
(1 comments)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Moustakis not running for re-election in November
For the first time in more than 20 years, Vilas County will soon have a new district attorney.
Monday, May 2, 2016

Local Ministry facilities now offer veterans health care services
Northwoods veterans have an alternative to traveling long distances or enduring long waits for health care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities now that area Ministry Health Care facilities have started taking part in the Veterans Choice Program. (subscriber access)
Monday, May 2, 2016

Ceremony honors workers who died on the job
The weather was more in line with the first day of April than the last, but at least it didn't rain or snow as Northwoods residents gathered for the fifth annual Workers' Memorial Day Observance Saturday at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander.

"If you read Facebook, we had summer; it was last Wednesday," master of ceremonies Paul Knuth said after Jackie Cody, president of the Northern Wisconsin Center for Working People, welcomed the 30 people who braved the wind to attend the observance.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Town of Newbold forms Town Hall Renovation Committee
The Newbold Town Board formed the Town Hall Renovation Committee on Thursday after a previous advisory motion was approved by town electors at the annual meeting.

The committee's first members, town clerk Kim Gauthier and board members Jim Staskiewicz and Ed Hammer, will meet in the near future to elect a chairman and secretary and decide how to solicit citizens for the committee. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Finding a way back: Nicolet College's veterans club helps transition
The Academy Award-winning film "The Hurt Locker," which takes place in Iraq during 2004, has in the years since it debuted in 2008 largely been dismissed as unrealistic in the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran community.

Near the end of the film, however, there's one scene that hits home for many veterans.

In the scene, the main character, a member of a U.S. Army explosive ordinance disposal team portrayed by Jeremy Renner, has returned home from his deployment to Iraq. (subscriber access)

Monday, May 2, 2016

One injured in motorcycle-pickup truck crash
One person was injured Sunday after a motorcycle struck a pickup truck in the town of Washington.

According to the Vilas County sheriff's office, a call came in at approximately 12:06 p.m. Sunday reporting a motorcyclist hit a pickup truck at the intersection of Rangeline Road and Scattering Rice Road in the township of Washington near Eagle River.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Suspect in Lynne standoff bound over for trial
A 60-year-old Tripoli man accused of holding several law enforcement agencies at bay by threatening to blow up a residence on Clifford Road April 19 was bound over for trial Friday morning. Following a 45-minute preliminary hearing, Branch II Judge Michael Bloom ruled there was probable cause to support the charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, a class B felony, attempted first-degree reckless injury, a class D felony, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and misdemeanor battery (domestic abuse) against Kenneth Welsh. Welsh, shown here with his court appointed public defender Mary Roth Burns, is set for an arraignment May 16. See Tuesday's print edition for more details. Jamie Taylor/River News photograph
Friday, April 29, 2016

The incredible journey continues Andruscavage moves from prison camp to orphanage
Second of a three-part series

Editor's Note: In Part 1 of this series, published in the Thursday, April 28 edition of the River News, Lottie Andruscavage described the early days of her confinement in a Russian labor camp. In this installment she describes her liberation and her life ­as an orphan.

Lottie Andruscavage makes her home in the Rhinelander area now, but she traveled many miles before making her way to northern Wisconsin. After her earliest years in her Polish hometown, she was detained in a Russian labor camp from 1940-1942. Her entire family died along the way, leaving her an orphan at the age of 11.

Friday, April 29, 2016


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