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Rusk County News


Madison (Press Release) – Wisconsin existing home sales improved in October and inventories remained tight statewide, putting upward pressure on home prices, according to the latest analysis of the existing home market by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association.

“Sales in our area, the Western region, were up 4.7 percent from October 2016, which is a great sign, but we are still seeing tight inventories,” said Brenda Barnhardt, REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin Executive Vice President.

According to the WRA, Wisconsin home sales in October were 4.9 percent ahead of the sales in October 2016, which pushed year-to-date closings 1.1 percent above the pace set in the first 10 months of 2016. However, median prices continued to rise at a rate well above inflation, with median prices rising to $175,000 in October, which is 6.1 percent higher than last October and very close to the year-to-date increase of 6 percent in median prices.

On Monday November 20th at 7:28 PM, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call of a suspicious vehicle at the New Scandinavia Lutheran Church outside of Dallas. Deputies arrived on the scene and the vehicle was listed to a missing and endangered person from Waupun. No one was in the vehicle and deputies did check the area. Just into the woods deputies located Ryan Mitchell, 30 from Waupun, deceased from what appears to be a suicide by hanging. Mitchell had been missing since Saturday in the Waupun area. Waupun police were contacted and the Barron County case has been forwarded to them.

Ladysmith Police late Monday afternoon received a report from a 24 year old man that he left his Silver Toughbook Laptop Computer outside of his residence on Lake Avenue East between 12 and 1 PM Monday. The complainant stated that he left the computer by the garage or his truck. According to the report, he stated that he contacted the Ladysmith garbage crew, but they did not see or pick up the computer. The case is under investigation.

(Madison, WI)  —  The second annual Wisconsin school report cards are out — and for the second time, state officials urge caution in the way we interpret them. The Department of Public Instruction says a “value added calculation” required by state law caused major fluctuations from last year in the scores for 162 schools and 24 districts. If there’s a change of more than ten points either way, the D-P-I says statistical issues might be to blame, more than a school’s actual performance. The report did say that 16-hundred-71 schools — met or exceeded the state’s expectations in the last school year, and were given at least three stars in a five star rating system. But 108 public, charter, and private tax funded schools failed to meet expectations, a third of those being in Milwaukee — and another 250 met only a few expectations.

The Ladysmith School District report card overall score was 69.8 which is a three star rating and the district meets expectations. Ladysmith High School had an overall score of 55.4 for a two star rating and meets few expectations.

The Flambeau School District Report Card overall score was 68.2, a three star rating which meets expectations. The Flambeau High School had an overall score of 53.2, a two star rating and meets few expectations.

The Bruce School District Report Card Overall score was 81.1 for a four star rating which exceeds expectations. The Bruce High School overall score was 57.5 which is a two star rating which meets few expectations.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big Tobacco companies return to TV this weekend, decades after they were banned from the airwaves.

The tobacco industry is under court order to advertise the deadly effects of smoking. A judge ruled more than a decade ago that the companies had misled the public about the dangers of cigarettes. It’s the first time the industry has had to publicize the health hazards of cigarettes, which cause more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

But years of legal pushback have blunted the message of the ads. And experts say the campaign’s focus on network TV and newspapers means the ads will not be seen by people when they are young and most likely to begin smoking.

Dunn Co. (WQOW) – One person was flown to the hospital early Tuesday morning after a crash on I-94 in Dunn County. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, a vehicle was traveling eastbound when it lost control, crossed the median, and overturned in the westbound lanes of traffic. It happened at mile marker 53 near Highway 29 at 4:25 a.m.

The state patrol says of the three people in the vehicle, one was taken to the hospital by med-flight, one was taken by ambulance, and the third person wasn’t hurt. Both of the injured were taken to Mayo in Eau Claire.

The state patrol says the investigation is still underway.

(Madison, WI)  —  Most farmers in Wisconsin normally try to get their crops harvested by Thanksgiving, but that won’t be the case this year. The Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says only 69-percent of the corn for grain was harvested as of Sunday, and that’s 12 days later than normal. The harvest has slowly moved forward — but some places report higher grain moistures due to damp conditions the past few weeks. Officials say frozen soils and sunny dry days are needed to harvest the last of the corn and soybeans. Ninety-four-percent of the Wisconsin soybean crop has been harvested, eight days behind schedule — and the fall field tillage is 58-percent done, and that’s a full week behind the average.

(Madison, WI)  —  Wisconsin lawmakers are hearing today (Tuesday) what people think about relaxing the state’s air pollution rules. The Assembly’s Federalism and Interstate Relations committee has begun a late morning public hearing on a bill from Kewaskum Republican Jesse Kremer, to limit the state’s enforcement to what the federal Clean Air Act requires. Critics say up to 300 types of hazarous air pollutants would go without regulations, but G-O-P lawmakers say that only one third of the pollutants in question are actually emitted. And the D-N-R could still adopt rules that go beyond federal limits — but they would run for only ten years instead of permanently. Business and energy groups have lined up to support the measure, but environmental groups are fighting it.

Rusk County News


(Undated)  —  If you still have some fall chores to do outside, today (Monday) might be your last chance to get them done. The National Weather Service says highs will reach the mid 40s in far northern Wisconsin, and 50 in the southern third of the Badger State. A fast moving warm front is going through the Upper Midwest, and forecasters say it could hit 60 in portions of southern Minnesota before it gets cold again tomorrow (Tuesday) — when highs are projected to range from the mid 20s in the north to 40 in the south. Thanksgiving is supposed to be unseasonably cold with morning temperatures in the teens in the north and highs in the 30s statewide. For now, holiday travelers can expect sunny to partly cloudy skies on Wednesday across the Badger State.

(Undated)  —  Wisconsin records its first shooting death of a deer hunter in two years, and the fourth since 2012. It happened Saturday near Westfield in Marquette County, where Sheriff Kim Gaffney said a 57-year-old county resident somehow shot himself — and his father found him dead in the town of Newton after hunting ended for the day. About ten miles away, a 62-year-old Shawano County man died from natural causes after his body was found in a tree stand 16 feet up. In Juneau County, sheriff’s deputies say two hunters reported finding unidentified human remains in the woods near Lyndon Station late Saturday morning. Officials say three other hunters accidentally wounded themselves Saturday in Brown, Shawano, and Forest counties as 600-thousand hunters took to the woods throughout Wisconsin to begin the state’s nine day gun deer hunt.

(Madison, WI)  —  The state D-N-R plans to tell us tomorrow (Tuesday) how many deer were shot during the opening weekend of the nine day gun season. Last year, more than 120-thousand bucks and does were taken in the first two days — and that was a five-percent drop from the previous year. Most hunting takes place during the season’s opening weekend, and about 60-percent of last year’s total harvest was taken on the first Saturday and Sunday. Sheriff’s officials say one unidentified hunter shot himself to death near Westfield in Marquette County on Saturday — the first shooting death in Wisconsin’s gun season since 2015 — and a second hunter died from natural causes just ten miles from there.


In Rusk County news over the past weekend, Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call just before 5 PM Friday in reference to a two car accident on Highway 27, Ladysmith. According to the report, no one was reportedly injured. Rusk County deputies, Ladysmith Police, Ladysmith ambulance and the Ladysmith Fire Department responded to the scene. After an investigation, the Ladysmith Fire Department was to disregard the call. A female driver was issued a citation for not having her head lights on and for not having a license plate visible.

At 5:50 PM Friday, a Rusk County deputy made a traffic stop on County Highway O, Bruce. According to the report, the vehicle was stopped for no plates. After an investigation, Citations were issued for suspended license and no Insurance. The driver gave consent to search the vehicle and drugs were found so additional citations were issued. The driver was also reportedly arrested on a warrant.

Saturday morning at about 1:40 AM, a male subject advised the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that a Black Chevy truck locked up his brakes on Highway 8 near Historic Road, Ladysmith and was swerving. According to the report, the truck was now in the ditch on Highway 8. Rusk County deputies, the Weyerhaeuser Fire Department and EMS from Lakeview Medical Center were called to the scene. After Firemen arrived at the scene, EMS were called to disregard. After an investigation, one subject was taken into custody and transported to the Rusk County jail.

A DNR Warden Saturday afternoon did a follow up at a location on Broken Arrow Road, Conrath. After an investigation, the Warden was out with Justin Hall who has reportedly three warrants from the Ladysmith Police Department and Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. The total bond amount was for $1,896, for all three warrants. A Rusk County deputy was requested for Transport of Hall. The Warden arrested Hall after he came into contact with him during the gun deer season.

Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call at 12:35 AM Sunday morning, advising of a roll over accident with injury about 1 mile down Little Jump Road. One person was reportedly ejected out of the vehicle. According to the report, Rusk County deputies, the Ladysmith and Sheldon ambulances and the Hawkins Fire Department were called to the scene. Both the Ladysmith and Sheldon ambulances reportedly transported patients to RCMH with unknown injuries. After an investigation, a vehicle was traveling East bound, drifted into the South ditch, came back on the roadway and entered the North ditch. It appeared the vehicle made 2 complete rolls. No other information was available.

Rusk County News


(Undated)  —  Wisconsin deer hunters have had a difficult time keeping track of their prey in recent years, because of a lack of snow to follow their tracks. But today (Friday), about the northern third of the Badger State has up to two inches on the ground — and some places in the far north have four inches or more. A wintry mix of rain, sleet, and snow moved across the north this (Friday) morning. Rain is expected in the region for the afternoon, but it’s supposed to return to all snow tonight (Friday). At least some of the snow could melt during tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) opening day of the nine day gun season — but snow showers could linger in the far north into Sunday morning. In southern Wisconsin, rain and some freezing drizzle are in the forecast — with perhaps a little snow mixed in before the weather system leaves Saturday.

Thursday morning at about 10:20, Rusk County dispatch received a 911 from a cell caller reporting an accident on Highway 8 near Beebe Road East of Bruce. According to the report, the caller advised that a car rear ended another car that pushed that car into another car that was stopped at the railroad tacks. There were no reported injuries but one person was reportedly shook up. Rusk County deputies, the Ladysmith ambulance and the Bruce Fire Department responded to the scene. There was no transport by the Ladysmith ambulance. After an investigation, one of the drivers was issued a citation.

Rusk County dispatch received a 911 call at about 7:20 PM Thursday evening from a subject advising that a male subject had taken a handful of Oxycodone. According to the police log, the subject had locked himself in the bedroom. The caller is keeping him in the house. The caller then stated that he does have a pocket knife and screwdriver and was starting to get tipsey. Rusk County deputies and a City Officer responded to the scene. After a few minutes, the subject was taken into custody and the Ladysmith ambulance was called to the scene. A Rusk County deputy advised the subject was tased due to having a knife. The subject was transported by ambulance to RCMH and the DHHS was contacted.

At about 11:35 PM Thursday, a Ladysmith Officer was dispatched to assist a Rusk County deputy with a Domestic dispute at a residence on Flambeau Avenue in which it was reported that Steve Baker Jr., was intoxicated and in a physical altercation with a female subject. The female subject advised she was hiding upstairs with her 3 children. Upon arrival at the residence, it was found that there was a physical altercation. The female subject reported that Baker JR. was highly intoxicated. He was on parole and as a restriction was not to be consuming any alcohol. The female subject reported that Baker’s father got him into a vehicle prior to the Officer’s arrival and fled the area. According to the report, the Bakers were unable to be located. The Rusk County deputy then handles the complaint in regards to this incident, and there will be charges for Domestic Disorderly Conduct against Baker Jr. No other information was available.

A female subject reported shortly before 10 PM Thursday, an intoxicated male at the residence on Miner Avenue East Ladysmith. According to the report, she knew the male as Gary A. Gleason, and she told him to leave the residence. The subject was last scene on East 9th Street South heading South bound. The complainant believed that Gleason was intoxicated based on the odor coming from his person and he was stumbling down the roadway. Gleason was known to have an active bond and not to be consuming alcohol. City Officers made contact with Gleason who attempted to go back into the residence and would not let go of the door. Gleason was directed to the ground after multiple times of being asked to comply. He was secured in handcuffs and continued to be uncooperative. Gleason was placed in the back of the squad car was going to be secured in a seatbelt when he kicked an Officer in the abdominal region and continued to try and kick at the Officer. He was transported to the Rusk County jail.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — Another threat surfaces at an area school, making it the fifth in eight days. At North High School a threat was discovered written on the wall of a boy’s bathroom Thursday afternoon. The statement read, “I/U will bomb the school.”

Principal David Valk sent a note to parents stating, “Through consultation with building and district leadership, and the Eau Claire Police Department, it was determined that this particular statement did not rise to the level of modifying our schedule for today.”

The principal goes onto to say, “In light of the recent threats in the ECASD, as well as surrounding districts, we have extra police presence on site today (Nov. 17).”

It is unclear if the high school has discovered the person who wrote the threatening note.

Threats have been made to Memorial High School, Chippewa Falls Senior High School, Menomonie High School, and DeLong Middle School within the last eight days.

(WQOW) – The suspect in a fatal shooting in Tomahawk was arrested right here in the Chippewa Valley.

According to the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect was arrested late last night at the Lake Hallie Walmart.

Police in Tomahawk said one person is dead after a shooting that happened at six Thursday night. Police said the suspect and victim knew each other, but it wasn’t a domestic issue and they’re trying to figure out a motive. Police are not identifying the victim, but they say the suspect who is now in custody is not a Tomahawk resident.


Rusk County News


(Madison, WI) — If you’re traveling to your Thanksgiving dinner, you could see a lot more people on the road than last year. The state’s Triple “A” says one-million, 56-thousand Wisconsinites will venture at least 50 miles from home between next Wednesday and November 26th — and that includes 82-thousand who will fly someplace. The total increase is three-point-four-percent from last year, and the Triple “A” says a strong economy and high consumer confidence are encouraging people to hit the road. Nationally, the auto club projects the highest Thanksgiving travel since 2005 — and it won’t just be families getting together. Wisconsin’s gun deer hunting season takes place the entire holiday weekend, and at least some cheeseheads will fly to Pittsburgh to watch the Packers take on the Steelers.

At 5:40 PM Wednesday, Ladysmith Police were dispatched to an accident that occurred at Lake Avenue East and West 4th Street North between a vehicle and a pedestrian. According to the report, a female was the driver of a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer that was going East bound on Lake Avenue West when she swerved to miss a pedestrian that had crossed the road outside the cross walk. The male party, William John Ketola, walked into her vehicle and broke off her mirror and then walked away. Ketola was located at Fritz Avenue East and East 2nd Street South. He was reportedly bleeding from a cut above his left eye. Ketola refused to stay at this location and proceeded to walk East on Fritz Avenue East. He was stopped by a City Officer again at Fritz Avenue East and East 3rd Street where the Officer tried to convince Ketola that he needed Medical attention. He again left and walked to his home on East 3rd Street South. Once at the home, the Officer had Ketola sit in a chair in the entry way and talked to the Officer. The Ladysmith ambulance arrived at the scene and the Officers helped Ketola to the ambulance to be seen by EMS. He was then transported to RCMH for further medical attention.

WEAU – An auction date for the remaining six Gordy’s Market stores has been set. A receiver’s notice of auction and sale was filed in Chippewa County Court this week. It says the auction is November 29th at the Milwaukee Athletic Club in Milwaukee. A hearing to approve the auction results is scheduled for December 11th in Chippewa County Court. The six stores to be sold at the auction are the downtown Chippewa Falls store, Lake Wissota, Barron, Cornell, Chetek and Ladysmith locations.

Health officials say underage tobacco sales and product visibility are cause for concern. Underage tobacco sales in Wisconsin increased from 7.2% in 2016 to 7.7% in 2017, according to the Synar Survey, which measures how frequently tobacco retailers sell to minors. The jump brings Wisconsin closer to double digit underage tobacco sales than it’s been at any time in the last decade. While the jump may not seem major, it’s part of a trend we’ve been noticing the last several years. The rate increase gets much larger once you compare it to five years ago, when we were at 5.5%, said Lil Pinero of the Rusk County Youth Council.

While the state’s new underage tobacco sales rate gives members of the RCYC pause, they’re also concerned about other tobacco trends they’re seeing in stores.

From May through August, volunteers visited stores throughout Rusk County to see how tobacco was displayed and advertised in stores. What they found was that the tobacco/nicotine products found in Rusk County stores are consistent with the national trend of product flavorings geared toward the attention of youth. One of our main concerns when it comes to kids and tobacco is the fact that 8 out of 10 youth tobacco users say they started with a flavored product. Given that we saw flavors like bubble gum, grape, green apple, and fruit punch at stores in our community, that’s not hard to believe. We’re hoping the new campaign draws more attention to youth tobacco use, but we also know that we need to educate more retailers to get the underage tobacco sales rate down. To help retailers avoid tobacco sales to minors, we’re providing online state-approved training at, for free.

WASHINGTON  (Gray DC) — A Wisconsin family is pushing for an update to a law that safeguards against overprescibing opioids to our nation’s veterans.

Wednesday, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said, “We are introducing today, bi-partisan legislation to close that gap.”

More doctors, who care for veterans, subjected to guidelines and training aimed at preventing opioid overprescription. Baldwin says that’s her goal with a new bill, something Marv Simcakoski approves of.

Marv Simcakoski, an advocate for better treatment of veterans, said, “We just want to save other lives out there right now, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Simcakoski traveled to Capitol Hill Wednesday, hoping to encourage Congress to quickly pass the Baldwin’s bill.

For him, and his wife Linda, this fight couldn’t be any more personal.
Their son Jason, died in 2014 at the VA hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin.

Marv Simcakoski explained, “Jason was a victim that died at the facility from overmedication. And it’s tragic, but we’re here to make sure it doesn’t happen again to other veterans.”

Marv Simcakoski last testified on Capitol Hill in 2015. His son’s story led to the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act, a 2016 law which installed sweeping guidelines for the VA system, nationwide.

The VA reports existing law is working, and it’s cutting back on opioid overpresciption at VA hospitals.


AUSTIN, Texas (WKOW) — Governor Scott Walker speaks urgently about next year’s gubernatorial race at the annual conference for the Republican Governors Association.

Walker and other Republican governors are confused and worried, especially after Ed Gillespie lost to Ralph Northam in the Virginia gubernatorial election because it was supposed to be a close race.  Northam won by nine percentage points.

Walker is trying to figure out what happened.  “What is driving the turnout? Is it a specific issue? Is it a specific region? Is it a specific type of voter? What impact of Washington?” Walker said, without offering an answer.

He credited Democratic political groups with shifting the party’s focus from national races to the state level.  “My biggest fear is not who my opponent’s going to be,” Walker said. “It’s how much money is going to come from this Obama-Holder group, and how much can I offset that?”

Walker told the crowd, “We are gong to need your help. Next year there are 36 elections for governor. 26 of those 36 states today have Republican governors. Half of those 26 are in states that ultimately will be term limited.”  Some of those 26 are in traditionally blue states such as Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.


Rusk County News


Chippewa County (WQOW) –

An area man will be in court in December on charges of sexually assaulting a child.

Jeffrey A. Larson, Weyerhauser, was charged with three felonies Monday in Chippewa County court.
According to the complaint, the assaults happened between 2010 and 2014.  The victim would have been between eight and twelve years old at the time, Larson would have been between 53 and 57.

Earlier this year the girl came forward and said Larson assaulted her, once in a tent and another time in a cabin in the Town of Lafayette.
Investigators say Larson denied the assaults, but admitted kissing the girl on the mouth.   The charges carry up to 180 years of possible prison time.

Just before 6 PM Tuesday, a female employee at the Weyerhaeuser Equity Convenience Store, advised the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office of a gas drive off. She reported it was a red truck and gave a partial plate number to the Sheriff’s Office and that the vehicle was heading East towards Bruce. According to the report, after an investigation, an White male subject driving a later 2000’s model Red Ford Truck with extended cab and chrome running boards, the driver pumped $40 of gas then came in and bought cigars. The clerk asked if he had gas to pay for and he advised he did not then left. The clerk did not see the license plate and cameras could not show plate clearly enough to read. The vehicle went East on Highway 8. The case is under investigation.

Ladysmith Police at about 9:30 PM Tuesday night executed a Warrant pickup at a residence on West 9th Street North. After making contact and an investigation, Andrea L. Mankus, 28, was arrested for a DOC Warrant and taken to the Rusk County jail.

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) — Another life threatening message is found, this time at Menomonie High School, causing the school to go into lockdown for most of the day.

Courtesy: Menomonie School District

The message, “I’m going to shoot up this [expletive] school on 11/14” was written on a tissue and found this morning.

This is the third threat at a local high school in less than a week. A threat was found at Memorial High School last Wednesday, and another at Chippewa Falls High School, Monday.

Even though these threats have happened multiple times in the past six days, police, schools, and government officials are taking them all very seriously.

Students involved have been identified, a 15 year old and two 16 year olds, all of whom could face charges of terroristic threats and a bomb scare.

“They don’t really have a full understanding, not only of the chaos it causes with law enforcement because you have to take them seriously,” says Eau Claire County Child Court Service Manager Rob Fadness. “I would guess that these matters typically will end up in the court.”

“One of the charges was a terrorist threat. That is a Class G felony. It’s a $25,000 fine and ten years in prison. The other charge was a bomb scare, which is a Class I felony which is $10,000 and three and a half years or both. That’s a big deal,” says Fadness.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) — Country Jam USA announces the first wave of the 2018 line up confirmed to perform at the Three-Day Camping and Country Music Festival – July 19-21, 2018 – in Eau Claire, WI.

Heading into our 29th year the festival takes place on the beautiful shores of the Chippewa River on the Foster Farm grounds.

Country Jam USA is excited to announce Blake Shelton, honored with many awards and nominations for his work as well as being known for his role as a judge on the televised singing competition The Voice.

Also joining the 2018 Country Jam USA lineup, Dustin Lynch, Justin Moore, Clay Walker, Tracy Lawrence, Aaron Tippin, Collin Raye, and Sammy Kershaw, with additional acts to be announced at a later date.
General admission tickets and camping are now on sale, 3-day general admission is currently $109. Reserved and VIP seating are on sale as well, get yours before the price increase November 28th.

For tickets go to or call the office at (715)839-7500 to purchase.

  • Rusk County News November 21, 2017
    WLDY-WJBL NEWS 11-21-17 Madison (Press Release) – Wisconsin existing home sales improved in October and inventories remained tight statewide, putting upward pressure on home prices, according to the latest analysis of the existing home market by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. “Sales in our area, the Western region, were up 4.7 percent from October 2016, which is a […]
  • Wisconsin Sports 11-21 November 21, 2017
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    Kyle Kuzma scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half for a 103-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls