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Rusk County News


(Madison, WI)  —  After a five-percent drop in July, Wisconsin Realtors saw a slight increase in their home sales in August. The state Realtors Association says its members sold about 85-hundred existing houses last month, a six-tenths-of-one-percent increase from the previous August and the highest for the month since the group recalibrated its sales data in 2005. The median sales price grew much faster, a seven-percent increase to 182-thousand dollars. Inventories are still down from a year ago, as Realtors reported a five-point-seven month supply of homes in August — down from six-point-eight months the year before. For the year as a whole, Realtors said they had a three-tenths-of-one-percent jump in home sales — with a six-point-one-percent hike in the median sales price to 174-thousand-900 dollars.

In Rusk County news this past weekend, Friday evening just after 7 PM, a male subject requested to see a Rusk County deputy for a theft complaint. The subject reported the theft of a Stihl Chainsaw which was taken sometime between Monday September 11th and Friday morning. After an investigation, the complainant advised he had a lot of property taken and may have a suspect in mind. The case is under investigation.

Rusk County dispatch Saturday morning at about 7:15 received a 911 call reporting a White vehicle in the water at Shoulder Creek on Hill Creek Road, Sheldon. According to the report, the caller did not go into the water but did not see anyone. The Sheldon Fire department responded to the scene and reported no one in the vehicle. No other information was available.

Just before 2 PM Saturday, a male subject reported to Rusk County authorities that he and his dog were attacked by the person who lives at the residence on Whispering Pines. According to the report, the subject went to the property because he believes it is right to be there as his name is on the property too. After an investigation, a male subject was taken into custody for Disorderly Conduct.

A Rusk County deputy made a traffic stop at about 6:45 PM Saturday, on West Sorenson Avenue, Bruce. According to the report, the vehicle was stopped for a cracked/damaged windshield and the registered owner was suspended. The driver was arrested for operating with a controlled substance and possession of Marijuana. The passenger was arrested for possession of Drug Paraphernalia and possession of Marijuana with intent to deliver.

Saturday evening at about 7:35, the Rusk County Sheriff’s office received a gas drive off complaint. An employee from the Weyerhaeuser Cenex reported a gas drive off. The vehicle reportedly headed East. No other information was available.

Shortly after 3 PM Sunday, a female subject advised Ladysmith Police that she thinks a male subject stole her vehicle at a location on Fritz Avenue West, Ladysmith. According to the report, the vehicle in question has been gone since early Saturday morning. The suspect was past his curfew Sunday night and Probation was contacted and a warrant was placed on the male subject.

Just before 2 AM Saturday, while locking up the bathroom at Memorial Park, a City Officer noticed graffiti on the blacktop and doors to both the male and female bathrooms on the Armstrong building. Graffiti was done in chalk so no permanent damage was observed.

Shortly before 7:30 Saturday night, a Ladysmith Officer during a traffic stop with Dresden Dittmer, 22, on East 8th Street South, Officers observed Drug Paraphernalia in the back of the vehicle he was operating. According to the report, Dresden told Officers he had the one smoking device and the THC in the front of the vehicle between the seat and the center counsel. A search of the vehicle was conducted on the vehicle and 4 other smoking devices were found. Dresden was arrested for Possession for THC and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

City Officers were dispatched at 7:50 PM Sunday to a residence on West 5th Street North for a report of someone being inside the residence. Officers responded to the residence and spoke with a female who stated that she believed that a male subject had been at the residence. City Police observed ATV tire marks an the driveway and then went to the garage. According to the report, no ATV was located inside. The ATV belonged to another male subject who was asked to come over to the residence to see if any other items are missing. After walking through the home, they observed obvious signs that someone had been inside the home. They believe the male suspect was the one who was inside the residence and has knowledge of the whereabouts of the ATV. The case is under investigation.

Rusk County News


(Madison, WI)  —  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has gone up for two months in a row. The seasonally adjusted statewide rate for August was three-point-four-percent, up two-tenths from July and up three-tenths from both June and May. Officials say the Badger State lost 52-hundred private sector jobs during August — but the monthly job totals are based on very small survey samples and are often revised later. The national jobless rate also jumped slightly last month, and Wisconsin’s rate is one full point behind the current U-S figure of four-point-four percent.

Thursday night at about 8:50 PM, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a Domestic Violence complaint. Rusk County deputies and Ladysmith Police responded to a residence on Worden Avenue East in reference to a Domestic in progress. According to the report, a City Officer met with Rhonda J. Arneson, 50 and Martin L. Sillman, 55. After speaking with Sillman and Arneson, both parties were arrested for Domestic Disorderly Conduct. A City Officer transported Sillman to the Rusk County jail. A Rusk County deputy went with the Ladysmith Ambulance and Arneson to RCMH for Medical clearance before going to the jail. After further review and speaking with a witness, City Police released Sillman from the jail.

Shortly before Noon Thursday, City Police and the Ladysmith Fire Department responded to the former Ladysmith Middle School on a report of an active fire alarm. According to the report, the building appeared to be unoccupied and the doors were secured. Upon arrival it was determined that a mason/concrete worker was cutting bricks on the East exterior wall and likely activated the interior smoke detectors with the fine dust the saw was creating. The Fire Department deactivated the alarm.

It’s been nearly four months since a tornado turned portions of Chetek upside down, leaving some residents without homes, and business owners wondering what would happen to their livelihood. In fact some company owners said they’re seeing more business than ever before. In a story on WQOW, THERE HAVE BEEN MANY PEOPL WHO, BECAUSE WE’RE A HUGE RESORT TOURIST COMMUNITY, THAT COME INTO THE AREA, AND HAVE SHARED THAT THEY ARE SHOCKED AT THE DEVASTATION. Turns out, it takes more than devastation to keep Chetek down. Best Summer ever, that’s how business owners are feeling, just shy of four months after one of the more damaging storms in recent memory. Business owners said their business thus year was not just about making money but helping others with the recovery efforts.

(Madison, WI)  —  A billing error reportedly cost Wisconsin pharmacies two-point-seven million dollars in lost Medicare Part “D” claims in a four year period. The Wisconsin State Journal says a contractor for the state’s Medicaid health programs improperly billed six insurers for Medicare Part “D” drug purchases that involved seniors. A state official says Health Management Systems billed the insurers for 37-thousand claims on behalf of seven-thousand Medicaid patients from 2013 until February of this year. Once the pharmacies paid Medicaid their proper reimbursements, they tried recouping the money from Medicare Part “D” but their claims were rejected. Now, Medicaid has duplicate payments and the state is telling 11-hundred pharmacies how to get back the money they lost from the billing mistake.

(Arcadia, WI)  —  A car driver has died after colliding with a semitruck head on in western Wisconsin. It happened about three this (Friday) morning on Highway 93 near Arcadia in Trempealeau County. Sheriff’s deputies say the truck was passing another vehicle when it hit the oncoming car. The trucker was not injured, and the name of the car driver who died was not immediately released.

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Rusk County News


(Undated)  —  With only eight days of summer remaining, Wisconsin is getting a blast of warmth. The National Weather Service says we’ll have highs 10-15 degrees above normal this (Thursday) afternoon with highs mostly in the 80s and sunny to partly cloudy skies. Forecasters say we might get some isolated showers and thunderstorms tonight (Thursday) — but after that, the warm trend continues at least until Sunday. The weather service says things will cool down slightly for the final part of the weekend, with highs in the mid 60s to mid 70s.

(Madison, WI)  —  The Wisconsin Assembly debates the new state budget for eleven hours before passing it late Wednesday night 57-39. Five majority Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no — Joe Sanfelippo, Janel Brandtjen, Scott Allen, Bob Gannon, and Adam Jarchow. The two year, 76-billion dollar package now goes to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain as up to six senators have concerns that reportedly include a record amount of public school aid. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he won’t concede to individual members, and he rejected such measures as an earlier ending to the prevailing minimum wage for state projects — which Governor Scott Walker had endorsed. Senate Republicans are expected to meet today (Thursday) to see if they can get enough votes to pass the budget in its current form so lawmakers don’t have to return next week to debate last minute changes.

(Madison, WI)  —  The state Senate’s Republican leader says he’ll do all he can to give the new state budget its final legislative approval tomorrow (Friday). Scott Fitzgerald has up to six G-O-P holdouts who want further spending cuts and operational changes in the D-O-T. He had a meeting planned with his fellow Senate Republicans today (Thursday) to see if he could round up enough votes to pass the Assembly’s version of the two year budget quickly — and if that doesn’t happen, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says his members won’t be around next week to consider whatever changes the Senate might make. Once the Legislature passes a budget, Governor Scott Walker will review the package and consider line item vetoes. The 76-billion dollar budget was supposed to take effect July first — and for now, state spending continues at the same levels as the previous budget.

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help in finding a home invasion suspect. Deputies are looking for Russ Peterson of Fairchild.

Deputies say 37-year-old Anthony Minneker and two other suspects drove up to a home on September 2nd in the Town of Wheaton.
They say Minneker knocked down the victim’s door, was confronted by one of the victims in the home, and the two began to fight.
The fight ended when one of the suspects showed a club and Minneker ran away.

Deputies say they’ve identified all the suspects, but are still searching for Russ Peterson.

Soon people in the Chippewa Valley will have a new resource for cancer treatment.

News 18 was given a tour of the Marshfield Clinic Cancer Center Wednesday. It’ll have new state-of-the-art technology for patients. The goal is for it to feel less like a hospital, and more like home; which can play an important part in recovery.

“If my family or any of my friends need to have cancer care services, I know this is where I would want my family to be treated,” said operation manager Chris Gutsch. “You become a part of our family when you come through doors at the cancer center at Marshfield Clinic.”

This comes after controversy over the building of the clinic. HSHS Sacred Heart had sued Marshfield Clinic saying it had first refusal rights on the Clairemont Ave. land, citing an agreement nearly two decades old. After a judge denied HSHS’ request to stop construction in June, Marshfield continued building.

The cancer center is set to open October 2.

(Madison, WI)  —  The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to send a three-billion dollar incentive package for Foxconn to Governor Scott Walker today (Thursday). The Assembly approved the series of tax breaks and environmental law exemptions last month. But the Senate added two major changes this week — tightening the job creation requirements for Foxconn to receive state funds, and giving the State Supreme Court the option of taking cases involving Foxconn and its litigants instead of having to review circuit court rulings that bypass appeals courts. Foxconn is in the final stages of negotiating a location in Racine County for its first U-S plant that makes L-C-D screens for T-Vs and smartphones with up to 13-thousand jobs.

(Rhinelander, WI)  —  A Rhinelander area teen is expected to appeal a judge’s refusal to reduce her prison sentence. Ashlee Martinson is serving 23 years on two second degree homicide convictions in the 2015 deaths of her mother Jennifer Ayres and stepfather Thomas Ayres. Her lawyer, Mark Schoenfeldt, says the judge made a mistake in sentencing the teen that long — because her life is “fraught with physical, sexual, mental, and emotional distress.” But Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom says his decision was based on scholarly articles, and she could have made a choice not to kill her elders. The case made national news because Martinson wrote a blog about death with the pen name “Vampchick.” Last fall, she told the T-V show “Crime Watch Daily” that she liked being in prison and called her stepfather “a monster.”

Rusk County News


(Madison, WI)  —  The Wisconsin Assembly will consider a two year, 76-billion dollar state budget today (Wednesday). Majority Republicans will reportedly consider some minor, undisclosed changes in the package — which the Joint Finance Committee approved last week after two months of G-O-P disagreements on how to pay for road work. Easy passage is expected in the Assembly, which has a 64-35 Republican majority. But assuming all Democrats will vote no, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald can lose no more than three G-O-P votes in his chamber — and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says four Republican senators remain undecided on whether they’ll vote for the current package. Big Bend Republican Dave Craig says a three-point-one-percent increase in state spending is a problem for him — but Fitzgerald says he’ll propose an amendment to try and appease the holdouts, with a goal of passing the budget on Friday.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate plans to vote on final passage of the state budget Friday.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald notified lawmakers on Tuesday night that the Senate would be in session Friday to vote on the budget. The Assembly is voting on it Wednesday.

Fitzgerald said Tuesday that he did not yet have the 17 Republican votes needed to pass the $76 billion spending plan. Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he was OK with a couple changes being suggested by reluctant Republican senators in order to secure their support.

The budget is more than two months late due to Republicans who control the Legislature being unable to agree on several key issues, primarily how to pay for transportation funding.

As a community, we want our youth to be safe, healthy, and informed. We continue with the Rusk County Youth Council presenting listeners with seven facts about marijuana use.  In this second week, the coalition will present information on how marijuana has changed over the past few decades. Marijuana gained great popularity in the 60s and 70s. Many people who used the drug then, now say, I smoked pot when I was young and it didn’t hurt me. However, research shows that today’s marijuana is very different than the marijuana used during the 60s and 70s. One well-known compound in marijuana is THC which is responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana use. The higher the THC content, the stronger the effects on the brain, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The amount of THC in marijuana has increased over the past few decades according to recent research. In the 1960s and 70s the average THC content was 1-3 percent. In the early 90s that rose to roughly 4 percent and in 2015, the amount of THC in marijuana increased to nearly 13 percent. These trends raise concerns that the consequences of marijuana use could be worse than in the past, particularly among those who are new to marijuana use or in young people, whose brains are still developing. For more information on RCYC or how you can be part of the solution, please visit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says “the issue of North Korea is on the minds of just about everyone we talk to” on a trade mission he’s leading to Japan and South Korea.

Walker held a conference call with reporters on Wednesday from South Korea. He says business and government leaders he’s spoken with in both countries view North Korea as an “existential threat.”

Walker says he has reiterated in public and private comments the United States’ support for its allies in the region.

He also says those he met in both Japan and South Korea are also concerned that there continues to be free trade with the Unites States.

Walker says the deal Wisconsin reached with Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen plant in the state is also generating attention.


Rusk County News


WASHINGTON (AP) — The median U.S. household’s income finally topped pre-recession levels last year and has reached an all-time high after years of sluggish growth.

The Census Bureau says the median income, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to $59,039.

After two straight years of solid income gains, the median American household last year essentially earned the same as it did in 1999, when incomes peaked at $58,665. The median is the point at which half the households fall below and half are above.

Since 2000, two recessions and sluggish income growth in between have left most American households with meager pay growth. The lack of meaningful raises has left many people feeling left behind economically, a sentiment that factored into the 2016 elections.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Longtime Wisconsin political activist Mike McCabe is joining the increasingly crowded Democratic field for governor.

McCabe is launching his candidacy on Tuesday, casting himself as an outsider who would restore lost collective bargaining rights, push for a public option state-run health insurance program for all and advocate for a $15 minimum wage.

McCabe scheduled events around the state to launch his campaign. He said in an interview that he won’t accept any single political donation greater than $200, for a total over the campaign up to $1,000.

State law permits donations up to $20,000.

The winner of the Democratic primary in August will take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his re-election bid soon.

Other Democrats running include state Superintendent Tony Evers, state Rep. Dana Wachs and Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik.

Shortly after 10 AM Monday, a Theft complaint was reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. According to the report, a male subject advised that some fishing equipment was stolen over this last weekend while docked on Island Lake. The case is under investigation.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The National Hurricane Center says Irma has weakened into a tropical depression.

The storm, located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) west of Columbus, Georgia, is still bringing heavy rain to the U.S. Southeast on Monday night.

Irma is expected to drop 2 to 5 inches of rain across South Carolina and northern portions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Irma’s top sustained winds are 35 mph (55 kph), and it is moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

The hurricane center has discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings.

The storm has been blamed for more than 40 deaths, including six in Florida.

(Madison, WI)  —  A busy week begins today (Tuesday) in the Wisconsin Legislature, as the Senate considers the state’s incentive package for Foxconn. The Assembly has approved almost three-billion dollars in tax breaks and environmental law exemptions to encourage Foxconn to put its first U-S smartphone and T-V screen plant in Racine County with a promise of up to 13-thousand jobs. Last week, the Joint Finance Committee added several amendments — including a controversial plan to let Foxconn and its legal opponents bypass the state appellate court and let only the Supreme Court hear appeals. The Assembly would have to ratify the changes the Senate approves, and that’s expected to happen on Thursday. Also, the Assembly will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to act on a new two year state budget that’s two and half months overdue.

(Madison, WI)  —  State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he will not run for the U-S Senate next year. He’s endorsing his G-O-P Senate colleague Leah Vukmir (vook’meer) of Wauwatosa, calling her one of the best leaders Wisconsin has to offer. Fitzgerald also says Vukmir has the “strength and determination” to defeat incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who’s expected to be unopposed in seeking her second six year term in the U-S Senate. Vukmir and former Marine Kevin Nicholson of Delafield have declared their G-O-P candidacies for a primary next August — and 2012 candidate Eric Hovde says he’ll decide next month whether to jump into the race.

(Madison, WI)  —  A little more of Wisconsin’s corn crop is being harvested for animal feed, while the corn that was planted late is still struggling. Maturity levels are running 3-7 days behind schedule, and the Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service says 70-percent of the crop is rated good to excellent — two points below the previous week. The state’s other big cash crop, soybeans, are late in turning color — but 77-percent of the beans are good to excellent, two points higher than the week before. The harvesting of oats for grain is at 93-percent, one week behind the norm — but the state’s potato harvest remains ahead of schedule, and it’s 40-percent finished. Light and scattered rainfall allowed wet fields to dry last week, but southwest Wisconsin is said to be in need of more rain.

(Ashland, WI)  —  Northland College of Ashland is bringing in a search firm to help the school find the 14th president in its 125-year history. The private college said Monday that Michael Miller is leaving next June after seven years as president. The 62-year-old Miller helped guide the opening of several centers — including those for rural communities and freshwater innovation. Earlier this year, Northland announced budget reductions in which top officials and other employees had pay cuts while others were laid off. Northland’s golf and cross country teams were reduced to club status, as the school cited a small endowment fund and higher costs for operations.



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