A 17-year-old Winter area boy was injured when he accidentally shot himself with a hunting rifle Sunday evening, Oct. 20.
Sawyer County Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Sajdera reported Wednesday, Oct. 23, that the sheriff's communications center received a 911 call from a residence on Old Highway 70 in the Town of Winter regarding a male juvenile who accidently shot himself. Sawyer County deputies, assisted by Sawyer County ambulance personnel, responded to the scene.
Deputies arrived and observed the 17-year-old male being medically treated for a facial wound by ambulance personnel.
Deputies spoke to the victim and family members. The victim said he and friends had been hunting earlier in the day and that he believed the gun to be unloaded after hunting. Later he was picking up the rifle by the barrel, using it as a support to stand, when the rifle went off, striking him in the face.
He was transported by Sawyer County ambulance to the Ladysmith hospital. Sajdera said the victim's condition is unknown. He added that the name of the victim is not being released.
Joseph Michael Anderson-Bodo, 26, of Winter was given two sentences on Wednesday, Oct. 23, by Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel:
• Three years of confinement and five years of extended supervision for the 2017 offense of the manufacture/delivery of over 10,000 grams of marijuana (THC). Two other charges were dismissed but read in. On this charge, Anderson-Bodo's original seven-year probation sentence issued in 2018 was revoked.
• Five years of confinement and five years of extended supervision for the 2019 charge of manufacture/delivery of five to 15 grams of cocaine. Three other 2019 charges were dismissed but read in, including two charges for manufacture/delivery of 200 to 1,000 grams of THC and one count of possession of THC-second offense.
The sentences are to be served concurrently, meaning Anderson-Bodo's prison time will total five years, including previous time served on the 2017 charges.
In July 2018, Anderson-Bodo was presented with a plea agreement for the charge of selling over 10,000 grams of marijuana. That agreement included five years of prison time and five years of ex-
tended supervision and was negotiated by then Sawyer County Assistant District Attorney Aaron Marcoux and Anderson-Bodo's defense attorney, Richard S. Gondik. The pre-sentencing investigation had found that Anderson-Bodo was alleged to have sold more than $1 million worth of marijuana.
However, Judge Yackel withheld sentencing and instead gave Anderson-Bodo one year of jail time in the county jail and seven years of probation. Yackel offered Anderson-Bodo an opportunity to avoid prison in part because of his minimal criminal record and in part because Anderson-Bodo's father, Joe Bodo, made an impassioned plea that the plea agreement was too severe compared to similar crimes.
The probation was a break for Anderson-Bodo, but when Yackel announced his sentence he also warned Anderson-Bodo that if he violated the conditions of the probation, his future certainly would include prison time.
On Oct. 23 Yackel made good on his warning. He handed down the five-year prison sentence, based upon the 2019 charge that led to the revocation of Anderson-Bodo's probation. Both offenses, from 2017 and 2019, come with a maximum fine of $50,000 and a maximum sentence of 15 years.
With 543 days of credit for time served in jail, Anderson-Bodo will serve about three and a half years in prison.
The recent charges were filed June 6. When Anderson-Bodo was arrested, law enforcement also found $6,000 in cash in his possession.
During the Oct. 23 sentencing, a question was raised as to what had happened to the reported $1 million Anderson-Bodo reportedly had made in illegal sales prior to July 2018. Anderson-Bodo said most of the money had been stolen from him and Marcoux said law enforcement agreed.
Anderson-Bodo's new defense attorney, Frederick Ian Bourg, said when Anderson-Bodo was released from jail in 2018, he wanted to live with his father but probation officers rejected that idea because of the guns his father kept in the house. He said the idea continued to be rejected even when the father agreed to remove the guns or place then in a locked weapons cabinet.
Bourg said Anderson-Bodo also made a request to stay with his mother and that idea also was rejected. Eventually, Anderson-Bodo was permitted to live in an apartment in Superior that Bourg called "essentially a drug house."
Anderson-Bodo told the court that upon his release in 2018 he had refrained from selling marijuana but had been approached repeatedly to sell cocaine to a person he had met in jail, who he claimed turned out to be a drug informant. Anderson-Bodo said in court he had only sold cocaine once.
Bourg said in the eight months Anderson-Bodo was outside on probation he had only been tested for drugs once. Yackel questioned if probation had failed to keep Anderson-Bodo accountable when the standard for drug testing is typically once or twice a week.
Bourg said Anderson-Bodo was a good candidate for rehabilitation. He said Anderson-Bodo is a good father to his son and stepchildren and held employment as a laborer in construction. He also noted that his client had been "truthful and honest" with authorities and even had apologized to Marcoux after he had reoffended.
"He realized he failed you and let you down when he was given a chance to rehabilitate," Bourg said.
Anderson-Bodo articulated the same sentiments. "I take responsibility for it," he said adding once he had served his time he would never re-offend.
Yackel said that at age 26 Anderson-Bodo could still could become a productive citizen once he is released from prison, adding that success for his life was "within your grasp."
Concerning another probation ruling, Yackel said, he could again issue probation as he had in 2018 but this time he would not because Anderson-Bodo had to pay for his crimes and that confinement would help in his rehabilitation.
The court also ordered Anderson-Bodo to pay $4,000 to the Sawyer County Sheriff's Office and $3,400 to the Department of Criminal Investigation. The $6,000 seized from Anderson-Bodo will be used to pay the debts.
On a 5-4 vote Monday, Oct. 28, the Hayward City Council, meeting in a special session, approved adding bumpouts, or sidewalk extensions, at four corners in the Main Street area.
The bumpouts were approved for each side of Main Street on the north side intersecting with Highway 63 and the southwest corners of 2nd and 3rd streets at the intersections with Main Street.
The bumpout on the west side of Main and 63 will be approximately six feet, but on the east side it will be closer to three feet because of the tighter turning radius for southbound 63 traffic making a right turn on Main.
Alderman Jim Miller has been an advocate for adding bumpouts in downtown to provide more space for features such as bike racks, kiosks and art. He proposed a kiosk and art at the 63 intersection to create a gateway effect upon entering Main Street and bumpouts on 2nd and 3rds streets for bike racks.
However, Public Works Director John McCue has advocated against adding bumpouts because, he said, they present a obstacle for winter snow clearing and noted many communities have had bumpouts removed because of maintenance issues.
The special meeting was held to finalize the scope of the work or footprint of a Main Street project so that Ayres Associates project engineer Mike Stoffel could draw up plans and create specifications to advertise for bids in January.
Earlier in the year, the city was awarded a $1 million federal community development block grant (CDBG) that requires a city match of $500,000 to be used for improving Main Street and replacing a sewer line from 5th Street and California to Nyman Avenue.
The Main Street project will replace sewer and water lines and replace pavement, curb and gutter and sidewalks. The
scope of the project is from Highway 63 west to Fifth Street and includes 3rd and 4th streets from Main to Kansas Avenue.
Stoffel, McCue and city officials, including Mayor Charlie Munich, Miller and others, met with Main Street business owners the previous week to address their concerns. The owners requested that work on the first two blocks, where most of the businesses are located, be completed before Memorial Day in May. Stoffel said if the contractors begin work in March they should be able to complete that part of the project well before Memorial Day.
On Oct. 21 several of the owners also requested adding enhancement or beautification to give Main Street a new, attractive appeal.
However, Stoffel said, the current estimate for the infrastructure improvements is projected to exceed $1.5 million and any cost over that will have to be borne by the city.
But Stoffel said adding bumpouts would not increase the project expense because adding more concrete to the sidewalks would be balanced by needing less asphalt for the streets.
Billie Jo Sabin, vice president of the Hayward Business Improvement District (HBID) and owner of Angler's Bar and Grill, said the business group is OK with the current configuration of the traffic lane and parking stalls, but added, "We would like to see something done downtown, since we are going to have it ripped up. We are trying to think of something other than blacktop and sidewalk to make it more appealing downtown."
Chris Ruckdaschel, executive director of the Hayward Area of Commerce, asked the council to consider anything to enhance tourism.
"Hayward should be changed at some point in time," said Andrea Marple Wittwer, owner of Grey's Barbershop. "I've watched other communities look different over time: Spooner, remarkably; Cumberland, remarkably; even downtown Eagle River and Stone Lake and Cable. A lot of our communities have done things to upgrade, to look unique and to look inviting. Hayward likes to look just the way it always has and it is time to change. I think this might be our opportunity to look just a little bit different."
Miller said if the changes are not made now it might mean it would take another 20 years before changes could be made, and he pointed out that several downtown northern cities have bumpouts, including Spooner, Superior, Wausau, Eau Claire, Minocqua and Phillips.
Stoffel said the problem with bumpouts is hitting them with snowplows during winter and restricting truck turns. He said it would be more difficult for traffic on Highway 63 to make a left turn onto Main street and to turn off Main Street to side streets, but allowing the southwest corner to be expanded more than the other corners would make it less restrictive.
The advantages of bumpouts, Stoffel said, are providing space to congregate, creating shorter distances in crosswalks and making pedestrians more visible to drivers.
Miller said he would also like to add bike racks downtown. He said many would like to bike downtown but there is nowhere to secure their bikes as they shop.
Lynne Marie Lindquist, owner of Lynne Marie's Candies, suggested using a couple of Dakota Avenue municipal parking stalls for bike racks, but Miller said bikes would be secure in a public location. However, McCue pointed out the racks could be located in the municipal lot near the police station for more security.
Miller showed a bike rack in the shape of a musky and said the racks could be made to stand vertically to provide parallel parking and add an artistic touch to the downtown.
Alderman Ward Williamson advocated for keeping Main Street as it is. He didn't want to take out parking stall space for bumpouts, and he said the bike racks could be placed in the municipal parking stalls. He also pushed back against the idea that the downtown hasn't changed, citing the new Lynne Marie's Candy Shop exterior as one recent example.
McCue said another idea for bike racks is to place them seasonally in parking stalls on the streets and to remove them for winter plowing.
Miller said the city shouldn't sacrifice the busy tourist season from May to October out of concern for how streets were plowed for a few months of winter.
In a motion to add the four bumpouts, those voting yes included Miller, Mike Swan, Lonnie Kennel and Harold Johnson. Those voting no included Gary Gillis, Joe Kreyer, Al Voight and Williamson.
With a 4-4 tie, it was up to Mayor Munich to decide the issue.
"I think the Main Street needs some change," he said. "I know that might be an inconvenience, but I think we need some more sidewalk to put some extra things on it, so I am going to have to vote yes."
"You've been a heck of a host," said Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism Designee Sara Meaney, speaking to Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Great Hall of the Samuel C. Johnson Family Outdoor Center at the Highway OO Trailhead east of Seeley.
The ABSF was hosting the Governor's Council on Tourism, which Meaney chairs and of which Popp is a member.
According to the Governor's Council on Tourism's website, the council "advises the secretary on matters relating to tourism and serves as a sounding board to the agency as it develops and enacts the strategic plan to advance tourism."
Members of the council arrived in Hayward Oct. 23 and visited the Lumberjack Bowl, then went to dinner at The Ranch Supper Club, where they heard Popp give a presentation titled "Trails at the Top."
"I'm thrilled you are all her to enjoy this beautiful area," said 25th District Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Bayfield), also a council member.
The council members introduced themselves and mentioned "exciting" projects. Several of the local tourism directors mentioned rebranding their locations or preparing for important conventions or campaigns.
Christian Overland, director of the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, discussed a $70 million expansion of the state's histori
cal museum that could be open late 2024 or early 2025.
A.J. Frels, executive director of the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau, discussed a $40 million rehabilitation of the La Crosse convention center.
Popp briefly discussed a multi-partnership feasibility study looking over the former Telemark Lodge property for a tourist destination.
Strategic plans driven by data
For the majority of the Oct. 24 meeting, Meaney updated the council on staffing various committees and implementing strategic planning.
The key goal of the marketing committee, she said, is creating a branding strategy for the state, working in collaboration with regional branding.
She mentioned the meetings and convention committee will promote Midwest and regional conventions in the state.
Bewley asked what role the Department of Tourism would have with the 2020 Democratic National Convention to be held in Milwaukee.
Meaney said there needed to be a "conversation" on the role the department would have with convention, but added at this time any available funds spent on it would take money allocated to other areas. She said there is a need to raise funds targeting the convention.
"I don't have an answer for you, but I would encourage all of us to continue to keep the question alive and to define what that would look like," Meaney said.
Ideally, she added, tourism would have a space to be ambassadors for the state.
"We don't have that in place yet, but I think those opportunities are very real," she said.
At the previous council meeting, Meaney said, the strategic plan for the department was set with five imperatives: "Drive economic impact, elevate the Wisconsin brand, foster positive traveler experiences for all, engage partners across the state in shared goals/vision and ensure organizational success."
Much of the meeting discussed how data, especially digital data, is being used in pursuing the imperatives.
"The good news is the data is telling us more, but I wanted to know how much more," she said.
She spoke about data from tracking mobile devices of those who had clicked for more information after a Travel Wisconsin online ad, including those who subsequently traveled to the state determined by tracking the mobile devices, a type of data recorded as an "exposed arrival."
She said the mobile device data reveals where the traveler is from and how long they spend in the state but doesn't explore the reasons for the visits or demographics, but that type of data is available via other surveying agencies.
Meaney asked council members if their organizations had seen more tourism activity in 2019 versus 2018. Most raised their hands.
She said the exposed arrival data for the months of January through September in 2017 increased by 1.8 percent for the same months in 2018, then jumped by 44.8 percent for 2019.
"So that tells us we are doing some stuff that is working," she said crediting the upswing in "campaign adjustments."
To elevate a positive traveling experience, she said, the state is looking at issuing travel licenses to Chinese drivers. Wisconsin is one of the few states that does not allow Chinese drivers to access to the highways.
Discussing her first nine months on the job, Meaney said, she had been on the road 44 times, with 80 percent of her visits outside Madison and Milwaukee. These included several sit-down meetings with non-profits, tourism agencies and tribal organizations and 33 keynote speeches or presentations.
Shane Brossard, director of marketing and advertising, showed short 30-second TV commercials featuring former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver. One featured Wisconsin fairs and festivals because, he said, data from Wisconsin visitors revealed more visitors make overnight trips to Wisconsin for special events than the typical state.
In the last year, Brossard said, there had been a 68 percent increase in visits to the Travelwisconsin.com website and a 93 percent increase from social media to the web page. He attributed the increase due to more digital investments and spending in more efficient areas based on a new "digital optimization strategy." What he called the "dynamic creative optimization platform" allows for tailoring cam paigns to the end-users creating "hyper-relevant" marketing based on age, location and interest.
"We used data research to guide our strategy and then we mapped that out creatively and in a very strategic way," he said.
Meaney said the new strategy contrasts with previous efforts to roll out a series of banner ads that would randomly appear on screen without regard to demographics.
Brossard showed two new TV ads promoting Wisconsin for the fall and winter. Both ads featured Driver again and emphasized things to do inside and outside with new "WisconsIN" and "WisconsOUT" logos.
Meaney said Driver is well known in the state but not as well known outside Wisconsin. Driver had two-year contract with the department that was signed in 2018. Meaney said the department "leveraged" Driver's "enthusiasm and energy in a campaign that will be a bridge of where we hope to go," a strong indication the department will probably be going in a different direction in the future.
In open discussion, Bewley expressed concerns that tick-borne illnesses could impact tourism and she mentioned the need to have clear signage to destinations.
Meaney said she is working closely with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the agency is interested in cooperative efforts.