Merrill Homeless Center Receives Building Permits, Remodel Set to Begin
Published on 02/20/2018 under News Last fall, a group from Merrill announced plans for a homeless shelter, now action on that plan is about to pick back up. The group became known as Merrill Community Homeless Center Inc, and their project the new Habitat Home. They were able to secure a property on West Main Street in October, as well as several large grants over the past few months. Organizers say "building plans were developed, and changes were made along the way to meet required codes.  The State of Wisconsin is key to approving the Building Plan, which is necessary to acquire a building permit." Last week, the board confirmed that they have received that permit and "now the real work begins." A crew of volunteers will handle the interior demolition needed to prepare the building for the remodel.   Three contractors have been selected to work on renovations. Those are expected to cost around $150,000, and additional donations are welcome.
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AG Schimel Continues 72 County Tour with Stops in Lincoln, Oneida Counties
Published on 02/20/2018 under News Throughout his term, Attorney General Brad Schimel has made it a point to travel to all 72 of the state's counties meeting with local law enforcement and elected officials. This past week, Schimel once again visited the Northwoods with stops in Lincoln and Oneida Counties. Schimel noted that, "At the DOJ, (they) rely on (their) partnerships with municipalities and counties to carry out the public safety mission." He says these meetings are critical to making sure the DoJ tailors resources to the needs at the local level. Oneida County Sheriff Grady Hartman said they appreciated Schimel coming North to speak about issues important to the community. While each of the visits has focused on the challenges and safety concerns specific to each county, there has been an overarching theme focused on drug and opioid abuse. The North Central Drug Enforcement Group, which includes Lincoln and Oneida counties will receive more than $50,000 this year to help investigate drug distribution crimes in the region.
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Northwoods Boy Scouts Partner with Public Service for Electricity Badges
Published on 02/20/2018 under News For more than six decades, Wisconsin Public Service has partnered with area Boy Scouts to earn merit badges. They did so again this past weekend. WPS volunteers were in Wausau for their annual electricity merit badge clinic, joined by approximately 50 boy scouts from north central Wisconsin. Among the activities, the scouts learn how electricity is generated, design circuits and create working electromagnets. This year representatives from the Wausau Fire Department were also on hand to share tips on how to remain safe during emergencies involving electricity. The clinic allows line electricians, engineers and other WPS employees to introduce Scouts to energy industry careers, as well as enhance science and engineering skills. The Samoset Council, which provides guidance to Scouts in north central Wisconsin, has seen significant interest recently in these subjects, as more than 370 Scouts are enrolled in its "STEM Scouts" program. This is actually the 66th year for the event. They'll hold another for Fox Valley Scouts in Green Bay next month.
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DNR Announces CWD Meeting in Tomahawk Wednesday
Published on 02/20/2018 under News The DNR announced yesterday that they will be hosting a meeting here in the Northwoods regarding deer with chronic wasting disease. Last month the DNR announced that a deer harvested in Lincoln County had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD. That positive test triggered a number of changes as required by state law. Most notably a deer feeding ban which goes into effect not only in the affected county, but neighboring counties near the positive test. Coming up tomorrow the DNR will be hosting a public informational meeting on CWD, the positive test, and the steps going forward. It will be hosted right here in Tomahawk. For those that would like to attend, it's scheduled for 7pm, Wednesday evening, at the High School.
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Quick Response Allows Tomahawk Man to Avoid Phone Scam
Published on 02/19/2018 under News A quick response prevented a Tomahawk man from falling victim to a telephone scam this past week. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, the man was contacted by someone claiming to be from the Social Security Office. The individual said that they were calling to verify bank account numbers. The man initially provided his account information before realizing it was a scam. They were able to deactivate the account that morning. The Sheriff's Office noted that an attempt to access the deactivated account occurred later that day. The Sheriff's Office says that the IRS and other federal government agencies do not collect money over the phone and will initiate contact by phone unless you have an open case. And while not involved in this particular case, the Sheriff's Office once again noted that another sure sign of a scam is a request for payment via a money card or green dot card.
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Tomahawk Students Learn about Natural Gas from WPS
Published on 02/19/2018 under News Students in Tomahawk got a demonstration on natural gas last week. It was part of regional demonstrations put on by Wisconsin Public Service. Throughout the month, the WPS experts have been visiting schools across Northern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley. That included the stop in Tomahawk this past Thursday. The lessons are designed to help students learn what natural gas is, how it is transported and how it can be used safely. The presentations include visual demonstrations that let students observe the behaviors of the gas. Each presentation also teaches students about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to react if they detect a natural gas leak in indoor and outdoor areas. The annual presentations complement the energy company's Path to Ground electric safety presentations.
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Fifth Suspect Arrested in Death of LDF Man
Published on 02/19/2018 under News A suspect wanted in connection with the death of a Lac du Flambeau man has been taken into custody. The Department of Justice says that James Lussier was arrested in Oshkosh over the weekend. The 19 year old is the fifth individual arrested in the death of Wayne Valliere. Valliere's body was recovered in Iron County last month. In addition, Lussier was wanted for warrants in Vilas and Marathon Counties. Additional details involving the arrest were not provided. It is unclear of any future court dates or transport to Northern Wisconsin.
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Members of Lincoln County Honor Guard Tribute Fallen Chicago Officer
Published on 02/19/2018 under News Two Northwoods deputies joined thousands of law enforcement in paying respects to a fallen officer. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Andy VanderWyst and Deputy Sam Steckbauer, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard, traveled to Chicago over the weekend. They joined with an estimated 4,000 officers from not only the City of Chicago, but as far away as California, Texas and New York, to mourn the death of Commander Paul Bauer. Bauer was killed in the line of duty last week. Lincoln County was just one of over 400 agencies from outside of Chicago who attended the service on Saturday.
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More Than a Dozen Underage Drinking Citations Following Party in Town of Birch
Published on 02/19/2018 under News One person was arrested and more than a dozen teens cited after an underage drinking party was investigated in Lincoln County over the weekend. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says they were called to that party in the Town of Birch early yesterday morning. As a result, 14 teens will receive underage drinking citations. Deputies say those individuals ranged from 16 to 20 years old. During the investigation, the deputy learned a 25 year old Tomahawk man was out on a felony bond that included a restriction on alcohol. He was taken in for felony bail jumping. A 19 year old Rhinelander woman at the scene will also be referred on drug paraphernalia charges.
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Lincoln County Sheriff's Report
Published on 02/19/2018 under News An 18 year old Merrill man will be summonsed into court after a deputy investigated a theft case in the Town of Merrill. A caller reported that over last weekend someone stole several signs and a totem pole off Boy Scout Island near State Rd. 107. On Tuesday, deputies got a tip to a possible suspect who eventually led them to the stolen items. A 62 year old Merrill man was arrested late Tuesday. Deputies were called to a Town of Merrill business and found the man intoxicated. The man had several bail bonds in Lincoln County which did not allow alcohol consumption. A 28 year old Merrill man was booked into the Lincoln County jail Friday. A resident of Merrill phoned the Sheriff's Office reporting theft and possession of drugs. The man was located by a Marathon County Deputy and arrested. He was booked on charges of bail jumping, theft, intimidation of a victim, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia. The number of car deer crashes remains steady with another 6 being reported this past week.
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Rep. Felzkowski Pens 'Dental Therapist' Bill
Published on 02/16/2018 under News A local legislator has authored a bill aimed at increasing access to dental care in rural areas of the state. Assembly and Senate committees heard Representative Mary Felzkowski's bill that would create a new type of provider known as a dental therapist. The position, working under a dentist, would be similar to a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. They could provide preventative and routine restorative dental care. Felzkowski said, "Our bill increases dental access, gives dentists the opportunity to expand their patient base and grow their business, and provides greater choice and affordability in healthcare. We can do more for the hundreds of thousands in our state who are suffering from a lack of access to dental care." Federal data showed shortages exist in 60 of the state's 72 counties. The idea is not new, as Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota currently allow dentists in their states to hire dental therapists. Following this week's hearing, the bill still needs a vote to move the bill out of committee and into the full legislature.
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Giant Snowman Returns to Minocqua
Published on 02/16/2018 under News A chilly friend and tourist favorite has returned to the Northwoods. As of yesterday afternoon, the Minocqua Chamber announced that Snowmy Kromer is back. For those unfamiliar, he's the 30 foot tall snowman constructed outside of the Chamber. He's named for his over-sized hat replicating the popular Stormy Kromer cap. It's a tradition that dates back decades...when weather cooperates. This year he's back after a couple year absence. Volunteers and staff have been busy over the past week getting the snowman built. And while most kids use their hands to form a snowman, the Chamber had some bigger tools on hand. A large portion of the snow was moved with a back hoe. Yesterday they put on the finishing touches. Snowmy is expected to stick around as long as the temperature stays cool.
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Rhinelander Woman Arrested After Alleged Hitman Plot
Published on 02/16/2018 under News A Rhinelander woman is awaiting formal charges after allegedly attempting to a hire a hit man to kill her husband. Megan Danielczak was arrested in Tomahawk Thursday night, and is being held on a count of solicitation to commit first degree intentional homicide. According to a news release from the Rhinelander Police Department, Danielczak met with an undercover agent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation. The 27 year old allegedly made a down payment to the undercover agent. The remainder of the balance was set to be paid following the husband's death. Additional details on the incident are expected to be released later today, including formal charges.
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Tomahawk Homeless Shelter Hosting Soup Competition Saturday
Published on 02/16/2018 under News The 'Golden Ladle' is back on the line this weekend in Tomahawk. That's the award for the renamed culinary throw down, now known as the Super Soup Supper Soup Competition. The contest serves as a fundraiser for Our Sister's House Homeless Shelter. With a soup meal, the winner fittingly wins a ladle trophy. Last year's winner, The Happy Snapper, is back in this year's field. They'll be joined by 5 other local restaurants in the competition. Of course, the real winner is Our Sister's House. The proceeds help operate the shelter, which opened back in the fall of 2015. The event will be held Saturday from 4-6:30pm at the St. Mary's Corpus Christi Center. In addition to the soup and side, they'll also have desserts, door prizes and raffles.
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Update: Committee Sends Governor's Lincoln Hills Plan to Full Assembly
Published on 02/16/2018 under News MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin Assembly committee has voted to approve a plan that Gov. Scott Walker wants to pass this year to overhaul Wisconsin's juvenile justice system. The Assembly Corrections Committee voted unanimously Thursday to pass the bill, moments after a public hearing where no one testified against it. The vote clears the way for the full Assembly to vote on the measure next week. The bipartisan deal calls for closing Lincoln Hills youth prison by mid-2020, moving the most dangerous inmates into state-run facilities and putting counties in charge of housing the rest. Eventually plans are for Lincoln Hills to transition to a medium security adult facility. Lobbyists for the Wisconsin Counties Association expressed concerns about the aggressive timeline and how much the plan may cost counties. Lawmakers are promising to work with them and others on concerns as the bill moves forward. _____ MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker's juvenile justice overhaul plan that calls for closing the troubled Lincoln Hills prison is up for a key committee vote that would make it ready for legislative approval next week. The bill is up for both a committee hearing and vote on Thursday, an unusual move that speaks to the urgency lawmakers feel to act this year. The Assembly legislation introduced Tuesday set a timeline to re-purpose the facility by mid 2020. Walker wants the Legislature to pass the bill before it adjourns for the year next month. Walker said he would work with lawmakers on "tweaks" but "nothing that's going to dramatically alter the concept." There is bipartisan support for the measure, but Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has cautioned that it may not be possible to pass the complex overhaul of the youth prison system this year. The bill calls for putting the most serious juvenile offenders in state prisons and leaving the counties in charge of housing the rest.
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