Northwoods Group Celebrates Finnish St. Urho
Published on 03/16/2018 under News While people around the globe will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day Saturday, one Northwoods group is celebrating their ties to Finland. Preparation is underway in Brantwood for their annual Saint Urho Celebration. The celebration isn't part of traditional Finnish lore, it was a 1950's creation. It tells of the legend of Saint Urho, who freed Finland's grape crops from grasshoppers. The Knox Creek Heritage Center is one of the groups that participates each year. Their organization is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the pioneers that settled the Northwoods. Coming up tomorrow they'll be serving a soup buffet with traditional Finnish foods. They've also planned for several speakers. The event also serves as one of their four main fundraisers each year. For those that'd like to check it out, the celebration is Saturday starting at 4:30 at the Brantwood Community Center.
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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day Safely
Published on 03/16/2018 under News With St. Patrick's Day falling on a weekend, law enforcement agencies are reminding those celebrating to do so safely. The DoT anticipates additional people celebrating the holiday and creating additional concerns about the potential for impaired driving. They ask the revelers plan ahead, be responsible, and never get behind the wheel impaired. That includes designating a sober driver, make sure everyone is wearing a safety belt, and watch your speed. The DoT notes that many taverns and restaurants provide patrons with Safe Ride programs. The DoT also has a free Drive Sober app that includes a number of features including a GPS to identify transportation alternatives. The app actually launched on St. Patrick's Day 2013 and has been downloaded more than 70,000 times.
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Ice Shanty Removal Dates
Published on 03/16/2018 under News A sure sign the end of winter is drawing near; the deadlines for ice shanty removal on Wisconsin waters. The first deadline, for those shacks located on Wisconsin waterways south of Highway 64, came and went last weekend. Those using ice shacks on waters north of Highway 64 and the Great Lakes get an extra week. Shanties on those bodies of water must be removed by this Sunday, March 18. When removing, anglers are also reminded to take any garbage and debris left behind. Permanent shacks not removed by their specific dates are subject to a fine. The DNR says portable shelters that are removed daily are allowed beyond the deadline.
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Northwoods Unemployment Estimates Up Slightly in January
Published on 03/16/2018 under News The month to month unemployment estimates were up January, but improved compared to one year ago. That's according to data released this week by the Department of Workforce Development. The local figures followed that statewide trend. Here in Lincoln County, the January rate came in at 3.3 percent. That's up a half percent from December, but improved from 4.9 percent in January of 2017. Oneida County's estimate rose from 4 to 4.2 percent in January. It was 5.3 percent last January. And in Vilas County, the month to month rate was flat at 4.4 percent, but improved 1.5 percent from last January when it was 5.9.
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Rhinelander Police Raising Funds for New K9
Published on 03/16/2018 under News The Rhinelander Police Department is launching a fundraising campaign to continue their K9 program. Back in December the Department's previous canine officer Drago retired after 9 years on the force. During that time he had more than 500 deployments. Chief Lloyd Gauthier noted, "The program is an invaluable tool in our ongoing battle against criminal activity in the area." In seeking a replacement, the Department announced this week that they are seeking donations to help with cost. Contributions will go towards the purchase of the dog, but its training, equipment and supplies. They have additional information on their official Facebook page, or you can contact the department.
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Gov. Walker Signs Bill in Florence Aimed at Helping Rural Libraries
Published on 03/15/2018 under News Governor Walker was in Northern Wisconsin yesterday to sign a bill aimed at helping public libraries, particularly in rural communities. The bill expands eligibility for the Technology for Educational ACHievement or (TEACH) grants to include rural community libraries. Previously, TEACH funding was limited to school districts in order to provide information technology grants covering infrastructure and training. Yesterday's signing was in Florence, which is unique in that the library doubles as both a school and public library. The bill, co-authored by Rep. Mary Felzkowski, was passed with unanimous support in both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature. According to the announcement, the current state budget increases funding for the TEACH program by $22.5 million.
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Juvenile Justice Legislation in Limbo after New Senate Bill
Published on 03/15/2018 under News MADISON (AP) Supporters of a juvenile justice overhaul bill that the Wisconsin Assembly unanimously passed say it appears likely to die because of Senate changes. A Senate committee voted to approve a scaled-back version of the bill Wednesday. The Assembly would have to return to pass that, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has insisted they will not return to do that. Republican state Rep. Michael Schraa tells the Wisconsin State Journal that barring a "miracle" the bill is dead. But Democratic Rep. Evan Goyke says Gov. Scott Walker needs to lobby Senate Republicans to approve the Assembly version of the bill. Goyke says, "We're not dead yet."
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US Attorney: Lincon Hills Probe Continues
Published on 03/15/2018 under News MADISON (AP) U.S. Attorney Scott Blader's office says the investigation into alleged misconduct at the Lincoln Hills juvenile prison in northern Wisconsin is continuing. The comment Wednesday comes after Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard said Wednesday the Federal Bureau of Investigation told him in December it had concluded its probe of the prison in Irma, north of Wausau. The U.S. Attorney's Office for western Wisconsin said only that the investigation was continuing. The one-sentence statement did not say who was investigating. Gov. Scott Walker's spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg says the governor has not been notified that the FBI investigation was completed. A Senate committee Wanggaard chairs on Wednesday approved a scaled-back juvenile prison overhaul bill that would close the Lincoln Hills prison by 2021. Unlike the Assembly bill, it doesn't say what would replace it.
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Heart of Vilas County Trail Extension Scheduled to Begin in Mid-March
Published on 03/15/2018 under News The DNR says that construction on an extension of the Heart of Vilas County bike trail system could begin in the next few weeks. Back in January, the Natural Resources Board approved a donation that would add approximately 4 miles of new paved trails including a bridge over the Manitowish River. The contribution worth approximately $1.15 million includes labor and materials and comes from Manitowish Waters Bike Trail Inc.. Currently, the Heart of Vilas Bike Trail system includes more than 45 miles of paved trails that connect St. Germain, Sayner, Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters. That includes segments through the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. The new trail will connect to a segment recently constructed by the Town of Mercer. It will also provide a side loop connection to amenities such as restrooms, parking, and a bicycle repair station at the Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce building. Construction is expected to begin in mid-March in order to comply with permit restrictions to minimize incidental site impacts. Manitowish Waters Bike Trail Incorporated will be responsible for all future maintenance and operation of the trail, which will be open to the general public for hiking and biking.
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Rhinelander Students Partner with League of Women Voters for School Board Candidate Forum
Published on 03/15/2018 under News Spring elections are just a few weeks away, and a number of groups are partnering with the League of Women Voters of the Northwoods to provide candidate forums. Coming this afternoon the Rhinelander High School Key Club and Social Studies Department will be hosting a forum for their school board candidates. It's an extension of an ongoing partnership between the League and the Key Club students. Over the past few years, they've also worked together to help eligible students register to vote. According to the announcement, all candidates for the three school board seats have been invited to attend today's forum. Like previous forums sponsored by the League, candidates will give introductions and then field questions including from the audience. Two AP Government students will serve as moderators. For those that wish to attend, the forum is scheduled at the High School from 1:40-3pm. Please enter through Door 2 at the front of the High School.
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Updated: Muncipalities Countinue to Announce Spring Weight Restrictions
Published on 03/15/2018 under News With spring on the horizon, we've received a number of weight limit announcements for area roadways. The seasonal weight restrictions are placed on specific highways during the spring thaw period to prevent damage to the pavement structure. The limits for the Town of Tomahawk will go into effect Wednesday morning at 10am. Also on Wednesday, at noon, the DoT announced weight limits for portions of Highway 107 in Marathon and Lincoln County, as well as 52 in Langlade and Forest Counties. And at noon on Thursday, Lincoln County limits will be put in place. The exceptions are County A between 8 and 51; E from 86 to Cty O; G west of 17; H from K to Copper Lake Road; K; L; N from L to the rail tracks; Q; R; S from 51 to 86; U; Y from 8 to the rail tracks; and W. At noon Thursday the Town of King Road limits will be posted. At that same time, the gravel portion of Spring Creek Road will be closed to through traffic. *NEW On Friday at 8am the Town of Bradley will post their seasonal weight restrictions. *NEW On Friday at noon the Town of Woodboro will place their seasonal weight restrictions. *NEW On Friday at noon the Town of Skanawan will post their seasonal weight restrictions. *NEW On Friday at noon, Oneida County will post seasonal weight restrictions on a number of their county roadways. Oneida County Exceptions: CTH "C"...Tenderfoot Road - USH 45 CTH "D"...STH 17 to Chain Lake Road CTH "J"...USH 51 – Fishers Landing Road CTH "K"...Entire Length CTH "L"...South County Line - JCT USH 51 CTH "P"...Entire Length We will continue to post restrictions as we receive them.
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Tomahawk Students Working with Administrators to Organize 'Walk Out'
Published on 03/14/2018 under News One month ago, 17 students and staff were killed in a school shooting in Florida. Today, students in the Northwoods will join others across the country to participate in a 'walk out' demonstration. Here in Tomahawk, school administrators have been working with student organizers to plan for this morning's demonstration. According to a news release from the district, the goal was to provide a safe and non-disruptive way to participate. The district says classes were scheduled to continue as normal, and students participating will be responsible for any class material missed. To honor the seventeen lives lost, the demonstration is expected to last 17 minutes. Two designated areas on campus have been set for the students who choose to participate. They also say they are coordinating with local law enforcement.
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Aspirus Debuts New Mobile Mammography Lab
Published on 03/14/2018 under News Aspirus Hospitals debuted a new mobile mammogram lab yesterday, allowing the doctors to provide screenings across the Northwoods. The new bus, fittingly wrapped in pink, contains advanced 3d imaging technology. That will allow for better detection during screenings. The new unit replaces a ten year old vehicle that contained older technology. The advantage of a mobile unit is it provides an extension of their in-house service. That allows their staff to provide access to breast cancer screening in smaller rural communities that do not have clinics. They hope to be out on the road this month.
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Treehaven Screens Wolf Documentary, Director
Published on 03/14/2018 under News Last night attendees at Treehaven were able to meet a renowned independent nature film director. The campus hosted George Desort, while also screening his film Counting Wolves. The documentary showcases wolf and moose researchers conducting aerial research on Isle Royale in the Northern waters of Lake Superior. The isolated island provides an insight into the population effects of the predator (the wolf) and prey (the moose). Following the screening, Desort shared the latest on island's declining wolf population and corresponding increase in the moose populations and the steps the National Park Service is taking to address them.
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Tomahawk School Board March Recap
Published on 03/14/2018 under News The Tomahawk School Board March meeting began with a lengthy, and at times emotional, public comment period. Being the first board meeting since the raised awareness of school safety, a number of parents expressed their concerns to the board about school policy, training, and communication with police. Among those attending was police chief Al Elvins, who did offer opinions board policies, which have been under consideration. Because the item was not on the meeting agenda, the board was not able to respond. They did acknowledge continued discussions are ongoing and they are planning some community involvement forums are planned for April. Along those same lines Elementary Principal Penny Antell is hosting several safety conversation on Thursday throughout the day. (Times and Locations in our Community Calendar). The meeting then moved into reports including the annual presentation from choir students who participated in the Dorian Music Festival. This year, Senior Allison Meinheit spoke on behalf of the 5 Hatchet students participating in the 1,100 voice Midwestern invitation concert. The principals gave their regular building reports. Among the highlights, Penny Antell in the elementary gave an update on the reading Olympics event we told you about last month. During that reading competition, coinciding with the regular winter Olympics, the TES students read 440,000 pages. While the 4th graders won the gold, Antell felt especially proud that the 4k students earned the silver. In his report, administrator Terry Reynolds clarified that the recently signed bill increasing sparsity aid does not apply to Tomahawk, because the district is too large. There were several action items on the agenda. The board gave their blessing for a new educational European Studies trip, which would be held in the opposite summer of the traditional German Exchange. Participating students would travel to various locations including London, Paris, Munich and Prague. It would include guides on history and art and the potential for not only high school, but college credit. Twelve students express interest in the initial planning. The board extended the annual CESA contract to continue their services. They also continue with the second reading of 28 board policies. The board approved the capital project list to complete some of the regular maintenance that occurs each summer. With the school safety topic prominent, Mike Debels added that they are planning for additional safety measures on campus, as well. And finally before moving into closed session, the board approved a community communications coordinator and social worker/behavioral support staff member, and updated the payroll pay period to from 26 to 24 weeks.
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