DoT Exploring Changes to Hwy 8/47 Intersection in Rhinelander Published on 12/06/2017 under News
The Department of Transportation is considering a reconstruction of a busy intersection in the Rhinelander area.

That project will focus on the intersection of US Highway 8 and Wisconsin Highway 47. According to the announcement, the project is slated for 2019.

While pavement deterioration and drainage under the intersection are two factors on the decision, safety concerns are another. The DoT says between 2012 and 2016, there were 28 crashes at that intersection leading to 8 injuries and 1 death. They noted that a majority of the crashes were the result of left turning vehicles.

Among the considerations for the project is the possibility of placing a roundabout at the intersection. Another is to simply modify the intersection while keeping traditional traffic lights.

As part of the planning process for the project, the DoT will be holding a public input session coming up next Tuesday in Rhinelander. We'll have that information in our community calendar.

In Other News

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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