Merrill FD Uses Home as Training Opportunity
Published on 12/10/2018 under News Over the past few months, the Merrill Fire Department has used a home, set for demolition, as a handy training tool. Earlier this year, the City of Merrill purchased that home on Tyler Street to expand city parking, particularly for the nearby fire station. Rather than tearing the home and garage down immediately, Battalion Chief and Training Officer Phil Skoug saw an opportunity to work on scenarios that are typically practiced on a live fire scene. So, according to Battalion Chief Steve Hintze, the past two months have seen crews work on a variety of training exercises at the home including chimney fire operations, disoriented firefighters training, buddy breathing, and self rescue techniques. The department even utilized the structure as an evaluation tool during their recent promotional process. Hintze noted that after many hours spent inside or atop the structure, it will soon come to an end.  In the coming weeks, the structure will likely be torn down to accommodate their plans, but the agency says lessons learned will stay with firefighters to have beneficial effects on the Merrill community for years to come.
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TAIV Receives State Grant for Senior Transportation
Published on 12/10/2018 under News The Tomahawk Area Interfaith Volunteers, or TAIV, has been selected to receive a grant supporting transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently notified 60 agencies across the state of the dollars which will go towards three categories; vehicle replacements, mobility management projects, operating assistance grants. Overall, the state funding topped $6.2 million in 2018. The local grant for TAIV came in at $35,000. It comes in the operating assistance category which is earmarked for areas such as driver training, vouchers for rides, and reimbursement for driver's using their own vehicles. A second grant will also help Northwoods individuals. North Central Health Care, which serves Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade Counties received approximately $47,000 which will be utilized to replace one of their transport vehicles. According to the DoT announcement, the federal and state program, initiated in the mid-1970s, has helped fund the purchase of 2,216 vehicles in Wisconsin, including the 597 active vehicles currently providing these much needed transportation services.
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Rhinelander Salvation Army Seeks Donations, Volunteer Ringers
Published on 12/10/2018 under News We're now past the halfway mark of the Salvation Army Bell Ringing campaign and organizers across the Northwoods continue to ask for donations and ringers. We heard from the Rhinelander campaign over the weekend. As of Friday, they had raised just short of $15,000. While impressive they were still behind pace for their $40,000 goal. To encourage volunteer ringers, their veteran ringers have been talking about why they ring. Tom Jerow, who rings at every opportunity, said, "The stories I hear at the kettle every year never cease to amaze me". He also noted the fact that $0.86 of every dollar donated remains in that local community. Meanwhile Rudy Elias says, "There were several years where I would have had little or nothing for Christmas if not for the Salvation Army."  So he rings with the first hand knowledge of how important the Salvation Army can be. They have a number of bell ringing shifts available through the December 22nd end date.
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Merrill, Tomahawk Students Hosting Holiday Band Concerts
Published on 12/10/2018 under News The sounds of the season will be featured prominently in our area schools this evening with a pair of student concerts. First up, the Merrill Area Public Schools will be holding their Holiday Band-a-Palooza. The performance will include each grade level in the middle school as well as the symphonic and wind ensemble from Merrill High School. The directors noted they have a wide selection of classics and unique pieces from around the world. It will culminate with all five bands coming together to play the 12 Days of Christmas together. That's at the Prairie River Middle School, doors open at 6:30pm. And right here in Tomahawk, both the Middle School and High School bands will play their holiday selections starting at 7pm in the field house. (note: The Tomahawk Choir Concerts will be held on Monday, December 17) We'll be recording those Tomahawk concerts to bring back a Christmas Day Encore on the Big Q.
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2019 Black Bear, Spring Turkey Permit Deadline December 10
Published on 12/10/2018 under News While the seasons are still a number of months away, the DNR is reminding hunters that the deadline for black bear and spring turkey applications is Monday at midnight. Harvest numbers for the recently completed black bear season have not yet been finalized, but estimates show nearly 3,700 bears harvested. At this time DNR staff and the bear advisory committee are in the process of determining the 2019 harvest quotas. The DNR says due to the high interest in this hunt, they typically must apply for several years before receiving a permit through the drawing process for most bear management zones. As for the turkey season, authorizations are issued through a preference-based drawing system where applicants can choose multiple time period and location combinations to maximize their likelihood being selected. Successful applicants will be notified by mail after the drawing results are finalized. They can also check that status on the DNR's GoWild registration portal.
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Lincoln County Sheriff's Report
Published on 12/10/2018 under News A 21 year old Merrill woman was taken into custody Monday after a deputy investigated a vehicle in the ditch. The driver showed signs of impairment and was placed through field sobriety tests. She was cited for a first offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. A 31 year old Tomahawk man was arrested Saturday morning on a felony charge after a traffic stop. The driver showed signs of impairment and was taken into custody for a fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. A 25 year old Tomahawk man was arrested Sunday evening after a traffic stop in the Town of Skanawan. A deputy stopped the man for speeding on US Hwy 51 south of County Rd S. The K9 Nina was called to the scene. The driver was subsequently arrested for possession with intent to deliver marijuana. The number of vehicle/deer crashes has risen slightly with ten being reported this past week on Lincoln County roadways.
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New Tomahawk Police Officers Sworn In; Begin Training
Published on 12/07/2018 under News The Tomahawk Police Department just added two new officers, and both have ties to the Tomahawk community. Police Chief Al Elvins introduced both new officers, Matt Gorell and Dan Andrews, to the city council at the meetings earlier this week. The two will keep full staffing after officer Brett Susa transitioned to school resource officer and the upcoming retirement of John Duplayee early next year. Chief Elvins says they are excited to have each of the new hires joining the force here in Tomahawk. The two shared a bit about themselves at that meeting. Gorell comes from Stevens Point and has several years of law enforcement experience in both Mosinee and here in Lincoln County with the Sheriff's Office. He was also excited bring his family back to Tomahawk where his wife is from. Meanwhile, Andrews' connection with the Tomahawk community dates back even further. While he comes from Bristol, Wis., his family has been visiting Tomahawk since the 1950's. Andrews actually relocated to Tomahawk in June, prior to his hiring, and subsequently enrolled in the police academy. He even got some experience working as an extra officer during the Tomahawk Fall Ride. Elvins noted yesterday that both officers are working on their new officer training with the Department. He anticipated Gorell, with his prior experience, would finish a bit sooner. Both should be patrolling on their own early next year.
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Launch Party for New Rhinelander Music, Art, Sustainability Festival
Published on 12/07/2018 under News A new festival is coming to Rhinelander next fall, and organizers are hosting a launch party this weekend. The event will be known as the "Project North Festival." It will be a three-day music, arts, and environmental celebration held in the downtown Rhinelander area. Organizers say the vision is to bring an eclectic music line up, a diverse group of artists and sustainability organizations to the Northwoods. Planning has been ongoing over the past year or so; it's scheduled for September 26-28 of 2019. In the inaugural event, they plan to have four music stages, a number art galleries, and partnerships with local businesses and vendors. They hope the first year "will serve as a catalyst in propelling Rhinelander's stance as a progressive community that is dedicated to providing resources and support to local, national and international artists, musicians and sustainability advocates." Coming up Saturday evening the organizers will be hosting a kick-off party at the Northwoods Center at Nicolet College. That's scheduled for 5pm tomorrow evening. Or you can visit
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Tomahawk VFW Observes Pearl Harbor Anniversary
Published on 12/07/2018 under News On the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, a Northwoods Veterans' group is recognizing the event and those that lost their lives. The bombing of Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, making this the 77th anniversary. Bill Burcalow with the Wurl-Feind-Ingman VFW Post 2687 says the Tomahawk post will conduct a short service this morning in observance. That attack killed more than 2,400 servicemen and civilians and injured almost 1,200. It damaged a number of Naval vessels and hundreds of aircrafts. This led to the US entrance into the second World War. As those alive during the attacks grow older, events like these serve as a reminder for the younger generations. For those that would like attend, it'll be held at the VFW Post at the corner of South 4th and Rice Avenue Friday morning beginning at 9am.
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Forest County Potawatomi Launch Campaign to Fight Opioid Abuse
Published on 12/07/2018 under News With opioid-related incidents above the statewide average, the Forest County Potawatomi Community has launched a campaign to fight opioid abuse in Forest County. Launched earlier this week, the most visible aspect of the project will be a public awareness campaign. That will include television advertisements, social media targeting, and print displays around Forest County. They've also created a website, which will guide people on how to seek addiction treatment and other counseling services. In addition to the media and awareness campaign, they'll also look to enhance existing drug treatment programs in the area and step up law enforcement.
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Tomahawk Police Report
Published on 12/07/2018 under News Officers assisted a Tomahawk woman in seeking a restraining order. An ongoing dispute resulted in an altercation over the weekend. That incident actually occurred outside of the city, and the department also arranged for the woman to meet with a deputy. Officers were called to an altercation involving a youth and an adult family member. Officers spoke with the youth regarding the behavior, however the victim did not wish to pursue any charges after the warning. Officers responded to a physical altercation Tuesday evening. After following up with the individuals involved, a 39 year old man was taken into custody for domestic disorderly conduct and bail jumping.
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Have Emergency Kit in Vehicle for Winter Driving
Published on 12/06/2018 under News With winter weather seemingly here to stay for the next few months, local safety officials are reminding drivers to have their vehicles prepared for the winter season. Most Wisconsin drivers will experience a winter driving mishap at some point, whether it's a slide-off, an accident, or simply a stubborn car that won't start. While these incidents are typically a minor inconvenience, drivers should be prepared. We recently heard from officials with Ready Lincoln, a team of safety experts here in Lincoln County. They offered up a checklist of items that drivers should carry in their vehicles when traveling during the winter. That kit should include: jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, an ice scraper, a cell charger, a blanket, a map, and either sand or kitty litter which can be spread out to create additional traction. Of course, your vehicle should also properly serviced. And pay attention to road and weather reports to plan and avoid travel in treacherous conditions.
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Grant for Local Partnership Addressing Staffing Shortage in Rural Hospitals
Published on 12/06/2018 under News Rural hospitals have had difficulty in bringing in professionals, and this week the state has made funding available which they hope leads to positions being filled. The grants from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services were awarded to partnerships between hospitals and nearby tech schools. DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer said in the announcement that quality care requires a skilled workforce. The grants will support education and training for a variety of positions including surgical technologists, substance abuse counselors, sonographers and phlebotomists. The largest recipient, at $112,000 was Ascension St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, and their partnership with both Nicolet College and North Central Technical College. Overall DHS awarded 4 grants worth a combined $300,000. Seemeyer noted the state is committed to addressing these needs by investing in quality training with a special focus on meeting the workforce needs of rural hospitals. DHS continues to work with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative. A second round of funding is expected to be available next spring.
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Woman Dies in Custody of Oneida County Jail; Likely Natural Causes
Published on 12/06/2018 under News A woman being held in the Oneida County Jail has died while in custody. According to a news release from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, 39 year old Jillian Buza was transported to a Wausau area hospital where she passed away yesterday morning. The initial determination is that she died of natural causes. The Oneida County Medical Examiner is following up. The Sheriff's Office noted that Buza had been hospitalized for health related issues on several occasions since her arrest. Buza was one of two people arrested this spring following an incident at the Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua. Back on June 12, she was charged after allegedly threatening to attack a physician's assistant. The case against the other individual, 70 year old Joseph Buza, remains active. He has pleaded not guilty.
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Preparations Underway for New Year's STAR Splash in Tomahawk
Published on 12/06/2018 under News A popular, but chilly Tomahawk fundraiser is just a few weeks away, and its organizers are in planning mode. Each New Year's Day, a group of brave Tomahawk area residents leap into the icy waters of Lake Mohawksin for the Star Splash. The fundraiser brings in money for the Tomahawk Area STAR Foundation which serves as a centralized community fundraising operation. Yesterday, we were joined by two of the organizers, Jackie Leonard and Chad Grube. They are encouraging participants to sign up and get out into the community to being collecting pledges. Over the years, the event and its name have evolved, but one constant has been Grube who has played a role in hosting the event outside the Happy Snapper since 2006. (Contributed photo from 2017 event) In recent year's they've established a fundraising share for participants. Rather than a specific cause, half of the money each participant collects goes to their local charity or organization of choice. The largest fundraiser will also earn a $1000 bonus for their organization of choice. The other half goes into the STAR Foundation, which in turn, redistributes that money to various community organizations. That total has now topped $600,000. Leonard also shared some of the newer changes. They now have a group of "volunteer jumpers" who will take the plunge on behalf of someone who wants to collect money, but doesn't want to jump. And the last few years rather than a traditional T-Shirt to commemorate the event, they now conveniently give away a towel. The registration forms are available at the Happy Snapper. For additional information, visit the STAR Foundation website or Facebook page. And hear that entire conversation in the WJJQ audiocenter.
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