Tomahawk Staff, Students 'Walk In' for School Safety
Published on 04/20/2018 under News It was a noteworthy arrival at the Tomahawk School District this morning. While many students across the country planned coordinated walk outs for school safety, Tomahawk students and staff did just the opposite. They arranged for another of their 'walk-in' events. As in past years, they gathered at Pride Park before the school day. They then walked that final mile to the campus where they had a small reception. This year's theme was, of course, safe public schools. Previous themes have included school funding cuts. About three dozen students and staff participated this morning.
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Sustainability Northwoods Hosting Earth Day Fair Sunday at Nicolet
Published on 04/20/2018 under News From renewable home energy to green funerals, sustainability will be the topic this weekend in Rhinelander. Sustainability Northwoods will be hosting their eighth annual Earth Day Fair. Organizers have more than 30 exhibitors planned for Sundays event at Nicolet College. The theme of the 2018 Fair is "Sustainability Where You'd Least Expect to Find It." They'll feature booths, demonstrations, student experiments and locally produced organic foods. The event coincides with Earth Day, on Sunday, from 11-3pm in the Lakeside Center at Nicolet.
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Merrill School District Adds Make up Date After Numerous Weather Cancellations
Published on 04/20/2018 under News One lingering effect of the extended winter, some area school districts are dealing with making up missed classroom time. While districts typically arrange time for a few cancellations, this year saw some schools surpassed those built-in dates. The Merrill School District is in that situation. They announced yesterday that they have scheduled that make up day for next Friday. April 27th was originally scheduled as a staff development day; the staff will make up the day after the school year. They also noted any additional cancellations would require additional make-ups. The decisions were made at their school board meeting earlier this week.
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Northwoods High School Students Compete at Nicolet College
Published on 04/20/2018 under News A number of Northwoods students attended an event yesterday to show off their skills in a number of academic areas yesterday. Nicolet College hosted their third annual Competition Day event. Overall, 14 districts from across the Nicolet region sent high school age students to participate. Tomahawk High School Principal Ryan Huseby said last week that THS was sending 10 students to compete in events including culinary, automotive and welding. He said the events offer a number of benefits including visiting campuses, meeting instructors, and networking with other students.
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Local Groups Share in Broadband Grants
Published on 04/19/2018 under News Several Northwoods Groups were among those awarded preliminary Broadband Expansion Grants to help improve high-speed internet access, particularly in rural areas. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin announced 46 grants across the state of Wisconsin. The grants total $7.68 million and will be combined with nearly $20 million in matching funds from the recipients. Among those receiving grants: ChoiceTel, LLC - $150,226. This project proposes to build a fiber route between Eagle River and St. Germain, connecting the elementary school in St Germain to main campus of the Northland Pines School District.  The route will also pass 235 homes and businesses located between Highway G and St Germain. Oneida County Economic Development Corporation - $100,000. This project will deploy a fixed wireless service on 6 towers in unserved and underserved areas of Oneida County (locations to be determined by Oneida County EDC). Price County Telephone Company - $250,292. Price County Telephone Co. will extend its existing fiber network, with dedicated backbone, distribution, feeder and drop fiber to approximately 173 properties on the west side of Solberg Lake in the Town of Worcester. SonicNet, Inc. - $51,913. This project will build and equip four towers to provide a fixed wireless service in the vicinity of Plum Lake in Vilas County. Also included in the grants, funding for 3 pilot programs to test TV White Space, which we have previously covered. That is the use of the frequencies located between aerial TV signals. Statewide, they hope this improves access to some 1,600 business locations and 18,000 residential locations. Another round of grants will be awarded this summer.
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Lincoln County Health Assessment Available for Review, Feedback
Published on 04/19/2018 under News The Lincoln County Health Department is working with Healthy People Lincoln County on their Community Health Assessment plan. The report makes up a year-long process of reviewing and analyzing comprehensive data on health issues and needs of Lincoln County Residents. As part of the process, they are once again presenting a Community Health Assessment. Challenges have been identified as: Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Health, Oral (Dental) Health, and Nutrition and Healthy Foods.  The assessment is available on the Lincoln County Health Department Website. They are accepting feedback on the Assessment through the end of the month. For your convenience a feedback form is available.
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Chequamegon Nicolet Forest Delays Trail, Campground Openings
Published on 04/19/2018 under News The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest announced that they will be delaying the opening of recreation trails and campgrounds due to the extended winter season. Access to these trails and campgrounds for preparations has been delayed due to lingering heavy snow pack. Crews typically spend April preparing ATV, UTV, horse and bicycle trails for a May 1 opening and a May 3 opening for the campgrounds. They haven't been able to get that work done at this time. Tim Vetter, the Acting Lands and Recreation Program Manager says, "We recognize this is an issue for visitors and we are working to get campgrounds and trails open as soon as possible." He says they will reassess the areas in about two weeks.
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Lincoln County Deer Advisory Council to Finalize Quota Recommendations
Published on 04/19/2018 under News Counties yet to make their final deer season recommendations, will finalize those decisions this evening. Over the past week, County Deer Advisory Councils have been meeting to make final recommendations on antlerless deer quotas and tag recommendations. It wraps up a process that began in February. The Lincoln County Deer Advisory Council is one of those meeting today. At their meeting in March, their preliminary recommendation was 1,800 public land antlerless tags and 7,200 private land tags. That's to reach the quota of 3,150. After considering online and public feedback, the board will forward recommendations to the Natural Resources Board to set the numbers at their May meeting. Tonight's meeting will be at the Lincoln County Sports Club on Schultz Spur Road, set to begin at 7pm.
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Update: Lincoln County Board Recap
Published on 04/19/2018 under News A couple of other odds and ends from Tuesday's County Board meeting. Supervisor Bob Lee was re-elected as the board chair for a second consecutive term. Among his duties, presiding over the monthly meetings. Bob Weaver will remain the vice-chair. Those positions are nominated and voted upon by the board. We also had one additional election result we haven't previously covered. There were no candidates on the ballot for the vacant district 22 representing the Towns of Merrill and Rock Falls. That race was determined by write-in with Tim Panfil declared the winner. He was among 6 new candidates sworn in on Tuesday. _______ The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors held their April meeting in Merrill Tuesday morning. New board members were sworn in, and outgoing members were recognized for their service. New members sworn in- Jeremy Ratliff, Calvin Callahan, Tim Panfil, Dora Gorski and Norbert Ashbeck. Outgoing Board members recognized including:Lorettta Baughan, Kirby Crosby, Kortney Pike, Robert Reichelt, Patricia Woller and Carl Vander Sanden. The board then spent much of the morning setting up their committee, which were ultimately approved. After reconvening for regular business, the board heard reports from finance director Dan Leydet. He has no concerns on the year to date budget. As for the 2019 process, he gave some background for the new board members, a common theme throughout the meeting. That conversation evolved to the looming decision on whether to renew the Vehicle Registration Fee. That conversation, with a presentation, is expected at next month's meeting. Leydet would like to see a decision either way by June/ July to allow time for any necessary changes to the budget. There were just 3 action items on the agenda. The first was a request to replace the deteriorating roof on the Merrill Salt Dome. Highway Commissioner John Hanz says they explored several options before making their recommendation. He noted that it is critical to maintain the facility which houses approximately $750,000 worth of road salt. After some discussion, the board approved the request unanimously. The second item was mainly clerical. It amended old deeds for the county maintained boatlanding and the adjacent property owners on Long Lake. There should be no actual change, as the deeds will now match how the site has been utilized. The final item was mandated for purchases utilizing grant funds. The resolution utilized required language and was approved with no discussion.
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Agreement in the Works to Remove Building at Scene of 2008 Tomahawk Homicide
Published on 04/18/2018 under News Family and friends of a 2008 Tomahawk homicide victim could soon see the closure they had been seeking. The vacant building, a former gas station on Tomahawk's main corridor, served as tragic reminder of the death of Rochelle Anderson. It was the site of the homicide, and nearly every car that crosses the city North and South drives past the location. Over the years, there have been numerous behind the scenes conversations on potentially removing the building which sits on privately owned property. The topic was on the agenda of Tomahawk's Health and Safety Committee meeting last night, where Rochelle's father Randy spoke, along family friends. When requesting the topic to appear on the agenda, they sought some sort of raze order or city involvement to facilitate the process. After some emotional testimony from Anderson and others, friend Ellen Gesseler passed along the message that they had since been in contact with the owner of the property and that he appeared receptive to some sort of action on the building. Ideally the process, outside of permitting, would be done without city involvement. As a result, the committee postponed any further action for two months to see if the process involves itself. As he exited the chambers, Anderson expressed that he was 'very pleased' with the developments.
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Vilas County Uses New National Database to Uncover Meth Lab
Published on 04/18/2018 under News A Meth lab in Eagle River was discovered and two were arrested after investigators utilized a new tool in their fight against the manufacture of methamphetamine. The Vilas County Sheriff's Office collaborated with the Department of Justice to utilize the National Precursor Log Exchange. That's an online database that tracks the purchase of unusual amounts of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in the manufacture of meth. As a result of the subsequent investigation, two individuals are being charged with six felonies related to the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine, its precursors and manufacturing waste. Their cases are pending. Attorney General Brad Schimel commented on the database saying in less than six months it is already proving its worth. The bill approving Wisconsin's participation in that national database was passed last November. Meanwhile Vilas County Sheriff Joseph Fath praised their continued partnership with the DoJ.
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Winter Weather Leads to Busy Weekend for Bird Rescue Group
Published on 04/18/2018 under News While the winter weather has got many Northwoods residents down, the snow and cold is really affecting animals, especially birds. The Raptor Education Group in Antigo sent out an emergency announcement yesterday after receiving more than 50 calls over the weekend about erratic birds dealing with low body temperatures and a lack of food. Particularly affected are robins, warblers and woodcocks. They said that local residents can make a difference. First up, make sure to keep your bird feeders full. For robins, which don't typically use feeders, toss out some raisins, mealworms, shelled sunflower seeds, frozen blueberries or crumbled suet. Place them in safe areas where you typically see birds congregate. Affected birds can be placed in a towel lined cardboard box; a heating pad on low can also help bring the birds temperature back up. The bird can be brought to a local rehab center or arrange for a volunteer transport. The center is also looking for volunteer drivers, as their calls have been coming from as far away as Marshfield and Stevens Point.
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City of Tomahawk Committee Offers Support for School Resource Officer
Published on 04/18/2018 under News A City of Tomahawk Committee offered their preliminary support of a School Resource Officer. At last night's meeting, the Health and Safety Committee gave police chief Al Elvins the green light to continue conversations with the school on exploring the officer. It is still early in the process of planning. The decision would be a joint effort between the school district and the city. Chief Elvins did relay a few details about how those preliminary conversations have gone. He says it would be a sort of joint service with the officer working at the school during the school year, and with the city officers during non-school days such as the summer. The costs would be split accordingly, and grants would be sought. Elvins noted that most other schools in the Northwoods have School Resource Officers and they would explore how their agreements work as a blue print. While there is still plenty of work to be done, Elvins was hopeful that a plan could be developed and approved in time for the next school year.
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Tomahawk City Meeting Recap
Published on 04/18/2018 under News The Tomahawk Health and Safety Committee lead last night's meetings. The committee discussed, but held off on any raze directives for a pair of vacant, deteriorating properties. The first, the former Zephyr Station on North 4th, appears to have a developing resolution without city involvement. The second property, at 23 W. Wisconsin Avenue, is in the process of being sold and the committee will follow up on any movement. The Committee gave support to Chief Elvins to continue working with the school on the possibility of a collaborative agreement on a shared school resource officer with the Tomahawk School District. With minimal discussion, the Committee approved operator licenses and premises requests. They also had two months worth of special event applications to approve including the Washington Park Flea Market, the Main Street Memories Car Show, Music on the River, the Rockin' Tomahawk race, the Chamber Arts and Crafts Fair and the Fall Ride Bonfire and Brat Fry. They were each approved with minimal discussion, each largely unchanged from previous years. Lastly, the Committee briefly began discussed the Fall Ride. While the conversation became lively at times, no action was taken. Among the topics: garbage removal costs, overall costs, and allowing 'for-profit' vendors on city property which is currently not allowed. The Finance Committee also met with a few developments on the city-owned 329 Bradley Farm Road property for the first time in years. After previous conversations with Habitat for Humanity didn't go anywhere, new leadership has reignited a potential partnership. They'll continue those discussions going forward. The committee also approved writing off some delinquent and uncollectable personal property taxes from closed businesses. They dated back to 2008 and ranged from $22 to $1,300. The move was recommended from the city auditor. The Common Council wrapped up the meetings. They began be swearing in Mayor Steve Taskay, and aldermen Mike Loka and Ed Nystrom. Will Garske was also voted in for a second term on the council, but was unable to attend last night's meeting. Jeff Kahle was re-elected as the council president, and the council approved committee assignments. The rest of the meeting moved along fairly quickly, special event licenses were approved with no further discussion. The council approved depositories and the official newspaper as they do each April. Lastly, the City awarded their bids for 3 summer projects. Merrill Gravel and Construction was approved for the King's Road/South Tomahawk Avenue project. They had the low bid at just under $500,000. The crack sealing bid went to Johnson Asphalt at $39,000, and the Asphalt paving bid went to American Asphalt at $103,000. Each was the low bid. Public Works Director John Cole also passed along public information meetings on the projects coming up April 25.
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Several Local Schools Receive Title I School of Recognition Awards from DPI
Published on 04/17/2018 under News Several local elementary schools are among those recognized by the state for success in educating students in districts with a large number of economically disadvantaged families. The Department of Public Instruction announced their annual Title I School of Recognition Awards. The 135 schools recognized receive Title I funding to provide services to high numbers or high percentages of disadvantaged families. Among the recipients, North Lakeland was honored as a 'High Progress' School for their progress on reading and math scores. Meanwhile, North Elementary in Antigo and Park Falls Elementary were honored as 'Beating Odds' Schools. That category is for districts in the top 25 percent of high poverty districts with above average reading and math scores compared to similar schools. State Superintendent Tony Evers says the awards recognize the efforts to break the link between poverty and low academic achievement. The schools will be honored during a May 21 ceremony at the State Capitol. Schools meeting all criteria will receive a plaque at the awards ceremony. This is the 15th year for the program.
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