Tomahawk Schools, Public Library, and Packer Hall of Fame Partner for Winter Reading
Published on 01/23/2019 under News The Tomahawk School District and the Tomahawk Public Library are working together to emphasize children's reading over the winter months. Yesterday we were joined by district reading specialist Brian Perrodin and children's librarian Annette Miller. Earlier this week, the Tomahawk School District kicked off a partnership with the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame for their Tundra Tales reading program. Perrodin explained that they have challenged students to reach a weekly home reading goal from 60 minutes to 90 minutes over the next 8 weeks. Students that reach their goal each quarter (two week period) will receive a Packers themed prize. Students that complete all four quarters will receive a free pass into the Packer Hall of Fame. Perrodin noted that tying the Packers into the outreach has received a positive reaction from the students. He also highlighted a study showing that reading just 15-20 minutes daily can improve a child's reading level by 1-2 grades. That program runs through the end of March and is for 4k through 8th grade. Meanwhile the Public Library has an ongoing Winter Reading Challenge. That kicked off earlier this month and runs through February. Miller explained that they have several goals and age levels including teens. Miller said you can never start early enough on getting kids to read. She says one of the goals for these types of challenges is to make reading fun. Showing them it's not a punishment; it's not work. She says they want to get children into the door at the library to "spark their desire to be lifelong library users." That entire conversation is available in the WJJQ audio center.
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Local Legislators React to Gov. Evers State of State
Published on 01/23/2019 under News Shortly after Gov. Tony Evers presented his inaugural State of the State address, we heard from our local legislators who offered a mixed response. It was no surprise from the former state school superintendent that Gov. Evers focused on increasing school funding. He also called for bipartisanship, infrastructure improvements, and middle class tax cuts. State Senator Tom Tiffany says he looks forward to working with Gov. Evers. He says, "There are a number of areas where we can find common ground, and his speech outlined some key issues.  From supporting small businesses and broadband expansion to passing a middle class tax cut, these are issues that we can come together and pass in a bipartisan fashion." Meanwhile, Representative Mary Felzkowski was concerned that the new Governor did not mention the word "rural" in his address. She says she will continue to emphasize the extreme importance of rural Wisconsin. Tiffany and Felzkowski were united with fellow Republicans in referring to the strong economic factors including low unemployment, manufacturing growth, and budget surplus which came during an eight year period of Republican control.
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Rep. Felzkowski Reacts to Assembly Passasge of Pre-Existing Conditions Protections
Published on 01/23/2019 under News A bill aimed at providing protections for those with pre-existing conditions has cleared the Assembly.  Local Representative Mary Felzkowski was a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 1. In a news release, she says, "I'm proud that one of my first votes this session was to protect Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. This is a promise we made to our constituents, a promise I truly believe in. I've spent most of my life helping families purchase their insurance and I know this issue is incredibly important in my district and across the state." Felzkowski joined a number of Assembly Republicans who launched a video highlighting their personal experiences with pre-exisiting conditions. She says, "I supported this bill as a co-sponsor, a member of the Health Committee, and a rural representative, because I believe this marks the perfect balance between making sure those with pre-existing conditions never have to worry about being covered and assuring health insurance can remain affordable for all." A number of Democrats opposed the bill saying it doesn't go far enough. The bill's future remains unclear at this time. An assembly bill passed last year stalled in the Republican controlled Senate. Majority Leader Scott Fitzergald was non-committal on whether they would take up this bill.
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Rhinelander Students Collect 600+ Jeans During Collection Drive
Published on 01/23/2019 under News A group of Rhinelander students proved there's plenty of denim to go around here in the Northwoods. Over the past month, the Rhinelander High School FBLA/DECA organization conducted their annual Jeans for Teens. The students set up numerous drop-off locations around district schools and businesses in the community. They also held several collection drives at Hodag sporting events. The project, inspired by a statewide drive, has continued to grow each year. This year, the Rhinlander students announced that they collected more than 600 pairs of jeans. Jeans that are still in wearable condition will be donated to Frederick Place temporary housing shelter. Once their needs are fulfilled, the extra jeans will be distributed to others in need around the Northwoods. Jeans that have seen better days will be utilized for rags and other purposes. In the announcement, the students wanted to thank everyone who contributed.
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Plea Deal Reached for Third Man Involved in 2017 Burglary in Oneida County
Published on 01/23/2019 under News A Rhinelander man has reached a plea deal in a 2017 burglary in Oneida County. Keanu Sneller was back in court for that hearing last week. The 19 year old was one of three men arrested following an investigation into a break-in of a cabin in the Town of Pine Lake in the spring of 2017. Sneller pleaded 'no contest' to an amended charge of receiving or concealing stolen property and criminal trespassing. In exchange, a bail jumping charge was dismissed. Sneller was sentenced to 30 days in jail, credited with 28 days of time served. He also received two years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution. The other two men involved had reached similar plea deals last year.
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Fatal Snowmobile Crash in Minocqua
Published on 01/22/2019 under News One person has died following an overnight snowmobile crash in Minocqua. According to the Minocqua Police Department, responders were called to South Stone Lake Road at around 2:30 this morning. When Officers arrived on the scene they found that the operator was traveling on an unmarked trail down the road. The preliminary investigation showed that the operator struck a metal gate that was closed on the roadway. The 25 year old was pronounced dead on the scene. His name is being withheld pending notification of family. The crash is currently under investigation.
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Eagle River Business Finishes Runner-Up in Makeover Constet
Published on 01/22/2019 under News A Northwoods business, named a finalist for a 'Main Street Makeover,' has finished a runner up. The annual contest was put on by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. As we told you last month, Arrow Gift Shop, in downtown Eagle River, was one of five businesses in the running for a $10,000 makeover this spring. The WEDC has now named Anthony's 511, a barbershop in Watertown, as the grand prize winner. The makeover is expected to take place over a two day period in April. As a runner-up, Arrow Gift Shop and the other finalists will still receive "outreach and technical assistance from WEDC community development staff and their local Main Street program to help them achieve their business goals." The WEDC says, a total of 20 applications were received from businesses from Wisconsin's 34 designated Main Street districts.
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"Volunteer Fair" in Rhinelander Aims to Pair Potential Volunteers with Organizations
Published on 01/22/2019 under News The generosity of the Northwoods is no secret with people donating their dollars and time to organizations in every community. Typically those people have some connection to the non-profit they work with. But what about those who want to help, and aren't sure where? Coming up today, the Rhinelander community will seek to assist those individuals with the unique idea of a "Volunteer Fair." Set up like a typical job fair or college fair, around two dozen organizations in need of volunteer help will be set up at the Trig's Riverwalk this morning and afternoon. Their goal is to form a long-lasting partnership between potential volunteers and those in need of help. They'll be set up at the Trig's Riverwalk on Courtney Street from 10am to 2pm today.
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Natural Resources Board Exploring Reduction of Bear Pemits, Length of Crossbow Season
Published on 01/22/2019 under News The length of the crossbow season and black bear harvest quotas are among the topics being discussed during the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meetings the next two days. According to the meeting agenda, the board will explore reducing the black bear harvest quotas in three of the state's four zones. The goal would be to reduce the overall harvest by approximately 700 bear. The largest decrease would be in zone A, here in Northern Wisconsin. The goal would be to reduce the harvest from 1250 down to 900. To achieve that goal, they would reduce the permits by 540 tags. The crossbow/deer topic is listed as "informational." They're studying ways to "equalize buck harvest success rates." This would be accomplished by reducing the success of the crossbow season, to levels near to the gun and bow seasons. According to the study, the only option the board has within the rules is to reduce the length of the season. The background information has 7 options to do so, including: reducing time at the start or end of the seasons; in the lead to or immediately after the gun season; or intermittent weekday or weekend closures. Other topics on the agenda include the migratory bird season framework, setting the public hearing questions for the spring meetings, and a donation to cover the cost of planting 100,000 tree seedlings on DNR lands. While the meetings are held in Madison Tuesday and Wednesday, the DNR does stream them on their website.
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Tomahawk Police Report
Published on 01/22/2019 under News A South Tomahawk Avenue business discovered an attempted break-in which occurred at some point last week. No entry was gained, but the owner discovered lock damage and pry marks. Officers are following up. A highway worker came across a lock box near the Highway 51/Wisconsin River Bridge and turned over to police. In opening the box, they discovered drug paraphernalia, but no identifying markers. A business reported an individual attempted to pay with cash. They discovered that several of the $1 bills were discovered as counterfeit. They did not feel as though the customer was responsible for the counterfeiting. Officers were called to a physical altercation involving two family members at a Tomahawk residence. After speaking with the parties involved, a 20 year old male was taken into custody for disorderly conduct.
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Update: Winners Announced in Nick Van Strydonk Racing Suit Raffle
Published on 01/22/2019 under News In addition to earning a runner-up finish in the World Championship Snowmobile Derby, local racer Nick Van Strydonk was also helping out local veteran's organizations. As we told you last week, Nick, in the lead up to Sunday's big race, raffled off a custom designed FXR Racing suit. The money raised from the raffle will go towards several Veterans' organizations including the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, the local Wounded Warriors program, and the local VFW Post. This was the second year of the raffle. While we're still awaiting the overall fundraising total, the winners have been named. At the conclusion of Sunday's race, the organizers announced the overall winner of the racing suit is Trevor Boysen. The second place winner of $300 is Brian Ronsman. Third place winner of $200 was Scott Fruhworth. They noted that he generously donated his winnings to the Never Forgotten Honor Flight. _____ While we can't all ride as fast as the snowmobile pros, one racer is offering an opportunity for his fans to get their hands on some unique memorabilia. Tomahawk's very own World Champion, Nick Van Strydonk, has his eye focused on the Eagle River World Championship Derby, coming up this weekend. Last week, he took the time to stop by the WJJQ studios to talk about his race preparations, as well as a special raffle he's bringing back this year. Van Strydonk is once again offering up a race-worn riding suit, with proceeds going to help several veteran's organizations including the Honor Flight, Wounded Warriors in Action, and the local VFW chapter. Van Strydonk says having family members in the service made working with veteran's organizations an easy partnership. He says had his racing career gone differently, there's a possibility he may have wound up serving his country instead. After coming up with the idea for a racing suit raffle last year, Van Strydonk reached out to his team and sponsors who all quickly jumped on board. He even admitted the inaugural raffle exceeded his expectations, by bringing in more than $5,500. With last year's success, it was an easy decision to bring back the contest for 2019. This year, a new suit was specially designed, with input from Nick. He'll wear it during Friday night's race. They'll announce the winner on Sunday, the same day Van Strydonk hopes to top the podium for the third time. Van Strydonk said during his visit, that he is currently on the wait list to participate in the honor flight as a guardian. You can hear that entire conversation in the WJJQ Audio Center.
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Van Strydonk Claims Runner-Up Finish in World Championship Snowmobile Derby
Published on 01/21/2019 under News In a repeat of last year's finish, Blaine Stephenson edged out Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk to claim his second consecutive World Snowmobile Derby Championship. Racers and fans alike braved temperatures in the single digits for the 56th running of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River Sunday afternoon. After the early race was slowed by several cautions, Stephenson and Van Strydonk stayed in the lead pack, running in first and second through a majority of the race. By the end, the pair had lapped a number of fellow competitors, but Van Strydonk didn't have enough to overtake Stephenson. Stephenson, of Hutchinson, Minnesota, becomes the seventh racer to win back-to-back titles. This was Van Strydonk's fifth consecutive podium which includes a 2017 Championship. He is also a two time winner, claiming the 2012 title, as well.
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Musson Brothers Receives 2018 DoT "Excellence in Construction" Award
Published on 01/21/2019 under News While it's not the Oscars, road construction firms from across the state gathered for an awards presentation this month. Each January, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recognizes outstanding work on state projects at their contractor and engineer conference. At that event, six Excellence in Construction Awards were presented including one that went to Northwoods crew. Beth Cannestra, director of WisDOT's Bureau of Project Development. "The annual Excellence in Construction Awards are an opportunity for us to applaud the quality of private contractors' work, and reflect on best practices moving forward." In the "Excellence in Grading" category, honors went to Musson Brothers out of Rhinelander. The award was for their Highway 47 project in Shawano and Menominee Counties this past summer. The DoT highlighted their communication with both the DoT and their nearby stakeholders; minimizing work disruption and maintaining the schedule despite challenges at the job site. Cannestra added, "Wisconsin is fortunate to have so many talented private contractors whose skill and experience help to overcome challenges in the field to deliver vital transportation improvements throughout the state."
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Lincoln County Sheriff's Report: Man Arrested for 3rd OWI
Published on 01/21/2019 under News A Merrill man was arrested on operating while intoxicated charges as a repeat offender following a weekend traffic stop. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Report, a patrol deputy came across a vehicle stopped at the intersection of County Roads K and G. Despite the green light for some time, the deputy says the vehicle remained stopped. After making contact with the driver, the deputy detected the odor of an intoxicant. Following a field sobriety test, the 37 year old was arrested for a third offense of operating while intoxicated. The man's name was not immediately released. Sheriff's Report -A 39 year old Merrill man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after deputies investigated a disturbance in the Town of Merrill. During the investigation, deputies learned of a previous incident that took place on January 10th. As a result, the man was arrested on a charge of battery from that incident. -After nine deer strikes the prior week, Eight people reported striking deer this past week on Lincoln County roads. 
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Five THS Vocalists Participate in 1,100 Member Choir; Vocal Festival
Published on 01/21/2019 under News In what has become a January tradition, a handful of Tomahawk High School vocalists again traveled south to Iowa to participate in the Dorian Vocal Festival. THS director Corey Colburn says that 5 Hatchets were selected to participate in event, now in its 69th year, hosted at Luther College. That includes: Zeph Vangarde, Olivia Weber, Josh Gardner, Grace Kummerfeldt and Lauren Peterson. They joined more than 1,100 High School juniors and seniors from 215 Midwestern schools. After smaller breakout sessions and rehearsals, the all-star choir comes together for a massive performance featuring the entire 1,100 person choir. The students typically present a recap and video of the performance at the February School Board meeting. (Photograph: clockwise, starting front-row left: Lauren Petersen, Zeph Vangarde, Grace Kummerfeldt, Josh Gardner, Olivia Weber)
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