August Primary: Northwoods Voters See Few Competitive Races
Published on 08/11/2020 under News Wisconsin voters will head to the polls today for the fall Primary. For most voters here in the Northwoods, the ballot is relatively light on competitive races. As we've previously covered, for most of our listening area, the lone race is the Republican Primary for the 35th assembly seat. The match-up features Calvin Callahan and Don Nelson. Both candidates were guests on our morning conversations last week and both are available in the WJJQ audio center. The winner of the primary will likely face Democratic candidate Tyler Ruprecht who is running unopposed. Elsewhere, Vilas County will hold a primary for Register of Deeds. Voters are reminded that this is a partisan primary meaning that you can only vote for one party even though the ballot contains candidates from multiple parties. This is the third election since the Coronavirus pandemic, and municipalities continue to use precautions for in-person voting. Here in Tomahawk, voting will be back at it's traditional location at SARA Park. Clerk Amanda Bartz noted that they will once again receive assistance from the Wisconsin National Guard as they did this spring. The guard members are part of a statewide effort to cover a shortage of poll workers. Many ballots have already been cast for today's election. The Wisconsin Elections Commission reported more than 900,000 absentee requests around the state. Here in Lincoln just over 3,800 absentee ballots were sent out. According to the WEC, just over half had been reported as returned. Like in-person voting, absentee ballots must be returned by 8pm today. They can be dropped off with your clerk or at your polling location.
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Northwoods Covid-19 Update: Lincoln County Reports First Death
Published on 08/11/2020 under News Lincoln County Reports First Covid-Related Death: The Lincoln County Health Department is confirming the first death in Lincoln County associated with COVID-19. The individual was in their 30's and had underlying health conditions. Lincoln County Health Director Shelley Hersil says, "We are saddened by the loss of one of our community members." She also encouraged a continued community approach to protecting one another including frequent hand-washing, practicing physical distancing, wearing face-coverings, and staying home when sick. Northwoods Covid-19 Test Results As for testing in the area, Lincoln County reported 1 new case of Covid-19. The individual is in their 60's and is currently isolating. The County has 68 cases overall, just 8 are active. The number of Covid cases continues to climb in Oneida County. The Health Department reported 23 new positive tests Monday, bringing the overall total to 154 cases. There are 52 active cases, including 4 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 complications Vilas County reported 7 new cases Monday. The county has 64 cases overall; 50 are listed as active. National Guard Testing The Lincoln County Health Department will partner with the Wisconsin National Guard to hold a community testing event Friday at the Merrill Festival Grounds. The Oneida County Health Department says they are starting to receive results from their community testing held on Saturday. More than 300 samples were collected. The Health Department says they will issue a summary once all results are in.
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Nicolet Instructors to Present at International Conference on Online Learning
Published on 08/11/2020 under News Instructors from Nicolet College have been invited to present at an international conference this fall focused on virtual education. The School announced that their staff will use their experiences to present at the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate conference. Nicolet's experience with online education goes back more than a dozen years, with the college being one of the early adopters in the state to deliver college credit classes in a virtual environment. Penny Kuckkhahn is the Nicolet director of Instructional Effectiveness and Flexible Learning. She says, "We were absolutely thrilled and honored to have our presentation proposals accepted for such a prestigious conference." She called the conference the gold standard in online learning and says being invited speaks volumes about the online education Nicolet delivers to students. One presentation will be on how the school converted their business law class online and how they deliver instruction without the cost of textbooks. The other will be on selecting the right technologies for online learning and how to use them effectively. Due to the pandemic, Nicolet will deliver its two conference presentations virtually. The event is scheduled for November. They anticipate more than 1,000 professional educators from around the world will participate either in-person or online.
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Vandals Hit River Bend Trail in Merrill
Published on 08/11/2020 under News The River Bend Trail in Merrill is latest target of vandalism that has hit Lincoln County all summer long. According to the Friends of the Trail group, the vandals sprayed graffiti, smashed lights and damaged signs. A number of citizens partnered with city employees to clean the graffiti. Based on community support, the Friends group is partnering with the Merrill Chamber to start a reward fund. If, by the end of September, no suspects have been identified; they will use the donations to help fix the lighting with new damage resistant covers. They're also encouraging anyone with information on this or any vandalism instances in Lincoln County to contact Merrill Police, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers of Lincoln County.
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Three Speeders Clocked 90+mph on Highway 51 in Lincoln County
Published on 08/10/2020 under News The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office conducted three high speed traffic stops over the weekend including one teen traveling more than 40 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  All three violations were posted in the weekly Sheriff's report. The first incident happened Friday evening while a deputy was monitoring traffic on Highway 51 near Merrill. The radar indicated a vehicle traveling 106 in a 65 zone. The driver was a 16 year old from Merrill. On Saturday, a deputy clocked a 16 year old Illinois youth on Highway 51 near US 8 north of Tomahawk traveling 92 in a 65 zone. A short time later, in the same area, a 43 year old Merrill woman was cited traveling 90 in a 55 zone. The Sheriff's Office indicated that all three citations would result in the loss of a driver's license.
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Lincoln County Drive-Thru Covid Testing Scheduled for Friday
Published on 08/10/2020 under News The Lincoln County Health Department announced another free community testing event later this week. Coming up on Friday, they'll partner with the Wisconsin National Guard to provide drive-thru testing at the Merrill Festival Grounds. Hours will be from 11am to 7pm while testing supplies last. The event is available to anyone 5 or older who lives or works in Wisconsin.They do encourage people planning on being tested to register ahead of time to speed up the process. You can do so by visiting the Covid Connect website. This will be the second guard testing event in Merrill. The first was held back on June 11; 100 people were tested at the first event. We'll have more on this event later this week. Photo provided by Wisconsin National Guard from the June 11 Covid-19 testing event at the Merrill Festival Grounds.
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Weekend Covid-19 Reporting in Northwoods
Published on 08/10/2020 under News Local health departments reported a number of new covid-19 cases over the weekend. Oneida County had 12 additional cases, bringing the overall total to 131. The county reported 42 cases last week alone. There are currently 37 active cases including two hospitalizations. Vilas County now has 57 cases after three additional positive tests. In Lincoln County, there were were no new cases in the most recent update provided on Friday afternoon. The county has 67 cases since the pandemic began. Langlade county reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 62. One patient has now been released from the hospital, one remains. Price County reported 4 new cases. The County now has 31 positive tests. The Taylor County Health Department has confirmed their first Covid-related death. No other information was provided.
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Road Update: New Highway 45 Project near Elcho
Published on 08/10/2020 under News The DoT announced another new project set to begin this week in Langlade County. Crews will start a $2.1 million resurfacing project on Highway 45 to the North and South of Elcho. Work zones include Highway 45 from County J to Clinic Street and from Otter Lake Lane to the Oneida County Line. Crews will be working on replacing the asphalt, widening shoulders, installing new markings and replacing culverts, guardrails, curb and gutter. Traffic will remain open with some single-lane closures and flagging. Work is scheduled through September. Quickly checking other ongoing projects in the Northwoods. •In Vilas County crews are working on the Wisconsin River Bridge on Rummels Road near Conover. This week crews plan to pour the west abutment, then move on to the east side. Traffic is detoured at the bridge. •A Highway 47 project near Rhinelander continues. This week the schedule includes asphalt patching around the medians at the intersection of County K. Restoration behind the new curb & gutter. The Wildwood Drive culvert will also be replaced. •And here in Lincoln County, crews continue to work on the Highway 64 Pine River Bridge near Merrill. Crews will continue work on the west abutment including backfilling, concrete work and placement of riprap. Bridge beam setting is scheduled for next Monday. Traffic is open with the utilization of a temporary bridge structure. In addition to the DoT projects, we were notified of one local project getting underway this week. The Town of Bradley announced that a segment of Tannery Road will be closed later this week. Road crews will be working on a segment of Tannery between Highway 8 and Jersey Lane. As a result, the road will be closed to thru traffic on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
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Safety Concerns Prompt Temporary Closure of CW Caywood Shooting Range
Published on 08/10/2020 under News A northern Wisconsin shooting range is closed until further notice due to significant safety concerns Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff discovered during a recent inspection of public access properties in the vicinity of the range. The C. W. Caywood Shooting Range is a state-owned range located off U.S. Highway 51 north of Woodruff in Vilas County on property within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. The range is surrounded by public lands open to public access. The DNR has an agreement with an external group to operate the range. DNR staff will be surveying and considering safety alternatives and control measures to ensure safe shooting operations going forward. All options will be considered to include engineering improvements to the shooting facility, range monitoring and modified hours of operations in order to re-open the shooting facility in a safe fashion as soon as possible. James Yach, DNR Secretary's Director- Northern Wisconsin says, "Our staff is taking measures to adequately post the correct closure signage and post alternative shooting opportunities in the vicinity as well as notifying external interests." Alternative shooting ranges in the area include: •Boulder Junction Range located at 10449 Nebish Lake Road in the Town of Boulder Junction. Hours of operation: Rifle and pistol range are open daily from sunrise to sunset except from noon-4:30 p.m. on Wed. and Sun. •The Northwoods Wildlife & Wetlands Club Shooting Range located at the Mercer Range Road and Highway 51. Hours of operation: Open daily April 1 to Nov. 30 sunrise to sunset.
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Tomahawk Changes to 'Hybrid' Back to School Model for Upper Grade Levels
Published on 08/10/2020 under News The Tomahawk School District has updated their back to school plan to include a combination of in-person and online learning for upper grade levels. When the district first unveiled their plans in July, it included three models; in-person learning with a regular schedule, entirely online, or a hybrid model that involves students attending class on alternating days. Most districts in the area are preparing similar models. In a letter to parents Friday, the Tomahawk district provided an update to their plans. For students in pre-K through fifth grade, the students will attend classes in-person 5 days per week as originally planned.  The change will be for students in grades 6-12, where the district will begin the year with the hybrid model. Students will be split into "cohort A" and "cohort B." One group will attend in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the other group will be assigned to Tuesdays and Thursdays. The alternating days will be spent with remote learning. Administrator Terry Reynolds wrote, "Throughout this process, we have shared that reopening will require a flexible and fluid approach as the information we need to make informed decisions becomes available knowing the information may change between now and September, or even after the school year has started." The letter also says that all students and staff, unless with a medical exemption, will be required to wear face-coverings at the start of the school year on buses and in schools. Lastly, the district says that parents interested in Virtual Tomahawk, an online only course, must inquire by August 17. The District has additional information on their webpage.
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WEDC Promotes "We're All In" Campaign at Rhinelander Stop
Published on 08/07/2020 under News Members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation made a stop in Rhinelander yesterday to promote their We're All In campaign encouraging people to work together to stop the spread of Covid-19. The initiative is an effort by the WEDC and its partners to create a "community of communities" in support of public health and safety measures. Earlier this year, they also provided business grants. In this next phase, they plan to incorporate small business owners, local leaders along with sports and entertainment figures in the social media, advertising and outreach campaign. WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes says the pandemic has taught us that the health of people and the health of the economy are intertwined. Throughout the week, WEDC officials have been visiting communities around the state to highlight efforts to implement physical distancing, hand-washing and face masks. In addition to yesterday's stop at the ArtStart outdoor stage in Rhinelander, staffers made 10 stops this week from Beloit to Ashland, Green Bay to LaCrosse. The WEDC is also encouraging the general public to get involved by sharing photos of themselves on social media practicing physical distancing, wearing masks and other steps to keep communities safe. They're using the hashtag #WeAreAllIn
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Tomahawk Chamber Venison Feed Latest Cancellation due to Coronavirus
Published on 08/07/2020 under News For more than a half century, hunters have gathered in Tomahawk for a free venison burger ahead of the fall hunting season. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, that tradition will be put on hold. The Tomahawk Chamber board voted earlier this week to postpone this year's Venison Feed. This would have been the 55th year for the event. Each fall, on the Friday before the 9-day deer season, volunteers grill up around 1,500 venison burgers. Hundreds of people gather at the end of Main Street, typically in blaze orange, to enjoy a free bite. As we told you earlier this week, the Chamber also canceled the 2020 Taste of Tomahawk. Both events are expected back next year. Those two events join a growing list of cancellations this summer due to concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic. Other canceled festivities include Powwow Days, Music on the River and the MDA and Tomahawk Main Street Fall Ride events.
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Norhtwoods Coronavirus Update: August 6
Published on 08/07/2020 under News A number of Northwoods counties announced additional Covid-19 cases on Thursday. The largest jump came in Oneida County. The Health Department reported 17 new cases. The County has 119 cases overall. There are 32 active cases and two people are currently hospitalized. Lincoln County announced two new cases. The Health Department says both individuals are in their 20's. There are 67 cases in Lincoln County including 13 active cases. Langlade County reported two new cases bringing their overall total to 59. There are 24 people in isolation, and 2 people hospitalized. Price County now has 27 cases after three new positive tests.
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DNR Reminds Boaters to Wear Life Jackets
Published on 08/07/2020 under News The DNR is again encouraging water goers to buckle up and wear a life jacket this summer. So far this year, the DNR says they've investigated 14 deaths related to boating. Four cases remain under investigation at this time. Of the other 10 victims, 9 were not wearing a life jacket. In the tenth case, the victim was wearing a life jacket, but it wasn't secured correctly. DNR Chief Conservation Warden Casey Krueger "Our hearts break for the families and friends of those who don't make it home. These are painful reminders to remember your safety when you plan an outing that involves any Wisconsin waterbody." The DNR did highlight paddleboard specifically. Wisconsin law treats paddleboards the same as kayaks and canoes, meaning there must be a flotation device available. They said the best way to obey this law and ensure your safety is to simply wear the life jacket. Life jackets have improved in design over the years. DNR Recreation Warden Jason Roberts wears one as part of his job. He says, "I wear one that is so comfortable that I can forget I have it on." Roberts encouraged that boats were life jackets, adding, "The notion that you can put it on as an emergency is happening is unrealistic. Things can go wrong in an instant."
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National Guard Covid-19 Testing in Rhinelander Saturday
Published on 08/07/2020 under News The Wisconsin National Guard will be back in Oneida County this weekend for a community testing event. The Oneida County Health Department is partnering with the Guard to offer a drive-thru style testing in Rhinelander. They'll be set up at the state DoT building on 510 Hanson Lake Road from 11am to 7pm. Among the changes from previous events will be the availability of online registration in order to speed up the process. Those planning to get tested are encouraged to visit the Covid Connect website to register. They will still allow on-site registration. They request that you wear a mask or cloth face covering when you arrive. Testing at these events will be free. Please be aware that if testing kits run out before the end of the event, those not tested may be turned away.
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