Merrill Historical Society Celebrating Filmmaker with Upcoming History Hunt
Published on 09/22/2023 under News While people won't confuse the Northwoods with Hollywood, there was a brief time in the 70's and 80's when a number of movies were filmed right here in Lincoln County. In the coming weeks, the films and the man behind them will be celebrated by the Merrill Historical Society. We were recently joined by member Tom Berg to talk about Bill Rebane. He explained that Rebane actually immigrated to the US from Latvia. Through some family ties, he eventually wound up in Lincoln County. At his property in Gleason, he established a studio called the Shooting Ranch. Over an approximately twenty year period, the area became a common setting for his films which fall into the horror/supernatural/science fiction genre. Perhaps the most famous, The Giant Spider Invasion, has become a cult classic over the years. The Merrill Historical Society has an exhibit on Rebane. Thanks to an expert on their staff, Berg says it is something comparable to one expected in a large city. Rebane's filming wasn't restricted to his property. Merrill and Tomahawk were common shooting locations. Berg notes scenes in Bradley Park, the Tomahawk Rail Depot, and even right here at WJJQ studio. The movie, The Devonsville Terror had a short radio scene shot in our former studio. That all comes into play next month. The Historical Society will be hosting a History Hunt. Participants will be challenged to check in at various filming locations. Berg teased that they've got a special guest lined up to conclude the History Hunt. Rebane, himself, will be on hand to meet with the participants. The History Hunt takes place on October 7, and registration is required by contacting the Historical Society.
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Lakeland Pantry Begins Offering Health Screens for Clients
Published on 09/22/2023 under News Feeding those in need has been the mission of the Lakeland Pantry for over 50 years and now they'll be offering some free health screenings for their clients, as well. The new service is the result of a partnership with Aspirus Howard Young Medical Center. Pantry director Lorna Springate says, "(We), along with Aspirus, realized the need for another source in our community for our clients to take advantage of basic health screenings." Meghan Coyle is nursing manager at Howard Young and also a volunteer at the Food Pantry. She says they are happy to provide the service, adding, "We offer free screenings so you can keep an eye on your health on a consistent basis." Volunteer Aspirus medical personnel or retired nurses are available during regular pantry hours to provide some standard screenings like blood pressure readings and blood sugar (glucose) checks. They'll also be able available to provide nutritional advice for pantry clients. They have a dedicated room where these screenings can be completed in a private space. According to the Pantry, thanks to the generosity of the community, they are able to distribute around 17,000 pounds of food each week. They are also a resource for clothing, books, and various items for young children.  They're open the second Tuesday and Thursday of each month.
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Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles
Published on 09/22/2023 under News We're well into harvest season in Wisconsin, and state officials are reminding both motorists and farm vehicle operators to safely share the road. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection put out that joint message as part of National Farm Safety and Health Week. According to the DoT, there were 136 reported crashes involving motorists and farm vehicles in Wisconsin last year. Those incidents resulting in 50 injuries and two fatalities. DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski says, "Farmers are working hard to get their crops from farm gate to dinner plate,". "Motorists should drive with caution and anticipate slow movement from farm implements. Ag vehicle operators should check their machinery to ensure the appropriate lights, signage and signals are working." A few other quick reminders from the DoT: Pay attention to the road ahead, prepare to slow if you see a farm vehicle. Remember it is illegal to pass an AG vehicle on the road when in a no passing zone. Be aware that these vehicle may off the road in areas such as fields. Wisconsin is home to more than 64,000 farms across all 72 counties.
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Aerial Speeding Enforcement Planned for Oneida County
Published on 09/22/2023 under News Just another reminder that Northwoods motorists may want to slow down a bit this weekend. As we told you earlier this week, the Wisconsin State Patrol continues to conduct aerial enforcement. They are scheduled to monitor Highway 51 in Oneida County from the skies through the day today. According to the news release, it's much easier for troopers to spot drivers who are speeding or driving aggressively from the air. When a pilot observes a violation, they communicate with ground-based units to initiate a traffic stop. The Wisconsin State Patrol says that the aerial enforcement missions are publicly announced to improve public safety through voluntary compliance rather than to simply stop drivers and handing out citations.
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Lincoln County Board Creates Opioid Settlement Task Force to Determine Payout Funding
Published on 09/22/2023 under News As part of nationwide opioid settlements, funding will be distributed to state and local entities. Earlier this week, the Lincoln County Board established an opioid settlement task force to determine how those dollars are spent. The task force is actually plan B for the county. Earlier this summer, the board established and posted a grant-funded, limited-term position of Community Health Planner-Opioid Grant Coordinator. That role remained unfilled, leading the supervisors to take a different approach by creating the task force instead. A task force isn't unusual. During discussion supervisors pointed out that several other area counties are also using a task force. In addition to creating the task force, the resolution also established who will be assigned. It includes the Lincoln County Health Director, the Social Services Director, the Sheriff, and a County Board member. The remaining spots will be filled by representatives from North Central Health Care, healthcare, education and Lincoln County Probation and Parole. The funds awarded in the settlement do have specific parameters on how they can be spent.
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DNR Seeking Public Comment For Environmental Analysis Of Two Shooting Range Grant Funded Projects
Published on 09/22/2023 under News The DNR is seeking public comment on two grants for shooting range projects in Antigo and Wausau. As part of their goal to promote hunter safety, hunting, and shooting sports, the DNR offers grants for range facilities available to the public. The project at the Langlade County Gun and Bow Range would address a variety of facility improvements including ADA compliant parking pads, security fencing, shooting back stops, and information kiosks. The expansion project at the Wausau Skeet and Trap Club includes purchasing ten additional trap machines and accessories to create three new shooting stations for sporting clays. As part of the process, the public can review and comment. That period runs through October 19.
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Park Falls YMCA Project Launches Capital Fundraising Campaign
Published on 09/21/2023 under News Downtown Park Falls is undergoing a bit of a makeover including a new YMCA facility. On Wednesday, project organizers launched a capital campaign to help fund the multi-million-dollar facility. As we've previously covered, partnering with the YMCA of the Northwoods, the Park Falls YMCA facility will re-purpose, re-imagine, and expand the former City Hall building. The new Y will include a childcare center, gymnasium, wellness center and space for seniors and families. Allie Plessner is co-chair of the steering committee. She says, "From the start, the Park Falls YMCA has been driven by the needs and desires of the people who live here. She continued, "The facility will reflect the community – its ideas, its passions, and its generosity. We're glad to be at the stage of asking the broader community to pitch in with their contributions." The fundraising target is $9.8 million, though they are well on their way. They've received a $5.6 million grant from the state. Coupled with additional funding opportunities, there is around $2 million left for the public capital campaign. (Visit their website for additional information) Plessner added, "Based on the community enthusiasm I've observed... I'm confident the fundraising goal is well within our reach." Construction is set to begin next year with completion targeted for May 2025.
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Oneida County Sheriff Sergeant Completes Exclusive FBI Training Program
Published on 09/21/2023 under News A Oneida County Sheriff Sergeant has joined exclusive company by completing an exclusive FBI training course. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office announced the graduation of Elisha Williams from the FBI National Academy. Williams has been with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office for seven years, and currently serves as a patrol sergeant and school resource sergeant for the Rhinelander School District. According to the announcement, less than 1% of all law enforcement officers have completed the program. For Sgt. Williams' class specifically, there were nearly 200 law enforcement officers from 46 states, a few from outside the US and even some military personnel. Enrollees took part in a ten week training course that covered areas like communications, psychology of leadership, emotional intelligence, and even advanced public speaking. The classroom work was coupled with physical training, culminating with the challenging 'Yellow Brick Road.' That's a 6.1 mile run over a Marine Corp obstacle course. Over the years, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office has had five others complete the program including current Chief Deputy Daniel Hess. Other members of the Sheriff's Office over the years include retired detective sergeants :the late Raymond Zastrow, James Purdy, and Glenn Schaepe, along with retired Chief Deputy John Sweeney. -Photo provided by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office-
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DNR Discusses Safety for Waterfowl Hunters; Life Jackets and Waders
Published on 09/21/2023 under News The DNR is encouraging waterfowl hunters to use caution when heading out on area waterways this fall. The agency expects around 75,000 hunters to participate in the ongoing and upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons. In addition to the common boating safety advice, they note that hunting at this time of year brings some additional hazards. Lt. Darren Kuhn provided some tips to ensure a safe waterfowl hunting experience. Unpredictable factors like the weather, and even having hunting dogs aboard, can land a hunter in the water unexpectedly. That's why he says it's important to not only have a life jacket on board, but to wear it as well. Also consider outfitting your pup with a life preserver as well. Kuhn also highlighted the dangers of wearing waders on the water. Falling overboard can result in waders filling with water quickly. This will also create suction that will make them even more difficult to remove. In deep water, this can lead to a tragic outcome. A few other quick tips: •When preparing your boat, make sure it is appropriate for the body of water and not overloaded with the weight distributed evenly •Be on the lookout for elements outside of your control, such as changing weather, or a slightly submerged stump, rock, sandbar or floating debris •If heading out in the dark, be careful not to obscure navigational lights •If hunting with a partner establish a plan and frequently communicate •And as always, when heading out bring a cell phone, let someone know where you're going and when you plan to return
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Lincoln County Simplifies Lengthy Committee Name to 'Public Safety'
Published on 09/21/2023 under News A committee of the Lincoln County Board has a new and simplified name. The former Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, and Judicial Committee in Lincoln County will be known, going forward, as the Public Safety Committee. At their meeting Tuesday, the Board unanimously approved the name change. The resolution provided a simple explanation. It read, "The committee name is cumbersome to speak and type and has resulted in the committee name often being identified incorrectly with the different components of the name transposed at times." The scope and oversight of the Committee won't change, only the name. Supervisors anticipate the change will streamline conversation and make referencing the committee much easier. There was minimal discussion ahead of the vote. Perhaps, Board Chair Don Friske summed it best by offering three simple words, "It's about time." The resolution was accompanied by a series of ordinance amendments updating the county code to reflect the name change.
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Lincoln County Expands Emergency Management Director Position to Full Time
Published on 09/21/2023 under News The Lincoln County Emergency Management Director was previously a part-time position. After Tuesday's meeting of the Lincoln County Board, it will transition to a full-time role. The supervisors unanimously approved the resolution expanding the role of the Emergency Management Director. The director has a number of responsibilities as it relates to the planning, development, implementation and administration of Emergency Management in Lincoln County. The position also incorporates communication as well as work place safety. During discussion, supervisors noted that the expanded role would likely pay for itself through additional grant funding, as well as potential savings in other county operations. They provided an example of worker's comp reduced through safety classes, initiatives and checks. Noting the benefit to the county and its workforce, the supervisors voted unanimously to expand the role to full time. Lincoln County's current Emergency Management Director is Tyler Verhasselt.
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North Lakeland Elementary Names National 'Blue Ribbon School'
Published on 09/20/2023 under News A Northwoods elementary school is being recognized with a national honor for their achievements. On Tuesday, North Lakeland Elementary was named as a National Blue Ribbon School. It was one of just 8 schools in Wisconsin to receive the honor, and with 152 students, the smallest in the state to be selected. The award comes from the US Department of Education, which recognized 353 schools nationwide across several categories. For North Lakeland specifically, the district was chosen as an 'Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing School.' This was described as among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's student groups and all students. In addition to the in-class work,the school profile also highlighted how the school incorporates outdoor learning culminating with an overnight backpacking and canoe trip. The nomination process includes:an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures, and parent and community involvement. Other Wisconsin Schools recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools include: Houdini Elementary in Appleton, Brookfield East High School; Darlington Elementary/Middle School; Evans Elementary in Fond du Lac; Monroe Elementary in Janesville: Paperjack Elementary in New Richmond; and Willow Glen Primary in Saint Francis.
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September is National Preparedness Month
Published on 09/20/2023 under News From a storm-filled summer to a snowy winter, Northwoods residents can experience all sorts of emergencies from the weather alone. This month local and state officials are encouraging everyone to protect themselves from emergencies of all types as part of Preparedness Month. Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Greg Engle notes that disasters can strike at any time. He says, "While many emergencies can happen with little notice, the best way to prepare is to develop an emergency plan, know what threats can affect your area, and know what resources are available..." Ready Wisconsin offered a few simple steps to consider here in September, that will ensure preparedness throughout the year. One of the easiest, keeping an emergency kit in both your home and your vehicle. Ready Wisconsin has a detailed list of items you should include such as flashlights, water, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit. Even if you already have a kit, it's a good time to ensure everything is in place and hasn't expired. A few other quick tips, establish a safety plan and go over it with family members of all ages. Check your property for hazards. And ensure you have a way to receive information when an emergency arrives. We'll have a few more topics on preparedness in the coming days.
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Travel Wisconsin Launches Fall Colors Tracker
Published on 09/20/2023 under News The leaves are already changing here in the Northwoods, and with that, Wisconsin's tourism arm will make it easier to plan viewing excursions. Travel Wisconsin has once again launched their annual Fall Colors tracker. The online tool lets travelers view when and where fall colors are at their peak. In their announcement, they said they've partnered with around 75 volunteer reports to give local color updates around the state. Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers says, "Wisconsin's fall colors are a natural masterpiece. Using the Fall Color Report, travelers can paint their own vibrant memories on the canvas of autumn." The site also highlights nearby by amenities and fall color-related attractions such as selfie stations and popular public viewing areas. People are also able to submit photos and videos. A number of factors impact fall colors such as tree health, day length, and temperatures. The drought conditions have spurred an earlier-than-normal change in our area. As of the latest report, most of the Northwoods is listed between 10% and 35%. The expected peak time the first week of October. You can visit the Fall Color guide on the Travel Wisconsin website, or sign up to have them sent to your email on a weekly basis.
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Lincoln County Approves ATV/UTVs on County D Bridge; City Approval Still Needed
Published on 09/20/2023 under News A short segment of County D/Highway 86, east of Tomahawk, moved a little closer to being opened to ATV/UTV traffic. Over the past few months, we've been following efforts to open the County D bridge that crosses over Highway 51 to ATV/UTVs. At their meeting Tuesday, the Lincoln County Board did their part, by amending their current ordinance to open the road to these vehicles. Following a brief introduction, there was minimal discussion by the supervisors prior to the unanimous vote. This segment of road is seen as the most direct and convenient way to connect the city of Tomahawk and the popular Harrison Hills riding area. Currently, the route sends riders onto either Kings Road or Kaphaem Road. Because of the location, a similar proposal has been moving through the Tomahawk City Council as well. At their September meeting earlier this month, the council introduced the ordinance amendment, and they'll hold a public hearing and vote on the change at their October meeting. If approved by the Council, there would be a few additional steps such as notifying the DoT and signing the segment to reflect the change.
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