Tomahawk Hosts Dumpster Day on Saturday
Published on 09/24/2021 under News It's time once again for Tomahawk residents to do some fall cleaning. The city's annual Dumpster Days event returns this weekend with a variety of services including household item disposal, electronics recycling and document shredding. Over the years, the event has been a way to make the community a more inviting place to live while providing convenience for disposal. Originally established by the Make-a-Difference group 15 years ago, the city of Tomahawk has taken over the planning to continue offering the well-received service. This year's Dumpster Day is several week's later than normal, as the city looked to avoid conflicting with this year's 9-11 Remembrance and Fall Ride each of the past two Saturdays. Tomorrow's event will be similar to past years. Services include: For City Residents Only:Larger household items: This is for items that may be too large for regular garbage pick up. Examples including, couches, rolled carpets, tables, and mattresses. Drop off at the City Garage Saturday from 8am to Noon. Pick up: City residents can schedule a pickup appointment with the Boy Scouts for $20. Appointments can be arranged by calling city hall (453-4040) by 4pm Friday. Open to All: Electronics Recycling: Electronics can be dropped off including televisions, computer monitors, printers and microwaves. This service does come with a small fee ranging from $5 to $35. The drop off will also take place at the city garage from 8am to noon. Document Shredding: In conjunction with Dumpster Days, Tomahawk Community Bank will bring back their document shredding. They are partnering with Lincoln County Crimestoppers and encourage a donation to the organization. That'll be in the TCB parking lot from 8am to noon.
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New Northern Youth Crisis Facility Opens in Wausau
Published on 09/24/2021 under News A unique residential youth crisis facility is now open in Wausau, and it will serve youth in Northern Wisconsin. The eight-bed facility, operated by North Central Health Care, will provide support services for young people with non-life-threatening mental health needs. Launched with start-up funding with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the facility is just the second in the state, the other down in Milwaukee. These facilities provide are aimed at youth in earlier stages of mental health struggle before more intensive, costly, and restricting interventions. While youth can stay for up to a month, officials said a typical stay is just a few days. The North Central Health Care facility will serve youth ages 17 and under who live in Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, and Vilas counties. Gov. Evers commented on the opening saying, "This facility will help meet a critical need in caring for youth in this region of our state, and I'm proud to be investing in what's best for our kids—especially after the unprecedented challenges they've endured over the last 18 months." The Milwaukee facility opened last October and has served 77 youth during that time.
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Oneida County Health Partnering with National Guard for Covid Testing
Published on 09/24/2021 under News When Covid cases spiked at the beginning of the pandemic, the Wisconsin National Guard played a key role in providing testing throughout the state. With the cases totals trending upwards again, the Guard will be resuming efforts here in the Northwoods. The Oneida County Health Department announced a collaboration with the Guard each of the next two Saturdays to provide free drive-thru covid testing. The two testing events come as cases climb in Oneida County. Over the past seven days, the Health Department reports 141 new Covid cases In addition to testing, they encourage people to get vaccinated, were a face covering, and keep social distancing when necessary. As for the testing, it'll be tomorrow (Saturday, September 25) and again next Saturday (October 2) at the River Street Hazmat building parking lot. Pre-registration is not required, but appreciated. It can be done online and we'll include a link.
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Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest Celebrates National Public Lands Day
Published on 09/24/2021 under News With 1.5 million acres spanning 11 counties in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, there are no shortage of public lands here in the Northwoods. Coming up Saturday, officials are encouraging people to get outside, enjoy an early fall day, and potentially give back. Established in 1994, National Public Lands Day celebrates the connection between people and the environment while encouraging the use of public spaces for education, recreation and volunteering. On Saturday, the US Forest Service will be waiving the $5 fees at day-use recreation sites which applies to beaches, boat launches, picnic areas and trailheads. Forest Supervisor Paul Strong. "Whether folks come out to volunteer or just to spend a day in nature, we encourage everyone to visit the national forest on Saturday." As for giving back, local ranger district offices can provide information about group service opportunities or ideas for volunteering on the national forest.
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Beef-A-Rama Returns to Minocqua this Weekend
Published on 09/24/2021 under News It's beef on the menu in Minocqua this weekend. The community will be hosting its annual Beef-A-Rama, now in its 57th year. While some smaller events begin Friday, most of the action takes place on Saturday. As always, most of the events have a bovine theme. That includes the Rump Roast Run, the Calf Mile, a Cow Pie Plop, and Prime Choice Craft Fair. Of course with a name like Beef-A-Rama, there will be plenty of meat served up. As of our last update, officials said they had more than 30 teams who will be competing in multiple roasting categories. Most of the events will be centered around Torpy Park in Minocqua. The Minocqua Chamber has a schedule of events on their website and have even created an app for all your Beef-A-Rama information.
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Northern Zone Duck Season Opens Saturday
Published on 09/24/2021 under News Fall in Wisconsin means hunting, with the various seasons seemingly opening on a weekly basis. Saturday marks the start of the Northern Zone duck season. The north duck zone opens a week ahead of the southern zone. Hwy 10 serves as the majority of the boundary line. Based on their spring waterfowl survey, the DNR is predicting a productive season. According to that data, Wisconsin's duck breeding population estimate was ~520,000 birds, a 7% increase consistent with national and long-term averages. The mallard is the most common target, accounting for nearly a third of birds harvested. The northern zone duck season will run from September 25 to November 23. Hunters are reminding to check bag limits and shooting hours.
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Update: Victim Identified in Fatal Wednesday Crash in Hazelhurst
Published on 09/24/2021 under News Update: The Oneida County Sheriff's Office has identified the victim in Wednesday's crash as Arnold Wiesener, 68, of Hazelhurst.____ One person has died in a two vehicle crash in Oneida County Wednesday evening. According to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, that crash was reported at around 6:30pm at the intersection of Highway 51 and County D in the Town of Hazelhurst. The preliminary investigation showed a westbound classic car was traveling west on County D. The 1973 Opel sedan entered the intersection at Highway 51 and was struck by a southbound pick-up truck. The driver of the car, a 68 year old male was pronounced dead at the scene. His name is being withheld pending notification of family. No update was provided on the driver of the pickup truck. The crash remains under investigation.
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Lincoln County Board Hears Presentation on Carbon Credit Opportunity
Published on 09/23/2021 under News Public lands in Lincoln County have a lot of trees. Allowing them to grow has the potential to earn the county money. The opportunity is part of the nascent carbon credit industry. At their meeting Tuesday, the Lincoln County Board heard a introductory presentation from Josh Strauss, vice president of Blue Source, a firm that specializes in carbon credits. In  large tracts of trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere. This is desirable for global businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. These companies purchase what are known as carbon credits from land owners to offset the carbon they create in the course of their operations. Strauss's employer, Blue Source facilitates these partnerships while receiving a percentage of the payment for their services. On the carbon production side, they work with a number of public entities including Spirit Falls, Twin Lakes, and Bayfield County. As for credit purchasers, clients include Google, Chevrolet and Nestle. Struass highlighted the potential in Lincoln County. As we've previously covered, Lincoln County has more than 100,000 acres of county forest land. He estimated that over a ten year period, the county could generate upwards of $5.6 million through the program. While the county could continue their current timber harvest program, which itself generates around $2 million annually those would need to be regenerated to again realize the credits. There were some concerns generated out of supervisor questions to Strauss following the presentation. The most notable is the 40 year commitment to the program. That is made even more relevant based on how new the industry is. There were also questions raised about limited oversight of the industry. Tuesday's discussion was simply a way to introduce the supervisors to the idea and no decision was made. The topic has been referred to the county's forestry committee.
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Lincoln County Board Continues Budget Work
Published on 09/23/2021 under News Since the preliminary spending plan was presented in July, the Lincoln County Finance Committee has been busy working to balance the budget. The state has placed levy constraints on local budgets which the county must follow. Starting in August, the committee has shaved around $640,000 from the preliminary budget, with another $160,000 still needed to reach the target. At Tuesday's meeting, finance director Dan Leydet explained to the County Board where those cuts have been made. The largest change came with a $225,000 increase in sales tax revenue projections. Each year the county must estimate how much sales tax revenue they'll receive. Leydet says they typically use a conservative estimate when formulating the budget. The sales tax revenues have actually seen a double digit increase each of the past two years, and the committee felt comfortable bumping up that estimate. The Committee also removed two positions from the corrections staffing to better reflect the current staffing levels. This will save another $160,000. Smaller changes include a decrease in the jury budgets($2,000), increased fine revenue($3,000), additional health department grants($25,000), and a decrease in Sheriff's department fuel costs($30,000). Finance Committee member Julie Allen addressed her fellow supervisors following Leydet's presentation. She noted that finding the remaining $160,000 will be difficult. She says they are already down to the "meat and bones" referencing the common analogy of cutting the fat. This is a sentiment that has been expressed several times by supervisors in previous years while reducing county spending. Working along previous timelines, the County Board will review the final budget proposal in October and approve the spending plan in November.
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DNR Encourages CWD Sampling this Season
Published on 09/23/2021 under News With the deer archery season underway, the DNR is encouraging hunters to submit samples for chronic wasting disease testing. While they are encouraging sampling statewide, they are focusing on Northeastern Wisconsin as well as previously established monitoring zones. This includes an area where the borders of Lincoln, Langlade and Oneida County meet following several previous tests. Amanda Kamps, DNR Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist says, "We especially encourage hunters in northeast Wisconsin and around our other CWD surveillance areas to get their adult deer tested this season. Kamps added, "Each test result helps us better understand CWD distribution." To help make the process easier, there are 4 simple ways to submit samples. This includes the self-service kiosks which are located throughout the state. There are now home sample kits offered, hunters can schedule an appointment with a DNR staff member, and DNR partners including meat processors and taxidermists can also assist. The DNR website includes an interactive map to sampling locations, while the Go Wild app can provide information including automatically filling in the forms based on hunting records. The DNR says that testing, proper carcass disposal and baiting and feeding regulations are three key ways to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. -Photo provided by Wisconsin DNR of CWD sampling station-
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Northwoods Unemployment Estimates Improve
Published on 09/23/2021 under News Northwoods counties saw a slight improvement in unemployment estimates last month. The Department of Workforce Development released the August jobs numbers on Wednesday. The report showed 60 of the state's 72 counties either stayed the same or improved when compared to July. Local counties followed that trend with a slight month-over-month decrease. Here in Lincoln County, the August unemployment estimate came in at 3.8% compared to 4% in July. Oneida County went from 4.4% to 4.2%, while Vilas County's fell from 5% to 4.8%. All three counties had unemployment estimates topping 5 percent last August. Our neighbors to the southwest in Taylor County are tied for the lowest in the state at 2.7% in August.
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Chequamegon School District Bringing Back Mask Requirement
Published on 09/23/2021 under News After a temporary switch to remote learning, the Chequamegon School District will bring back a masking requirement starting next week. The changes to the district's Covid protocols were made during a special school board meeting earlier this week. District Administrator Ray Schulte relayed the decision to parents via a letter this week. He noted the district has already had 33 students and 4 teachers test positive for Covid. With contact tracing, more than 200 students have had to isolate at some point this school year. After reviewing input from students, staff, parents and the community, the board voted to require face coverings in an effort to reduce those quarantine numbers. Students or staff who test positive for Covid will still need to isolate for 10 days. The Board also says that extra-curriculars will resume. Athletes will be able to remove face coverings while competing. Fans, as well as those on the sidelines or benches, will have to wear masks.
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Lincoln County Board Approves Tentative Redistricting Maps
Published on 09/22/2021 under News The Lincoln County Board approved their tentative plan for new district maps within the county. Last night's vote came after a brief presentation and public hearing. As we've frequently covered, the drawing of these boundary lines comes once every ten years based on census results. The updated maps account for population changes. The goal is to keep district populations close to equal, in the case of Lincoln County, 1,292 residents per district. A special ad-hoc committee was created by the county board back in July. Those seven members worked with North Central Regional Planning and Senior GIS Analyst Andy Faust. He joined last night's meeting remotely to discuss the process. He specifically highlighted population drops in the city and town of Merrill, along with growth in the Town of King. This resulted in shifting some of the southeastern district boundary lines to reflect those changes. Supervisors Gene Simon and Bill Bialecki questioned the numbers, specifically in the City of Merrill. Several other supervisors noted that the census data are the numbers they have to work with at this time. These county maps will be a starting point as municipalities create local ward boundaries within town/city lines. Municipal clerks were invited to a discussion earlier this month with the redistricting committee to provide feedback. Faust says they are working on a condensed timeline this time around due to pandemic-caused delays. Now in his 3rd redistricting cycle, he says they typically have around 6 months to complete the task. This year, they're doing that same work in two to three months. The goal is to have the maps in place for next spring's elections. Local counties are all on a similar timeline. In fact, Faust said the Lincoln County meeting was his fifth, with one more left that evening in Marathon County. After some additional discussions, the supervisors approved the tentative maps by voice vote.
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Lincoln County Board Approves Replacement Communication Tower in Harrison
Published on 09/22/2021 under News One month after delaying a vote, the Lincoln County Board approved replacing a communication tower currently in a state of disrepair. At their August meeting, the Board received a request to replace the county-owned tower in Harrison at a cost of up to $175,000. The approximately 40 year old tower is utilized by the Sheriff's Office as well as local Fire Departments. While still operational at this point, any repairs going forward would be impossible due to the safety risks. Last month's request caught supervisors by surprise as they were not aware of state of the tower. After a lengthy discussion in August, they ultimately laid over the resolution in order to get an inspection and maintenance schedule to avoid a similar situation following the proposed investment. Lincoln County 911 Coordinator Tim Fischer attended last night's meeting to address some of the concerns. In addition to the Harrison tower, the county has three others of varying types; in Tripoli, Corning, and at the Sheriff's station. There wasn't a specific inspection plan in place previously, but Fischer says going forward they will be on a two to three cycle based on the type of tower at each location. Satisfied with the plan as presented, the supervisors voted unanimously to fund the project.
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Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua Opens Sleep Lab
Published on 09/22/2021 under News Sleep is a critical part of our daily lives, and many of us don't get enough. Marshfield Medical Center in Minocqua has now opened a new state-of-the-art sleep lab. The 2,600 square-foot, four-bed lab is led by sleep specialist and neurologist Dr. Amit Biswas. They began seeing patients earlier this month. Dr. Biswas says, "Sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea, are very common medical problems and left untreated have a lot of medical comorbidities." He says, "Sleep studies can help in diagnosis and treatment of these medical issues, preventing potential long-term complications and disability." The lab will offer services for pediatric sleep patients above the age of five. The sleep lab is a new service at Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua and is the first of its kind north of Wausau for the Marshfield Clinic Health System.
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