Public Meetings on Planning for Wausau/Merrill Recreation Trail
Published on 06/20/2024 under News It has long been a goal to establish a recreation trail between Wausau and Merrill. In the past few months, the idea has been gaining additional support.  Now organizers are hoping to get more people involved with a pair of public involvement meetings, the first coming up this evening. While many communities have their own local trail networks, this project is seen as a way to link not only the two communities, but to other regions of the state. The Wausau/Merrill segment is a first step that could eventually continue on to Tomahawk, where the Hiawatha and Bearskin trails extend even further into the Northwoods. The planning has received backing from both Marathon and Lincoln Counties, and they're also working with area non-profits. Engineering firm MSA has brought in for some of the planning work. There are two meetings designed for the public, the first is coming up this evening (June 20) in Merrill. It's at the Lincoln County Service Center at 6pm.They note that there will be an opportunity for people take part in master planning efforts, ask questions, or simply learn more about the project. A second meeting is planned down in Wausau next week, Thursday, June 20.
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Ground Breaking on Park Falls YMCA Project
Published on 06/20/2024 under News There's been plenty of behind the scenes work on a new YMCA facility in Park Falls.  On Wednesday, the Flambeau River YMCA took a more visible step. Local leaders and project partners held a ceremonial ground breaking ahead of construction. The celebration also included a cookout and other activities and an overview of the project. Allie Plessner is co-chair of the Steering Committee. She said, "Our committee and our community have put in months and months of hard work to bring a YMCA to Park Falls. Most of that work has been on paper and through conversations with neighbors. Now, we are excited to put a shovel into the ground." The facility will be located at the site of the former City Hall. Earlier this year, they moved city offices to space available in their library building. It will feature a childcare center, a gymnasium, a wellness center, and space for seniors and families. It will be affiliated with the Rhinelander-based YMCA of the Northwoods. CEO Linda May. "Once people see hands-on work being done on this facility, the anticipation for its opening will only grow. We're more than ready to break ground and get going." On Wednesday they did just that. If all goes according to plan, they'll complete that work by next summer, and will be back in that same location for a ribbon cutting.
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Tomahawk Pharmacy Among Latest Grant Recipients for Solar Project
Published on 06/20/2024 under News Northwoods businesses continue to benefit from federal funding to improve sustainability efforts. This week, Senator Tammy Baldwin announced another round of recipients of Rural Energy for America Program grants designed for farmers and rural small business owners. Senator Baldwin said, "Wisconsin farmers and small businesses are the backbone of our rural communities, and I'm working to help them cut costs, innovate, and grow for the future." This year alone, around a half dozen Tomahawk area businesses have received funding from this grant pool, most focused on solar energy. In the latest announcement, Tomahawk Pharmacy was selected to receive just shy of $34,000 to install a small solar electric array. The project is expected cover 100 percent of their energy usage and result in savings around $4,000 annually. It will produce around 33,5000 kilowatt hours, enough to power three homes. Overall, more than a dozen projects will share in the $2 million included in this funding. In addition to solar, other business projects will include more energy efficient windows and lighting. On the farm side, an example of a project is a dairy manure digester that will convert bio-methane into natural gas.
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Pollinator Week: Getting Involved
Published on 06/20/2024 under News The past few days, we've been discussing the bees, butterflies, birds and other bugs that are best described as pollinators, in a week dedicated to improving their habitats. According to the DNR, Wisconsin has more than 400 species of bees alone, in addition to the many other species that play a crucial role in pollination. Due to a variety of factors including habitat loss, some of these populations are on the decline. DNR insect ecologist Jay Watson says, "There's a special connection between our native pollinators and the natural areas that make Wisconsin so unique." He notes that some federally endangered pollinators such as the Karner blue butterfly and the rusty patched bumble bee are more abundant in Wisconsin than other parts of the country, adding that these species need help. Watson says, "Getting trained as a volunteer or creating a healthy habitat for them in your backyard garden is a great place to start." There are a number of organizations such as the Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade and the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative, who are dedicated to protecting these small, but important members of the ecosystem. DNR Pollinator Webpage
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Highway 47 Project near Rhinelander Includes Planting 'Living Snow Fence'
Published on 06/20/2024 under News A Department of Transportation improvement project on Highway 47 near Rhinelander includes some natural landscaping that will play a key role in several areas. The DoT highlighted the effort on their social media. Crews are planting what is known as a living snow fence. The trees and shrubs act as a natural barrier to keep snow from blowing and drifting onto the road during the winter months, while also helping control erosion and reducing flooding during snow melt. The plants being, red twig and nine bark, are native to the area, helping to promote pollinators. The maintenance coordinator said he's proud of the work his team has done. "Anytime we can help promote pollinators, I feel that's a good thing." Another benefit, the DoT notes that natural fencing is cheaper than traditional options and are mostly maintenance-free once established.
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Marathon County Sheriff's Office Introduces New Crisis Therapy Dog
Published on 06/20/2024 under News The Marathon County Sheriff's Office introduced their newest member, it's a pup named Bodhi. According to the announcement, K-9 Bodhi has completed training to become a certified therapy dog. He's the newest member of their Crisis Assessment Response Team (CART). CART is a collaborative initiative between the sheriff's office and North Central Health Care. Specially-trained team members work together to provide comprehensive support in a crisis response. Now Bodhi is able to assist in those efforts as well. As a certified therapy dog, Bodhi's mission will be to help calm and comfort those in crisis. He'll work alongside handler, Deputy White. The Sheriff's Office says support for this project was provided through the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation and the Marathon County Sheriff's Benevolent.
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Tomahawk Street Department Completing Emergency Work at 4-Way Stop
Published on 06/20/2024 under News Crews are asking drivers in Tomahawk to avoid the 'four way stop' on Thursday morning. We heard from the Public Works Department a bit earlier today about some emergency work that came up on a manhole at the intersection of North Fourth Street and Somo Avenue. While the road will be open during this temporary work, the intersection is likely to be congested, and there may be some delays. They encouraged people to avoid that intersection this morning. They hope to have the work completed by early afternoon.
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Tomahawk Music on the River Kicks Off with Ember; WJJQ Community Cook Out
Published on 06/19/2024 under News Music on the River returns to the Tomahawk Community with seven consecutive weeks of live music in Veterans Memorial Park. The summer staple kicks off tonight with dinner and a show. The summer concert series is back for year number seventeen. For those unfamiliar, the bands all perform along the scenic shores of the Wisconsin River where music lovers not only enjoy the performance on land, but occasionally by boat. We've even seen band members occasionally climb aboard to play on pontoon. We previewed full line up earlier this spring. For tonight's season kick-off, Ember will take to the pavilion. The award winning, five-piece band from Western Wisconsin plays a fun blend of rock and country. Their summer tour includes stops at Country Fest as well as the Hodag. It's also a return to Music on the River for the band, where they've played on multiple occasions. In addition to a return of Music on the River, tonight also marks the return of the WJJQ Community Cookout. Our staff will be joined by other community members in serving up brats, hot dogs, chips and refreshments. Serving gets underway at 4:30 with music to begin at 6pm, all at Memorial Park here in Tomahawk. (Stay tuned to WJJQ, for any weather-related changes)
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Three Injured in Motorcycle/Vehicle Crash Near Merrill
Published on 06/19/2024 under News Three people were injured in a two vehicle accident involving a motorcycle and a van in Lincoln County. The Sheriff's Office provided some additional details. The crash happened Tuesday at shortly after noon. Responders were paged to the intersection of County K and County Q in the Town of Scott. According to the preliminary investigation, the van was attempting to turn left onto County K heading south. An oncoming, northbound motorcycle was unable to stop, striking the driver side of the van. According to the Sheriff's Office, the motorcycle operator and his passenger were initially transported to Aspirus Wausau hospital. Based on injuries, he was airlifted to UW-Madison Hospital for further treatment. The motorcycle occupants are a 55 year old man and 47 year old woman from McAlester, Oklahoma. The driver of the van, an 88 year old Merrill woman, was also transported to a local hospital. No further update on the conditions of the involved parties was available. The intersection was closed for approximately two hours. The crash remains under investigation.
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Closing on Sale of Pine Crest Nursing Home Extended Delayed by Three Months
Published on 06/19/2024 under News The closing date for the sale of Pine Crest Nursing Home has been extended by three months. Back in February, the Lincoln County Board agreed to sell the county-owned, skilled nursing facility in Merrill. The purchase agreement was expected to be finalized by June 30. As that date approaches, both parties requested that date be moved out. The recommendation came from the Administrative and Legislative Committee which discussed the topic in closed session at a meeting earlier this month. Beyond the complexities of such a large sale, few details have been provided into the reasons for the extension. That was a point not only raised during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting, but also by several supervisors that weren't involved in the closed session A&L meeting. The extension was originally request for August 31, though amended to September 30. There were several reasons for the additional month: closing the sale on a quarterly end date; the Labor Day holiday ending August; and allowing enough time to avoid a future extension request. During discussion, several supervisors questioned the financial impacts of the county maintaining ownership for three addition months. It was clarified that the 2024 budget was crafted before the sale approval. It included funding Pine Crest for the entire year. Ultimately, the supervisor passed the extension with 16 supervisors voting in favor of the resolution.
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Lincoln County Board Requests State Include Paved Shoulder on Potential Hwy 107 Resurfacing Project
Published on 06/19/2024 under News The state is planning a repaving project on Highway 107 in Lincoln County, tentatively for the year 2026. The Lincoln County Board would like to see that work include additional improvements to make it more friendly for bicycles and other non-motorized recreation. At their meeting Tuesday, the supervisors approved a resolution requesting the state DoT fund and pave the shoulders of the 13.6 mile stretch of road between Wilderness Drive in Merrill and County S near Tomahawk. The resolution highlights both the Wisconsin Trails Network Plan and the Wisconsin Bicycle Transportation Plan, which support these types of efforts. In the resolution, Highway 107 was highlighted as 'a scenic winding roadway along the Wisconsin River enjoyed by vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.' A paved shoulder would increase safety for all travelers on that stretch, by providing separation between motorized and non-motorized travelers. This request can be seen as part of a larger effort to connect Northwoods communities via a network of dedicated trails and shared routes. The county is simultaneously supporting an effort that would connect the Wausau and Merrill communities. It also further reinforces a recent effort by the supervisors to expand and promote tourism and recreation opportunities in the County. This has included an investment in local trails, parks, campgrounds and boat landings. After a brief explanation, supervisors approved the resolution which will be forwarded to state officials including Governor Evers, the Department of Transportation, Senator Mary Felzkowski, and Rep. Calvin Callahan.
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Lincoln County Health Offers Hot Weather Safety; Cooling Centers
Published on 06/19/2024 under News Summer officially arrives this week, and we've seen the heat and humidity return as well. Local health officials used the opportunity to talk about staying cool and safe during the coming months. Lincoln County Public Health Educator Kristin Bath offered a reminder that Lincoln County partners with around a dozen locations in Tomahawk, Merrill and Gleason to serve as designated cooling centers. These are air-conditioned facilities where residents and visitors can get relief from extreme heat during the summer. Here in the Tomahawk, designated cooling centers once again include Tomahawk City Hall, the Tomahawk Public Library, and the Tomahawk Senior Center. Down in Merrill that includes the TB Scott Library; the Merrill Enrichment Center, and the MARC. They are typically open as cooling centers during their regular hours. Additional locations interested in becoming cooling centers can also contact the health-department. The Health Department also offered a few other reminders: stay hydrated; minimize strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day; and monitor for heat-related illness, not only for yourself, but vulnerable populations like small children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. Gleason Bowling Center N4878 Hwy 17, Gleason, (715) 873-4588 Monday, 11 am—close, Wednesday —Saturday, 11 am—close, Sunday, 11 am—9 pm Les & Jim's Lincoln Lanes 1208 N. Center Avenue, Merrill , (715) 536-9405 Monday —Thursday, 11 am —9pm, Friday, 11 am —11 pm, Saturday, 3 —11pm Lincoln County Service Center 801 N. Sales Street, Merrill Monday —Thursday, 8 am —4:30 pm, Friday, 8 am—1 pm Merrill Enrichment Center 303 N. Sales Street, Merrill, (715) 536-4226 Monday —Thursday, 8 am—4:30 pm Riverside Athletic Club 500 S. Center Avenue, Merrill , (715) 536-2481 Monday —Thursday, 6 am —8 pm Smith Multi-Purpose Center (MARC) 1100 Marc Drive, Merrill, (715) 536-7313 Monday —Friday, 7:30 am—4pm T.B. Scott Free Library 106 W. First Street, Merrill, (715) 536-7191 Monday—Thursday, 10 am —7 pm, Friday, 10 am 5 pm, Saturday, 10 am —1 pm Tomahawk City Hall 23 N. 2nd Street, Tomahawk, (715) 453-4040 Monday—Friday, 8 am—12 pm, 1— 5pm Tomahawk Public Library 300 W. Lincoln Avenue, Tomahawk, (715) 453-2455 Monday —Thursday, 10 am —7 pm, Friday, 10 am —5 pm, Saturday, 10 am —1 pm Tomahawk Senior Center 113 S. Tomahawk Avenue, Tomahawk, (715) 453-5757 Monday—Friday, 9 am —3 pm Wal-Mart 505 S. Pine Ridge Avenue, Merrill, (715) 536-2414 Monday —Sunday, 6 am —11 pm
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Tomahawk Man Arrested, Facing Child Enticement Charges
Published on 06/19/2024 under News A Tomahawk man is facing charges following an investigation into child enticement. According to a news release from the Tomahawk Police Department, the alleged incident occurred June 11th near a North 4th Street business in Tomahawk. The release states that several potential witnesses have been identified and investigators continue to gather additional information. During the initial investigation, the Tomahawk Police Department identified the suspect as Thomas Welke. He was taken into custody on Friday, June 14th. Lincoln County Court records show the 70 year old is facing three felonies: child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and attempted 2nd degree sexual assault of a child. An initial court appearance took place on Monday, future court dates will be scheduled at a hearing later this month. Chief Al Elvins is requesting anyone with additional information or details involving the incident to contact the Tomahawk Police Department. Chief Elvins also used this as a reminder for parents and guardians to monitor their children's online activity and report any suspicious or illegal conduct to law enforcement.
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Islands of Brilliance Bringing Single Session Programs to Northwoods Locations
Published on 06/18/2024 under News Earlier this year, the Tomahawk Public Library partnered with a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that creates programming for neurodivergent or autistic youth and young adults. Now they're branching out to other Northwoods communities for a short film project. That program is known as Islands of Brilliance, which began a fellowship with the Tomahawk Public Library in February. A bit later this summer, IOB will be offering three free workshops with additional partners here in the Northwoods through their Sandbox Program. Their Creative Technology team will assist participants and their families to produce stop motion animation short films using iPads. IOB Co-Founder and Chief Education Officer Margaret Fairbanks shared that "It's incredible to see the short films from the imagination of our participants. Even more meaningful because their families are helping to make the magic with them!" They also partners with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the National Endowment for the Arts to research the benefits of these workshops, particularly how they improve the social, emotional, and technical skills of participants. These workshops will take place August 7-9. The first at North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters( August 7 from 3pm-5pm); then ArtStart in Rhinelander(August 8 from 2pm-4pm); and lastly at TB Scott Free Library in Merrill (August 9 from 1pm-3pm). This specific program is for youth age 6 and up and their families. While free, each session is capped at 18 participants; so early enrollment is requested. We'll include a link in the online version of the story for more information and registration.
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Oneida County Health Seeing More Animal Bites; Risk of Rabies
Published on 06/18/2024 under News After seeing an uptick in animal bites in recent months, the Oneida County Health Department is reminding people to be aware of the risks of rabies. Since the start of the new year, the agency says they've conducted more than 40 investigations into animal bite/potential rabies exposure incidents. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is typically spread through the bite of an infected animal. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, the Oneida County Health Department offered up a few tips to follow. First, clean the wound with lots of soap and water, then seek medical attention. Report the bite to law enforcement, and if possible keep the animal for the investigation. Of course, it's best to avoid bites in the first place. They recommend educating children not to approach unfamiliar animals, and leave the handling of wild animals to professionals. They also put out a reminder for pet owners to keep animals up-to-date on rabies shots.
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