Tomahawk Forensics Team Members Advance
Published on 02/21/2024 under News Congratulations to all 23 members of the THS Forensics team for advancing to district competition to be held in Tomahawk on March 16th. Members and their categories are listed below. The students are coached by Michele Balda, Nancy Herbison, and Shirley Derleth Farrago - Alexandra Schertz Group Interpretive Reading - Arawen Alberg, Izzy Lee, Trey Morrison, Murphy Koth and Xan Sutton Group Interpretive Reading - Aubrey Graeber, Mariah Sparbel and Kambyl Mattke Group Interpretive Reading - Sadie Ruder, Payton Loka and Jayden Dellinger Group Interpretive Reading - Sarah Kallerud, Delilah Sutton, Landon Plantenberg and Tamara Stenberg Poetry Reading - Cedar Hoffman Poetry Reading - Phoebe Hrdina Prose Reading - Alena Cerkas Prose Reading - Galen Schmidt Prose Reading - Madeline Long Prose Reading - Magdalene Lashua Radio News Reporting - Julia McGovern
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Lincoln County Board Approves Sale of Pine Crest Nursing Home
Published on 02/20/2024 under News The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors held a lengthy meeting on Monday evening with the main topic being the discussion on the future of Pine Crest Nursing home. After discussion on the resolution, the county board voted 15 to 6 approving the Asset Purchase Agreement of Pine Crest to Merrill Campus LLC & Senior Management, Inc. for $8.5 million. Dozens of members of 'The People of Pine Crest' voiced their opposition on the sale at Monday's meeting. Per the resolution voted on by the Lincoln County Board, the facilities will remain county owned until June 30, 2024, as ownership will then flip to Merrill Campus LLC & Senior Management, Inc.
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Election Day here in Wisconsin
Published on 02/20/2024 under News It's Election Day here in Wisconsin, though most voters can sit this one out. There are relatively few races in our Northwoods listening area. Today is the primary for the Spring Election. These are typically for non-partisan local races like city council, mayor, school board, and county board. Most of these races have one or two candidates, and as a result they will be decided in the general election in April. And without any statewide ballot items, most voters won't have to vote today. Here in Lincoln County, there is one supervisor race for the Lincoln County Board with three candidates in District 2 in the Merrill area where incumbent Lori Anderson-Malm is being challenged by Keras Rubka-Nimz and Scott Doerr. That race will be narrowed down to two candidates. Voters can visit myvote.wi.gov and enter their address to view if there are races in their specific location. The General Election is on April 2. The ballot will include not only those additional local races, but around a half dozen local school districts will ask voters to support referendum questions.
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Tomahawk FBLA Team Competes at LifeSmarts Competition
Published on 02/20/2024 under News Tomahawk Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) had their varsity team qualify and compete at Edgewood College in Madison at the State LifeSmarts Competition this past Friday. Members of the team included Emerson Lange, Sadie Liebelt, Elizabeth Lee, Scarlet McKenzie, and Galen Schmdit. The team took 5th place at the state competition. This is LifeSmarts 30th year anniversary. LifeSmarts provides real-world education and competition for students who learn about core consumer topics and develop critical thinking skills. Participants focus on five key topic areas: consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, health and safety, personal finance, and technology.
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Decision on Pine Crest Nursing Home Could Come Monday Evening
Published on 02/19/2024 under News A decision on Pine Crest Nursing Home could come this evening, as the Lincoln County Board considers a purchase offer. For nearly two years, the Lincoln County Board has been discussing the future of the skilled nursing home facility in Merrill. The facility is currently owned by the county and run through a partnership with North Central Health Care. Amid financial concerns, the board created an ad-hoc committee in June of 2022 to study the facility and present options. That eventually included options to retain ownership with the potential for operational changes and a likely referendum or selling the facility to a private entity. The county hired a broker to facility a potential sale should they move in that direction and in November, they received an offer from a then unnamed purchaser. Negotiations have largely taken place in closed session with the Administrative and Legislative Committee. Last Monday, they forwarded an offer to the full county board for consideration. According to the resolution, it is for $8.5 million and comes from Merrill Campus LLC & Senior Management, Inc. The Board will take up that resolution during their meeting this evening. While the Board typically meets on Tuesdays, the meeting is Monday due to the Spring Primary.
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Aspirus Hosting Multi-Site Hiring Event
Published on 02/19/2024 under News A shortage of healthcare workers has been a national issue. Here in the Northwoods, Aspirus is recruiting potential employees at a multi-site hiring event scheduled for Monday. They'll be set up at four locations including their hospitals in Wausau, Stevens Point, Stanley and Howard Young in Woodruff. Being in-person, it offer attendees a chance to get up-to-date information about current openings, organizational culture, and job requirements directly from the local recruitment team and managers. Natasha Wetterau, Director, System Talent Management says, "Being in-person gives people the chance to come in, to learn, and ask those questions that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to do with an online application." She added, "You really get the opportunity to highlight who you are and to bring forth your personal story to help find the right job match for you." They said that job seekers can learn about a wide variety of careers with Aspirus beyond the obvious medical professionals. This includes food service, housekeeping, accounting, customer service and information technology. Wetterau added, "Even if someone isn't quite ready to make a change, we can talk to you about career mobility and provide information about what might be available at another location or new role." These events will take place Monday from 1pm to 6pm
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Merrill School District to Hold Referendum Information Session
Published on 02/19/2024 under News In less than two months, voters in Merrill will decide whether to support a school referendum. Ahead of that decision, the district will offer a pair of public information sessions, the first is coming up this evening. When pursuing referendum funding, many districts have found success through public communication, explaining why the money is needed and how it will be spent. For the Merrill specifically, they're pursing a capital referendum of up to $16 million to implement their facilities improvement plan. We've previously covered some of those details. The district is looking to better utilize campus space; closing or selling several buildings, while relocating other district programs to existing, but underutilized space. Superintendent Shannon Murray explained, "We are hosting these two referendum information sessions prior to the April 2 vote to give our residents and taxpayers a chance to learn more about the upcoming referendum and get any questions they may have answered." For those looking interested, it will be held from 6pm to 8pm this evening at Jefferson Elementary. A second session will take place March 25. Merrill is one of a half dozen schools in our area asking voters to support referendum questions this spring. Voters will head to the polls on April 2.
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Lincoln, Langlade Counties Receive HUBZone Designation
Published on 02/16/2024 under News Small businesses in Lincoln and Langlade Counties will have access to additional resources through a new designation. The Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation announced that the two Northwoods Counties have been included in the HUBZone program. The program encourages economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing access to more federal contracting opportunities, promoting growth, and supporting the development of small businesses. According to the announcement from Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation Director Elsa Duranceau, they sought support for the designation from various small businesses throughout Lincoln County and worked with the WEDC to ensure our area would be included in Governor Evers' petition.  That work paid off, as of February 1, the HUBZone designation is effective for a one year period. In addition to Lincoln and Langlade Counties, it also included Juneau County. Businesses located in Lincoln County can contact Duranceau to learn more.
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Tomahawk School District Continues Planning for 'Wall of Honor'
Published on 02/16/2024 under News Planning continues for a new display on the Tomahawk school campus will recognize former students who've gone on to serve the country. Back in December, we told you about that project referred to as the Wall of Honor. The district was looking for a simple gesture to recognize and honor active duty military or veterans who attended Tomahawk schools. They've been doing quite a bit of planning behind the scenes, and district administrator Wendell Quesinberry provided an update at Tuesday's school board meeting. That included a rendering of the display once it's complete. It will be located in the main foyer near the auditorium and gym, notable as a high-traffic area for both students and the public. Each branch will have their emblem displayed with the names of the former students who served engraved below. Quesinberry noted that they've been working in collaboration with local veterans and their organizations. While they have already received pledges of financial support, he anticipated some upcoming fundraising efforts to launch the program which will double as an awareness campaign. -Photo:Artist rendering of the proposed Tomahawk School District Honor Wall-
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Local Students View Live Heart Surgery During Nicolet Event
Published on 02/16/2024 under News We've been talking quite a bit about hearts this week. A group of Northwoods students got an up-close look at one of the body's vital important organs. Nicolet College hosted advanced classes from several area high schools for their Live from the Heart program. Attendees included Tomahawk High School which sent their anatomy students. They were able to stream a live open heart surgery through a partnership with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn Illinois. The students were walked through the entire procedure from pre-op, to surgery, to post-op. The event also allowed students to learn about the various pathways available in the healthcare field, some of which can begin right here in the Northwoods at Nicolet. Fittingly, Live from the Heart took place on Wednesday, Valentine's Day.
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Lincoln County Board Resolution Provides Details on Pine Crest Purchase Offer Under Consideration
Published on 02/16/2024 under News We now know some additional details in the potential sale of Pine Crest Nursing home. As we have covered earlier this week, the County's Administrative and Legislative Committee voted to send the asset purchase agreement to the full County Board, instructing the corporation counsel to draft the resolution. The document has now been posted. The purchaser is listed as Merrill Campus LLC & Senior Management, Inc. Their initial proposal came in November. According to the resolution, the offer would include the Health & Human Services Building and adjacent land for a total purchase price of $8.5 million. Lincoln County would "finance $2 million of the purchase price through a 5 year note with interest at the rate of 4.5% per annum." As part of the agreement a lease would be executed allowing current occupants of the building including some county departments to remain in their space for a five year term. As committee members Ken Wickham and Angela Cummings alluded to at Monday's meeting, the resolution states "the purchaser owns other skilled nursing facilities in the State of Wisconsin and has expressed its intent to continue to operate Pine Crest Nursing Home as a skilled nursing facility, with the further intent to keep both residents and employees at the facility." The full Lincoln County Board will take up the topic at their meeting on Monday evening. The agenda and meeting packet has been posted to the Lincoln County website for online review.
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Nicolet Gallery Kicks Off Wisconsin Regional Art Program Exhibition
Published on 02/16/2024 under News The Nicolet College Art Gallery kicked off another new exhibition last night, which features emerging artists of the Northwoods. The campus gallery is hosting the Wisconsin Regional Art Program. The WRAP exhibits and workshops are hosted at locations around the state. It was founded back in 1940 as an outreach program through the UW-Madison College of Agriculture. Northwoods artists of all skill levels were invited to submit up to three pieces of artwork. Nicolet College Arts & Events Manager Jenny Bonardelli said it provides an important platform for up-and-coming artists to display their talents to the Northwoods community.  She explained, "Geographically, we don't have as many cultural opportunities, so the fact that we're here is vital to local artists and community members in general who have a creative edge to have that opportunity to share their work." They hosted an opening reception last evening, and the public is invited to view the exhibition during gallery hours through March 23.
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DNR Announces Grants to Protect Waters
Published on 02/16/2024 under News The DNR recently announced around $6 million in grants to groups looking to preserve state waterways. The funding includes the Healthy Lakes and Rivers grants as well as support for both the Clean Boats, Clean Waters and Lake Monitoring and Protection Network programs. According to the DNR, they received 428 applications requesting more than $9 million in funding. They said the projects were incredibly diverse, including education and outreach activities, management planning, habitat restoration, runoff management, water quality improvement projects and aquatic invasive species control. Program manager Jen Jefferson says, "The amount of work happening at the local level to support our lakes, rivers and watersheds is incredible." That included the communication and coordination between the various partners and stakeholders. Vilas County used criteria including Healthy Watersheds, High Quality Waters modeling to identify several lakes and streams where they will work with local organizations and volunteers to collect data, build awareness and install shoreline best management practices. Of course the Clean Boats, Clean Waters may be the most well established, educating boaters on the threat of invasive species. According to the announcement, 145 organizations will receive support including a number of groups here in the Northwoods. The DNR has additional information on their website including for groups interested in future grant opportunities.
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Hatchet Hockey Team Recognized by School Board for Community Outreach
Published on 02/15/2024 under News The Tomahawk High School Hockey team is set to begin post season play after one of their most successful seasons in program history. Earlier this week, the hockey team was recognized for their efforts off the ice. At their meeting Tuesday, the Tomahawk School Board presented the team with their monthly recognition. Board President Ron Zimmerman highlighted the team for their community outreach, and two events specifically. Coaches Dewey Riley, Kole Woodall and Andrew Flynn were on hand to accept the award. Back in December the team host a Pink the Rink night to raise money for two local families affected by cancer. That raised more than $4,000. A few weeks later, in early January, the team once participated in the Tomahawk STAR Foundation STAR Splash. They collected more than $10,000 in pledges to jump into the icy waters of Lake Mohawksin. Reilly was quick to share the praise and "give credit where credit is due." In addition to the players, he also mentioned the families who did most of the planning for the events and allowed them to be successful. As the team switches their focus back on the ice, they begin playoffs Thursday evening against Rhinelander. The Hatchets are the top seed in the sectional.
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People for Pinecrest Express Concern Over Potential Sale
Published on 02/15/2024 under News With the Lincoln County Board expected to consider the sale of Pine Crest Nursing Home next week, a citizen group is rallying for one more effort opposing the deal. Over the past two years, the Lincoln County Board has been studying the future of the skilled nursing facility in Merrill amid financial concerns. Among the options was the sale to a private entity, and the County moved one step closer to that outcome this week. On Monday the Administrative and Legislative Committee sent a purchase agreement to the full County Board. As these conversations have taken place, a citizen organization, People for Pine Crest was formed. They have been a presence at meetings, using the public comment portion to voice their opposition to a sale. Following Monday's meeting the group released a statement of 'concern about the offer and the rush to vote on it.' Judy Woller said in the statement that "The timing of the vote doesn't allow for proper review of the sale by supervisors or Lincoln County residents." She added, " If this is such a good deal, then the county supervisors should be excited to meet with their constituents to explain it and answer all of their questions before any vote by the full board." In order to plan their next steps, People for Pine Crest has scheduled a community meeting this evening. It's set for 5:30pm at St. Stephens Church in Merrill.
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