Voters Easily Approve Northland Pines Referendum
Published on 02/20/2019 under News Residents of the Northwoods continue to support additional funding for their local schools. Yesterday, on a primary day that was relatively light on races, voters in the Northland Pines School District easily passed a referendum by a nearly 2:1 margin. The district was asking for $4.6 million each of the next three years. That, coupled with additional spending cuts, were to address a projected $5 million budget shortfall. The preliminary vote totals show the measure passing 1,230 to 635. The district was in the final year of a referendum passed in 2016 at $3.9 million annually. School referendums are nothing new here in the Northwoods. In addition to Pines, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, and Merrill are also operating under referendums passed by their voters.
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Update: Victims Identified in Monday's Crash in Oneida County
Published on 02/20/2019 under News Officials have provided additional details on a fatal two vehicle accident in Oneida County Monday night. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says they were called to that accident at shortly before 5pm on Highway 45 south of Three Lakes. A northbound van crossed the center-line striking a southbound SUV. The driver of the van was pronounced dead at the scene. She has now been identified as 53 year old Judy Miller of Pepin County. Both occupants of the southbound vehicle were airlifted for further treatment. The passenger later died as a result of her injuries. She has been identified as 18 year old Kelsey Bellman of Eagle River. No update was provided for the driver, an 18 year old Conover woman. The crash remains under investigation.
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Lincoln County Board Approves Funding for Jail Surveillance System Upgrades
Published on 02/20/2019 under News The Lincoln County Jail surveillance system will likely be getting an upgrade. The $240,000 project came before the Lincoln County Board last evening for approval. The resolution noted that the current jail camera surveillance system is negatively impacting the daily operations of the jail and increasing liability during failures. While Chief Deputy Nate Walrath was on hand to field questions from the supervisors, most were directed towards IT director David Smith. He noted this project would overhaul the cameras, wiring and servers which would allow for most cost efficient upgrades in the future. When asked if if the project could be pushed down the line, Smith noted that the equipment is already past its life-cycle. Supervisor Jeremy Ratliff noted that the current surveillance system was the same analog system from the initial jail construction. The request was included in the 2019 capital improvements budget. At times the supervisors conversation strayed into a greater discussion on the county's reliance on technology. Ultimately, the board voted unanimously to allocate up $240,000 for the project which next heads out to bid.
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Former Lincoln County Sheriff, County Board Supervisor Passes
Published on 02/20/2019 under News A man who served more than two decades as Lincoln County Sheriff has passed away. At Tuesday night's County Board meeting, the supervisors recognized Ron Krueger for his service to the community. Overall, Krueger served Lincoln County for more than 4 decades in various roles, most prominently as Sheriff from 1974 until his retirement in 1997. He began his law enforcement career 1969. Following his retirement, Krueger also served as a supervisor on the Lincoln County Board from 1998 until 2011. Members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office announced that their Honor Guard will be present at Thursday's public visitation in tribute to Ron's many years of service.
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Lincoln County Board Recap
Published on 02/20/2019 under News It was a relatively routine February County Board meeting. As they do each month, the supervisor recognized employment milestones including: 10 years for Heather Marheine in the Highway Department and Timothy Kurtz in the Sheriff's Office. The Board also memorialized the passing of Former Sheriff and Supervisor Ron Krueger. With January being the first month of the county's fiscal year, Finance Director Dan Leydet's monthly report was relatively short. He did caution oversight committees to watch budgets carefully, particularly with additional spending. In his report, County Administrator Jason Hake briefly spoke about the operational deficit at Lincoln Industries over the past two years. He says they will work with North Central Healthcare to explore a more sustainable operation. In resolutions, the board unanimously approved taking 12 tax delinquent properties. All were empty lots in the Harrison Hills area. They all came from the same owners which had previously been tied up in bankruptcy. The board tabled a resolution on zoning amendments in the Town of Pine River. Rather than utilizing county zoning, the township handles the duty on their own. Bill Zeitz, whose district includes the township, questioned both the process the resolution came to the board and whether the resolution needed to come to the board at all. The supervisors had additional details for corporation counsel Nancy Bergstrom who was unable to attend the meeting. The Board voted 19-1 to table the resolution until those questions could be answered. After a brief presentation from Highway Commissioner John Hanz, the board approved designating the week of April 8 as Work Zone Awareness week. This is part of a statewide awareness effort. The final item on the agenda expanded two economic support specialist positions in Social Services from 36 hours per week to 40 hours. Director Renee Krueger noted that this was part of a long term plan and shouldn't affect this year's budget.
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Green Bay Man Receives 7 Years in Sexual Assault of Lincoln County Teen
Published on 02/20/2019 under News A Green Bay man accused of sexually assaulting a Lincoln County teen has been sentenced to seven years of prison. Anthony McWhorter was back in Marathon County Court for that hearing yesterday. According to court records, the 28 year old pleaded guilty to a single count of 2nd degree sexual assault of a child back in December. In exchange, three other charges were dismissed, but will be considered during sentencing. McWhorter, a National Guard Sergeant at the time, was arrested in August following an investigation. A family member of the victim contacted authorities after noting a change in the boy's behavior. The complaint says McWhorter contacted the 15 year old from Lincoln County through the Snapchat social media app. He met with the boy at a hotel in Wausau providing him with video games and cash in exchange for sexual contact. In addition to the prison time McWhorter also received 6 years of extended supervision. He's not allowed contact with minors or use of social media. He was credited with 199 days of time served.
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Two Dead in 2 Vehicle Crash on Hwy 45 in Oneida County
Published on 02/19/2019 under News Two people died in a two vehicle accident in Oneida County last evening. That crash happened at shortly before 5pm on Highway 45 south of Three Lakes. Investigators said a northbound vehicle left the lane of traffic striking an oncoming southbound vehicle. The northbound driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the southbound vehicle was brought to an area hospital where she later died. The southbound driver was also hospitalized with no update on her condition. Names of the victims were not immediately released. According to the DoT, traffic was rerouted for nearly 5 hours.
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Update: Victims Identified in Lincoln County Shooting
Published on 02/19/2019 under News The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office has now released the names of two individuals involved a fatal shooting incident last week. Back on Thursday deputies went to a home in the Town of Pine River for a welfare check. That's where they found a 77 year old woman dead from a gunshot. She has now been identified as Barbara Renken. Her husband, 78 year old John Renken, was found critically injured at the home and remains hospitalized. The Sheriff's Office is continuing to treat the case as a homicide investigation. As of yesterday afternoon's update, they said that no charges have been filed.
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Northland Pines Referendum; Few Other Races on Primary
Published on 02/19/2019 under News People will be excused if they didn't realize today is the spring primary. That's because for most communities here in the Northwoods, there are no races on the ballot. One exception will bring Eagle River area voters to the polls. That's because the Northland Pines School District is holding a referendum. They are asking for $4.6 million each of the next three years. Coupled with additional spending cuts, their school board felt they will be able to cover a projected $5 million shortfall. If approved, the proposed Pines referendum would result in an additional $24 on the levy for a home valued at $100,000. The district is currently in the final year of their 2016 referendum at $3.9 million annually. School referendums are nothing new here in the Northwoods. In addition to the Pines request, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, and Merrill have all passed their own referendums in recent years.
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Merrill Homeless Shelter to Open March 4; Open House Next Week
Published on 02/19/2019 under News Two years of hard work will come to realization in just a few weeks for a new temporary housing shelter in Merrill. Now known as the Merrill Area Community or MAC Home, the board of directors announced the facility will officially open on March 4. The Board also announced that Theresa Anthoney has been named as the new Executive Director. An additional 8 staff members have been hired. Prior to the March opening, they will have an open house scheduled for next Thursday, February 28. We'll have more on the new MAC Home in the lead up to its opening.
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Snow Brings Early End to Merrill Ice Drags
Published on 02/19/2019 under News While the high snow totals have been good for snowmobilers, it has caused headaches for other winter recreation. Another popular event has come to an end due to the snow. We heard from the organizers of the popular Merrill Ice Drags. They called this a very challenging season. Because of the snow, they were down to one set of lanes and shortened tracks. As a result, the Board of Directors decided to wrap up the season with last weekend's race. Instead of the weekend Championship races, this coming Saturday will now be a Volunteer Work Day. This is in order to remove the various fences, poles, and signs that marked the 1/8 mile track. Other popular events recently affected due to the snow include the ice fishing portion of last weekend's Somo Jamboree which was cancelled. The build of the Snowmy Kromer Snowman in Minocqua was also postponed to this week.
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Merrill Responders Particate in Citywide Emergency Training
Published on 02/18/2019 under News Several groups in Merrill hope that recent training will make their responders better prepared in the case of an emergency. A number of local agencies participated in a joint training session earlier this month led by Wisconsin Emergency management. That included Merrill Police and Fire, their street and water departments, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Emergency Management and members of the Lincoln County Board. They tackled various emergencies which can arise such as an active shooter or a hazardous materials response. Attendees received both classroom and hands on training. That included taking lead in role playing response exercises utilizing a tabletop model of the city. Organizers noted that initial actions taken by emergency service workers can greatly impact the outcome of an incident. Battalion Chief Scott Krause with the Merrill Fire Department noted, "It was cool to see all the respective departments working together. This is exactly what we need to do anytime we are all responding to an incident." This was a basic introductory course, with another planned for later this year with additional exercises.
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Semi Overturns Monday Morning in Lincoln County
Published on 02/18/2019 under News No one was injured after a semi overturned in Lincoln County this morning. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, that accident occurred on State Highway 64 near the Lincoln/Langlade County Line at shortly before 6am. The driver was not injured, however the road was temporarily detoured. The Sheriff's Office reported that the closure lasted for about an hour, before they were able to clear the season and resume regular traffic.
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Scouts Earn Electricity Merit Badge with Help from WPS
Published on 02/18/2019 under News Several dozen boy scouts from the Northwoods were able to earn an electricity merit badge at a special clinic over the weekend. That event was hosted by Wisconsin Public Service in Wausau on Saturday. It's one of WPS's longest-running traditions dating back 67 years. Scouts who attended were able to learn how electricity is generated, design circuits and create working electromagnets. In addition to earning the merit badge, WPS also says these clinics provide scouts with an introduction to energy industry careers and enhance science, tech, engineering and math or STEM skills. They noted that the Samoset Council here in Northern Wisconsin has approximately 370 scouts in enrolled in their STEM Scouts program. Wausau Fire also provided assistance and safety instruction at the event. WPS will host a second event later this spring in Green Bay for scouts in the Fox Valley.
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Opioid Addiction and Overdose Seminar in Tomahawk, Sign Up by Monday
Published on 02/18/2019 under News As the opioid crisis continues to grow, preparedness can be a key to protect loved ones. Coming up next week, Healthy Minds Lincoln County will host an education event to help the public safely and effectively use prescription medicines. Dr. Robert Sedlacek will be presenting Let's Talk About Pain Medicines, a free 90-minute educational program developed by Wisconsin Health Literacy. Following this presentation, Nicole Sornson, Prevention Training Coordinator with the Aids Resource Center of WI will be providing a free program on the signs and symptoms of an overdose, rescue breathing, and how to administer naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that blocks the effects of an opioid in the event of an overdose. The simple to use injectors are carried by numerous first responders including police. The event will be held next Tuesday evening at Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk. They do ask that participants pre-registration by today. Please contact Debbie Moellendorf, UW-Madison Division of Extension Lincoln County by email or via phone (715) 539-1077 to register.
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