Investigation into Park Falls Homicide
Published on 04/15/2024 under News One person is dead following a shooting in Price County over the weekend. That incident happened Saturday afternoon in Park Falls. According to a news release, officers with the Park Falls Police Department responded to a report of shots being fired in the 600 block of 2nd Avenue North. Upon arrival they found an individual dead of multiple gun shot wounds. The release only states the victim to be an adult; with no other identification provided. The release states that a suspect was taken into custody and a handgun was recovered at the scene. No information on the suspect was given. The Park Falls Police Department says there is no danger to the public. The Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation will be leading the investigation, and will provide their findings to the Price County District Attorney.
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Busy Wildfire Season, Conditions Remain Elevated Monday
Published on 04/15/2024 under News Firefighters were kept busy over the weekend with more than 50 wildfires around the state. That threat remains elevated on Monday. A combination of wind, low humidity and relatively dry vegetation led to those conditions. In anticipation, fire departments were on alert, and the DNR re-positioned some of their resources to best cover areas of concern. Nearly the entire state was at elevated risk. According to the the DNR, Saturday saw 37 wildfires which burned over 300 acres, the most active day of the year. Then on Sunday there were another 14 wildfires which burned nearly 40 acres. Here in the Northwoods, crews responded to wildfires in Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln and Taylor Counties which each burned less than a half acre. A Saturday fire in Langlade County did burn about 13 acres. People are encouraged to monitor conditions and take appropriate steps to limit activities which can lead to wildfire. Debris burning is a leading cause, though other activities can also cause a spark.
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Nicolet Foundation Awarding ~$240,000 in Scholarships for Upcoming Year
Published on 04/15/2024 under News Over the years, the Nicolet College Foundation has helped thousands of students pay for college. This spring is no different, as they'll be providing nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The foundation announced that latest scholarship recipients are being notified. In all, 242 scholarships are being awarded totaling nearly $240,000. The application period took place back in February. Heather Schallock, vice president of community engagement and executive director of the Nicolet College Foundation says, "Scholarships made available through the Nicolet College Foundation have supported countless students over the years. Our goal is to continue providing opportunities for current and future students to achieve their academic and personal dreams." The Foundation Scholarship program is only possible thanks to the generous donor support such as their 'A Day for Nicolet' fall fundraising campaign. Among the previous scholarship recipients is nursing student Lena Symonds. She also serves as the Foundation Student Ambassador. Symonds says, "My gratitude extends beyond just the financial aspect but also for the community support." They did note that the the scholarships do have an acceptance deadline and encouraged recipients to do so promptly. The next scholarship application period will be in September.
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Tomahawk School District Encourages Family Participation in Annual Survey
Published on 04/15/2024 under News The Tomahawk School District is seeking input from student families by way of an annual survey. District Administrator Wendell Quesinberry covered the topic during his monthly visit to WJJQ this past week. The spring questionnaire is distributed to students, staff members, and families of students in the district. The district works with the specialized firm 'School Perceptions' to offer the questions and collect and present the data. That information is then used by the district to help guide strategic planning and other decisions for the district. A similar survey went out last spring. Quesinberry noted they received a good data set from both staff and students, but wanted to see the family participation increase. Last year, it was about 20% participation, this year they are hoping to reach the 50% mark. Quesinberry says the survey will take about 5-10 minutes to complete and those few minutes provide valuable information to the district. It should have been delivered to families this past week via email. The survey period runs through April 22.
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'Scouting for Food' Boy Scout Collection Effort
Published on 04/15/2024 under News Local Boy Scouts are bringing back their annual spring food collection, known as Scouting for Food. That includes the Tomahawk area Troop 548 who offered up a little information on the effort. The Scouts will focus on specific neighborhoods and will leave the instructions on the doors of those homes. They'll return next weekend to collect non-perishable food items. While the Scouts are making it easier for people to participate by taking the collection door to door; it also provides the scouts with an awareness of food insecurity as well as ways to get involved in the community. This is part of a larger effort across the entire Samoset Council which serves scouts across the Northwoods. They're hoping to collect over 50,000 pounds of food this week. The Scouts will be back out next Saturday. Motorists are encouraged to be on the lookout for the kids next weekend. We'll offer another reminder later this week.
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City of Tomahawk Yard Waste Pick-up Week
Published on 04/15/2024 under News City of Tomahawk resident who took advantage of the warm weekend to get some yard work done can have that debris removed. It's time once again for then annual yard waste pick up.  The Public Works Department will be out each morning collecting curbside yard waste. They offered a reminders of the rules. First and foremost, clean up is for brush and yard waste only. The brush should be neatly piled with cut ends of limbs facing the curb. They ask that residents not bundle the brush. Leaves should be placed in plastic bags, and not contain any other rubbish or waste. Items should be set out no later than 7am each morning. If you miss this week's pick-up, CITY RESIDENTS ONLY, can drop off those items at the city collection site.
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Utility Disconnection Moratorium Ending; Watch for Scammers
Published on 04/15/2024 under News Monday marks the end of the state's winter power disconnection moratorium, and officials are encouraging residents behind on bills to reach out to their utility provider to make arrangements. The moratorium is put in place to protect families during winter months. We heard from Wisconsin Public Service ahead of the expiration. They said that disconnection is a last resort and anyone who has established and maintains a payment plan is not at risk. Fortunately, they noted mild winter meant this year's heating bills were on average about $200 less than last season. There are a number of state and federal resources available and WPS also worked with regulators and customer advocates to establish Low Income Forgiveness Tool. They also remind people to be aware of scammers who may try and use this real deadline to trick people into paying or providing personal information. Scammers can use special equipment to alter the caller ID. They'll often use the threat of immediate disconnection to pressure their victims, often requesting unusual payments like prepaid debit cards or gift cards, Venmo or Zelle, and even cryptocurrency. If you question a call, WPS says it is best to hang up and call using the number printed on your bill. Their customer service line is (800) 450-7260
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Preparations Underway for 39th Annual WJJQ Home Show in Tomahawk
Published on 04/12/2024 under News Spring has finally sprung here in the Northwoods, and that means the return of the WJJQ Home Sport and Travel Show. Set up is currently underway at the Tomahawk School complex in preparation for the 39th edition of the WJJQ Home Show. Each spring participating businesses and professionals are able to offer information, ideas, and products in a wide range of areas including home improvement, lawn and garden, and outdoor recreation. With improving weather, attendees may get a little spark of inspiration for potential summer projects. More than 70 exhibitors will be set up in the gym. For others, the home show is simply a spring tradition, a chance to get out and see some familiar faces after being cooped up over the winter.  Beyond the walls of the gym, there's a health expo, a craft fair, community groups, the North 4th youth dancers, and the Redeemer Lunch spot. The list of outdoor exhibitors has also been on the rise. In all there are more than 100 options, no matter your interest. The WJJQ Home Sport and Travel Show is Saturday from 9-4 and Sunday from 10-3. Admission is free.
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Tomahawk School Board Reapportionment: Focus Narrowed Among Options
Published on 04/12/2024 under News A special committee of the Tomahawk School Board continues on the path towards new districts for board members. They've now zeroed in on one of the many options they initially explored. On our Thursday morning conversation, we were joined by school board member Kay Kissenger-Wolf to provide an update. First a bit of back ground, the Tomahawk School Board members currently represent specific geographic groupings of townships. These boundaries were established back in the 1970's, and since that time, population patterns have shifted. This has left some districts over-represented while others under-represented. An ad-hoc committee was established to explore the topic and earlier this year they came up with a number of potential options. One of the phrases they continued to use was a 3-3-3 model. That would be three districts, each represented by three board members who would serve three years. This allows each area to have one race on the ballot each election. One option stood out most by meeting the 3-3-3 criteria; maintaining municipal boundaries, and balancing populations with a single percentage point. The City of Tomahawk, with 33% of the district population would drop from 4 representatives down to 3. That extra seat would become the third in a new district formed by merging King, Harrison, Nokomis, Wilson, and Little Rice. The third district would be unchanged. Bradley, Birch, Skanawan, Rock Falls and the Town of Tomahawk currently make up 32.4% of the population and would maintain 3 seats. The next step is to gather petition signatures in order to present the change at the district's annual meeting in September. While the board members are doing the legwork, it's actually district residents who would vote on the change at that meeting. If approved, the transition would take three years to fully integrate. It would take place as each of the current board terms expires. Current Proposed -'Option C' City of Tomahawk-4 Seats City of Tomahawk-3 Seats Bradley, Birch, Skanawan, Rock Falls, Town of Tomahawk-3 Seats Bradley, Birch, Skanawan, Rock Falls, Town of Tomahawk-3 SeatsNokomis, Little Rice, Wilson-1 Seat Nokomis, Little Rice, Wilson, King, Harrison-3 Seats King and Harrison-1 Seat
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Tomahawk School District Progressing on 'Wall of Honor'
Published on 04/12/2024 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. During his morning conversation yesterday, district administrator Wendell Quesinberry provided an update. He said, "This is something we're really excited about, and we've made a lot of progress in recent months." We've already seen mock ups of the display which 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 a hand-crafted emblem displayed atop name plates listing the former students who served. Quesinberry noted they will actually be engraved by students on campus in the Hatchet Innovation Lab. They've been collecting the names and have already received more than 275 submissions. They're also doing some fundraising for the project while collaborating with local veterans groups. They'll actually have a booth at the WJJQ Home Sport and Travel Show this weekend for people to learn more or get involved. -Rendering provided by Tomahawk School District-
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Lightning, Floods Other Aspects of Severe Weather
Published on 04/12/2024 under News While tornado safety is the main focus of Severe Weather Awareness Week, Wisconsinites will likely encounter other weather-related occurrences such as lightning and flooding. Lightning Lightning can come in the blink of an eye, and safety officials remind people, "when thunder roars, head indoors!" Since 2005, lightning has killed ten people and injured at least 40 in the state. Ready Wisconsin says the safest place to seek shelter is indoors. Even the inside of a car is safer than being out in the open during a thunderstorm. You should never seek cover under a tree or think you are safe by being low to the ground. They also note that while lightning is associated with rain, it can strike from as far away as 10 miles, even instances of sunny skies. These are commonly referred to as 'bolts from the blue.' Flooding Meanwhile flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in Wisconsin, causing millions of dollars in property damage each year. Beyond the expense, flood waters can be more dangerous than they seem. Officials note that you should never attempt to walk or drive through a flooded roadway. Just six inches of flowing water can knock over an adult, and a small vehicle can be swept away by 12 inches of moving water. Floodwaters can also damage or wash away the road surface, often hidden underneath the water. That's why officials say when you encounter a flooded road, "Turn around, Don't Drown!"
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Turkey Season Kicks Off with Youth Hunt
Published on 04/12/2024 under News The traditional spring turkey season opens next Wednesday, but first younger hunters will get the chance to bag a bird. Coming up this weekend, is the youth turkey hunt. The early-bird season gives participants under the age of 16 an opportunity to gain valuable experience out in the field. The youth hunters must have completed their hunter education course or participate in the mentored hunting program. This leads into the regular turkey hunting season which is actually comprised of 6 week-long periods across the states seven zones. The DNR reported nearly 43,000 turkeys were registered during last year's spring hunt, up slightly from the previous year.  In addition to the spring season which runs through late-May, the state offers a lesser-used fall season.
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Rhinelander Community Education Program Kicks Off 100 Mile Walking Challenge
Published on 04/12/2024 under News Community members in Rhinelander will be getting in their steps this spring. The School District of Rhinelander Community Education Program is bringing back their 100-mile "Get Out and Walk" Challenge which begins a bit later this month. Community Education coordinator Mike Cheslock noted that Spring is a great time to be outside in the Northwoods. As the name implies, the program challenges participants to walk 100 miles, though not all at once. Participants will have about 7 weeks to complete the challenge, that amounts to a little more than 13 miles per week. Walkers keep track of their own miles, and choose their routes, as long as they get their steps in. All participants will receive rewards, while those who complete the Challenge will be entered into a drawing to win larger prizes include Rhinelander Chamber Bucks. The Challenge kicks off next Monday, the $10 registration is open through the day prior.
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UPDATE: Evening Mock Tornado Drill Canceled
Published on 04/11/2024 under News UPDATE: Due to the risk of severe weather in southern Wisconsin this evening, the statewide mock tornado drill scheduled for Thursday evening has been canceled. Officials still encourage families to go over a tornado plan to ensure preparedness. _____ Severe weather can strike at a moment's notice, so having a safety plan is crucial. As Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week winds down, partners around the state will be participating in a pair of mock tornado drills later today. As we've previously covered, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes each year. Last year the National Weather Service confirmed 21 touchdowns. In recent years organizers have gone from a single afternoon tornado drill to two, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The traditional afternoon drill took place while people were at work or school. The evening drill was created  to allow families to go over a plan at home. The traditional afternoon drill will take place in the 1pm hour, while the second drill will take place in the 6pm hour.  Some communities may also test their tornado sirens today as well. Regardless of whether you actively take part in these statewide drills, officials note today is still a good time to go over tornado preparedness in your mind.
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WPS Recaps Power Restoration Effort
Published on 04/11/2024 under News Last week's winter weather system brought widespread power outages. With that service now restored, Wisconsin Public Service has provided some data on just how expansive the restoration effort was. A heavy snow, coupled with gusty winds on April 2 and 3 knocked out power to approximately 120,000 WPS customers. The utility says they had more than 500 workers out in the field from not only Wisconsin, but three neighboring states. WPS says they put in more than 40,000 work hours. They were tasked with replacing around 300 power poles and more than 20,000 other pieces of equipment. They also had to restring more than 40 miles of downed power lines. Mike Hooper, WPS president says, "We had an army of men and women from across Wisconsin and the Midwest working around the clock to repair the damage and safely restore our customers as quickly possible." He thanked customers for their patience and support, as well as the employees for their dedication and efforts. That work didn't go unnoticed. WPS says the crews received gratitude from affected communities as they worked. They even shared some of the hand-drawn thank you cards from elementary students in the Menominee School District in Michigan's UP.
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