DoT Planning Highway 51 Repairs Near Tomahawk this Summer
Published on 04/03/2020 under News Drivers could see some improvements to one of the roughest road segments in the area. The DoT is planning on reconstructing portions of Highway 51 near Tomahawk this summer. That segment of road has experienced road tenting from freezing water in the pavement which results in a washboard like surface. The project area will include the southbound lanes of 51 from County Road S to Hwy 8. The project will be completed with a goal of keeping traffic open during the busiest holiday weekends. Traffic may be re-routed to single lanes on the Northbound side at times. When that occurs the speed limit will be reduced. The current project start is listed as late April. We'll pass along any informational meetings or official start dates as we receive them.
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Judge Extends Absentee Ballot Deadline to Friday
Published on 04/03/2020 under News While Wisconsin's election is still scheduled for next Tuesday, two deadlines have been extended. On Thursday, US District Judge William Conley extended the deadline to request an absentee ballot by another day. Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe says that absentee requests can now be made through 5pm Friday (today). Conley's ruling also extended the deadline for clerks to accept absentee ballots. Marlowe says they will accept those ballots through Monday, April 13th at 4pm. Those delayed ballots must still be postmarked by election day. Traditionally, we learn the results of the election within a few hours of the polls closing. This extension will delay those results by a week, as well.
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Local Clerk: Return Absentee Ballots Seperately
Published on 04/03/2020 under News Local clerks are reminding those voting by absentee to return the ballots separately rather than placing multiple ballots in the same envelope. The April general election (next Tuesday) and the special 7th district congressional election in May are two separate elections. Each of those ballots is being sent out separately. With the extension of absentee voting period, some voters may have those ballots at the same time. Each ballot must be returned to your clerk's office separately with the envelope the ballot came with. Please do not attempt to return the ballots in the same envelope to save on postage. This will invalidate the ballots.
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Tomahawk Schools End Bus Route Delivery; Pick Up Continues
Published on 04/03/2020 under News The Tomahawk School District will be altering their grab-and-go meal program once again, with the latest change going into effect next week. After communicating with the Health Department and their concerns, the district will be suspending the bus route delivery of meals. The district says they will be providing that meal delivery one final time on Friday. The district will continue to provide the curbside pickup of meals on campus. Moving forward, the number of pick-up days will be reduced to Mondays and Wednesdays from 8am to noon. Additional meals will be provided at those times to cover the days when the service is not being offered.
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Absentee Ballots Requests Continue to Climb
Published on 04/03/2020 under News The number of absentee ballots both requested and returned are setting records for the spring. As we shared yesterday, Wisconsinites have requested more than 1.1 million absentee ballots. Based on the latest update from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, more than 470,000 completed ballots have already been returned to their clerks. An updated count from Lincoln County shows nearly 3,600 absentee ballot requests. As of Thursday, 1,300 ballots had already been entered as returned. By comparison, the November 2018 election in Lincoln County had 1,300 ballots requested, with a more than 90% return rate. In general, the state typically sees 95% of requested absentee ballots completed and returned to their clerks.
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BBB Warns of COVID-19 Text Message Scams
Published on 04/03/2020 under News The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is warning resident about a new text message scam related to COVID-19. They have seen a spike in phony, unsolicited text messages claiming to be from the government with a mandatory COVID-19 test. These fake texts also include a link. The Better Business Bureau says the link may download malware on your phone, or send you to a website that will attempt to trick you into entering personal information.
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Ascension Expands COVID-19 Testing in Tomahawk, Woodruff
Published on 04/02/2020 under News Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin continues to expand their drive-thru testing locations for COVID-19 in northern Wisconsin. Yesterday, the provider opened new testing sites in both Tomahawk and Woodruff. That is in addition to the previous sites in Plover, Rhinelander and Crandon which opened last week. The announcement says they continue to work on additional locations. As with the previous sites, Tomahawk and Woodruff drive-up testing does require a pre-screening and referral to utilize. This can be done either by appointment or telemedicine. The drive-up screening minimizes the amount of exposure with a patient that is potentially carrying the coronavirus. The patient remains in their vehicle as records are confirmed, and a nasal swab sample is collected. (Photo: From the Tomahawk testing site are left to right Ascension Associates Shannon Bushong, LPN and Tiffany Barthels, CMA.)
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Tomahawk Moves Polling Location to City Hall
Published on 04/02/2020 under News Voters in the City of Tomahawk will head to a new location to cast a ballot next week. Clerk Amanda Bartz announced that the polling place for next Tuesday has been moved from it's traditional location at SARA Park. Residents will now vote at Tomahawk City Hall for in-person voting. Even though polling places will be open on election day, Bartz urged voters in Tomahawk to avoid polling places and vote absentee by mail, if possible. For those concerned their completed absentee ballot won't be returned by next Tuesday, Bartz did clarify that a completed ballot can also be dropped off at the clerks office or polling location. A few other municipalities are taking additional steps to social distance. The towns of Skanawan and Bradley are both arranging to have a drive-up voting process. Nokomis will limit the number of voters allowed inside the polling location at a given time to five. We'll be compiling a list of changes from clerks as we receive them.
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Absentee Ballots Being Sent at Record Numbers
Published on 04/02/2020 under News Wisconsin voters have requested well in excess of 1 million absentee ballots as the state prepares for next week's election. Over the past few weeks, clerks across the state have been encouraging voters to vote by absentee ballot. As of Wednesday, clerks in Wisconsin have sent out 1,028,734 ballots and 387,833 completed ballots have returned. Here in Lincoln County nearly 3,400 absentee ballots have been requested. Nearly double the number in Oneida County with 6,300. Vilas County had 4,300 requests as of Wednesday. Meagan Wolfe is Wisconsin's Chief elections official. She says, "We remain encouraged that so many voters have requested absentee ballots, especially through the MyVote Wisconsin website. We want everyone who is eligible and who wants to vote to be able to do so safely. Absentee voting will also greatly reduce crowds at polling places on Election Day, which will make social distancing much easier." Thursday is the final day to request an absentee ballot by mail. Early voting runs through the end of the week.
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Tomahawk School Grab and Go Delivery Change; Requests Drop-Off Containers
Published on 04/02/2020 under News The Tomahawk School District announced an additional request for their successful grab-and-go meal program. Since the district closure last month, staff have been providing daily breakfast and lunch meals for children in the district. The district says they have been delivering close to 450 meals each day. Many of those meals are dropped off along bus routes. To help improve social distancing, starting today they are asking for families to provide a container at the drop off point for the meals to be placed in rather than using a direct hand-off. If a container is not available, staff will leave the lunches on the ground for the family to pick up. This is to ensure the recommended six foot barrier.
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Poll Locations Deal with Worker Shortages
Published on 04/02/2020 under News A handful of Northwoods municipalities are among those finding difficulty in filling a poll worker shortages for next Tuesday's election. Earlier this week the Wisconsin Elections Commission released information on the poll worker staffing. More than 200 municipalities around the state were listed as either a "critical" or "serious" shortage. In Lincoln County, that list included the Town of Tomahawk as well as the City of Merrill. Oneida County had 4 municipalities on the list, while Vilas County had 3. Poll positions are typically filled by retired citizens, often 60 or older, a group that is at higher risk for illness. Clerks and the WEC have been reaching out to new sources of volunteers such as college students. Yesterday, Governor Evers announced that the Wisconsin National Guard would be utilized to help fill the gap at some locations, though additional details were not provided.
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Natural Resources Board Approves 2020 Waterfowl Hunting Framework
Published on 04/02/2020 under News The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Wednesday voted unanimously to move forward with proposed rules for the 2020 migratory bird season framework and regulations. Like most meeting at this time, the board met via conference call. Among the changes... •The North duck zone will open one week earlier than last season, resulting in two statewide openers. Those dates will be in the North on Sept. 26 and one for the South and Mississippi zones on Oct. 3. The regular duck season will run for 60 days; •Shooting hours for all migratory bird seasons are open from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with the exception of the early teal season. •Shooting hours for early teal open at sunrise and close at sunset. They also approved an increase in the hen mallard daily bag limit (from one to two). Migratory Bird Ecologist Taylor Finger says they utilized scientific data along with input from public comment, conservation and hunting groups, and waterfowl hunter surveys. Finger says they saw great participation this year with more than 2,100 public comments on the proposals.
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Deadlines for Absentee, Early Voting Approaching
Published on 04/01/2020 under News With the election in less than a week, clerks continue to urge voters to complete early voting or absentee ballots. There are several deadlines that voters need to be aware of this week. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the deadline to register online came and went on Monday. This is for those that aren't already registered to vote at their current address. The deadline to request an absentee ballot in the mail is Thursday. The WEC strongly recommends this request be made as soon as possible. These ballots must be returned by election day. In person early voting runs through the end of the week, though many clerks have limited hours or by appointment only. In addition to next week's general election, Northwoods voters have the special 7th district Congressional election on May 12.
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Local Clerks Planning for Election
Published on 04/01/2020 under News With the election in less than a week, voters will likely see some changes to the process as clerks adjust to voting in this pandemic. We spoke with Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe yesterday. He noted that the spring election is important particularly for local government. While ballots differ depending on where you live, races include school board, city council, town supervisors and here in Lincoln County all 22 County Board supervisors. As for in-person voting, Marlowe they are attempting to acquire masks, gloves and sanitizers for the poll workers, many he noted are at an age considered high risk. He also encouraged those planning to vote in person next week to be proactive. He says you can bring your own sanitizer and touch as little as possible at the polling location. He even says you can bring your own black ball point pen to fill out the ballot. A number of municipalities are taking their own steps to reduce interactions such as limiting the number of voters allowed inside the polling location or even a version of drive-up voting. We'll share a few of those steps in the coming days.
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Positive Test for COVID-19 at Rennes Health and Rehab in Rhinelander
Published on 04/01/2020 under News There continues to be concern for COVID-19 showing up in medical facilities, where patients may be more vulnerable. Yesterday, Rennes Health and Rehab in Rhinelander confirmed that one of the positive tests in Oneida County this weekend was a patient at their facility. The test was administered at the hospital on March 27 after the resident exhibited rapid onset of respiratory symptoms. That individual is now in off-site isolation. According to Vikki Baumler, the Digital Media Manager for The Rennes Group says their facility has already implemented a number of precautionary procedures such as visitor restrictions, daily screenings of staff and residents, expanded use of personal protective equipment, and suspending new admissions. According to the Oneida County Health Department, the county has seen 3 positive tests for COVID-19 with 76 negative tests and 32 pending. Statewide there have been more than 1,300 positive tests.
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