Pet Care Important as Temperatures Drop
Published on 12/11/2019 under News With our coldest stretch of weather this season, officials are reminding people to take care of our four-legged friends as well. Despite their fur, dogs and cats can get frost bite just like humans. They are especially susceptible on exposed areas such as their ears, nose, and paws. While the Lincoln County Humane Society says the easiest solution is to keep your pet indoors, there are some other cold weather tips to keep your dogs healthy over the winter months. That starts with high-quality foods. They emphasized fatty acids, which helps their fur, and proteins, which helps maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your pup has a heated water bowl. And avoid metal bowls which can cause the dog's tongue to stick. For shelter, make sure your pet has an insulated enclosure, and keep a cover over the door. Size the enclosure based on the size of the dog, large enough to stand, but small enough to trap heat. Also try to elevate the bedding. One final caution goes towards chemicals used to melt snow and ice. Anti-freeze and road salts can irritate pet paws. Or course, those items should also be stored out of reach, the compounds can be poisonous if ingested by a curious pet.
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Howard Young Volunteers Receive Award for Work with Delirium
Published on 12/11/2019 under News The Volunteers of Howard Young Medical Center were recently honored for their work with the elderly and delirium. The Volunteers were presented with a Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE) by the Partners of the Wisconsin Hospital Association. The American Delirium Society describes delirium as a state of confusion that comes on very suddenly and lasts hours to days. The award highlighted the Howard Young "Hospital Elder Life Program," or HELP, which aims to prevent episodes of acute confusion for hospitalized patients. It is a coordinated model of care provided by a team of clinicians and volunteers who are specially trained to support patients over the age of 70 or anyone who may show signs of delirium after an assessment. Howard Young's HELP volunteers include retired teachers, nurses, social workers and even high school and college students who have completed specialized training. Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Oungst said that the rates of delirium, falls, and readmission have all gone down since the inception of the program. She says, "We are blessed with the support of our volunteers for this and many other programs and we congratulate them on this honor." (Photo: Dee Ruesch, Volunteer; Betty Ruesch, Volunteer; Lori Butkus, RN, Hospital Elder Life Coordinator, Howard Young Medical Center, part of Ascension; Nancy Krause, Volunteer.)
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Tomahawk Fire Department Purchases “Tough Book” Computers
Published on 12/11/2019 under News In these modern times, firefighters use a lot more than a truck and a hose. The Tomahawk Fire Department is getting some new portable technology to assist in their responses. At last week's Health and Safety Committee meeting, Fire Chief 'Beetle' Nyberg briefly discussed the department's purchase of four tough book computers for their response vehicles. This type of equipment was familiar to several at the meeting. Mayor Steve Taskay is an EMT, while Alderman Tadd Wegener works with the Merrill Fire Department. They said the units are similar to those used by police. They'll serve a number of functions in an emergency response. That includes the ability to ping locations which will be beneficial when performing rescues. It'll provide easier tracking for dispatch and the ability to relay confidential information without going over the unsecured radio lines. With a name like tough book, the computers are designed to withstand the rigors of a response. According to the written report, the purchase was made utilizing the Fire Department's equipment fund account. At the time of the meeting, they were working with the Lincoln County IT Department on software and programing.
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Local Snowmobile Trails Remain Closed; Clubs Continue Preparations
Published on 12/11/2019 under News We continue to hear from local snowmobile clubs, urging riders to "be patient" and wait for opening announcements. On Tuesday, we heard from the Northwoods Passage Snowmobile Club which, along with the Knight Owls, maintain trails in the Tomahawk area. They said that the trails are closed at this time. There may be some activity on the trails as club members are out clearing downed trees, brush, and other debris. They hope to be open by the end of next week, but will make an official announcement as that draws near. According to their online updates, the trails in Vilas County remain closed as their 11 snowmobile clubs are in the process of inspecting their trails. We did receive our first opening announcement, which will be over in Taylor and Price Counties. Starting next Monday the Price-Taylor Rail Trail from Medford to Prentice will open, however the rest of the trails will remain closed. Stay tuned to WJJQ for trail opening announcements and trail reports once the season opens.
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Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation Tree Lighting Ceremony
Published on 12/11/2019 under News A local hospital will be getting into the holiday spirit with a special tree lighting ceremony this evening. For the past month, the Sacred Heart Hospital Foundation in Tomahawk has been collecting donations for their special Love Lights Tree. Sponsors were able to reserve a white light in memory of a loved one or blue lights in the honor of a relative, family or friend. This evening, at 5:30, Board members will light the tree at a dedication event. That will also feature a performance by the Tomahawk High School choir. The tree will then be lit throughout the holiday season.
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Tomahawk School Board
Published on 12/11/2019 under News The Tomahawk School Board held report filled meeting last evening in the THS Auditorium. Among the highlights, assistant principal Stacy Bolder says that 71% of THS juniors will be taking the pre-ACT test Wednesday morning. She was pleased with nearly three quarters of the class would be participating, as participation in the pre-ACT generally correlates to more success on the actual exam typically taken in the spring. In the financial report, Curt Powell highlighted the steady fund balance while the district continues to maintain courses. He credited that to the referendum and said they "spent well." The board was introduced to the middle school student council leadership team. Each of the half dozen students presented on their area of focus. After dwindling numbers, they were pleased to see more than 70 students participating in student council this month. One of the few action items on the evening was the approval of a new advanced engineering course in the High School. Instructor Mary Huhta was on hand to answer questions from the board. The program would be student driven, with participants solving problems of their choosing. New to Tomahawk this year, Huhta said she taught a similar course in Wausau. The Board approved the request unanimously. Administrator Terry Reynolds provided the board with a brief update on their ongoing Strategic Planning process. That undertaking began in August and is focused on establishing a vision and mission of the district. We've already seen public feedback with community conversations held earlier this years which established five focus areas or pillars. While they should get some feedback in the coming months, Reynolds says the entire process can take up to 3 years to get running smoothly. The board also held a brief legislative update, where they discuss bills being considered down in Madison that would affect school districts. Among the highlighted legislation was a proposal to expand the opportunities for retired teachers to come back to the classroom, but with the caveat that the bill would raise the retirement age. Board member Curt Powell discussed a proposal to provide funding for mental health. While he stressed multiple times that he was in favor of increased mental health, he cautioned against legislative proposals that provide categorical aid. He was concerned that aid would simply be reallocated from general funding in what he called "shuffling the deck." The board also discussed several bills in Madison that would affect schools. That included the proposal to expand the opportunities of retired teachers to come back to work, while also raising the retirement age. Another was to provided dedicated funding for mental health. Powell cautioned against legislative proposals that provide categorical aid, but simply take the money from the unassigned general funding calling it a "shuffling of the deck." A final piece of new legislation would protect youth sports officials, umpires, and referees. It would be a misdemeanor to harass, intimidate or attempt to influence a sports official. According to the bill, punishment could include community service, anger management and fines. Here in the Northwoods, schools have had difficulty in finding officiating. While the Tomahawk School Board conversation was brief, it was inferred as a positive development. The WIAA did release an official statement Tuesday supporting the measure.
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Keep Paths Clear of Snow for Mail Carriers
Published on 12/10/2019 under News With Christmas cards and packages being exchanged, December is one of the busiest months for postal workers. The Tomahawk Post Office is urging residents to take a few steps to ensure safety for their carriers this winter. We recently heard from Tomahawk Postmaster Scott Klinger. He says whether you receive door delivery or have a mailbox, carriers need a clear, safe path. First, for curbside boxes, remove enough snow to allow the delivery vehicle to not only approach the mailbox, but also drive away without having to reverse the vehicle. In addition to snow removal during the winter, Klinger also says that the mailbox should be clear of other obstacles such as garbage and recycling cans and other parked vehicles. Klinger says that letter carriers need a walkway clear of snow and ice, including steps, for door deliveries and packages. And he also reminded residents not to forget overhangs where icicles can build up above the doorway.
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Nominees for Local Office Have a Month to Appear on the Ballot
Published on 12/10/2019 under News The ballot has been slow to shape up here in the City of Tomahawk ahead of next spring's election. Starting last week, candidates are now able to circulate nomination papers for local office. As of Monday morning, City Clerk Amanda Bartz said no candidates had returned their papers. She did note that each of the incumbents had inquired about returning to their seats. The Tomahawk City Council has 9 members, with three up for election each year. Alders with expiring terms this cycle include: Pat Haskin, Dale Ernst, and Steve 'Ding' Bartz. Current Mayor Steve Taskay's current term also ends this spring. He was first elected in 2016. Bartz says that candidates have until January 7 to submit the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot. In addition to city races, the non-partisan spring elections also includes various positions in town government, school board and county board. Should a primary be necessary, that will occur on February 18. The general election will be April 7.
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Oldest Wisconsin Resident Dies in Merrill
Published on 12/10/2019 under News The oldest person in Wisconsin, who lived here in the Northwoods most of her life, has died. Charlotte Strehlow passed away at Bell Tower in Merrill over the weekend. She was 111 years old. According to her online obituary, Strehlow moved to Wisconsin in 1921, and lived here in the Northwoods, primarily Wausau and Merrill since 1931. Not only was Strehlow the oldest person in Wisconsin at the time of her death; she was the 22nd oldest person in the United States and the 76th oldest person in the world.
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Gypsy Moth Surveys Show Declining Population
Published on 12/10/2019 under News Several harsh winters and continued treatment appear to have slowed the spread of the gypsy moth. The Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection released the results of the 2019 gypsy moth trapping. They said 52,000 moths were caught in the nearly 11,000 traps this summer. That's down from 76,000 in 2018, and 109,000 in 2017. Trapping coordinator Michael Falk says that severe winter cold can kill gypsy moth eggs, especially with a lack of insulating snow. We've experienced those conditions in each of the last two winters. This is coupled with the ongoing aerial treatments. The agency noted that trapping isn't used to control the invasive population, it shows where locations and populations to determine where aerial treatments will take place. An interesting note, they said the traps only catch male gypsy moths because females don't fly. Falk did caution that, while the current numbers are on the decline, the gypsy moth populations can rebound quickly. What You Can Do to Help Reduce Gypsy Moths From now until spring, people can help reduce the population of caterpillars next year by treating or removing egg masses. They can be found on trees, vehicles, fences, playground equipment, buildings, or any outdoor item. A gypsy moth egg mass is tan, oval or bulb-shaped, and a little bigger than a quarter. It is flat with a velvety texture and can hold 500 to 1,000 eggs.​ Egg masses can be removed with a putty knife, stiff brush or similar hand tool and placed into a container of warm, soapy water. Let soak for a few days and discard in the trash. Horticultural oil also can be sprayed onto egg masses. Simply crushing the egg masses will not destroy them. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection: Gypsy Moth Caterpillar)
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DNR: Spring Turkey, 2020 Bear Tag Deadlines
Published on 12/10/2019 under News The DNR is reminding bear and turkey hunters to submit their permit applications for next year's season. According to a news release from the DNR, those permits must be submitted by midnight Tuesday. The Bear Advisory Committee is currently in the process of determining the 2020 quotas. The DNR says that due to the high interest, a bear hunter typically must apply for several years before receiving a permit in most management zones. The actual season runs from September 9 through October 13. As for the spring turkey season, this year applicants may choose up to two time period and zone combinations that they would like to hunt. As a third choice, applicants may choose one zone in which they will accept a harvest authorization for any time period. The turkey application period includes the youth hunt, and the season for hunters with disabilities. Applications and permit status are available by signing on to the DNR's online licensing portal.
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Tomahawk Police Report
Published on 12/10/2019 under News Officers stopped a 15 year old driver on an ATV. He was warned for a lack of proper registration. After previous warnings, his guardian will also be cited for allowing a minor to operate on a street without supervision. In a separate incident, an officer stopped an ATV for a failure to display a rear license plate and operating off of a designated route. She'll also have to provide proof of ATV certification. Officers assisted a state trooper in a traffic stop. The trooper took in the driver for operating while intoxicated. The passenger, a 32 year old Colgate man was cited by Tomahawk police for possession of THC and Drug Paraphernalia. Officers are investigating a hit-and-run crash that occurred in a business parking lot early Sunday. The owner of the parked vehicle was able to provide a description of the vehicle that left the scene.
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Snowmobile Clubs Preparing Trails, Remind Riders to Stay Off
Published on 12/09/2019 under News While the early snow cover may have riders eager to hit the trails, local clubs are reminding snowmobilers to stay off at this time. We heard from a number of local clubs over the past several days. Each passed along similar messages that riders need to wait until the trails to officially open for the season. This is due to a number of reasons including ice safety, slushy areas, and a soft base, as well as the ongoing muzzle loader deer hunting season. The clubs and their members aren't just playing the waiting game, many spent the weekend out preparing the trails. This includes packing down the snow so the slush and water underneath can freeze, and removing debris and low hanging branches. Despite the wait, the trails are well-ahead of last season. Last year most trails were without snow through mid-December, and Oneida and Vilas County trails opened December 29.
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Merrill's Bridges Virtual Academy Earns High Marks
Published on 12/09/2019 under News An online school in Merrill earned top marks in their recent rankings. In addition to the traditional classroom, the Merrill School District offers Bridges Virtual Academy (BVA). It's one of 40 virtual charter schools in the state, 18 of which serve students in grades K-12.  In the school report cards released by the state last month, not only did Bridges earn an 'exceeds expectations' grade; it also had the highest score in the state among virtual charter schools. This is the third consecutive year, the school earned the achievement.   John Hagemeister is the director at BVA. He says, "The deep relationships that we have developed with our students and their families have allowed for this success and allowed us to demonstrate that quality education can be very successful in the virtual setting." The Merrill School District established Bridges Virtual Academy in 2012.
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Lincoln County Man Targeted with Scam Starting with Text Message
Published on 12/09/2019 under News A Lincoln County man was victimized with a twist on recent scams that also included a text message. According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Report, the man, rather than a phone call, first received a text from the scammer. The text asked about a "financial transaction labeled as suspicious." The man responded to the scammer that he didn't make the purchase. The Sheriff's Office says after responding, the man immediately received a phone call telling him the incident was being investigated as fraud and requested his banking information. The man complied and shortly thereafter, nearly $500 was withdrawn from the man's account at an ATM located in New Jersey. Deputies continue to investigate.
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