Weekend Storm Causes Flooding, Power Outages, Fire in Northwoods
Published on 06/18/2018 under News A stationary weather system parked over the Northwoods this weekend dumped up to a foot of rain in some areas and caused numerous issues including flash floods and power outages. Here in the Tomahawk area, we received another inch and half of rain overnight Sunday leaving the weekend total at more than 8 inches. Heavier totals were reported in the Superior and Ashland areas with as much as a foot of rain. That caused a number of road closures with heavy damage including washed out culverts and missing segments of road The saturated ground and some gusty winds have downed a number of trees, resulting in power outages as well. Wisconsin Public Service reports restoring more than 14,000 customers overnight, and were working on around 500 scattered outages at the start of our Sunrise Show. As they do in these incidents, WPS reminds people to stay at least 25 feet from downed power lines. And in the coming days, boaters should also be aware of stronger currents on area rivers and reservoirs. _____ The weekend storms may have lead to a garage fire in Vilas County. Fire crews were called to a property on Alder Circle in Manitowish Waters on Friday. Responders arrived to find a garage on the property fully engulfed. The initial investigation showed that the fire may have started from a lightning strike. The garage is a total loss, no injuries were reported according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.
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Merrill Man Reaches Plea Deal in 2016 Fatal Stabbing of Father
Published on 06/18/2018 under News A Merrill man has pleaded guilty in the death of his father in 2016. Tyler Monroe reached an agreement with prosecutors on Friday in Lincoln County Court. According to court records. Monroe entered a guilty plea to a single count of second-degree intentional homicide. In exchange, several other charges will be dismissed including hiding a corpse and a felon in possession of a firearm. Investigators say that 55 year old Kevin Monroe was stabbed more than twenty times in his home in January of 2016. He had been dead for more than a week before his body was discovered. Tyler Monroe was arrested on a probation hold after a vehicle crash a short time later. A motive still has not been provided. A sentencing hearing was not immediately scheduled.
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Tomahawk School District to Re-Examine Graduation Speech Guidelines
Published on 06/18/2018 under News So often the message of a speech calls for conversation or change. Here in Tomahawk, it was a speech not given, that did just that. As we learned last week, Tomahawk graduate and co-valedictorian Cait Chirstenson chose not to present her graduation speech rather than make suggested changes to follow in the tradition of past THS speeches reflecting on positive memories and giving thanks to those who supported their educational journeys. Over the weekend, we heard from Tomahawk High School Principal Ryan Huseby. He said in that statement:In hindsight, we missed an opportunity to break from tradition and provide our graduating students and their families with a new message.  We would like to apologize for any frustration and disappointment that has been felt by the student, her family and our community. We value the student-educator relationship we have developed with the student over her several years at our school, and we are sorry that this situation may have impacted that in a negative way.   As administrators, we have focused on the value of listening to students as they have made their voices heard—especially over the past year. We have heard, loud and clear, the discussion taking place surrounding this student's decision. As we approach the next school year, we will continue to evolve to best support the academic and social growth of all our students. This situation has taught us that we should continue to evaluate when it's time to break from tradition and allow students to express themselves in different ways than we have come to expect in the past.
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Council Grounds Friends Group Holding Photo Contest
Published on 06/18/2018 under News The Council Grounds State Park is asking its users to submit their favorite snap shots for a friendly photo competition. The contest is organized by the Park's Friends Group and is now in its 4th year. The organizers say that they'll judge in four different categories this year: plants, wildlife, landscapes, and people using the park. They'll accept photos taken in the park between August of 2016 and this year's contest deadline on July 31. Top photos in each category will receive gift certificates. Contest rules can be obtained a number of ways including at the park station, the Merrill Chamber Office, and online by visiting the DNR website and clicking on the Council Grounds page. The Park and the Friends group encourages everyone to come enjoy the Park and remember to bring your camera.
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Lincoln County Sheriff Report
Published on 06/18/2018 under News A vehicle rollover lead to the arrest of a 32 year old Merrill man. That accident happened Thursday afternoon, around 3:30pm, on State Road 107 near County E in Rock Falls. Deputies found the man had been consuming alcohol which violated his probation. The man was taken into custody as a result. A single vehicle crash near Tomahawk resulted in a 35 year old Tomahawk man being cited for drunken driving. A deputy found the vehicle disabled in the construction zone on County S early Saturday morning. The driver was passed out behind the wheel. As a result the man was cited for a first offense OWI. The number of vehicle/deer crashes remains high with another 14 being reported this past week on Lincoln County Roadways. Deputies also reported a hawk was struck by a vehicle over the weekend. The bird was brought to the Raptor Education Group in Antigo for treatment.
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Oneida County Sheriff Seeks Information on Sexual Assault in Pelican
Published on 06/18/2018 under News Investigators in Oneida County are asking for the public's help to identify a suspect involved in the sexual assault of an elderly woman earlier this month. The incident occurred on Sunday, June 10th. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says an unidentified man entered a home in the Town of Pelican, where they say he physically and sexually assaulted the home's occupant and then left the scene. No description of the suspect was made available, and deputies say no further information will be released at this time.If you have any information on this incident, you are asked to contact the Oneida County Sheriff's office.
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State Allocates Additional Infrastructure Funding Including Spirit River Bridge Near Tomahawk
Published on 06/15/2018 under News During a special session yesterday, the state's Joint Finance committee voted on additional spending for infrastructure projects including a bridge project here in the Tomahawk area. Early this month the Department of Transportation received $227 million in federal funding. This was $67 million more than anticipated, and therefore budgeted. Local Representative Mary Felzkowski, who sits on the finance committee, says the funding not only enabled them to move up an I-94 project in southern Wisconsin, but to fully fund the Local Bridge Improvement Assistance Program. One of the bridges in that program is the County E Bridge over the Spirit River in Lincoln County. She says, "Once improved, this bridge, which is currently diminished in its capacity, will be a tremendous benefit to a variety of local industries such as logging, paper and countless other small local businesses." There were 70 bridge projects around the state in that program at this time. We expect Mary to join us on the Friday morning forum a bit later this morning which we'll also post in our audio center.
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Tomahawk Community Awards Banquet Honors Local Service, Leadership
Published on 06/15/2018 under News This past weekend a number of Tomahawk area residents were celebrated for making the community a better place. The Tomahawk Leader, along with Inshalla and Outboards hosted their annual Tomahawk Community Awards Banquet. This is the 63rd year for the annual awards recognizing the service and leadership of the often "unsung heroes". The banquet actually began with a standing ovation for the members of the Tomahawk High School Softball team which finished as runner-up in the state tournament. As for the winners, Don Richert was presented with the 'Distinguished Service Award.' The Nokomis Fire Chief has been instrumental in a number of programs with the department including fire outreach education with children and training with neighboring agencies. In addition to balancing his fire service with his regular job, Richert is also active in the scout program. Tomahawk Elementary Teacher Linda Van Strydonk received the 'LEADERship Award.' Like Richert, Van Strydonk balances a career with community work, hers with the Ties that Bind Us and was recognized for her dedication to both. Speaking of the Ties that Bind Us, the organization was presented with the 'Tomahawk Leader Community Appreciation Award.' The Foundation, started in 2013, provides support, information, funding and camaraderie for Tomahawk residents diagnosed with cancer. Long time city employee John Cole received the '2018 Employee of the Year Award.' In the past few years, Cole took over the Public Works Director position where he continues to serve the city. Matt Turkiewicz was Outstanding Youth Leader. Like so many of the other awards winners, the THS grad has juggled a number of activities including: athletics, band, academics, and volunteer work. He also found enough time to achieve his Eagle Scout status. Wrapping up the awards, Katie Carlson was named Kinship Mentor of the year. She has been paired with her kinskid for 7.5 years. Check out the June 12 edition of the Tomahawk Leader for an in-depth look at the contributions these individuals accomplished, and more importantly gave back to the community.
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Tomahawk School District Names New Elementary Principal
Published on 06/15/2018 under News After a short and focused search, the Tomahawk School District has found their new elementary school principal. Superintendent Terry Reynolds says the district has selected Guy Steckbauer. He has spent the last 17 years as a principal in the Wittenberg Birnamwood School District. Reynolds called Steckbauer "a great addition to the staff and the district." Steckbauer was selected from a pool of around 45 applicants. Last week the search committee interviewed 5 finalists. He'll be taking over for Penny Antell, who accepted a position in the Wisconsin Rapids School District earlier this spring. She has remained with the district through the conclusion of the school year and summer school.
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Nicolet College Hosting Law Enforcement Open House
Published on 06/15/2018 under News Nicolet College is hosting an open house this afternoon for those interested in a career in law enforcement. Nicolet Criminal Justice specialist Tim Gerdmann says today's event is also for members of the general public who are curious about the program and the training they provide. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in some actual hands-on training scenarios taken straight from their curriculum. That includes mock traffic stops and a computerized use-of-force simulator. Nicolet currently offers 4 criminal justice credentials from a 1 year corrections specialist diploma to the 720 hour Law Enforce Academy. They'll have current students, graduates, staff and representatives from local law enforcement on hand to answer questions. That cookout is from 4 until 7 at the Birchwood Center on the Nicolet Campus.
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Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Announces 2018 Invasive Species Strategy
Published on 06/15/2018 under News The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest continues to tackle invasive species, with a new webpage, as well as a newsletter, dedicated to controlling non-native plants. Currently, 46 species of non-native invasive plants have been found in the Forest and are considered species of immediate concern because they are invading native plant communities. Among the higher priority species to target are those that invade forested areas and include garlic mustard, buckthorn and Asiatic honeysuckle. Possible control methods include cutting, pulling, and/or herbicide application. Leesha Howard-McCauley, Medford-Park Falls Ranger District environmental coordinator says, "The good news is that most of the invasive plant sites are relatively small in size. If response is quick, it might prevent the infestations from growing larger and moving into other areas." Forest botanist Marjory Brzeskiewicz acknowledged, "Plants don't recognize property boundaries." Because of that, the forest has been working with Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) groups in northern Wisconsin for more than 15 years.
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Two Charged with Threatening Physician's Assistant at Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua
Published on 06/14/2018 under News Two people are facing charges after being accused of attempting to hold a physician's assistant against her will in Minocqua earlier this week. According to the Minocqua Police Department, they received a panic alarm call to the Marshfield Clinic Tuesday afternoon at shortly before 5pm. Upon arrival, they were told that two individuals were causing a disturbance and weapons were involved. The complaint says that 70 year old Joseph Buza and 39 year old Jillian Buza cornered the provider and threatened her with a hatchet and a meat tenderizer. The Eagle River residents were taken into custody, no one was injured. The officers also discovered a loaded firearm in a bag belonging to the pair. Each was charged yesterday in Oneida County Court with charges of false imprisonment, attempted aggravated battery, and disorderly conduct. Joseph Buza was also charged with a misdemeanor for illegally carrying a concealed weapon. At yesterday's initial appearance, bond was set at $250,000 for each individual. They'll be back in court again next week.
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Prentice Among First Recipients of School Safety Grants
Published on 06/14/2018 under News Earlier this year, the state made $100 million available for school safety initiatives. Yesterday, the first round of recipients was announced. The announcement came from the Department of Justice. Overall, 20 schools will share $1.3 million to install security upgrades on their campuses. Among the recipients, the Prentice school district here in the Northwoods. The school will receive a little more than $81,000. Stevens Point was the largest recipient in this round, more than a quarter million dollars. The various grants applications include upgrades such as covering windows and doors with shatter resistant film, upgraded entries, new surveillance systems, purchasing campus trauma kits, and additional staff training. At this week's school board meeting, Tomahawk Superintendent Terry Reynolds confirmed that the Tomahawk School District has submitted a request for funding through the program, as well.
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Merrill Fire Department Holds Badge Pinning Ceremony
Published on 06/14/2018 under News While both have been on the job for the past few weeks, the Merrill Fire Department will ceremonially welcome their two newest members. Today, the department will hold a badge pinning for Daylan Enkers and Josh Klug. Enkers joined the department last week as a firefighter and paramedic. The DC Everest graduate has served in several agencies in Marathon County over the past few years, including as a critical care transport paramedic with Aspirus MedEvac. Meanwhile Klug, a Merrill native and former Merrill firefighter, was named the Fire Chief last month. His service in Merrill continues a family tradition which included his father. A photo on the Department Facebook page actually shows his father's jacket and helmet hanging in his new office. Following this morning's badge pinning at 11am, the agency will hold a Meet and Greet open house.
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DNR Accepting Public Feedback on ATV Proposals Including 2 Willow Flowage Parking Areas
Published on 06/14/2018 under News The DNR continues to update management plans to accommodate expanded use of ATV's. They currently have a public feedback period open on three properties in the Northwoods region. The first two changes are in the Upper Wolf River Fishery Area and the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area. The changes would enable the department to provide ATV/UTV access on designated trails across short stretches. This would create linkages to larger regional trail networks. Meanwhile, the department also received requests to construct two parking areas at the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area: a small handicap parking area near the dam and a multi-use parking area at the far south end of the property to serve snowmobilers, ATV/UTVs riders, and boaters. These small additions to the property will be addressed through a variance to the existing master plan. They do have a pair of open house meetings planned next week, including one in Antigo. Otherwise people can also enter the keywords property planning on the DNR website which links to an online questionnaire. Feedback is due back by July 10.
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