THS Forensics Earns 11 Golds at State Festival Published on 04/15/2019 under News
The Tomahawk Forensics team traveled to Madison for the state festival over the weekend. They returned home to the Northwoods with an impressive 21 medals.

That haul included 11 gold, reserved for those earning a perfect score; 4 silver, and six bronze.

Gold medal winners include: Matthew Johnson and Natalie Reiter-Demonstration; Allison Schimdt-Farrago; Abigail Norman, Libby Peplinski & Kiana Callahan and Semra Marquardt, Jack McGovern, Martin Schimidt & Grace Kummerfelt-Group Interpretive Reading teams. Riley Clements also earned a gold in Poetry. It was her second gold at state.

Silver medalists included: Garret Hurst, Mary Voelker, Maura Koth, and Olivia Kiser.

Bronze medalists include: Brandon Hammon, Evan Ploeckelman, Annie Begotka, Emily Fondie, Emma Kane and Sydney Michalski.

(Photo: Gold medal winners: Front Row- Natalie Reiter, Semra Marquardt, Libby Peplinski, Kiana Callahan, Abby Norman, Riley Clements, Allison Schmidt; Back Row-Grace Kummerfeldt, Martin Schmidt, Jack McGovern, Matt Johnson)

In Other News

One Dead After Vehicle Strikes Tree, Catches Fire in Oneida County
Published on 06/24/2019 under News One person died in a single-vehicle accident in Oneida County over the weekend. According to the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, that accident happened Sunday afternoon at around 2:30pm in the Town of Sugar Camp. A 911 call initially reported the vehicle left County Highway H and struck a tree. The caller reported that that vehicle then caught fire. Citizen attempts to reach the driver were unsuccessful due to the blaze. Emergency personnel arrived on the scene a short time later to put out the fire. Officials confirmed the lone occupant of the vehicle died at the scene. The victim's name is being withheld pending notification of family. A number of local agencies assisted deputies on the scene. The Sheriff's Office continues to follow-up with assistance from the Wisconsin State Patrol.
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Small Grass Fire Contained in Merrill
Published on 06/24/2019 under News The Merrill Fire Department responded to a small grass fire over the weekend, but, with the help of some bystanders, it was contained prior to spreading. According to their weekend incident report, crews were called to the intersection of Lake Pesobic Road and Highway K. That happened Friday afternoon at around 12:30pm. Prior to the firefighters arrival on the scene, some nearby citizens were able to apply water to the area to put out most of the fire. Firefighters were able to extinguish the remaining hot spots and cool the ashes. No injuries were reported.
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Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Eyes End to 2016 Flood Repairs
Published on 06/24/2019 under News The effects of flooding in the summer of 2016 can still be seen in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, but crews are hoping to finish up most of the repairs this summer. Earlier this month, officials with the Forest went over plans to replace culverts and bridges, repair washouts, resurface roads and other road and trail repairs. District Ranger Mike Martin says, "We are excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are looking forward to having the majority of the permanent repairs completed this construction season." While they hope to minimize detours and delays, the repairs may still impact travel within the forest. They'll use social media and their website to update travelers on temporary closures. Martin says, "We appreciate everyone's patience as we have worked through our processes to get to where we are with the permanent repairs. We understand some are frustrated however, we are almost there in having all of the roads and trails repaired."
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Local Road Construction Update: Detour on 8/47 Roundabout Project Begins
Published on 06/24/2019 under News Road construction season is in full swing, and several ongoing projects will affect Northwoods travelers. According to the Department of Transportation, the Highway 8 and 47 project entering Rhinelander will encounter detours starting this week. As we've previously covered, crews will be making a number of improvements to that intersection, most notably adding a roundabout. During this stage of the project, travelers will not be able to cross the intersection. The detour will send travelers onto Kemp Street and Boyce Drive. The construction will utilize slip lanes and temporary traffic signals. The entire project is slated for completion by mid-October. The DoT does have a website dedicated to this project. _____ The DoT provided updates on a few other projects in the region... Crews will begin to work on improvements to Highway 64 in Langlade County. That work is being completed between 5th Avenue Road and County P. Hwy 64 will remain open with some single lane closures. Here in Lincoln County, crews will continue bridge maintenance on Highway 64 over the Prairie River in Merrill. They are currently working on the pier footings and rip-rap around the piers. This work should not affect traffic, but be aware of workers in the area. On Highway 86, west out of Tomahawk, crews are continuing to work on culvert installation. There may be single lane closures during this stage of the project, but the road is open to traffic. There is a planned full closure and full detour next month. And Lincoln County Highway crews will be working on chip sealing this week. Work will include: County Highways J, K, and O. The roads will be closed to thru traffic while the sealing is being completed, and drivers should anticipate delays. We expect a more detailed schedule in the coming days.
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DWD Secretary Praises Decision to Keep Blackwell Open
Published on 06/24/2019 under News Late last week we learned that the Blackwell Job Corp Center in Forest County would remain open, and support for that decision continues to pour in. After previously submitting comments seeking to preserve the facility, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman released another statement praising the decision to keep the facility open. He said, "(Thursday's) decision by the United States Departments of Agriculture and Labor to remain committed to the successful operation of the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers is great news for Wisconsin, our country, and countless youth who will be impacted as Blackwell continues to operate. Facilities like Blackwell provide a path to a rewarding career and life to some of our most vulnerable young people." He also thanked those who voiced support for the program including legislators and past graduates. Blackwell, and other facilities like it, provide technical job training skills for disadvantaged youths, age 16-24. One of the more noteworthy programs at Blackwell is their training in wildfire fire fighting. In addition to the students, Blackwell employs more than 50 people at the facility.
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Former SPASH Hockey Player Expected to Go in 1st Round of NHL Draft
Published on 06/21/2019 under Sports A Northern Wisconsin hockey player is expected to hear his name called in the first round of the NHL draft Friday evening. Mosinee-native Cole Caufield spent his freshman and sophomore years at Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) before moving on to the US National Development Team Program. There, the diminutive forward, at just 5'7", shattered the team goal scoring record. Experts have projected Caufield to be drafted in the top 15 this evening, and as high as the fifth overall pick. Caufield is committed to play for the Badgers next fall where he'll join older brother Brock. His father Paul Caufield remains the all-time leading scorer at UW-Stevens Point.
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Small Changes Can Help Pollinators
Published on 06/21/2019 under News By now, the decline of pollinator populations is becoming common knowledge, and officials are encouraging people to make minor changes around their properties to help. This week is actually National Pollinator Week and a number of state agencies are educating the public. Brian Kuhn is the director of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection-Plant Industry Bureau. He says, "If you have even a tiny lot in the middle of the city, you can help." While the focus is often on honey bees, the DNR says Wisconsin is actually home to more than 400 species of native bees. Other pollinators include moths, butterflies, some native fly species, beetles, and hummingbirds. Pollinators are crucial to the state's cranberry, apple and cherry crops. Officials also provided some tips to improve pollinator habitats...•Pollinators thrive with plant diversity, try to have at least three species of blooming plants throughout the season including native plants •Remove invasive plants and weed which can take over a yard •Allow dandelions or clover to bloom •Leave a segment of your yard uncultivated as pollinator habitat •Study any pesticides before applying them The state Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan offers a number of resources online.
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Blackwell Job Corps Center to Remain Open
Published on 06/21/2019 under News A Northwoods job training center for disadvantaged youths will remain open after significant opposition to closure plans. In late May, the Trump administration announced plans to close a number of Civilian Conservation Centers including the Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County. The facilities offer technical job training, such as wildfire fighting skills. Eligible participants include individuals age 16-24 who often come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yesterday, US Senator Tammy Baldwin shared the announcement that the closure plans have now been reversed. Sen. Baldwin was part of a bi-partisan faction of law makers pressing to keep these facilities open. She says, "Now the 55 workers there will continue serving Forest County and our youth with much needed job training. I am proud to have worked to win this fight for our Northwoods." Other agencies including the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development also lobbied to keep the facility open.
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Assembly Passes Bill Extending Lincoln Hills Closure Deadline
Published on 06/21/2019 under News MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly has passed a bill extending the deadline for closing Wisconsin's troubled youth prison. The Legislature overwhelmingly passed a law last year that requires the Department of Corrections to close the prison near Irma by Jan. 1, 2021 and create smaller state- and county-run facilities for juvenile offenders. The prison has been dogged by allegations of guard-on-prisoner abuse. But Gov. Tony Evers says that timetable is too aggressive and it will take longer to get the smaller facilities built. Republican Rep. Michael Schraa introduced a bill that would keep the prison open until July 1, 2021. The Assembly approved the bill Thursday on a voice vote with no debate. The proposal goes next to the Senate. Evers has said meeting the July deadline may be impossible.
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E-Cycling Event in Rhinelander Raising Money for Frederick Place
Published on 06/21/2019 under News Most homes have electronics sitting around gathering dust. Now two area non-profits will work together to ensure devices are properly recycled, while also raising some money for a good cause. The Good News Project is partnering with the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing to bring their E-Cycling collection to Rhinelander the next two days. People will be able able to drop off nearly all electronics including televisions, computers, old cell phones. Organizers note just about anything with a circuit board and/or electric cord. Many of the smaller items are free, larger items are $0.40 per pound. Details on items are available on the Good News Project website. The fee ensures the items are responsibly recycled, with proceeds going to the two organizations. In previous years, we've covered the work of the Good News Project. The program was created more than 30 years ago in the Wausau area with a goal of creating basic shelter for people in the Caribbean. NATH, of course, operates the Frederick Place shelter in Rhinelander. The Good News Project holds regular events in Wausau, as well as an event in Merrill in late summer. Last year they were happy to announce collecting and recycling 281,297 pounds of electronics. As for the Rhinelander collection event it's today from noon to 6pm and tomorrow from 9am to noon at the Charter NEX Films facility on Red Arrow Drive.
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