Referendum Questions Highlight Spring Ballots in Northwoods Published on 04/06/2021 under News
While many have already cast an absentee ballot, today is Election Day in Wisconsin...

In addition to the typical non-partisan spring races, many voters in the Northwoods will also see referendum questions on their ballots. With state levy limits constraining local budgets, we have seen more frequent spending requests appearing on the ballot in recent years.

While school referendum questions are familiar, county spending requests are relatively new. Both Lincoln and Oneida Counties are pursuing that route.

Lincoln County is asking to exceed levy limits by $700,000 for a five year period to support the infrastructure budget. The County has been using a wheel tax to do the same. The registration fee is set to expire this year.

Up in Oneida County, supervisors placed a 10 year, $500,000 question on the ballot. They've also included a companion question, non-binding, which would direct the county board to re-allocate $500,000 from elsewhere in the budget if the referendum is defeated.

Meanwhile, the Tomahawk School District will ask tax payers to approve a 4 year, $3.25 million operational referendum. That's $250,000 lower than the question in November that was defeated by just 51 votes.

Voters may also see town positions, city council seats and school board races on the ballot, depending on where you live. You can visit to preview your entire ballot.

In Other News

Aspirus Langlade Hospital Using Hydroponic Garden, Solar Panels
Published on 04/13/2021 under News Aspirus Langlade Hospital in Antigo is continuing their sustainability mission with their latest efforts including hydroponic produce grown on site and new solar panels on the campus. The facility recently announced that they have completed the first harvest of their organic, hydroponic system which produced 18 pounds of lettuce. Director of Nutrition & Food Services Penny Matuszewski said, "It is an interesting process to see the produce grow... We are so pleased to have another sustainable, healthy product to offer in our café." The Fork Farms unit can yield 360 pounds of produce annually, with a variety of fruits and vegetables that can be grown in as few as 23 days. Betsy Kommers, Director of Marketing & Fund Development said, "This is such an exciting project and speaks to how we are transforming the ways that Aspirus Langlade Hospital and the Community Health Foundation partner to address some of the top health priorities in our community." The facility also recently installed solar panels to help power two of their buildings on the campus. Other efforts include expanded recycling, employee herb gardens and transitioning their vehicle fleet to alternative fuel or electric vehicles. According to a news release, goals for the 10 Aspirus system hospitals include reducing carbon emissions by 80% and reducing energy costs by 50%, both by 2030. Photo provided by Aspirus
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Severe Weather Awareness Week: Watches vs. Warnings
Published on 04/13/2021 under News All week long we're taking part in Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. Throughout the year, meteorologists work with the media to keep the public informed of developing weather conditions. We often hear of watches and warnings, but what do they mean? According to the National Weather Service, a watch generally comes first. It means that conditions are right for that particular alert. Watches are issued by storm prediction centers and generally cover large areas. When a watch is issued, you should prepare for the possibility of severe weather. When a warning has been issued, the National Weather Service says that particular weather event has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Warnings are issued by local forecast office using information from radar and trained storm spotters. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area. An advisory will be issued for less severe occurrences like frost. There are two mock tornado drills coming up on Thursday that will include both watches and warnings. We at WJJQ will be taking part in those drills.
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NWS Offering Storm Spotter Courses
Published on 04/13/2021 under News For those interested in learning more weather and becoming part of the process, the National Weather Service is offering a number of opportunities to become a storm spotter. Storm spotters are volunteers who help their community and the National Weather Service by keeping an "eye on the sky" during severe weather. Spotters communicate with National Weather Service staff with the latest weather information from their location when severe weather strikes. Due to the pandemic, each of the classes will be held virtually this spring with standard and advanced classes available. Each takes about 60 minutes to complete and allows the opportunity to learn and interact with NWS meteorologists. Officials say you only need to attend one session to become a certified storm spotter. There are a number of courses available over the next two weeks. We'll include a link for those interested in signing up.
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Wisconsin Conservation Congress Survey Period Open
Published on 04/13/2021 under News Outdoor enthusiasts have another opportunity to take part in the rules-making process on a variety of topics. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Department of Natural Resources launched their annual Spring Hearings Monday evening. Like last year, the survey will be conducted entirely online. Over the next three days, the public will have a chance to weigh in on more than 50 rules proposals and advisory questions on a wide range of topics. Nearly half the questions regard fishery rules, many lake specific bag limits and slotting rules. A handful of them regard lakes here in the Northwoods. Other topics covered in the survey include, but are not limited to: high capacity wells, shoreland protection,ATV Safety requirements, harvesting albino and piebald deer, and the length of various hunting and trapping seasons. We recently heard from local delegate Laurie Groskopf. She noted that Lincoln County had strong citizen participation last year and they hope that is the case again this time around. According to 2020 data, more than 500 residents participated. The survey went live at 7pm Monday evening and will remain open until 7pm Thursday. It's available on the DNR website.
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Tomahawk Fire Department 2020 Awards
Published on 04/13/2021 under News The Tomahawk Fire Department recently recognized several volunteers with their 2020 department awards. In year's past, they would have been presented over a celebratory meal. Due to Covid precautions, the awards were instead held in-house during their monthly meetings. It was Melissa Nieman awarded the 2020 Firefighter of the Year. We heard from Melissa this morning. She said, "Our entire department deserved an award in my eyes! It's been a long year." Two members were also recognized for their service time with Taylor Randall 10 years and Lance Powers 35 years with the department.
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Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week: 2020 Tornado Season
Published on 04/12/2021 under News As we well know, Wisconsin's weather can be unpredictable and this week is dedicated to some of the extreme weather emergencies we see in the Badger state. The state is observing Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness week. Over the next few days, we'll share what you need to know about Wisconsin's weather concerns. Dr. Darrell Williams is Wisconsin's Emergency Management administrator. He says, "Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are a frequent weather threat across the state each year, and it's important that people know what to do when the skies darken and warnings are issued." Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year. Last year, the state experienced 20. There were three in the Northwoods, two that occurred in Vilas County and another that crossed from Forest into Florence Counties. The three f-1 tornadoes were on the ground for approximately 16 miles combined. Fortunately no injuries were reported. Last year's tornado season was nearly 8 months long, the first recorded in March, the last on September 25. This past weekend also marks the 10 year anniversary of an F-3 tornado that touched down in Merrill. A bit later this week, on Thursday, we'll be participating in the statewide tornado drills. One will be held in the afternoon, another in the evening. Graphic provided by National Weather Service
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Public Input Opens for Seasonal Structure for Fall Deer Hunt
Published on 04/12/2021 under News Outdoor enthusiasts have another opportunity to participate in the process to set the season structure for this fall's deer hunting season. The multi-step process to establish the harvest goals and antlerless deer quotas has reached another public input period opening today. At their meetings last month, the County Deer Advisory Councils made preliminary recommendations for their respective counties around the state. Each county establishes their own goals based on their herd objectives. For example, here in Lincoln County, the Council recommended 1,000 antlerless deer as the quota. To reach that goal, they recommend 400 public tags and 3,600 private land tags. Over the next two weeks, the public will be able to weigh-in on the recommendations. That will lead to one final round of CDAC meetings in early May when councils will consider the feedback and finalize the recommendations to the Natural Resources Board. The preliminary recommendations and the public feedback forms can be accessed on the DNR's CDAC webpage. Separately, the DNR will open up their Wisconsin Conservation Congress Surveys at 7pm, as well. We'll preview that feedback opportunity tomorrow.
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Local Covid Vaccinations Numbers Continue to Rise
Published on 04/12/2021 under News Covid vaccination numbers continue to climb here in the Northwoods. As the Covid Vaccine roll-out continues, we saw several new partnerships providing additional opportunities and easier access to the vaccine. Last week, a community vaccination clinic in Wausau opened, while Marshfield Clinic began offering several walk-in vaccine locations. Those opportunities are boosting local numbers with several counties approaching half the population. Oneida County is up to 44.3% of residents having received at least one dose, and 30.7% have completed their vaccine series. Vilas County data shows 43% with at least one dose and 29 percent completely vaccinated. Lincoln County, in the first week of April, had it's highest numbers since the roll-out began with nearly 1,900. The County has 33.5% of residents with at least one dose, and 23% have completed their vaccines.
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Wisconsin Utility Disconnection Moratorium Ends Thursday
Published on 04/12/2021 under News For the first time in more than 18 months, Wisconsin residents may be at risk of utility disconnection starting later this week. Last month, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin voted to allow the state's residential disconnection moratorium to expire. That deadline is coming up on Thursday. The law prevents utilities from disconnecting residential power between November and April. Due to the pandemic, the PSC kept the moratorium in place the entire year. Wisconsin Public Service says disconnection is always a last resort. Via news release they said that less than 1% of customers are at risk of disconnection. They encouraged anyone behind on their bills to work out a payment plan. More customers may qualify for energy assistance this year through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). To apply online go to or to apply by phone call 1-800-506-5596, or go to or call 1-866-HEAT WIS to find out where to apply in person .
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Eagle River Man Sentenced for Phelps Robbery
Published on 04/12/2021 under News An Eagle River man involved in a robbery outside of a home in Phelps last fall received a 7 year prison sentence. Miles Krohn was back in Vilas County Court Friday for a plea and sentencing hearing. The 27 year old was one of three people arrested following an investigation into a robbery outside of a home in Phelps in November. The 79 year old resident said he was confronted by two masked individuals who struck him with hammer, took his money, and fled. Krohn initially faced 14 charges. According to court records, he pleaded no contest five: armed robbery, fleeing an officer, resisting an officer, domestic disorderly conduct and bail jumping. Judge Neal Nielson then sentenced Krohn to 7 years of initial confinement, followed by 5 years of extended supervision.
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