'Raise Your Voice' Walk Promotes Mental Health in Merrill Published on 05/03/2021 under News Based on turnout, a new mental health walk in Merrill can be deemed a success.

On Sunday afternoon, the Merrill Raise Your Voice Club hosted their first annual Raise Your Voice awareness walk. The student-run organization has a goal of ending stigma around mental health, advocate for change, share resources and support others.

Yesterday's walk coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month. Participants were able to choose one of two lengths, 1 mile or 2.5 miles with segments lined with painted rocks and chalked sidewalks carrying inspirational messages. In addition to the event T-Shirts, participants were given informational packets on mental health.

Merrill businesses even got involved allowing students to paint their windows with mental health themed messages.

The turnout even surprised the organizers with more than 200 walkers. Proceeds from the walk will go towards Tyler's Playground, a play area along the Riverbend Trail named in honor of a student who died by suicide.

In addition to the walk, the students are also planning on bringing other awareness efforts to campus this week.

In Other News

Lincoln County Highway Commissioner Announces Summer Project List
Published on 05/14/2021 under News With the road construction season picking up, Lincoln County has laid out their preliminary plans for the summer. Lincoln County Highway Commissioner John Hanz announced several summer projects including a bridge repair, road reconstruction and chip sealing. The largest project will be a deck repair of the Wisconsin River Bridge between County E and Highway 107 in the Town of Rock Falls. That work is expected to begin in June or July. Hanz anticipates the road will be closed for approximately 30 days during the work peroid. In the second half of the summer, crews are expected to work on several pulverize and pave projects east of Tomahawk. That includes 6.8 miles of County A in the Towns of Harrison and King, along with a 1.4 mile stretch of County H between A and D in the Town of King. In mid June, crews will work on chip sealing more than 30 miles of roads primarily in southern Lincoln County.•County CCC (1.98 miles)•County JJ (5 miles)•County C (7.87 miles)•County M (12.59 miles)•County R (4.43 miles) More detailed information on these projects, including start dates and specific closures, will be released as the work approaches.
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Hatchets Sports Recap - Thursday
Published on 05/14/2021 under Sports SOFTBALL: The Tomahawk Varsity Softball Team scored 9 runs in the first inning, 3 runs in the second inning, and 8 runs in the third inning to blow by the Lakeland T-Birds on Thursday night 20-4 in 3 innings. Maddie Marino went 4 for 4 with two doubles and two singles. Mackenzie Scholz held the T-Birds scoreless in the second and third innings after giving up 4 runs in the first inning. The Hatchets have won 3 games in a row.  The Hatchets will play in the Monroe Invite this weekend, with the first game starting at 9:00am on Saturday morning.  The Hatchets JV Softball Team beat Marathon 24-14 on Thursday night.  TRACK AND FIELD: The Tomahawk Girls and Boys Track and Field Teams competed in the Rhinelander Invite on Thursday afternoon. The Girls placed 3rd out of 7 teams, and the Boys finished 6th out of 7 teams. GIRLS FIRST PLACE FINISHERS: 4x800m Relay - Morgan Hansmann, Rachael Reilly, Robin Schmidt, Macey Mann3200m Run - Rachael Reilly BOYS FIRST PLACE FINISHERS: 4x800m Relay - Drew Bolder, Hunter Borchardt, Alex Norman, Noah Buckwalter800m Run - Drew BolderPole Vault - Ethan Liebnitz GOLF: The Hatchet JV Golfers competed in a nine hole GNC Meet at Riverview Golf Course on Thursday afternoon. The JV Golfers placed 6th out 8 teams. Owen Dickrel led the Hatchets with a score of 43. Gavyn Palmer shot a 57 and Taje Casey shot a 59. 
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Recycling Fishing Line to Protect Wildlife
Published on 05/14/2021 under News A tangled line for anglers can be a nuisance, but for animals fishing line can be life threatening. As more people are hit the water to fish this summer, officials are reminding anglers to properly dispose of their discarded fishing line. Monofiliments can last for up to 600 years in freshwater, meaning a threat for generations. Wildlife rehab centers frequently treat diving birds and other animals that become tangled or ingest the line. Of course, lines should never be discarded in the water or left on shore. Even line tossed into an open garbage receptacle can can be picked out by scavenging birds. Rather than throwing the line in the garbage, there is a growing trend to recycle it. Specialized recycling programs melt the line into plastic pellets that can be turned into tackle boxes, spools, and fish habitat structures. Many lake organizations have established line recycling containers at their boat launches. The DNR provides instructions for those that would like to build their own using several sections of PVC pipe. They have additional information on their website.
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Elevated Fire Risk Continues in Northwoods
Published on 05/14/2021 under News In what is has been an extended wildfire season here in Wisconsin, the DNR is again warning of elevated fire risk. While the foliage is beginning to green up, the northern two thirds of Wisconsin is again at risk of wildfires due to temperatures, winds and a relative lack of humidity. As of Friday morning, our entire listening area is in the "very high" fire danger category. This week alone, the DNR investigated more than 50 wildfires around the state. Debris burning continues to be a leading cause of grass fires. Locally, crews were busy with more than a half dozen fires. There were two each in Lincoln and Taylor Counties. A fire in Oneida County burned approximately three acres. Up in Vilas County crews responded to three wildfires including one Monday that burned 13 acres.
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Gypsy Moth Trapping Begins this Month
Published on 05/14/2021 under News A state agency will be monitoring for gypsy moths in more than half the state's counties through the use of traps. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced this week, that they will be setting more than 10,000 gypsy moth traps across 47 Western Wisconsin counties. That includes Lincoln, Oneida, Taylor and Price Counties. Michael Falk is coordinating the program for the DATCP. He says, "The data we gather from these traps provides an estimate of the state's gypsy moth population and is used to plan for next year's spray treatment." It also helps with their Christmas tree and tree nursery inspectors. The traps are small green boxes tied to tree branches. The traps contain the scent of a female gypsy moth, undetectable to other insects, but attractive to male gypsy moths. They'll monitor the traps throughout the summer until August when the male moths stop flying. At this point the traps will be removed. Those monitoring the traps will wear fluorescent vests and carry identification cards. Each trap is labeled with a phone number that property owners can call if they have questions or decide they want it removed. The DATCP has additional information on their gypsy moth webpage.
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Electric Bike Rental in Eagle River Hosting Open House
Published on 05/14/2021 under News Over the years, electric bike technology has improved by leaps and bounds. A new rental store in Eagle River is looking to take advantage of the growing market, and Eagle Rivers impressive trail system. Electric bikes provide peddle assistance, allowing bicyclists to ride with as much or as little pedaling as they'd like. Depending on how much pedaling is done, the bike range is 20 to 40 miles. Mike and Kim Swisher began riding electric bikes in 2004 when they said the bikes were heavy and the batteries even heavier. As long-time motorcycle riders, they said the electric bikes provided them an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of the Northwoods. Fast forward 15 years, they founded Eagle Bikes last summer. Their fleet of rentals currently features 6 two wheel e-bikes and an electric tricycle. They have another six bikes on order that are expected to arrive in Mid-June. To kick off the 2021 riding season, Eagle Bikes is offering a free test ride demo event this afternoon. That'll be at their shop on West Pine Street from 1:30 to 4:30pm.
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Part 2: Tomahawk Park Pitch Features “All-Inclusive” Play Areas
Published on 05/13/2021 under News Yesterday we shared a new kids playground being proposed for Washington Park in Tomahawk. If the idea comes to fruition, it would add to a growing trend of inclusive or all-access playgrounds. Down in Merrill, the Optimist Playground opened in 2019 with many all-access play areas. As for the local proposal, Tomahawk Together pitched the plan to the Tomahawk Parks and Recreation Committee Tuesday as a starting point. Cathy Schmit explained that all-inclusive features were really important to their organization despite the increased cost. Their organization worked with Lee Recreation on the design. The Cambridge, Wisconsin-based company specializes in playground design, and has worked with a number of communities around the state on these types of projects. In addition to traditional slides, swings, and climbing structures, the Tomahawk proposal features numerous specially designed areas. That includes a serenity area for those with autism or those who simply need an area to wind down. The play surface is wheel chair accessible with a number of pieces designed for those with limited mobility. Schmit highlighted a music area that offers specially tuned chimes that play chords. With an actual train engine already showcased at the park, it's no surprise the playground design features a train piece as well. The preliminary design could still change. At Tuesday's meeting ziplines, a splash pad, and parent areas were raised as other potential designs that could be incorporated. The project is still in the earliest planning and fundraising stages with no current timeline.
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Covid Vaccine Update: Oneida County Reaches 50% Milestone
Published on 05/13/2021 under News Throughout the vaccine distribution process, Oneida County has been a leader not only in the Northwoods, but the entire state. Earlier this week, the county quietly reached a milestone, by surpassing half of the eligible population with at least one dose. As of yesterday's update from the Wisconsin Department of Health, the number was at 50.2%. Oneida County becomes the 7th county in the state to reach that 50 percent milestone. Two other Northwoods counties could soon join the list...Vilas County currently has 49.3% and Iron County at 49.9%. Lincoln County has been a bit slower in distribution, with 40.6% having received at least one dose. Most Northwoods Counties have reached the point where vaccine supply is ahead of demand. Lincoln County has been offering weekly drive-thru vaccines, while Oneida County partnered with Rouman Cinema for a vaccine clinic with free popcorn this week.
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Nicolet Summer Outdoor Adventure Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Published on 05/13/2021 under News The Northwoods has no shortage of outdoor recreation, and Nicolet College will once again offer a packed summer of activities. The school recently finalized their Outdoor Adventure Program, for it's 25th anniversary season. Program Coordinator Terry Rutlin says they'll offer more than 30 different courses. For those with looking to get physical, they'll bring back kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking. For those looking for some serenity, they'll have outdoor photography and the always popular mushroom hunting. Other offerings include: slacklining, primitive fire starting, and permaculture. Some courses are a few hours while others are day-long excursions. Rutlin pointed out a growing trend is incorporate food into day trips, such as a kayaking and campfire pizza course. Rutlin says, "Everything is geared toward giving people new outdoor experiences and creating the opportunity for individuals to learn new skills. All the way around it's a great way for people who share a common interest to get together to do something they really enjoy." Nicolet is still following covid safety protocols which does limit some of the class sizes. For a full list of classes and registration you can visit the Nicolet Outdoor Adventure webpage.
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THS Planning In-Person Graduation
Published on 05/13/2021 under News In just over two weeks, Tomahawk High School seniors will receive their diplomas. The district is finalizing details for a return to an in-person ceremony. Last year, due to the pandemic, the district opted to host a virtual graduation ceremony. While the presentation was well received, it lacked the time honored traditions that graduates are used to. This year, the district will offer a more traditional ceremony with limited attendance. Each graduate will be allowed four guests who will be seated in pods of four. The district has communicated the reservation process with students, that deadline is coming up Friday. As in the past, online viewing on the District's Youtube channel will be available for those unable to attend. The THS Graduation is scheduled for Friday May 28th. We'll, of course, have our traditional graduation coverage in the lead up to the ceremony.
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