Officials Anticipate Busy Thanksgiving Travel Weekend Published on 11/24/2021 under News
Officials are encouraging safe travel ahead of what is expected to be a busy Thanksgiving holiday whether through the air or on the ground.

Nationwide, AAA is projecting a 13% increase in travel this year compared to last. That would bring the number of travelers to near pre-pandemic levels.

For automobile traffic specifically, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are the two busiest days on the road.

Here in the Northwoods, motorists should have some easy traveling. Most of the road construction has paused for the winter, and forecasters are calling for mild weather. With more cars on the road, officials are still encouraging motorists to slow down, buckle up, and put down your phone.

Motorists traveling in the Northwoods should also be alert for deer, as the number of vehicle/deer crashes has been on the rise in the month of November.

In Other News

Nicolet College 'Three for Free' and 'Nicolet Promise' Programs Returning
Published on 12/02/2021 under News With the spring semester right around the corner, Nicolet College announced that they'll be bringing back two popular programs that make a college education more affordable. The school announced the return of both their Three for Free and Nicolet Promise programs. The Three for Free program was created amid the pandemic to cover the tuition costs of three credits for students affected by the pandemic such as those who lost employment. Three for Free will be available for the upcoming spring term which opens January 5. As for the Nicolet Promise, the program covers the entire cost of tuition for qualifying students once financial aide is removed. The Nicolet Promise launched in 2016. The next cycle will be available for the fall semester. Katie Ourada, Nicolet admissions manager says, "While we are hopeful we are beginning to turn the corner on the pandemic, we're finding that many students are still struggling to pay for college." She notes, "These programs have helped many students in the past and we are delighted to still have funds available to help more students moving forward." For more information, eligibility, and applications you can contact the college at (715) 365-4493 or visit the following links: Three for Free Nicolet Promise
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City of Tomahawk Committee Meeting Recap
Published on 12/02/2021 under News From the pandemic to summer storms, we've seen numerous emergency situations over the past year. Tomahawk city officials are looking to reconvene their dormant disaster preparedness committee to review the city's response plan. The topic emerged out of Tuesday's health and safety committee. During the monthly fire department report, the committee members expanded the conversation to the city's preparedness in the event of an emergency. The unplanned conversation briefly touched on a number of topics such as types of emergencies that may affect the city to ways officials could communicate with residents in the case of an emergency. The city does actually have a disaster preparedness committee, though no one at the meeting could recall the last time the committee met. Four of the five seats on the committee are assigned for the mayor, the police chief, the fire chief and the city council president. The fifth seat is an appointed at-large member. While Lincoln County has an emergency response team and committee, the health and safety committee members participating in last night's discussion recommended the city's disaster preparedness team reconvene in the new year to review or update the response plan as necessary. That conversation will likely include the Lincoln County Emergency Management Director and touching base with the city of Merrill. _____ It was an otherwise typical night of committee meetings for the city with minimal action taken. The Health and Safety Committee briefly went over their year to date city celebrations budget. With the two largest events, Powwow Days and the Fall Ride, complete, that budget could have a small surplus. When that is the case, the public works department will use the funds for event related costs such as replacing city barricades. The Finance Committee met multiple times in November to prepare the budget. With that work largely complete, the committee met briefly to approve checks and hear updates on ongoing agenda items. With the council considering a Transportation Utility, the city will be holding some public informational meetings. Clerk Amanda Bartz said those would likely take place after the holidays. The only action item on the agenda was transferring funds between two of the city's TIF districts.
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Six Firearm Accidents, One Fatal During Gun/Deer Season
Published on 12/02/2021 under News Five people were injured and one killed in firearm accidents during the recently completed 9-day hunting season. The DNR provided that update during their gun/deer season summary earlier this week. The numbers are in line with recent seasons. There were three incidents opening weekend, none in our listening area. The DNR reported three additional incidents over the remainder of week. That included the previously reported fatal accident in Iron County involving a 65 year old hunter. Another hunting accident happened in Marathon County last Friday. According to the DNR summary, the 65 year old hunter was sitting in his stand. He said he was loading a pistol when his finger slipped off the hammer. The gun fired unintentionally and the man was struck in the ankle. In all, four of the six firearm incidents during the hunting season were self-inflicted. Injured parties ranged from 10 years old to 65 years old.
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NATH Hosting Stuff-A-Truck at Frederick Place Thursday
Published on 12/02/2021 under News A Northwoods temporary housing shelter is hosting a stuff-a-truck event this afternoon to resupply their household items ahead of the holiday season. The Northwoods Alliance for temporary housing, or NATH, is holding the event this afternoon outside of Frederick Place in Rhinelander. They're going to place the pickup truck outside of their shelter to both fill the truck and raise awareness of their needs. While people focus on their own gift giving during the holiday season, shelters like Frederick Place can be overlooked. In addition to providing supplies for current residents, they can also support residents as they transition out of the shelter. While general donations, including financial are welcome, today's event is focused on restocking household items and cleaning supplies. This includes garbage bags, ziplock bags, kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper, stamps, and sidewalk salt. Rhinelander GM/Rhinelander Toyota will be supplying the truck for today's event. It'll be parked outside of Frederick Place from noon to 6pm.
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DNR Hosting Virtual Public Comment on CWD Plan
Published on 12/02/2021 under News The DNR will be holding a virtual public input meeting on their Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan Friday morning. The DNR's CWD response plan guides the agency's approach to addressing chronic wasting disease in the state. As part of the 15 year plan, in effect through 2025, the DNR reviews goals and objectives every 5 years. The agency is currently in the process of completing the second review which includes tomorrow's public input. CWD is a fatal disease affecting the nervous system of deer and related animals such as elk and moose. CWD was first discovered in southern Wisconsin in 2002. While the disease is most prevalent in Southwestern Wisconsin, most counties in the state have been impacted. As for tomorrow's public comment hearing, those wishing to speak must register ahead of time. For those that'd simply like to watch, the DNR will be streaming the hearing on their YouTube Channel. The hearing is scheduled from 9am to 11am.
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Preliminary Harvest Numbers Down Statewide, Up in Northwoods
Published on 12/01/2021 under News The 9-day gun deer season is now behind us, and the preliminary harvest followed opening weekend trends. Registration numbers were down for the state as a whole, while hunters in the Northwoods saw an increase compared to last year. Statewide, preliminary DNR figures showed hunters registered 175,667 deer during the 9-day gun deer season. That's down 7.9% from last year. That total included ~85,000 antlered deer and ~91,000 antlerless deer. The year-to-year buck harvest was similar, meaning a drop in does accounted for much of the difference. While numbers were down statewide, hunters in the Northern Forest Zone saw a bit more success. As a whole, the 19 county Northern Forest region had a 9% increase overall. Oneida County hunters registered 1,536 deer, up 4.6%. Vilas County hunters saw an improvement of 31.6%, with 1,091 deer registered. Lincoln County hunters bagged 1,560 deer, 90 more than last year, a 6.1% increase. The DNR reported that fewer hunters purchased tags this year, about 1% down. There were six hunting-related firearm incidents during the 9 day season. One, in Iron County, was fatal. There are still opportunities for hunters to bag a buck during the muzzleloader and archery seasons. Overall harvest numbers will be reported in early January. County2021Antlered Deer Total 2021 Antlerless Deer Total Total 2021 Deer Harvest Last Year's Total Harvest Year-to-Year Percentage Difference Forest County 753 151 904 637 +41.9% Iron County 304 70 374 280 +33.6% Langlade County 1,113 490 1,603 1,644 -2.5% Lincoln County 1,017 543 1,560 1,470 +6.1% Oneida County 991 545 1,536 1,469 +4.6% Price County 1,081 966 2,047 1,703 +20.2% Taylor County 1,544 1,659 3,203 3,244 -1.3% Vilas County 736 355 1,091 829+31.6%
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Several Residents Displaced, Dog Dies in Merrill Apartment Fire
Published on 12/01/2021 under News Several residents were displaced and a family pet died in an apartment fire in Merrill early Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to the property on 2nd Street at shortly after 2:30am. Crews arrived to find the fire had spread to a second apartment. Dispatch informed responders that an occupant was trapped on the second floor. Firefighters were able to locate the woman at an upstairs window and used a ground ladder to rescue her. While all other occupants were able to safely evacuate the buildings, a dog did die during the fire. The fire department says significant damage occurred in the building. The preliminary investigation shows the fire likely began in the upper stairwell of the apartment. The cause of the fire remains undetermined and under investigation. According to the news release, the fire is believed to be unintentional. -Photograph provided by the Merrill Fire Department-
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Aspirus Changing Names of Former Ascension Facilities on December 1
Published on 12/01/2021 under News While they've been operating under the Aspirus banner for four months now, the former Ascension facilities in the Northwoods will adopt their new names today. Back on August 1st, Aspirus acquired 7 Northern hospitals and dozens of clinics, pharmacies and other facilities from Ascension. Since that date, those properties kept their traditional names. As of December 1, those facilities will adopt Aspirus branding. The names will be "Aspirus-Location-Type of Facility." For example, Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk will become Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital. The lone exception will be Howard Young Medical Center which is obligated to keep that name. In addition to the newly acquired hospitals, the change will also affect Aspirus Stevens Point Hospital, which will become Aspirus Plover Hospital to better reflect it's geographic location and avoid confusion with the former St. Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point. New signs are in the process of being installed to reflect the new names.
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Tomahawk Winter Parking Rules in Effect December 1
Published on 12/01/2021 under News Tomahawk City Parking Rules As the calendar has flipped to December, many communities have enacted their winter parking rules including Tomahawk. We spoke with Tomahawk City Clerk Amanda Bartz about the city's winter parking regulations which go into effect on December 1st. She says these rules are primarily put in place to help with the snow removal efforts by preventing overnight parking on city streets. This allows the plows to work freely in the early morning hours without having to go around or plow in vehicles in the street. While some area communities use odd/even dates on alternating sides of the street, the rules in Tomahawk are fairly straight forward. The ordinance reads: "On all city streets, no person shall leave nor park any motor vehicle between hours of 2:30am and 5:00am." Here in Tomahawk the winter parking rules begin today and run through March 15th. According to their city websites, Merrill's rules also go into effect today; Rhinelander's went into effect on November 15. Both Merrill and Rhinelander utilize the odd-even day parking.
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Rhinelander Man Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Stolen Ammo
Published on 12/01/2021 under News A Rhinelander man was sentenced to more than 8 years in prison following charges of possessing stolen ammunition. According to a news release from US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, Dustin LaPuma pleaded guilty to a charge of knowingly possessing stolen ammunition in October. At yesterday's sentencing, Judge William Conley sentenced the 27 year old to 100 months in federal prison. The charge was the result of a traffic stop in Oneida County last August. Officers recovered a firearm from a backpack. LaPuma initially said he did not know the weapon was stolen, however he later admitted to knowing that someone took the firearm and ammunition from the owner's vehicle. He says that individual offered him one gram of methamphetamine in exchange for taking custody of the stolen firearm and ammunition. At the sentencing, Judge Conley highlighted LaPuma's criminal history as a factor that supported a significant term of imprisonment.
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