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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/24/2018
- We kick-off our Long Summer Weekend for another year. Today we're live in Merrill to bring you the following stories:


We show you some new equipment that the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is having its deputies use, and we talk with a Lieutenant and an area Chiropractor about why the equipment protects the officers' backs.

We'll show you the progress of a renovation project in a popular Merrill Park.

And we take you to a Merrill strawberry farm and ask the owner why he thinks the berry crops are behind this season causing berry pickers to wait a bit longer than usual.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more on our Long Summer Weekend tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.





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 LOCAL NEWS

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MERRILL - Many people know the Merrill as the City of Parks. One of the city's oldest parks will see some big changes before the summer's over.

Stange Park is currently in the middle of a $350,000 renovation project. 

The biggest change will be a new shelter where the old city pool was. 

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MERRILL - Three years ago, Lincoln County got good news.

The federal government planned to spend $1.5 million to help give rural parts of the county broadband internet access. It was part of Frontier Communications' agreement to accept $283 million for broadband expansion nationwide.

But then, the contractors, equipment, and better internet were slow to arrive.

Now, Frontier is finally at work, but plenty of people are still waiting anxiously for their high-speed connection.

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LINCOLN CO. - Lt. Andy VanderWyst has used a leather belt to hold his equipment for most of his 14 years working with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. 

"It takes its toll after sometime," said VanderWyst. 

Deputies had to carry an extra 15 to 20 pounds alone on their belt. Then take into account the long shifts they work. They constantly get in and out of their squad cars and sit down to write reports. 

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MERRILL - In the upper-right corner of a concrete slab, LeRoy Fischer looks with pride and awe at his name etched in stone next to family and friends.

"I never thought it would get this big," Fischer said.

Nearly 1,000 paver stones with names of veterans from all across Lincoln County form the basis of a memorial in St. Francis' section of Merrill's Memorial Cemetery dedicated to anyone who served.

"We're all one and united," Fischer said of all veterans, whether they served in wartime or not.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

FOX CROSSING - State justice officials say a police officer in the Fox Valley has fatally shot a suspect.

The Department of Justice says Fox Crossing police responded to a report of a man threatening people at Fritze Park Wednesday afternoon. Police say numerous people called about a man who they said was acting erratically and was armed with a knife.

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MILWAUKEE - Community groups in Milwaukee are criticizing police over newly released body camera footage of Bucks player Sterling Brown's January arrest.

The video released Wednesday shows Brown being confronted by an officer for parking his car across two handicap spaces in a pharmacy lot.

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WAUWATOSA - Use-of-force experts say a white Wauwatosa Police officer was justified in punching a black teen.

The incident occurred on May 11 at Mayfair Mall. Police got a call from mall security that afternoon requesting assistance with five disorderly men in the mall.

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LODI - Authorities say at least four people were hurt when a semi crashed into a school bus in south central Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says the crash happened Wednesday morning along northbound Interstate 39 near Lodi, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Milwaukee. The patrol says the bus was parked on the shoulder of the interstate when it was struck.

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