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TOP STORY

Tree of Hope helps families in MerrillSubmitted: 12/18/2014
MERRILL - Needy families in Merrill will have a better Christmas this year.

The Merrill Fire Department is sponsoring the Tree of Hope.

The tradition has been around since the 1950's. People can drop off gifts for families in need.

Many people in the community donated toys and money. The fire department went shopping on Tuesday to help.

"What we do with our Tree Of Hope money is we go and buy all the leftover tags on the trees to make sure all the kids that signed up for something, get something for Christmas," said Administrative Captain Michael Drury.

The department lights up bulbs on the tree in front of the department for every donation. Captain Michael Drury estimated that they will donate to more than 700 children this year.

He says it is all about giving back to their community.

"It makes me feel sad that there are that many people in need but it's a great feeling to know you are a part of making Christmas special for a lot of kids. When somebody is in need of help they call the fire department and we respond. I think it is in the DNA of the firefighters to help out in the community as well," said Drury.

The Merrill Fire Department gave the gifts away Thursday December 18th. You can still drop donations off at the fire department until Christmas day.




Story By: Jeanine Ilacqua

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 LOCAL NEWS
$30 million expansion part of Phillips-Medisize growth planSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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PHILLIPS - A high level employee at Phillips-Medisize Corp., based in Hudson, WI, calls the company's $30 million announced expansion part of the group's growth plan. VP/GM Global Commercial Division at Phillips-Medisize Rob Werge says the company's medical and consumer product lines are also growing.

The company has annual sales of nearly $600 million with around 75% of the total revenue coming from drug delivery, medical device and diagnostic products such as: disposable insulin pens, glucose meters, specialty inhalation drug delivery devices, single use surgical devices and consumable diagnostic components, according to company data.

Phillips-Medisize employs 285 people at its Phillips facilities, 1,400 people throughout Wisconsin, and more than 3,400 people at 14 locations throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and China.

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Study: Lincoln County professional departments well trained in hazardous materials, volunteer departments need workSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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MERRILL - Would responders in Lincoln County know how to best handle a hazardous material spill in their area?

It might depend on where that spill happens.

A study for a county committee found a big gap in how prepared certain departments might be to handle hazardous materials.

For the most part, professional fire departments and law enforcement are trained well to respond.

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Perfect for the holidays- Northwoods woman donates kidney to friend Submitted: 12/17/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - You might find all the joy you need this Christmas between two best friends.

Jean Neumann and Patty Bonack fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

They've shared a friendship for four years, but now they share something else.

Neumann found out she needed a kidney transplant in May.

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On the Wilderness Act's 50th anniversary, acquaint yourself with pristine areas of northern WisconsinSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - The first thing you notice in this forest is the silence.

That's the way it was meant to be at Blackjack Springs Wilderness east of Eagle River.

It's a venerable forest, to be sure, but the harvest here isn't timber.

"A Wilderness area," Bob Martini says, "what you're harvesting here feeds the soul."

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Two men arrested after police chaseSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MARINETTE - Two men accused of shooting at police now sit in jail.

They were arrested following a manhunt in the woods of northeastern Wisconsin.

Marinette County deputies closed a section of Highway 141, evacuated some homes and locked down two bars Wednesday night.

They searched for the armed men near Middle Inlet.

Things started when the Marinette County Sheriff's Department got word from police in Michigan that two wanted felons were staying at a hotel in Crivitz.

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Fee planned for access to ice cavesSubmitted: 12/18/2014

BAYFIELD - You'll pay five bucks if you visit the Apostle Island ice caves.

That's if we get the chance to see them again this winter.

The fee would pay for more staffing, portable toilets and medical needs.

138 thousand people visited the majestic ice caves last winter.

The park service spent more than 450 thousand dollars dealing with them.

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Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

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Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

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