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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/14/2017
- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you what happened at the preliminary hearing for a man accused of accidently shooting a man in Eagle River while showing off a new gun.

And Rhinelander's homeless shelter got an extra boost this month with new generous donations from 2 organizations. We'll tell you how much the grants are and who gave it to the shelter.

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





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IRMA - Until Thursday, we never got an inside look at Lincoln Hills School and Youth Prison. We have heard from Lincoln Hills line staff and the Department of Corrections, but never were able to see the facility. 

Thursday the DOC held a guided media tour of the school and living units. Newswatch12's Rose McBride has been following the stories that come out of Lincoln Hills for months now, and she went on that media tour. 

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RHINELANDER - After a year of hearings, arguments, and appeals, Marshfield Clinic finally got what it wanted on Thursday afternoon.

The Oneida County Board of Adjustment granted a permit for Marshfield Clinic to build a 12-bed, $35 million hospital in Minocqua.

Marshfield Clinic Regional Medical Director Dr. William Melms said construction would likely begin in spring.

"We are absolutely elated with the decision. We are very pleased," Melms said after the meeting.

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RHINELANDER - It costs nearly $240,000 to run Rhinelander's homeless shelter every year. 

Frederick Place got an extra boost this month to help cover those costs with two grants totaling $8,000.

"With our just shy of $240,000 annual operating budget, we typically only get $40,000 from the state and federal government. So we are raising that $200,000 every single year," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic. 

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RHINELANDER - This week's snowfall started a lot of winter activities here in the Northwoods.

One Rhinelander resort was finally able to prepare its ski and snowshoe trails.

"It's really pretty simple, try not to hit any trees," said Holiday Acres Resort trail groomer Pete Zambon.

Zambon has aspired to be a trail groomer since he was a kid riding on the back of his dad's snowmobile.

"[I would] ride on the back of the snowmobile with him back in the day and it was kind of something I aspired to be… the guy driving the snowmobile," said Zambon.

Pete's dad, Kim Zambon owns Holiday Acres and has spent a lot of his own time grooming the trails too.

"Often I think back to those times when we kind of hacked through the woods. It was fun," said Kim.

But after taking the reins from his dad, Pete quickly learned this job was made for him.

"My motto is attitude of gratitude," said Pete.

However, there are some dangers that come with it.

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RHINELANDER - 50,000 twinkling lights will bring holiday cheer Hodag Park in Rhinelander Thursday night.

"Lights of the Northwoods" is a drive-through light show packed with more than 32 individual displays.

Vice President Shawn Will says he's excited and a bit nervous to officially share the display tonight.

Those nerves have nothing to do with the amount of snow we got.

"I was thinking as the snow was flying and I was looking at the lights I'm like, 'This is going to be like one of

those Hallmark movies we watch all the time!' It's really going to be pretty on the lake here with the lights

shining off the snow," says Will.


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MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life.
"It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury.
Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time.
"When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury. 

Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill.
"As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi.
After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change.

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MERRILL - Taxpayers will need to decide if they want to pay more to support the Merrill Area Public Schools.

Wednesday, the school board voted in favor of a four-year referendum for $2.5 million dollars

The district faces a nearly $2 million operating deficit for next school year.

It has used savings to keep the school running for the last few years.

The priorities of the referendum will be enhancing the school's fab lab, addressing maintenance issues, and attracting and retaining high quality teachers and administration.

Wednesday the school board also reviewed budget options if the referendum does not pass.

The referendum question will be on the April ballot. 


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