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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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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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RHINELANDER - As he suited up with a bit of swagger and his aviator sunglasses, all eyes were on Greg Fiss and his airplane Wednesday morning.  However, Fiss was quick to deflect the fame on the people watching him.

"They're the rock stars, we're just more visible," Fiss said of ground-based firefighters through his thick southern accent.

Fiss filled up his single-engine air tanker, or SEAT, with 800 gallons of water to show a group of DNR firefighters at Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport how he can help.  The native Kansan has flown a SEAT for 14 years, transitioning from agriculture crop dusting.

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HURLEY - Wayne Valliere, Sr. called Wednesday morning "a little battle" that was won. A judge found there's enough evidence to move forward in his son's homicide case. 
 
On New Year's Day, police found the body of Wayne Valliere, Jr. in a remote part of Iron County. 

Richard Allen, Joseph and James Lussier, Evan Oungst and Curtis Wolfe are all facing murder charges in the death of Wayne Valliere, Jr. 

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU -
Tuesday afternoon Tribal Police confirmed Antonio Monserrate Roche is the man found deceased last week in Pokegama Lake.

Once the Coroner's office determines the official cause of death, the Tribal Police Department will issue an update.

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