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NEWS STORIES

Blight Being Removed And New Buildings Being BuiltSubmitted: 10/10/2012

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MERRILL - The City of Merrill plans on tearing down eyesores in the community.
But at the same time, the city plans to build a new building just a few blocks away.


"Badly peeling paint, bad roofs, broken windows, just a building that would look uninhabitable." Says Merrill City Administrator David Johnson.

Merrill, along with six other counties and cities, are receiving grants from the state to tear down the old and decrepit buildings in town. On the docket, is this building on Grand Ave.

Spreading like a virus, the "doctor" recommends demolition to save other buildings in the neighborhood. Johnson says plans are in place to tear it down, before the community goes down. "Once one goes down[in aesthetic terms], and property values begin to fall, people don't see any reason to invest in their own properties either. So you have this deterioration spreading through the entire neighborhood."

While some buildings in Merril are being demolished. Other buildings are being built. Like a new fire house which will be going up across the street from the post office. This building will also go hand in hand with a restructuring of the department.

"By only having one station and building a new central station, we'll still only have one station, and there is no longer a need for that level of supervision." Says Johnson, "So what we've done is collapse the organization somewhat."

The fire department will keep all of its employees, according to Johnson. But the two previous firehouses in town will come together underneath one roof with one new chief, David Savone. "Twenty-eight years of fire-fighting experience, he is a paramedic, and his ability to teach. The fact that he is teaching at a university presently speaks volumes about his abilities."

The building on Grand Ave. is expected to come down next week. While the city decides who will get the contract to build the new firehouse.


Story By: Ryan Michaels

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Garden tour Saturday to raise money for hospiceSubmitted: 07/25/2014

RHINELANDER - You can learn how to improve your garden while also supporting a Northwoods hospice provider.

The Master Gardeners of the North and Ministry Hospice will host a garden tour Saturday, July 26th. People will get to tour six gardens in Rhinelander's historic courthouse neighborhood.

Organizers hope the event will raise at least $2,000. That money will go to patients who are unable to pay for their services.

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Summer temperatures impact local toy salesSubmitted: 07/25/2014

RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.

That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.

"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.

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Wisconsin leads nation in producing mink peltsSubmitted: 07/25/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of mink pelts.

Some of those pelts come from the northwoods, with mink farms in the Tomahawk and Irma areas.

The state accounted for one in three U.S. pelts last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin produced 1.13 million mink pelts last year.

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Local children explore emergency fields at NTCSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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MERRILL - Instead of just dreaming of being a firefighter, some children in Merrill actually got to try it out.

The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau went to Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill on Wednesday to explore careers in emergency fields.

"They're going to do one scenario where they're actually going to get put up into fire gear. And they're going to hook up a hose line on a fire truck and they're going to put out a dumpster fire," says Bert Nitzke, the Executive Director of Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence.

Student's putting out the fire's say it was more difficult than it looked.

"It's kinda hard cause like the hose is pushing back really hard," says Jordyn Schalow, one of the students that took part in the training.

Students also got to experience EMS and police scenarios.

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Baldwin introduces bill to create more VA doctorsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

MILWAUKEE - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation aimed at increasing the number of doctors at Veterans Affairs medical centers and reducing wait times.

The Wisconsin Democrat said in a statement Thursday that the bill would create 2,000 residency positions over five years at Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide. Residency is the next step in doctors' training following medical school.

The bill also would require the VA to allocate the residency positions based on doctor shortages at its facilities and to prioritize training for specialists who are needed.

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Briefs piling up in gay marriage rulings appealsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

INDIANAPOLIS - At least 20 friend of the court briefs have been filed in appeals of rulings overturning gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, including one by a group of churches and another by 10 states' attorneys general.

The brief filed by the attorneys general argues that society should decide whether same-sex marriage is acceptable, not the courts.

Another brief filed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups representing four other churches argues that marriage between a man and a woman is God's will.

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Program focuses on possible climate change in the Northwoods Submitted: 07/24/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A warming climate could challenge many of the plants and animals that live in the Northwoods.

People in Boulder Junction learned about some of those risks at the Community Center Thursday night.

The speaker says even though we've had harsh winters these past two years, the lack of ice in the long term could impact fish, evaporation rate and skiing.

"Winter's kind of the limiting factor of the Northwoods. So when you reduce winter, those species that are adapted to being here in this kind of winter, they're going to move further north and actually follow where the winter is because, it's hard to believe, but a lot of species can't live in warmer temperatures," said Naturalist John Bates.

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