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Group Addresses Homelessness in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 01/18/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Group Addresses Homelessness in Lincoln County
MERRILL - Homelessness can be difficult to see by the naked eye in northern Wisconsin.

But it's here - just in a little bit different form than you might normally think of it.

"We don't see a lot of people sleeping under bridges. We're seeing mostly the folks who are transitioning from one place to another," says Art Lersch, a member of Lincoln Co. Homelessness Task Force.

There's enough of this type of homelessness for Lincoln County to form a task force.

It includes leaders from many non-profits, from the UW-Extension to the food pantry.

Its main goal is indentifying the causes of homelessness in the area and using grant money to help people in need.

Also, the task force wants to know just how many people are homeless in Lincoln County - which is easier said than done.

"This is one of the goals that this task force has - to try to put more numbers to this. But it's not only about numbers, it's describing what homelessness is like here in the county," Lersch says.

Finding permanent homes for people is especially important to the task force during this time of year.

"We don't want to see people transition when it's 10 degrees below zero. You don't want to see that any time of the year, but I think it especially hits home during the wintertime," says Lersch.

Besides nonprofit leaders, the task force wants your involvement in helping to fight homelessness.

They invite you to their next meeting on February 14 at 11:30am at HAVEN in Merrill.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Drs. Fosters and Smith in Rhinelander sells everything from leashes to liver treats.

But this past weekend the store teamed up with a man who dedicates his life to selling blankets for animals.

"I've always had a passion for pets," said Jeff Hopwood, a 25- year-old from Mt. Horeb who has some serious skills when it comes to making blankets.

"I wanted something that could help raise money for transports," said Hopwood.

About four years ago, Hopwood started making tie-blankets to sell to help animal transports.

"[Transporting is when you] take the animals to another destination and they keep going until they get to their forever home," said Hopwood.

Hopwood got the idea from his friend that told him about selling coats for pets.

"A spinoff would be blankets and it evolved so much bigger," said Hopwood.

It takes a few hours for Hopwood to finish one blanket. And on Saturday he had about 100 ready to be sold.

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ARMSTRONG CREEK - Around 9:12 a.m. on Saturday emergency responders assisted a 49-year-old Crandon man who accidentally shot himself while hunting in Armstrong Creek, according to DNR Safety Specialist Warden Mark Little.

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RHINELANDER - You can find movies, popcorn and candy at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander.

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Goldie Kalas was lucky enough Sunday to receive the 5,000th meal donated by the cinema since it started 22 years ago.

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EAGLE RIVER - For people who don't like to hunt, an event held tonight gave them another option. The first ever Widow's Wine Walk took place in downtown Eagle River.

Women could sample up to 15 of 24 different wines at 12 participating businesses. Along with the wine tastings, women who paid the $20 ticket also got coupons for each shop.

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SUGAR CAMP - Students at Sugar Camp Elementary School invited their grandparents to join them at school on Friday. Grandparents toured classrooms, heard poems and stories, and ate lunch with family.

Jenna Erikson is a sixth grader at Sugar Camp. Her grandparents drive two hours from Colby every year to experience Grandparents Day with her.

"We read our speeches, then I showed my grandparents around the room a little bit," Erikson said. "It's really fun, and it's just a good time."

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TOMAHAWK -
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32.  Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.

The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond.  He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses.  He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.

Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.




Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years.  Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.

Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him.  The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.

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