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NEWS STORIES

Group Addresses Homelessness in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 01/18/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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

PHILLIPS - Police want to figure out what caused the death of a 16 year old girl in Phillips.

Officers were called to an apartment in downtown Phillips with a report of a medical emergency.

The call was made about 6:00 Thursday morning, after the girl was found not breathing and unresponsive.

She was determined to be dead, but there was no apparent cause.

An autopsy was requested by the Price County Coroner.

No foul play is suspected, but the death remains under investigation.

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MINOCQUA - Things don't always go well out on the water. That's why Oneida County has a specialized dive team ready to respond whenever there's an emergency.

But funding the dive team is expensive. Saturday, community groups came together to help raise money for the team at the Minocqua Swim Challenge.

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WOOD COUNTY - A motorcycle crash seriously hurt a man late Saturday night.

According to the Wood County Sheriff's Office, it happened around 11 p.m. in the Township of Biron.

Police think the motorcycle driver was making a slight turn on County Highway U and passed another car. 

That's when the motorcycle driver lost control, went off the road and hit a tree. The driver was thrown off the 
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Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries, and they don't yet know the status of his condition. No other people were on the motorcycle.

Police also think speed and alcohol could have played a part in the crash. They are still investigating and will not yet release the name. 

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CRANDON - Pounding rain, howling winds, and flashing lightning�"not the most ideal conditions for camping on Saturday night.

In fact, Saturday night's bad weather couldn't have picked a worse time for thousands of people to set up camp at the Crandon Race Track.

"We were holding onto the awning last night," said Keegan Kincaid, a racer from Crandon. ."It was pouring."

"Our canopy [got] rained [on] so much we had to keep pushing it up so it wouldn't collapse," said Paul Posbrig, a fan from Green Bay.

"It was coming in all over," said Jessie Braden, a fan from Richfield.

But for Crandon fans, the rain certainly didn't dampen the weekend.

"But we made the best of it," said Braden, who comes to Crandon every summer for the Brush Run.

"We had a canopy at one point and put up tarps on the walls as we got downpoured on and it was all windy," Braden said. "If we're going camping, it's going to rain!"

The fans also got their fair share of noise because the rain didn't really affect the race schedule.

"We just had to wait a little bit longer before we could put crews out on the track," said the raceway's announcer, Dave Mullins. "So needed it to dry off a little bit first. But really it was only about a half hour."

But it certainly changed the racers' strategy.

"And so you'll see a lot of changes in trucks and driving styles," Kincaid said.
"Figure out the track, sort out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a racer from Arizona.

But Crandon's track is pretty resilient.

"Most tracks we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day, but Crandon has a lot of clay," Kincaid said.

"Because this is a clay track, it doesn't absorb the water as much, it makes it more like a mud pit," Mullins said.

Sunday's nice weather quickly brought the track's conditions back to normal.

"I thought we were going to be racing in the mud, but turns out because of the sun and wind we're actually going back to our setup we had yesterday," Luyendyk, Jr., said. 

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According to the Price County Sheriff's Office, it happened at the intersection of County Road D and the Canadian National Railroad tracks in the Township of Knox.

Police think a 76-year-old man was driving the truck with a 76-year-old woman in the passenger seat, and the truck and the train collided.

Several different agencies responded, including Canadian National Railroad investigators.

Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, and they took the woman to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau where she later died.

Police are still investigating and will not yet release the names.

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"Oh yeah, he likes to show them off," David's son Dan said.

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"I wouldn't call it a shock, but I didn't know he had that artistic skill," Dan Appel said.

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