MERRILL - Songs often come to Debbie Merkel while at home in Merrill.
But those tunes are now going national.
We caught up with a Northwoods recording artist getting her biggest break yet in music.
"I write about what's going on in my own life and what others can relate to," she says.
Now, people across the world will be able to relate to the Merrill Christian artist.
"I'll get inspired by something a friend says or something that I see, something that happened to me," she says.
Debbie's been singing since she was eight years old.
But she just broke through and signed with the record label Musik and Film.
She's been on the radio in 25 states since September, with the song "On Heaven's Wings."
Debbie is no stranger to the national stage.
"I've been to showcases in Nashville, I've been to Chicago, I've been to Minnesota, Michigan. Wherever anybody wants me - have microphone, will travel," she laughs.
Her goal for the listener is simple.
"It makes them feel joyous inside, it makes them feel inspired, it makes them feel happy, and I like to hear that feedback back, because that's what motivates me and that's what is my intention," she says.
Debbie's official signing release party comes up next Saturday, February 16 in Merrill.
The event will be at the First Street Coffee Station at 6pm.
STOUGHTON - Police in Stoughton are investigating a threatening letter that was sent to a black teenager, with a photo that depicted him as the victim of a lynching.
The letter had a Madison postmark but no return address. The family told the newspaper it contained a photo showing two men hanging from a tree, with a mob watching. A picture of the 18-year-old was superimposed onto one of the men.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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