MERRILL - A 90 year old World War 1 memorial in Merrill says, "Lest We Forget"... Current members of the VFW want us to always remember 49 soldiers who lost their lives in that war.
Now they have a lasting way to do that. It's probably 100 years old-- made entirely of bronze- and weighs about 400 pounds. It lists 45 soldeirs who died in WW1. What they don't know about this plaque, is who made it.
"We suspect there was a group of veterans in Lincoln County, WW1 veterans, that commissioned it many, many years ago, but they're all gone now. So we don't know who actually made this plaque, but we want to display it next to this World War 1 memorial," said Steve Sabatke motioning to the cenotaph memorial in Merrill on the corner of Prospect and Main streets. Sabatke is a member of VFW post 10203, and organizer of the memorial addition.
Now the plaque sits in Fillmore Metal Crafter's workshop. It's got years of dirt dulling its shine, but Scott Fillmore has donated his time to restore it.
"We're just trying to bring back what somebody did a long time ago... This thing was hiding somewhere on a wall, and now it's going to be out for everybody to see," said Fillmore.
The VFW's research found 4 more soldiers who died in WW1, in addition to the 45 listed on the plaque. They envision the memorial as a simple and dignified way to remember each of these very young lives lost.
"They probably died in their early teens or 20's, so lest we forget all these guys who basically gave up their lives for us, their very young lives, we want to make sure that we remember them," said Sabatke.
The VFW posts of Marathon and Lincoln Co. want to dedicate the new memorial this coming Memorial Day.
They hope to raise $2,500 for paving stones for the additional soldier's names, and a walkway to the plaque. You can donate to the VFW's memorial fund. Make checks payable to VFW Post 10201, 14641 City HWY F, Hamburg WI 54411, Memo: Cenotaph Fund. Or, contact a local VFW member of posts 10203, 1038, or 2087.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
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