Small community near Merrill hoping to find burglar who rode snowmobileSubmitted: 03/28/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor

MERRILL - Home should be a place you can relax and feel safe. Not a place where you'll find a burglar standing in your living room. That happened in a small community near Merrill on alert last week.

Pine Dells Road sits just southeast of Merrill. It seems like a fairly quiet place. But last week a snowmobiler walked right into Joreen Jaeger's daughter's home. She lives next door.

Joreen's granddaughter was just getting out of the shower when she saw him in the house.

"Our granddaughter said she could smell liquor on him," Joreen said. "She figured he had been drinking. Now, if it had been someone who was unemployed and just looking for gas money for pleasure to ride his snowmobile, or if he was looking for money to buy more alcohol."

The man rode off on his sled, but not before taking two change jars and a carton of cigarettes.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies searched the scene and trails, but still haven't found him.

"We looked at the tracks trying to find, potentially, what kind of snowmobile it may be based on the tracks in the snow," Lt. Tim Fischer said. "We were unsuccessful for that."

Witnesses say the man has short brown hair, is clean shaven with bad teeth and a black snowmobile suit.

But more than a week out, deputies don't have any other leads.

If you know something about this case, please call the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 715-536-6272.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Swiping your credit cards could soon be a thing of the past.

Businesses across the country are switching to a chip card reader for credit and debit cards.

Credit companies say the new system will help cut back on fraud.

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