Town of Lincoln Gets New Town Hall And More Space Submitted: 03/30/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

TOWN OF LINCOLN - A new building, a new way of life, that's what local residents see when they look at their new town hall.

"It's so much nicer for handicap because the old building we had a ramp on the side," said Town of Lincoln resident, Kathy Gibbs.

"We had to come in a door that was right in the corner and it was really difficult for handicaps. So that in itself was a big improvement."

One of the main reasons the town wanted a new building was space restriction.

"Our old building is very inadequate," Town Board Chairwoman, Lynne Black said.

"The one room wasn't even half the size of this meeting room. We had to suffice for everything we did including our meetings and our elections."

The cost to build the new facility was more than $600,000.

"That's the amount tax payers awarded to us at a public meeting. We could spend up to $660,000 and we are very close to that, but we are within budget." said Black.

As soon as the road limits are lifted, the old building will be torn down.

"I plan for landscaping possibly black topping for parking. We could accommodate well over a hundred cars if necessary," said Town of Lincoln Supervisor, Larry Sommer.

"That will all be in the planning stages once we accomplish that next year."

The building will be available to more than just city workers.

"We've never had an area where it can be rented for weddings or baptisms or any kind of social functions," Sommer said.

"We now have a site which will accommodate 100, 150 individuals."

And with the election right around the corner, residents are elated about this new facility.

"The old one was one little room that was barely big as the entry way and people even had to stand outside when we had a good turn out and stuff," said Gibbs.

"Very cramped and crowded. So this is just going to be wonderful for people."

Tuesday's election will be held here at the new facility.

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PARK FALLS - Many people in the Northwoods go to church on Sunday mornings, and for some of them it may be begrudgingly.

But there are plenty of people, often elderly or sick, who want to go to church but have a hard time doing so.

Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

The congregation at Peace Lutheran believed in an elevator, so they paid for it.

"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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Stroebel says the swap would save money by removing local projects from burdensome federal regulations.

He has been a vocal advocate for doing away with prevailing wage statutes, which require minimum salaries for workers on government-funded construction projects.

Spokeswomen for GOP legislative leaders didn't respond to inquiries about the bill's chances.

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The rule took effect in April for participants in the state's food stamp program, FoodShare. It requires able-bodied adults without children living at home to work at least 80 hours a month or look for work to stay in the program.

The DHS data show about 25 percent of the 60,000 recipients eligible to work were dropped from the program between July and September. But about 4,500 found work through a new job training program for FoodShare recipients.

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