Merrill Public Safety Training Center reopens two years after tornadoSubmitted: 04/24/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

MERRILL - Merrill's April 2011 tornado - ironically enough - flattened a campus that trained emergency workers and law enforcement.

Two years later, the Northcentral Technical College Public Safety Center is rebuilt.

It now offers an even higher level of training - with some of the coolest features around.

The new Public Safety Center will put what it offers against any training center in the state.

On Wednesday, we got our first look at the extensive Emergency Village and learning buildings that make up the NTC Merrill campus.

"I want you to know it's the only one in the entire technical college system. We have a unique opportunity to do some training that no other technical college has the opportunity to do - to put Merrill on the map," NTC President Dr. Lori Weyers told a crowd of over a hundred at the ribbon cutting.

Learners in fire, EMS, and criminal justice can use realistic scenarios to apply their classroom instruction.

But the Center's offerings aren't only targeted at NTC students.

The Merrill area community can take advantage as well.

"We'll be able to offer training for brand-new drivers, like a 16-year-old driver learning to do skid recovery, or for a person with a concealed carry permit, perhaps they want to learn how to use force and make decisions about use of force. In addition to just the public safety community that's out there, we'll offer a lot of classes that the general public will be able to enjoy," says NTC Dean of Public Safety Bryce Kolpack.

The Center plans to have almost 11,000 people use its services for learning every year.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Prosecutors believe a 52-year-old man from southeastern Wisconsin drove up to Hazelhurst to have sex with a 14-year-old girl he met online.

Robert Weiss  of Hartford appeared via video in Oneida County Court Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, Weiss started talking with the girl on a website called "Hitwe." 

Weiss told the girl his name was Keegan and he was 14 years old.

On October 10, Weiss showed up at the girl's house and sexually assaulted her.

He was arrested early this morning.

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County Health and Human Services says it's seen an increase in whooping cough cases in the area. It wants parents to make sure their families are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Kids usually get a vaccine as a baby, but it says parents may not realize kids need a booster dose at 11-years-old.

Portage County Health and Human Services also recommends adults to get a booster if they haven't had whooping cough since childhood.

Whooping cough usually starts with a runny nose or mild cough, but can be dangerous for babies.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/28/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Wisconsin high school football level 2 playoffs begin tonight. We will take you live to Green Bay where the Antigo Red Robins will take on Green Bay Notre Dame. We'll give you a preview of that game and tell you the challenge the Robins will face.

Also, on tonight's Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10, we will bring you highlights from that game as well as from Hudson vs. Stevens Point and Marathon vs. Abbotsford.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods Veterans will be taken care of this flu season thanks to The Rhinelander Veterans Affair Clinic. 

The clinic will provide free flu shots for Veterans starting Friday. 

Half the Veteran population is over 60 years old, which puts them at increasing risk with flu complications.

 Clinic nurse Christina Paris wants to make sure the Veteran community is taken care of. 

"We like to think of our Veterans as part of our extended family. 

And it's heartwarming to know that we can be here to help them and serve them the best we can," said Paris.

Providing this service to Veterans hits close to home for Paris.

 She served in the Air Force as a medic for 20 years. As a Veteran herself, she understands how important this service is.

"I'm so connected and I really feel like helping fellow service members and fellow Veterans is really important," said Paris.

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SCHOFIELD - Earlier this week, people found out Affordable Care Act premiums would go up by an average of more than 20 percent next year. In some cases, that could make some payments go up $50 to $300 per month.

It's just one reason two senators called Obamacare "a disaster."

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RHINELANDER - The yellow Historical Society Museum on Pelham Street looks like many houses here in Rhinelander, but step through the doorway and see early 1900's history packed from wall to wall.

The Historical Society Museum will have an open house Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Pieces of Rhinelander's past are preserved inside the house.

Some of those items include a black and white photo of the original hodag, a drum from the old paper mill marching band, and a dining room set made by the Rhinelander Boat Company.

Not only are those items inside the house artifacts, so is the house itself.

"If the walls were empty there would be stories and neat things to see here. You take that, just the neat house and then of course fill it up with all of the items, every room is just a multitude of stories of different items that are in it," said Vice President of the Rhinelander Historical Society Bill Vancos.

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RHINELANDER - Fifty-one Wisconsin residents lost their lives to domestic violence last year.

Rhinelander's Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will honor those lives Friday night at a vigil.

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