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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The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

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The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

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Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

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Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

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