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Domestic Abuse Shelter Recognizes Longtime Volunteer Submitted: 04/27/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - A safe haven in Rhinelander with a long history of volunteers honored one of them Saturday.

A large amount of enthusiasm packed the domestic abuse shelter in Rhinelander Saturday.

"We have the honor and the blessing of naming our shelter after our longtime volunteer Lily Kongslien," said Tri County Council for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Executive Director, Shellie Holmes.

"Our shelter will be now known as Lily's House to honor all of the years she's dedicated working with victims and her passion that she has for the work that she does here and the people that we serve."

Kongslien wore many hats while she worked at the shelter, but working with the children is what she loved the most.

"I saw these kids all confused. Some came in their pajamas even at night and they were so confused that we had to quiet them down and get them to feel comfortable," said Honoree, Lily Kongslien.

"I'd read to them or talk with them."

Kongslien is humbled by the recognition. But working with victims that were sexually abused or in a violent relationship was very challenging.

"It's not a work that you enjoy, as we think of enjoying doing something, but it's very rewarding. And I never thought much about it, I just did it." Kongslien said.

The ceremony included a dedication from Pastor Lori Groat and guest speakers, but there was one special tribute that didn't leave a dry eye in the room.

"I know it's hard for families that have domestic problems. it's not only hard on the mother or the father, depending on what the situation is, but it's also hard on the children," said Lily's daughter, Lorraine Sackett.

"And the children are usually the ones that get hurt the most."

Lily hopes the shelter will expand in the near future.

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Sarah Quirt Sann, 43, died after a gunman shot her at the Tlusty, Kennedy, and Dirks law firm in Schofield.

Thursday, her husband, Scott Sann, posted a statement on Facebook thanking people for their support and encouraged people to make educated and mature statements about the shootings.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department changed its lights from white to blue on Thursday.

In honor of the police officer that died in Wednesday's shooting in Wausau.

Detective Jason Weiland served the Everest Metro Police Department for 15 years.

His death hit home for local men and women in uniform.

"We always talk about the active shooters and all that kind of stuff happens in a big city and it's never going to happen here. Now we have one in Wausau, we are fully prepared that at some point of time in the future it could happen in our community or our response area," said Merrill Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Drury.

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RHINELANDER - The Wednesday afternoon shootings in Schofield, Rothschild, and Weston sent several nearby police departments streaming into the area.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team was one of the many outside departments on scene with their armor rescue truck.

Even though the shootings took place nearly 70 miles away from Rhinelander, Sheriff Grady Hartman said their job is to serve and protect, no matter the circumstances.

"We're use to the mutual aid system as when another jurisdiction requests our help. We're able to go and assist them. And likewise if we had a similar incident we would request under mutual aid for other officers and deputies to come help us," said Hartman.

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RHINELANDER - Father Randy Knauf thought about history as he walked the aisles of a church he once went to as a boy, knowing soon this church down to the very pew he once sat in... Will completely change.

"It's a 'starting again,'" Knauf said.

Knauf took over as pastor at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Rhinelander last year. He's helped lead a multi-million dollar redesign of St. Mary's church's 55-year-old worship space.

"We expect to be a little tight this summer, but it's worth it in the long run," Knauf said.

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The Bureau of Indian Affairs- Great Lakes Agency offered a five-day course on Wildland Fire Training this week.

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WESTON - Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks held back tears in front of a crowded press conference on Thursday afternoon.

"Jason was a phenomenal officer, and he was part of our family," he said, taking a long pause. "It's difficult."

Sparks was talking about Detective Jason Weiland, who was identified Thursday as one of four people killed by a shooter Wednesday afternoon in the greater Wausau area. Weiland was a 15-year veteran of the Everest Metro Police Department, and had served in law enforcement for 18 years.

Two bank employees and a lawyer were also identified as people killed by the shooter.

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MERRILL - You might want to grab your favorite flannel to suit up for this celebration.

Sawmill Brewing Company in Merrill will celebrate one year of beer Saturday. 

The craft brewery has 16 Wisconsin craft beers on tap: six are their own. 
 
At first, the Sawmill owners didn't know what the community would think.

"They've taken it by storm. There are so many people that are referring to this as our brewery, which is really what we wanted. We wanted to build something in Merrill that they could come to and enjoy," said owner Zach Kubichek. 
 
To celebrate its one year anniversary, there will be a special batch of "River Hog" oatmeal stout. 

Sawmill put the beer in a Northern Waters Distillery bourbon barrel for the last few months. 

"We just set it aside for a few months. And it's kind of like, 'I hope it works out.' Then all of a sudden we were kegging it, and we had to hook up a contraption like a science experiment and had to hook up a little contraption," said Kubichek, "It turned out fantastic I tried it yesterday and it will be ready to go for Saturday." 

You have one shot at tasting the special brew; there is only a half barrel for the special anniversary.

Beer doesn't take any breaks; Sawmill Brewing Company stays open seven days a week.

The one-year anniversary celebration starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The day will be full of live music, raffles, and of course, beer.


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