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NEWS STORIES

Construction and Lawsuit Move ForwardSubmitted: 05/16/2013
Story By Lex Gray


MERRILL - Major road construction near Merrill moved forward this week, and so did a legal battle from a local business owner trying to stop it.

Construction at Highway 51 and County Road C began three days ago.

Raj Bhandari owns the Citgo gas station at the intersection.

He says business has already slowed down and will eventually stop.

The state DOT's plan to build an overpass would cut off access to Bhandari's gas station.

Bhandari filed a suit in federal court late last month.

He says Wisconsin planned to use federal funds until he protested.

Then the DOT switched to state funds, which it wasn't allowed to do.

On May 8, a judge denied the state's motion to dismiss the case.

A hearing is scheduled for May 31.

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WAUSAU - Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) believe the U.S. government should stop giving Planned Parenthood funding after a handful of undercover videos surfaced alleging fetal organ sales. The pair were speaking at an event and fundraiser in Wausau Tuesday.

The anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress' released a fifth video Tuesday with footage showing people pretending to be from a company that procures fetal tissue for research touring the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinic.

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RHINELANDER - Families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, should soon have more flexibility when shopping.

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NORTHERN WISCONSIN - Many colleges across Wisconsin ban tobacco on campus. Now, Northcentral Technical College can join that group.

As of August 1st, all NTC campuses ban tobacco on campus, including chewing tobacco and E-cigarettes. NTC staff sees this as a way to protect student health.

"As we looked at the overall wellness of our students, staff, and our visitors, we felt like that shift was a positive shift to make," said NTC Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan. "But we made that shift with the intention of also offering resources and services to those students and staff who are interested in quitting the use of tobacco."

The change got rid of designated smoking zones. NTC staff says student feedback has been positive so far.

"Students appreciate the fact that they don't have to walk through smoke or see the tobacco use on campus," said Sullivan. "Obviously there are some students who have questions and we've been dealing with those students individually, offering to have conversations with them to get their feedback, because we think everybody's feedback is important."

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MERRILL - Scheduling likely helped the Lincoln County Fair draw more people this year than last.

The fair took place July 22-26.

Last year, the fair was held the same weekend as the Wisconsin Valley Fair in Wausau.

That changed this year—event organizers think it drew more than 20,000 people. That's based on a parking survey. 

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MERRILL - The Merrill Police Department and Fire Department want people in the community to better understand the tools they use during emergencies. The groups teamed up to do live demonstrations at the third annual Merrill Community Night Out on Tuesday.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/04/2015

- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he is still considering what steps to take next in reaction to new Obama administration rules designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MERRILL - Merrill may get a new grandstand by next summer.

On Monday the city sent out proposal requests for companies to bid on.

The grandstand will go in the Lincoln County Fairgrounds near the location of the old grandstand. That was destroyed in 2011 by a tornado. It sat about 1,800 people on benches, and city leaders said those seats were uncomfortable.

The new grandstand will fit between 2,500 and 3,000 people on stadium seating and benches with backs "to provide a much nicer venue for events," said Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson. 

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