Rhinelander ready for Kemp Street sewer project, some homeowners wishing for more notice
Story By Lane Kimble
RHINELANDER - It often feels like there are two seasons in Wisconsin: Winter and Construction.
Drivers in Rhinelander will head into summer with a brand new construction-related headache to deal with on a major roadway.
"We're hopeful, and we'll work our best to get it to where we want it to be," city engineer Tim Kingman said.
Rhinelander city leaders think that's the mindset to take when it comes to a major construction project on busy Kemp Street. Smaller portions of the project will start in early June. That's on Bruner St. and Boyce Drive.
But drivers, get ready. When sewer work starts in the first few weeks of June on Kemp Street, you won't be going anywhere on it.
"When Kemp Street shuts down their work efforts will be focused on that street so it will be shut down for the shortest period of time possible," Kingman said. "Provided good weather and favorable conditions, we'd like to see the street open in three to four months."
Only home and business owners will have access to properties on Kemp Street once the project starts in mid-June. Other drivers will have to go around before the bridge on Sutliff Avenue or Oneida Avenue. The city says it will be well-marked.
Geremiah Young lives on Bruner Street - one of the several roads that will shut down during construction. He understands the 50-year-old sewer needs to be replaced, but he wishes the city had done a better job of notifying people.
"Give everybody letters that just inform them, 'Hey, we've got guys coming, we're going to tear up the street, just to let you know.,'" Young said.
They're walking across my lawn, marking up my yard, which I don't have a problem with, as long as they would have notified me."
City Engineer Tim Kingman thinks the city's done its part.
"We've gone out and had informational meetings and people have attended these things," Kingman said. "We're hopeful we've provided a good understanding to the general public about why and how we're doing this."
The how and why are set, now we'll only have to wait less than two weeks for work to start. Young thinks, despite the lack of communication, the city will handle the $6.3 million project just fine.
"If they learn from their mistakes and if they take care of everything they should, I don't have a problem with it," Young said.
The city plans to update progress on a regular basis. Info will be available online and via an email mailing list. To add your name to that list, please call the Public Works Department at 715-362-2728.
MADISON - A team of students from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is conducting research on foxes and coyotes in hopes of learning how the animals and humans can peacefully coexist.
Forest and wildlife associate professor David Drake and his students are humanely trapping the animals, running tests, then fitting them with tracking devices. The goal is to learn about traveling patterns, diseases the animals might have, and how they interact with other animals and humans.
Drake says foxes and coyotes are moving into areas where people are living. And if that continues, and the animals lose their fear of humans, they could become aggressive in extreme cases.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says residents should stay a safe distance from foxes or coyotes, and shouldn't feed them.
WAUSAU - Enrollment for health coverage will end soon. That's why healthcare providers participated in "Super Saturday".
Bridge Clinic in Wausau welcomed people to sign up for health insurance options Saturday.
The Open Enrollment deadline is February 15th. If you don't sign up before then, it could cost you $325 or more depending on your income.
"We recommend just make an informed choice. Don't just let it lapse and get the penalty, be surprised with a penalty later on. Come in, make an informed choice. There are health care options," said Bridge Community Health Clinic Executive Director Laura Scudiere.
ST. GERMAIN - Bikinis and snowmobiles don't typically mix. Except, when you're at the St. Germain Bikini Run.
The event draws a huge crowd every year and it raised thousands of dollars for charity.
"We started with six girls and maybe $8000 seven years ago. Now, we're up to 33 girls today and more than $50,000," says Mark Hiller, the St. Germain Radar Run race director. "Every year it just grows, and grows."
MILWAUKEE - A winter storm warning will go into effect in the Milwaukee area and far southern Wisconsin on Saturday night â€" and the National Weather Service says as much as 10 inches of snow could fall in Kenosha County by early Monday.
Snow is forecast to begin falling late Saturday and continue all day Sunday. Lake-effect snow is expected to combine with a low pressure system from the south to drive up snowfall totals in far southeast Wisconsin. Milwaukee could see up to 9 inches.
Blowing and drifting snow is expected and winds could gust to over 30 mph, making travel dangerous.
Other parts of the state, including Sheboygan, Dodge, and Waukesha counties, will be under a winter weather advisory starting Saturday night. Snow accumulations could reach 4 to 7 inches.
PINE RIVER - Firefighters in Pine River had a tough day Saturday. They battled a house fire Friday night.
Crews didn't finish cleaning up the scene until 3:30 Saturday morning. Then they got called to a second fire in the afternoon.
The first fire happened at 9:12 p.m. The Lincoln County Dispatch Center got a call about a possible structure fire on County Highway WW in the Town of Pine River. That's east of Merrill, but when the Pine River Department got there, the house was in flames.
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