Donations coming in for River Bend Trail in Merrill
Story By Kailey Burton
MERRILL - A group in Merrill wants to build a 2 and-a-half mile bike trail along the Wisconsin River. They've had a lot encouragement from the community, and now they're starting to get financial support too.
It'll cost around $1,000,000 to make the River Bend trial safe, eco-friendly, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Once you start looking at environmental factors and safety factors, the dollars do start adding up. But we want this to be a high quality trail that's going to last for years and years," said Debbe Kinsey, Administrator for the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
The Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation is overseeing the project. Kinsey says economics, health benefits and recreational enjoyment make the trail worth every penny.
"How wonderful it will be to connect our downtown to Council Grounds State Park that gets over 200,000 visitors per year. And now they can walk or bike from Council Grounds all the way downtown once it's completed."
So they've raised $75,000 for the project. Kinsey says that money has come from private families for the most part. They're still waiting for bigger donations from local businesses. They hope to have the trail open by next summer.
MADISON - Wisconsin lawmakers have rejected Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to block the state Department of Natural Resources from purchasing any land through its stewardship program for at least the next 13 years.
MERRILL - A Merrill public safety center can now use a new patrol car for training. The Merrill Police Department donated one of their retired police cars to the Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence. The donation marks the end of Crown Victoria police cars for the city.
"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."
VILAS COUNTY - A warming climate could have significant impacts on Northwoods streams. Warming streams, in turn, could put pressure on trout populations in those waterways.
"If we think about streams, it is changing, and that's going to potentially change what can live here and the habitats that are available," said Dr. Noah Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction. "We've seen that across a whole range of things and a wide variety of studies."
WHITE LAKE - Students in White Lake spent the day outside of the classroom learning about invasive species today. It was the 16th annual Spring Lake Day at White Lake. It's part of the year-round Adopt-A-Lake program that teaches students about waterway and environmental preservation.
"Being on White Lake and being in the Northwoods, aquatic invasive species education is extremely important," said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss. "And a good way to reach out to people is through our students and through our youth."
Elementary students from White Lake School learned about the different aquatic invasive species such as purple loosestrife, and Eurasian watermilfoil. They also learned how to prevent them from spreading.
"Those plants spread by fragmentation and boat traffic," said Preuss. "And just educating people so they know the right steps to take and the laws to prevent this plant from moving around. We have 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin; just a small percentage have an invasive species."
Students also learned about the spread of a tree killing bug called emerald ash bore.
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