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NEWS STORIES

Water rates may increaseSubmitted: 10/10/2013
Story By Ryan Michaels

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MERRILL - Merrill residents wanted cleaner city water and they got it. But it will come at a price.

The city's water was full of manganese. A mineral naturally found in well water.

But too much of it in your water can make things dirty says City Administrator David Johnson.

"People would find their toilet bowls stained black. If you opened your tank on your toilet bowl everything in the tank would be black. If you touch it, it would be like a greasy black gritty black residue. The fix for this was actually at the request of the people of Merrill not liking this black residue in their water."

The city improved its water treatment plant to remove the unwanted mineral last summer. But it cost 2.2 million dollars.
To pay for it the city will ask for a water bill rate hike for residents. "It will be about a 10% increase in revenue for the water department, which will equate to about $0.08 per day for the average homeowner. So what we've done is something to make our customers happy. Unfortunately, anything you do that changes your system requires a cost increase and that's what we are doing now."

A hearing on the rate hike is scheduled in Merrill's City Hall next Tuesday at 10am.




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Mining company pushes back permit timelineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

MILWAUKEE - Gogebic Taconite will take longer than originally planned to apply for a mining permit in northern Wisconsin.

The company says its application to develop an iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties will be pushed back until at least the fall of next year.

Gogebic had planned to submit an application in the spring of 2015 to develop a 1.5 billion dollar iron ore mine in the Lake Superior region.

A company spokesman says Gogebic won't finish all fieldwork this year and will be forced to conduct additional environmental work next year.

The approaching of fall is prompting Gogebic to wrap up some fieldwork already.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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3 boats destroyed in marine fireSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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Woman faces felony for illegally keeping a gun and selling itSubmitted: 08/26/2014

ONEIDA COUNTY - A 28-year-old Merrill woman faces a felony for illegally keeping a gun. She also sold it to an undercover police officer.

Bonnie Wolff was arrested earlier Tuesday morning for selling a stolen assault rifle officer in Rhinelander. Wolff is a convicted felon. She's not allowed to have a gun under state law.

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Northwoods biologists consider options to increase average size of panfishSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Fishermen catch about 60 million panfish per year in Wisconsin.

But the size of those panfish has been getting smaller.

Overharvest seems to be part of the problem on many lakes.

Now, the DNR is proposing a way to increase the size of bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, and perch on several lakes.

Their regulation plan comes from decades of data collection.

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Woman who tried to hire someone to kill fiance will spend about three years in prisonSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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WAUSAU - Jessica Strom will spend about three years in prison for offering a man $1,000 and sex to kill her fiance.

The 33 year old Merrill woman was sentenced Tuesday.

"Out of the billions of people that could potentially be partners in life [the] two of you chose the single worst combination," says Circuit Court Judge Neal Nielsen.

Strom's fiance was former Lincoln County district attorney John Schellpfeffer.

The state argued this wasn't the first time Strom and Schellpfeffer had problems.

"In 2009 there was a criminal damage to property complaint, disorderly conduct," says Prosecuting Attorney Ralph Uttke. "Mr. Schellpfeffer called saying Ms. Strom was smashing the window to his house with a hammer and left, she was arrested a short time later."

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The Lincoln County Sheriff's office got a call just after six this morning.

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The driver was the only person in the car which left the road and crashed. She died of her injuries at the scene.

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