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NEWS STORIES

New fire station nears completionSubmitted: 01/23/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


MERRILL - Merrill firefighters will soon call a new facility home.

Construction on the new fire station is almost complete.

The building will be ready January 31st.

The fire department will move in the following week.

The department is looking forward to the move.

The old fire station was built in 1915.

It had plumbing and electrical issues.

"To expect the people who take care of our lives and property, these are our
firemen and paramedics, to have them live in a less than adequate situation, it
was asking a bit much of them," said City of Merrill Administrator Dave Johnson.

The new, state-of-the-art fire station cost $3.5 million.

It will also house new equipment.

"A local foundation donated 2 new fire trucks because they thought that we
should have nice, shiny, new equipment up to date to go into our nice, shiny,
new fire station," said Johnson.

The fire department will host a dedication ceremony on February 6th.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - A woman will need to recover after colliding with a car on her bicycle Thursday night near Eagle River, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

The woman was riding south on Highway 45 when she tried to turn onto Evergreen Road. That's when a southbound car collided with the bicyclist.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Back in November, a 20-year-old Rhinelander man drove and crashed his car after a night of drinking, killing his best friend in the passenger seat.

That driver will now spend nine months in jail.

Randall J. Lego was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Friday. 

He faced two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

According to court documents, Lego's car hit a power pole on River Road just outside Rhinelander.

The passenger, 23-year-old Jacob Juedes, was dead at the scene. Juedes was a husband and father of a young daughter.

Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Patrick O'Melia said it was a tragic set of circumstances.

"The only aggravating factor here, and when I say that I don't mean to diminish the loss here, but is the result of this accident," O'Melia said. "That is the only thing that is not in your favor, which is the result of the action and the permanency of it."

Some witnesses testified to Lego's character and pleaded with the judge to not give jail time.

But, Judge O'Melia sentenced Lego to nine months in jail and seven years probation.

"There's a lot of people in the community who have strong feelings about what should happen," O'Melia said. "But the court can't sentence on community anger or community empathy."

Lego must also complete 200 hours of community service, for which Judge O'Melia wants Lego to speak to kids and teens about his experience. 




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ANTIGO - You can spot plenty of wildlife in orthern Wisconsin. However, you don't typically see a black belly barbado sheep or a royal palm turkey.

You can go check them out at the new It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo right off Highway 45 in Antigo.

The It's All Good Farmstand and Petting Zoo has a simple goal. It wants people to see interesting animals.
"We decided, what the heck, we should open something to the public to so that everybody that does not have farm critters and enjoy them like we do, can come in and pet the critters and learn a lot of stuff," said owner Cheryl Wirz.

Wirz decided to have her family be part of her staff. It's something she really enjoys.

"I love the fact that my kids are here and they're getting a hands on experience," said Wirz.

"I mostly help load and unload the animals from home to here. Also, I fill up all the water when we get here, and I run the food booth," said staff member and son Aiden Wirz.

That all adds up to work for their kids and there are some perks to working for your parents.

"Mostly, they can't fire me," said Aiden, laughing.

Most animals look familiar to the guests when they come right up to them, but what about the specific breeds?

"We try to promote rare and critically endangered breeds of farm animals. Most people don't even know what they are," said Cheryl Wirz.

The Wirz family is also passionate about the quality of food for their animals.

"We do all organic produce and all of our critters eat all organic. In fact, we grow most of their food," said Cheryl Wirz.

Some young kids might be a litte nervous of the animals at first, but the friendly staff is there to help.

"Little ones will be really nervous and scared, but after awhile they're calmed down and they really love it," said staff member Natasha Lewer.

Even with all the hard work that goes into owning a farm, the happy visitors make it all worth it.

"They light up when they're in there. We had a gentleman that was in a wheelchair and all the animals surrounded him and he was just smiling from ear to ear," said Cheryl Wirz.

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MADISON - A new judge will be taking the bench in Marathon County.

The governor's office has named attorney Gregory Strasser to serve as a judge in Marathon County Circuit Court, replacing outgoing Judge Greg Grau.

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MERRILL - Bryson Cruise hopes the watermelon he blew up Friday morning is the closest anyone gets to an injury this weekend.

But the Merrill firefighter and paramedic knows chances are he'll likely respond to humans instead of fruit the next three days.

"It becomes a pretty busy weekend pretty quick," Cruise said.

Friday, Cruise and members of the Merrill Fire Department set off mortar shells and firecrackers demonstrating how quickly a fun holiday activity can turn into a trip to the ER.

"About 55 percent of those are related to your hands, arms, legs, kind of the extremities of your body," Cruise said.

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MINOCQUA - The campus at Lakeland Union High School will add an iconic piece to the area. The school is looking at different places to put the old T-Bird Country Bridge.

The bridge is in the process of being removed because it isn't tall enough. A group then donated it to LUHS.

The school is now looking at three different options on where to put it.

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MILWAUKEE - The FBI says a Milwaukee woman added to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list this week has been arrested in North Carolina.

Twenty-four-year-old Shanika Minor is accused of fatally shooting Tamecca Perry and her unborn child in Milwaukee last March.

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