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Possible downtown reconstruction discussed at open forumSubmitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray

Possible downtown reconstruction discussed at open forum
MANITOWISH WATERS - A Manitowish Waters woman wants to change the look of the area's downtown.

Some local residents aren't thrilled with her plans.

The town used a forum to talk things out.

Newswatch 12 was there and talked with the town's supervisor.

"It's creating a lot of tension in the community. I think we have to find a way
to fix it and to ease their feelings." said Manitowish Waters Town Board
Supervisor, Eric Behnke.

Construction can cause tension.

You can find that feeling in Manitowish Waters.

One person in the community want to upgrade a local park.

But a good portion of the funding would come from a private donor.

"It's creating a lot of hardships, people are not happy about it and as a town
we need to find a way to make this situation better." Behnke said.

Liz Uihlein owns businesses in the area.

She wants to change the look of the community and she could.

But the town hasn't approved her proposal.

That's why the chamber sponsored a town forum so people could talk and ask
questions about the donations.

"Is there a process that you use to evaluate them? At what point do we say, you
know, 'Too much of our budgets is these donations and it's not what we have
funded'?" said town resident, Scott Bertz.

"As well as how much of this is the town's plan and how much of this is someone
else's plan?"

But many of those questions don't have answers.

That's because donations don't need a vote by the town's people.

"Unfortunately with our policy, if it's a donation, some of the town board
members can use that money without townsmen approval," Behnke said.

"I think that's what we need to focus on."

But the possibility of voting on donation spending is still up for question.

"The one thing we can do is be open and honest with people. We have to
communicate with people about what's going on," said Behnke.

"If they don't have an opportunity to vote on these projects, then they really
don't know about them. So I think it's our job to communicate with the people
about what's happening and educate them on where the money's coming from and
what it's being used for."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MINOCQUA - You don't need to wait for the grass to turn green for golfing.

Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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MINOCQUA - A Lakeland Union High School student could face punishment for putting a shooting threat in a bathroom last week.

According to a press release, the Minocqua Police Department believes the girl officers talked to today is likely the person who left graffiti referencing the Parkland, Florida school shooting in an LUHS girls' bathroom on Thursday.

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WISCONSIN - A central Wisconsin state representative believes smaller communities in Wisconsin should not be treated as a welcome center for sex offenders, particularly sexual violent ones.

Democrat State Representative Katrina Shankland voted for a motion in the state budget to keep sex offenders in their original counties where the crimes took place.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September because it go rid of the rule that keeps offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

Shankland is trying once again to keep these offenders in their original home counties with a budget amendment that has already passed the assembly.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September to keep offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

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NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer.
Those same attractions get some people to stay here.
Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin.
A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady. 

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MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.

Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.

For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.

This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.

"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."

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HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.

Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area. 

"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.

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DNR hosts meeting about CWDSubmitted: 02/22/2018

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THE NORTHWOODS - A positive CWD test led to baiting and feeding bans starting in Lincoln and Langlade Counties and extending in Oneida, this month.

Hunters don't have a say, but the DNR took the first step to help the community understand the current CWD landscape. It hosted a meeting at Tomahawk high school on Wednesday.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

DNR wildlife biologist Janet Brehm gave a presentation. She said people were upset about the ban. Brehm emphasized that the ban was not put in place by the DNR, it's a part of Wisconsin state law. 

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