Renewal of former manufacturing sites in Merrill excites DNRSubmitted: 11/11/2016
Renewal of former manufacturing sites in Merrill excites DNR
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

MERRILL - An hour-long bus tour sold Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on Merrill on Friday.

"Can I just say how impressed I am with all of the things going in on little old Merrill?" she said.

Specifically, it's the redevelopment of formerly abandoned manufacturing sites which had her excited.

"It is such a rewarding part of our agency," Stepp said. "It's really more of the glitter and rainbows when it comes to the feel-good stuff."

For example, the Hurd Windows and Doors company moved out of their factory on Merrill's west side decades ago. The move left behind environmental hazards.

"We're dealing with a dip tank and pentachlorophenol, which is difficult to treat," said John Robinson, the Northern Region Supervisor of the DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program.

Grant money from the DNR helped clean the site.

"It's a property in transition from unused to used and from unclean to clean," said Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson.

Right now, the property is being partially used by an alfalfa drying company. Huge mounds of alfalfa sit under massive white tarps.

Merrill hopes that with one more remediation step, a manufacturer can find success on the grounds.

"Success means having the jobs, putting it back into productive use, and addressing the pathways to make sure nobody is exposed," Robinson said.

The final remediation step includes dealing with contaminated soil on the property.

Part of Merrill's new Riverbend Trail runs adjacent to the old Hurd property, helping show that parts of cities once considered dead and dangerous can rise again.

"Seeing these properties come to life again, it's really the rebirth of a community," Stepp said.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

FOREST COUNTY - A DNR technician went to check on timber sales in Forest County on Thursday. In between checks he found what he thought was an abandoned car in the woods. It turned out to be a woman stuck in the snow for a few days.

Jason Headson and his partner Sam were out checking on timber when they saw a parked vehicle.

"We noticed some movement in the car," said Headson.

They approached the small, grey sedan, which had its hood up. Then they discovered an elderly woman in the car.

+ Read More
Time for ice shacks to moveSubmitted: 03/16/2018

NORTHWOODS - Melting ice means moving time for fishermen.

You have until Sunday to get ice shanties off the lakes.

This applies to all lakes north of Highway 64.

DNR Conservation Warden Chris Bartelt says if you refuse to move your shanty you could face more than a $250 ticket.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - We communicate everyday through cell phones, texting, and social media.

But a group of students in Eagle River goes old-school with their devices.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Billboards popped up in several places around Wisconsin this week calling Rebecca Dallet "Double-Talk Dallet."

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, which paid for the ads, points to the Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate accepting money for her campaign from attorneys who have cases she presides over.

Dallet told Newswatch 12 during a Friday morning stop in Rhinelander that her opponent, Michael Screnock, took hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interest groups.

The current Milwaukee County circuit judge thinks the state supreme court needs to be fair and independent.

+ Read More

Play Video

ARBOR VITAE - Hospice workers help people in their finals days. 

It's a hard job that sometimes goes unnoticed.

That's why co-workers and community members took the time Friday to honor one social work at Dr. Kate Hospice in Arbor Vitae.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Ashley Sampson and Dan Dadabo opened a business that's new to Central Wisconsin.

"You get a lot of people waving at you and taking a look at it because they've never seen anything like it before," said Dadabo. 

"I've always seen it in other big cities like Minneapolis and Madison but always wanted to try it and it's a lot of fun," said Wausau Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Cheryl Anderson. 

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - A Three lakes Special Education Director started a program with a dream and $500. She hoped a coffee shop would teach students social and life skills but what came out of it went far beyond her expectations.
"My philosophy is dream to inspire," said Three Lakes Special Education Director Deb Straus.
Twenty- three years ago Straus dreamed of creating life experiences for her students.
"Everyone has something to offer to this world that we live in," said Straus.

With a $500 grant Straus made her dream come true with an in-school Coffee House.
"This is like my safe place," said Three Lakes sophomore Christinia Kubiak.
The baristas and bakers are pretty recognizable to Three Lakes teachers and students.
"It's been fun getting things set up in the morning," said Three Lakes sophomore Rain Maves.
Some of the students have worked at the weekly Coffee House before class for years.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here