MERRILL - The City of Merrill plans on tearing down eyesores in the community. But at the same time, the city plans to build a new building just a few blocks away.
"Badly peeling paint, bad roofs, broken windows, just a building that would look uninhabitable." Says Merrill City Administrator David Johnson.
Merrill, along with six other counties and cities, are receiving grants from the state to tear down the old and decrepit buildings in town. On the docket, is this building on Grand Ave.
Spreading like a virus, the "doctor" recommends demolition to save other buildings in the neighborhood. Johnson says plans are in place to tear it down, before the community goes down. "Once one goes down[in aesthetic terms], and property values begin to fall, people don't see any reason to invest in their own properties either. So you have this deterioration spreading through the entire neighborhood."
While some buildings in Merril are being demolished. Other buildings are being built. Like a new fire house which will be going up across the street from the post office. This building will also go hand in hand with a restructuring of the department.
"By only having one station and building a new central station, we'll still only have one station, and there is no longer a need for that level of supervision." Says Johnson, "So what we've done is collapse the organization somewhat."
The fire department will keep all of its employees, according to Johnson. But the two previous firehouses in town will come together underneath one roof with one new chief, David Savone. "Twenty-eight years of fire-fighting experience, he is a paramedic, and his ability to teach. The fact that he is teaching at a university presently speaks volumes about his abilities."
The building on Grand Ave. is expected to come down next week. While the city decides who will get the contract to build the new firehouse.
LAKE TOMAHAWK - All around you witness goodwill gestures. It could be as simple as a smile and wave or opening a door for someone. In Lake Tomahawk, it's making a pie.
"I made a pretzel crust with butter and sugar, " explains Sheila Punches. Sharon Hilgendorf adds, "Flour, for the thickening."
Snowshoe baseball's been entertaining crowds since the 1960's. But over at the concession stand, the pie takes center stage.
Strawberry rhubarb, banana butterscotch pie, blueberry pie, rocky road and coconut cream are just a few of the creations. "I like making ones that I think will appeal to the crowd," says Linda Penno.
Each week a different service club's in charge of the snack shack and in turn, takes home the proceeds. Locals bakers, a lot of local bakers make their best pies and donate them to support the cause.
"You get involved with it over the years and it just becomes your way of life on Mondays," says Punches.
On an average night they sell 80 pies. Each one is cut into six pieces and are only two dollars a slice. That means making almost a thousand dollars is easy as pie.
Ken Lochte of Rhinelander exclaims, "This is the only place you get your dessert first, before you get your food." "It's a great honor and pleasure and I've been doing it for quite a few years now," adds Rebecca Morien.
No matter how you slice it, everyone benefits from this unique fundraiser.
"It is unique and different which makes Lake Tomahawk special," says Morien. "It's a very good fundraiser for the community who in turn give it all back. So, it's kind of a domino effect you know," adds Hilgendorf.
If you think this is a lot of pies, the team is requesting the bakers provide double this Friday. They're hoping to have more than 200 pies for the Snowhawks game against the Wounded Warriors.
MILWAUKEE - Authorities are looking for a fourth suspect in a shooting on an interstate in Milwaukee County.
Sheriff David Clarke says people in a minivan and another vehicle were shooting at each other in a ``running gun battle'' on Interstate 43 Tuesday afternoon. One vehicle struck the other and the minivan spun into the ditch near Fox Point. Three people in the van were arrested. Authorities say a fourth person left the scene.
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
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