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.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers
MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.
The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.
Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.
About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.
The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.
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