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Merrill Singer Goes NationwideSubmitted: 02/07/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Merrill Singer Goes Nationwide
MERRILL - Songs often come to Debbie Merkel while at home in Merrill.

But those tunes are now going national.

We caught up with a Northwoods recording artist getting her biggest break yet in music.

"I write about what's going on in my own life and what others can relate to," she says.

Now, people across the world will be able to relate to the Merrill Christian artist.

"I'll get inspired by something a friend says or something that I see, something that happened to me," she says.

Debbie's been singing since she was eight years old.

But she just broke through and signed with the record label Musik and Film.

She's been on the radio in 25 states since September, with the song "On Heaven's Wings."

Debbie is no stranger to the national stage.

"I've been to showcases in Nashville, I've been to Chicago, I've been to Minnesota, Michigan. Wherever anybody wants me - have microphone, will travel," she laughs.

Her goal for the listener is simple.

"It makes them feel joyous inside, it makes them feel inspired, it makes them feel happy, and I like to hear that feedback back, because that's what motivates me and that's what is my intention," she says.

Debbie's official signing release party comes up next Saturday, February 16 in Merrill.

The event will be at the First Street Coffee Station at 6pm.

The public is invited.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ARMSTRONG CREEK - Around 9:12 a.m. on Saturday emergency responders assisted a 49-year-old Crandon man who accidentally shot himself while hunting in Armstrong Creek, according to DNR Safety Specialist Warden Mark Little.

Little said the man saw a deer while sitting in his truck. He went to grab his rifle, and as he was manipulating the gun it went off. A bullet went through the man's upper right leg and lower left leg, exiting out the driver-side door.

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RHINELANDER - You can find movies, popcorn and candy at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander.

But Sunday, the theatre lobby was filled with turkeys, corn and potatoes.

Owner of the cinema, George Rouman says he has been donating Thanksgiving meals to those in need since 1995.

Goldie Kalas was lucky enough Sunday to receive the 5,000th meal donated by the cinema since it started 22 years ago.

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RHINELANDER - Drs. Fosters and Smith in Rhinelander sells everything from leashes to liver treats.

But this past weekend the store teamed up with a man who dedicates his life to selling blankets for animals.

"I've always had a passion for pets," said Jeff Hopwood, a 25- year-old from Mt. Horeb who has some serious skills when it comes to making blankets.

"I wanted something that could help raise money for transports," said Hopwood.

About four years ago, Hopwood started making tie-blankets to sell to help animal transports.

"[Transporting is when you] take the animals to another destination and they keep going until they get to their forever home," said Hopwood.

Hopwood got the idea from his friend that told him about selling coats for pets.

"A spinoff would be blankets and it evolved so much bigger," said Hopwood.

It takes a few hours for Hopwood to finish one blanket. And on Saturday he had about 100 ready to be sold.

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EAGLE RIVER - For people who don't like to hunt, an event held tonight gave them another option. The first ever Widow's Wine Walk took place in downtown Eagle River.

Women could sample up to 15 of 24 different wines at 12 participating businesses. Along with the wine tastings, women who paid the $20 ticket also got coupons for each shop.

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TOMAHAWK - Thirty-two-year-old Eric Lee Moen of Wausau is charged with shooting and killing his friend of four and a half years, Charles K. Ramp with a long gun. Moen is currently in Lincoln County Jail on a $1 million cash bond. 

On Friday morning, Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins held a press conference to explain what police think led up to the shooting.

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TOMAHAWK -
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32.  Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.

The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond.  He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses.  He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.

Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.




Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years.  Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.

Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him.  The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.

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TOMAHAWK - The rain didn't stop a big crowd from going to an event that's become tradition.
The Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce hosted its 52nd Venison Feed.

 It kicks off the gun deer hunting season which starts tomorrow. 
 
You'll find grill master Gregg Albert at the same spot this year as he has for decades.

"From what we know it's one of the last in the country that even exist.

If I had to say one word it would be tradition," said Albert. 

The Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce's 52nd Venison Feed brought out some old timers and some newbies to kick off the start of the deer hunting season. 

Albert's grilled for about 33 years. 

I found Rhinelander's Steve Norman's on his sixth free venison burger. 

"Sweet it's good. I'm on my last one," said Norman.

He's not a hunter.

"I just fish like heck," said Norman. 

However, Norman still gets a lot out of the celebration. 

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