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.
MADISON - A University of Wisconsin student charged with sexually assaulting and choking a woman is expected to face additional charges after investigators say they were contacted by dozens of other women.
Police say officers searching Alec Cook's Madison apartment found a black book with names of women he had met and what he wanted to do with them, including his sexual desires.
PRICE COUNTY - One of the men who led police from several counties on an hours-long manhunt near Park Falls in June will soon return home to Florida.
Daniel Schoonover, 23, appeared in Price County Court on Wednesday. He pled no contest to all three charges of escaping a criminal arrest, resisting an officer, and possessing LSD.
Schoonover received a sentence of deferred judgment for the escaping charge and a total for 150 days in jail for the other two charges. He also has six months to pay back more than $900 in court fees.
Back in June, Schoonover and two other men were driving to a music festival in Highbridge when they were pulled over. Police found LSD in the car and tried to arrest Schoonover and the other man, but they took off into the woods. Police from Price, Rusk, Taylor, and Saywer counties as well as the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service all helped in the search. Schoonover was eventually spotted on a county road around 8 o'clock that evening.
He's been in the Price County Jail ever since. That's 144 days, and he will get credit for the time served.
According to the criminal complaint, Schoonover said he ran away because he was afraid of getting arrested in another state. Schoonover said he didn't know about the drugs in the car, and that he only drove with the other men because he knew they were headed to the music festival and needed a ride. Before jail, he worked as a cook in Florida.
His attorney said Schoonover does not have a criminal record anywhere else.
The other two men involved, Adrian Rodriguez and Kevin Sweeney, will return to Price County Court in November and December, respectively.
THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.
A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.
CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.
The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.
"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.
Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.
"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.
The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.
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