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.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
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