Arbor Vitae & DOT Dispute 1.4 Acres Submitted: 04/16/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

ARBOR VITAE - A small piece of land caused a not so small dispute between the Town of Arbor Vitae and the Department of Transportation.

Now, they're hoping to finally come to terms.

The town board and DOT have been negotiating over a piece of land for more than 10 years.

That's a long time to argue over 1.4 acres.

Both the DOT and the town say it should be resolved within the month.

The issue is that the DOT owns the land the town wants to buy.

It's between Highway 70 and Big Arbor Vitae Drive.

The DOT is asking for more than 19 thousand dollars, but town board chairman Frank Bauers thinks it's a little over priced.

"It would be nice if we had it. It's not a necessity because we own 88 acres across the road," said Bauers.

"So we can make a parking lot as big as Miller Park if we want to, but it would be nice to get the whole thing straightened out once and for all."

We spoke with a representative for the DOT last week.

Their main goal is to work with the town and get things resolved.

"It's our goal to work with the township. I know they're in disagreement with the initial estimate that came their way and we'll sit down and work with them and work through all the land transfer issues that exist with that particular realignment up there," said Region Programming and Planning Chief, Brian Gaber.

"We'll hear them out and see what they have to say, look at their counter offer and negotiate further with them to resolve it."

The DOT was not at the meeting tonight.

Bauer says the next step is to bring this issue to their attorney.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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WOOD COUNTY - Two people who stole a UTV led police on a wild chase early Friday morning. Friday night, those suspects were still on the run.

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