MERRILL - Moving can be difficult and emotional, but for a local fire department, it's all smiles as they prepare to move for the first time in decades. Today, the Merrill Fire Department broke ground on their new home. Their new station will be built on the corner of Pier and Second Streets.
"It's going to bring some advantages to us because we have the two main drags right here in town so we'll be able to go east and west right out of the fire station," says Dave Savone, Merrill Fire Chief.
This will be a big upgrade from their current station which was built in the 1960's. The new building will be home to both the fire department and EMS.
"Both the fire service and the EMS for the southern half of the county. So both operations will be running out of this building. So we'll be running three ambulances, two fire engines, a tender and a ladder truck," said Dave Savone.
Plans for the new station have been about a year in the making. The Fire Chief said all 23 of his men are excited for the move.
"It's an exciting day. You know, the Merrill Fire Department has been around for 125 years. This is a big step into the 21st century with our fire department and the men are looking forward to this new step in our new tradition," says Dave Savone.
The project will be finished by January 31st of 2014. The project cost less than their 3-million-dollar budget.
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.
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.
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.
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