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Donations coming in for River Bend Trail in MerrillSubmitted: 06/28/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

Donations coming in for River Bend Trail in Merrill
MERRILL - A group in Merrill wants to build a 2 and-a-half mile bike trail along the Wisconsin River. They've had a lot encouragement from the community, and now they're starting to get financial support too.

It'll cost around $1,000,000 to make the River Bend trial safe, eco-friendly, and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Once you start looking at environmental factors and safety factors, the dollars do start adding up. But we want this to be a high quality trail that's going to last for years and years," said Debbe Kinsey, Administrator for the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation is overseeing the project. Kinsey says economics, health benefits and recreational enjoyment make the trail worth every penny.

"How wonderful it will be to connect our downtown to Council Grounds State Park that gets over 200,000 visitors per year. And now they can walk or bike from Council Grounds all the way downtown once it's completed."

So they've raised $75,000 for the project. Kinsey says that money has come from private families for the most part. They're still waiting for bigger donations from local businesses. They hope to have the trail open by next summer.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

IRONWOOD, MI - A large fire in Ironwood, Michigan killed at least one person early Wednesday morning.

Ironwood Public Safety reports firefighters were called to the downtown building on E. Aurora Street around 4 a.m.  The fire burned a building with businesses and apartments.

Crews pulled three people from apartment windows on upper floors, but another person pulled from the fire died at the hospital.  The Public Safety Department didn't release the victim's name or age.

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TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawlk VFW donated two electric wheelchairs to Highground Veterans Memorial Park in Neillsville.

The park features 155 acres with a number of memorials focused on different wars.

"It's just a really great feeling knowing that they can do this and they can get there and spend the time they need to reflect on what they need to reflect on," said Highground Executive Director Jon Weiler.

Weiler said most of the veterans visiting have a hard time moving around the large park without assistance from a wheelchair.

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PARK FALLS - People in Price County should keep an eye out for fake $20 bills.

The Park Falls Police Department is looking into several cases of a customer using the counterfeit money at various businesses.  The bills all have the same serial number and stand out when you use a detection marker on them.

Police Chief Scott Straetz says the bills look very similar to the real thing, but you can tell the difference if you hold them.

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WAUSAU - Wausau Police call the death of a 77-year-old man "suspicious," which is why it's treating the death of Lyle Leith as a homicide. 

Tuesday morning, police responded to a home on the 1000 block of Kickbusch Street. They found Leith dead, and called the circumstances suspicious. We learned Leith's name late Wednesday afternoon.

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RHINELANDER - Wednesday morning multiple fire agencies responded to a fire in Sugar Camp. That response was made much easier with MABAS. MABAS stands for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. Agencies use MABAS to call other departments from the area to help with emergencies like fires or mass casualties. 

Wednesday night, fire departments from across Oneida County met at Nicolet College for an exercise using MABAS. The exercise gave first responders the experience of responding to a large incident in a learning environment.

The exercise simulated a large emergency response to a structure fire in downtown Rhinelander.
Depending on the level of the MABAS alert, different agencies send different resources to help. 

"What we do is we preplan who is going to respond. We do that by using an 80/20 rule so that all departments will only send 20% or their resources and leave the other 80% in place," said Rhinelander Fire Department Lieutenant Michael Wesle. 

MABAS Division 114 is made up of 21 fire departments from across Oneida County and is one of 60 Divisions in the state of Wisconsin. Agencies in Oneida County have started using MABAS more often over the past few years. 

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MERRILL - A doctor will need to help decide if the man accused of murdering a Tomahawk man in his driveway last fall was in his right mind.

Eric Moen, 33, pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in Lincoln County Court on Wednesday.

Moen told police he didn't know why he shot and killed Charles Ramp on November 16th.

Moen ran from the scene and was arrested in western Wisconsin.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

More on this story can be found in the initial reports as well as following Moen's initial appearance in court.

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TOMAHAWK - A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

Strydonk donated $3,000 to the Honor Flight Foundation which will send six veterans on an upcoming flight. He also gave Wounded Warriors $1,000 and $500 to the Tomahawk VFW Post Wednesday.

"It never ceases to amaze me the gratitude and the love that the people of Tomahawk and surrounding A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

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