TOMAHAWK - We all want to honor fallen firefighters.
But it takes money to maintain memorials.
So a Northwoods chapter of the Red Knights Firefighters Motorcycle Club hit the road to benefit the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial.
Red Knights Road Captain Reverend Norman Peterson says,"This year we decided to move to this date for warmer weather so it's 48 degrees right now."
The weather may not have been what they hoped for, but nothing could stop these firefighters from completing their mission: a mission to raise money and honor a local fallen firefighter.
"We're hosting a ride to benefit the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial in Wisconsin Rapids…It's important to raise money for the memorial to keep awareness of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," says Red Knights Chapter 5 President Monty Timm.
Over the last 4 years, Red Knights Chapter 5 has raised more than 5,000 dollars.
"The ride is a registered ride. Riders pay a fee to go on the ride, plus we've gotten donations from a couple area fire departments and from the United Steel Workers local 215 in Rhinelander," explains Timm.
The memorial ride isn't just a fundraiser for the Wisconsin State Firefighter's memorial. It also gives these firefighters the opportunity to honor a fallen fireman.
"This year we are honoring Jamison Kampmeyer. He is from the Colby Fire Department. He died in a fire a year ago," Peterson says.
"He was just a good, all-around person. He was a police officer, a firefighter, an EMT, a father. He was really kind of a great human being all around and somebody that you could look up to," says Zach Cira, a Colby EMT.
He worked with Jamison Kampmeyer.
Cira wanted to honor his friend's memory so he made the trek from Colby to Tomahawk to join the memorial ride.
Even those who never knew Kampmeyer feel a special connection.
After all, it's a brotherhood. "As Firefighters, men and women, we become a brotherhood…when one of us sacrifices their all for responding to a call, we need to honor them," says Peterson.
And honor fallen firemen they did when they stopped at the Colby Fire Station before ending their journey in Wisconsin Rapids.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.
People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.
Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.
"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."
Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.
It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.
"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."
Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.
That leaves some people frustrated
"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."
In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.
"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.
Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.
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