Marching bands compete and support each other Submitted: 10/06/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

MERRILL - Sounds of dedication and motivation filled Merrill High School.

"We worked really hard since June and July. A lot of twelve hour days, five and a half hour days," said Antigo drum line section leader, Isaac Cuellar.

"We're just out in the hard sun learning drills, learning our music just doing a lot of reps over and over again."

All that repetition paid off at the Marching Band Competition in Merrill.

Eight teams performed on the football field Sunday afternoon.

"What the bands are getting judged on a series of different categories. There's a visual execution or just the general effect of whether their show really speaks to the viewer." Merrill band director, Kevin Short said.

"That was like kind of a chaotic thing. It was supposed to be the spy's running around the neighborhood type thing," said D.C. Everest trumpet player, Jared Bartnik.

"It was like creating kind of an awesome ghetto, not like weird, but fun thing to do. It was like a brawl kind of."

But not everyone was there to compete.

"We just did exhibition again just to kind of show off. Just like yesterday, we did it to have fun, show off our field show and have a blast." Bartnik stated.

Band director say the non-competitive energy rubbed off on everybody.

"It's way more than just about the band directors. It's actually not very much about the band directors at all to be honest," Short said.

"It's about the kids. It's about the herd of parents that we have here today to make all this happen."

"There's like no enemies here. It's all friendly competition," said Bartnik.

"We're all cheering for each other. We're all hoping each other to do the best we can. We're just rooting for each other."

And that's the product of hard work and team work.

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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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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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