Three Tomahawk friends help families in need for ChristmasSubmitted: 12/01/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

TOMAHAWK - Friends normally get together and catch up during the holidays.

But three friends in Tomahawk wanted to do more.

They took on the challenge of making Christmas extra special for those in need.

"I like doing things for people because there's a lot of people that don't have anything. Some of us have more than other people. And I think it's a nice thing." said Tomahawk resident, Christine Mikles.

Tomahawk community members hope to make life a little easier for people struggling during the holiday season.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that this town does for the food pantry because there's so many people without anything," Mikles said.

"If we can help somebody, that's a wonderful thing. It's the perfect season to do it."

Patty Tholl, Roxanne Consolver and Sharon Novitski are the women who represent the Three Amigas.

They came up with an idea three years ago to help out the Tomahawk Food Pantry after Thanksgiving.

"We got together and we thought, let's have a benefit. Patty here owns the Rodeo, so we have a place," said one of the Three Amigas, Roxanne Consolver.

"All the trees are decorated on the deck so what an awesome background and backdrop. Then the three of us just decided, well, let's have a raffle. Let's see if we can get a few donations."

They got more than a few donations.

They raised $1,600 in cash, food and toys for food pantry participants last year.

"I know that they are very very busy at the food pantry this time of the year. With lay-offs and now the new insurance rules and that type of thing, people are finding a little bit more hardship this year than in previous years," Consolver said.

"So we're hoping that whatever we do here will lessen that hardship and everyone can have a really Merry Christmas."

And to be sure people have a Merry Christmas; they're giving each family a tree.

That's thanks to the North Country Riders and community members.

"What they do basically is they donate all the trees. We print up a coupon. Everybody pretty much adopts a tree. Then the coupons are delivered to the food pantry," Tomahawk Food Pantry full-time volunteer, Amber Anderson said.

"Throughout this month families that need at tree will be given a coupon. They can come here and pick any of the trees they want." Anderson said.

"We all need help. There isn't one amongst us that doesn't need help. We live in a very unique community in that respect. People here like to help each other." said Anderson.

Saturday wasn't the only time to give back.

You can drop off toys or donations at the Rodeo Saloon in Tomahawk anytime this month.

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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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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 - 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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TOWN OF NEWBOLD - Dreams of a world-class disc golf course and recreation area could soon become reality.  On September 26, people in the Town of Newbold voted to buy about 18 acres of land currently owned by Oneida County.

The land, about a half mile off Highway 47 along Ole Lake Road, was the site of an old landfill that the DNR closed in July 1988. The site has been empty ever since.

Buying the land would essentially double the space Newbold already owns for its planned recreation area.

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