Possible downtown reconstruction discussed at open forumSubmitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray

MANITOWISH WATERS - A Manitowish Waters woman wants to change the look of the area's downtown.

Some local residents aren't thrilled with her plans.

The town used a forum to talk things out.

Newswatch 12 was there and talked with the town's supervisor.

"It's creating a lot of tension in the community. I think we have to find a way
to fix it and to ease their feelings." said Manitowish Waters Town Board
Supervisor, Eric Behnke.

Construction can cause tension.

You can find that feeling in Manitowish Waters.

One person in the community want to upgrade a local park.

But a good portion of the funding would come from a private donor.

"It's creating a lot of hardships, people are not happy about it and as a town
we need to find a way to make this situation better." Behnke said.

Liz Uihlein owns businesses in the area.

She wants to change the look of the community and she could.

But the town hasn't approved her proposal.

That's why the chamber sponsored a town forum so people could talk and ask
questions about the donations.

"Is there a process that you use to evaluate them? At what point do we say, you
know, 'Too much of our budgets is these donations and it's not what we have
funded'?" said town resident, Scott Bertz.

"As well as how much of this is the town's plan and how much of this is someone
else's plan?"

But many of those questions don't have answers.

That's because donations don't need a vote by the town's people.

"Unfortunately with our policy, if it's a donation, some of the town board
members can use that money without townsmen approval," Behnke said.

"I think that's what we need to focus on."

But the possibility of voting on donation spending is still up for question.

"The one thing we can do is be open and honest with people. We have to
communicate with people about what's going on," said Behnke.

"If they don't have an opportunity to vote on these projects, then they really
don't know about them. So I think it's our job to communicate with the people
about what's happening and educate them on where the money's coming from and
what it's being used for."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

+ Read More

Play Video

ST. GERMAIN - Helping patients feel better comes first for one pharmacist in St. Germain, but every Wednesday in October these patients are returning the favor by buying her cupcakes for a cause.

People know to head to pharmacist Jennifer Hansen when they're sick; however, many of them also know they can walk out of St. Germain Pharmacy with one of her cupcakes for Down Syndrome Awareness month.

This is the fourth year Jennifer is baking the cupcakes for her sons' Lakeland Area Special Olympics team.

One of her sons has Down Syndrome and the other has Autism.

"It's not about disabilities or what they can't do. It is shining and highlighting what they can do and all the many things they can do," said Hansen.

Donations from the cupcakes allowed her kids and fellow teammates to get new uniforms and head to different tournaments around the state.

Just as much as she knows patients by name, they know about her sons and always ask about them.

Jennifer says the generosity of the Northwoods community is overwhelming.

Many of her customers ask about the cupcakes months in advance to make sure they can donate.

"I'll still do them as long as my oven keeps working and nothing else bad happens," said Hansen.

Jennifer's boys and their teammates will be heading to Merrill for a bowling tournament this weekend.

Cupcake sales go through the end of October.

Jennifer also has cupcakes in exchange for donations in April for Autism Awareness Month.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mother always thought of her hometown as safe. That perspective changed in some ways last Tuesday when the woman's 12-year-old son raced into her office saying he was held hostage by a teen with a butcher knife.

Newswatch 12 is not identifying the woman, her son, or anyone involved, but instead we wanted to know what happened and what can be done to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The mother says her son and a friend decided to go to Hodag Park to play football in the afternoon of October 11.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Leaves cover the ground instead of snow, but that doesn't stop Ben Popp from dreaming.

"Hopefully it snows soon," said Popp.

The American Birkebeiner Executive Director visited the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club Wednesday. 

"Rhinelander has just an amazing situation here. We have this great venue out here at CAVOC, the Nordic Ski Club is really strong," Popp said.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - With the presidential election right around the corner, voters will be changing history for the United States.

For voters in the town of Three Lakes, they'll also be voting for a library, town office and possibly even a police department reconstruction plan. Wednesday evening, supporters of the Demmer Library came together to inform others in the community about that vote.

Members of the Three Lakes community that are in favor of expanding the Demmer Library joined forces to call every single registered voter in the area. 

"Just informing people about the referendum and for others I've found a lot of support. There are a lot of 'yes' votes out there and we're definitely grateful for that," said supporter Colette Mahlerwein.

For Laura Wipperman, her vote has already been decided.

"I love the idea of a campus kind of concept where people could get from one building to the other easily and share some spaces because I believe that's going to save us money in the long run," said Wipperman.

When voters see their ballots in now less than three weeks, they will also be asked how they feel about the proposed expansion project with the library, town offices and police department.

"I feel very passionate about not only keeping the library in Three Lakes but allowing it to thrive," said Wipperman.

The first question voters will see will be, "Do you support up to nine hundred thousand ($900,000) additional taxpayer dollars being placed on the levy for the Library expansion?"

"A 'yes' vote on question one would have an estimated annual impact of $7/year per $100,000 worth of value on your home for 20 years," said Mahlerwein.

The second question voters will see will be, "Do you support up to 1.8 million additional taxpayer dollars being placed on the levy to replace the existing structure for the Town Office, Police Department and Community Building with a new smaller structure?"

"A 'yes' vote on question two would have an $11 a year increase on your home valued at $100,000 for the next 20 years," said Mahlerwein.

After they crunched the numbers, Mahlerwein's family didn't have to go far to find the money.

"I can find that in spare change at my house. My girls and I actually did a little challenge to see if we could find that in spare change and we did," said Mahlerwein.

For those making phone calls on Wednesday night, their main goal was to educate the voters so that they are prepared to make a decision.

"I hope that it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. I hope that the timing works out well because a presidential election brings out voters and that it will inspire people to vote and that they'll vote 'yes'," said Mahlerwein.

If you still have questions on the proposed plans, please call the Demmer Library at 715-546-3391.

+ Read More

Play Video

STELLA - The Northwoods saw more than four inches of rain from the big storm Monday night. All that rain left at least three Oneida County roads washed out, some completely impassable.

You can't get through Tenderfoot Road east of Rhinelander right now. There's about a roughly 15 foot deep crater and 10 foot gap in the road.

Stella Town Supervisor Bob Goodin says the culvert that was once there was washed away from all the rain.

+ Read More

MADISON - Two Wisconsin Indian tribes express their concerns about another tribe's expansion of a gambling hall into a larger casino and hotel east of Wausau.

The Stockbridge-Munsee and Menominee tribes claim that allowing the expansion of Ho-Chunk Wittenberg goes against the past criteria for growth in gambling.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here