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Organizers break ground on Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill Saturday Submitted: 05/19/2018
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

Organizers break ground on Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill Saturday
MERRILL - Organizers broke ground on the Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill Saturday.

It will serve veterans, boy, girl and cub scouts as well as the community.

Northwoods Veterans Post marketing Chairperson Tracy Jopek lost her son in 2006 when his truck hit a bomb while he was serving oversees in Iraq.

"I'd like to think if he was the one that came home, that he would have a place to go. It's important to not just talk the talk about supporting the military but to actually do it," said Jopek.

Saturday, Jopek and other organizers broke ground on the Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill.

"The Northwoods Veterans Post offers a place that we can bring in resources," said Jopek.

Those resources were never offered at the more than 100-year-old Merrill VFW building.

"I have seen them carry people up the stairs. I've watched people who cannot get down the stairs," said Jopek.

Organizers wanted to makes sure veterans could move around their own VFW building.

"These guys deserve more than that," said Jopek.
The 14, 000 square foot building will be on Johnson Street next the Memorial Park Cemetery in Merrill.

Organizers hope this 2.8 million dollar project will give veterans and their families a place to meet.

"It creates a partnership between the community and veterans," said Edsall.

Church Mutual employee Vaughn Edsall said the Company donated 4.3 acres of land for the new veteran's post.

The building will also offer a fitness center, a computer lab, education center and access to recreational activities.

"Be able to provide a space both only for us but for all our community and all our other organizations," said Jopek.

The building is set to be finished in 2020.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A house fire in Rhinelander left one man dead Friday.

Emergency responders got the call around 7:30 p.m. for a home near Hodag Park.

Steve Smith heard a dispatch call over his step-sons radio about the fire at his neighbor's home on Rose Street.

"We walked out the front door and it was plain as day," said Smith. "The flames were rolling out of the front window."

At first, Smith wasn't sure if anyone was in the home. "There was a man they brought out," said Smith. "unfortunately, I heard he was deceased,"

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier confirmed the victim was found dead on the scene.

"Life saving measures were done by the paramedics. Unfortunately, the male had passed away," said Gauthier. "At this point, it appears that it was due to something left on the stove."

Gauthier says more details about the victim will be released on Monday. 

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HAYWARD -
A 16-year-old girl is missing from Sawyer County according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Angel Marie Simonson is reported as an endangered missing person. She is a white female, 5'7", and 220 lbs. 

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RHINELANDER - A man died after a house fire in Rhinelander on Friday night.

According to a press release from the Rhinelander Police Department, Rhinelander police and firefighters responded to the fire at 320 Rose Street near Hodag Park around 7:30 p.m.  

Firefighters went inside the house soon after they arrived and found an unresponsive man on the floor.  Firefighters and paramedics tried to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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MADISON -

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WOODRUFF - Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport hosted a fun-filled day for family and friends on Saturday.

This comes about five months after one of its helicopters crashed, killing three Spirit employees.

Regional manager Charles Kotke said those men were in mind today,

"Today is a day of bringing people together, as well as a celebration of our 25 year anniversary," said Kotke. "This team did an amazing job getting us back to caring for our patients and doing what we need to do to care of our community."

Flight paramedics showed off the aircrafts to people and the helicopter was a big hit.

"They definitely like to look at the aircrafts. See how we transport patients from point A to point B," said Northern Region Supervisor Ryan Short.

Next Saturday, Spirit is celebrating with more associates. The second part of the celebration will be in Stevens Point.

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RHINELANDER - Kids ran throughout the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander on Saturday for the third annual Harvest Hoedown.

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THREE LAKES - After 30 years, Dr. George Karling decided it's time to retire as the Three Lakes District Administrator.

He plans to leave after the school year ends, but the school board is already preparing to find his replacement.

Early next month, the Three Lakes School District will host two input sessions for the public.

Three Lakes residents can go to give their opinions on what they want in a replacement. 

Karling's decision to retire comes about a month after he faced criticism for allowing the district to be featured in a campaign ad for Gov. Scott Walker. 

People who can't make it can still send their thoughts to the Three Lakes Board of Education. People can submit comments by writing to:

Board of Education, Three Lakes School District
6930 West School St. 
Three Lakes, WI 54562 

or email: tr@threelakessd.k12.us.



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