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Park Place public apartments in Merrill reopen after renovationsSubmitted: 10/24/2019
Story By Ben Bokun

Park Place public apartments in Merrill reopen after renovations
MERRILL - There might not be a lot of people who enjoy living in tiny rooms.

And It's a lot worse when they have safety concerns.

That's exactly why the Park Place public apartments in Merrill underwent extreme renovations. A ribbon-cutting ceremony today helped celebrate completion of the project.

The fifty-year-old complex reopened after five years of remodeling and planning by the Merrill Area Housing Authority.

"[It was] built in 1970. [There were] really small apartments with no handicap and ADA codes that today obviously apply and didn't in the early seventies," said Paul Russell, the Merrill Area Housing Authority Executive Director.


Future and current tenants attended today's grand reopening. Park Place has already received nearly 200 applications from interested renters.

"When you do a huge, in this case, 16-million-dollar project with 102 affordable housing units at stake at three different buildings, that's a huge event for a small community," said Russell.

Those who are interested in learning more about the improved Park Place apartments can visit the Merrill Housing Authority website.

The project was completed with the help of funding from government tax credits.

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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





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MINOCQUA -

 The walleye population in Minocqua's Chain of Lakes has been struggling. The Wisconsin DNR has placed strict policies on walleye fishing in the area which has put a strain on anglers. 

Because of that, fishing guides in Minocqua have had to suggest new alternatives to tourists in order to protect the walleye population.

"Numbers just skyrocketing," said Kurt's Island Sport Shop's Alec Steinberger on the surge of new fishermen.

But, with the walleye population struggling to reproduce naturally, fishing guides have had to direct new fishermen to different species.

"I recommend you go out and catch crappies and panfish and bass and have a good time," Steinberger said.

While the Wisconsin DNR has placed a strict "catch and release" restriction on walleye in Minocqua, it doesn't mean that anglers can't bring in those fish from other lakes.

"All the rest of the lakes don't have that restriction. So, you can still go out and fish and catch walleyes on a lot of lakes and come back with your limits everyday," said Dewey Catchem and How Owner, Jeff Bolander.

He knows better than anyone else that this summer has been especially busy for fishing.

"You've got the normal people that fish who are fishing more often," Bolander said, "You've got the people that don't normally fish are taking it up and finding out either they like it or they don't."

And Steinberger realizes these new anglers can cause a strain on an already low population.

"When you've got people coming up and taking walleyes out of the chain that aren't being naturally reproduced, you're actually taking out more fish than can be reproduced into the lake," he said.

The DNR is hoping that by next summer the walleye population in Minocqua can return to normal levels and fisherman can resume catching the fish without the strict policy.



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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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CRANDON - A plant that scientists believed had disappeared from Wisconsin has been spotted in the Northwoods.

"That's the scientific name, Calypso bulbosa," said Kevin Doyle, Botanist for Bureau of National Heritage Conservation. "The common name is calypso orchid."

The plant is small. Itsleaves are about the size of a thumbnail and the whole plant is only three to eight inches tall in its full bloom.

A volunteer found it in the white cedar swamps near Crandon. Now Doyle and others hope to preserve it.

"We're hoping to collect seeds from the population," said Doyle. "Hopefully collect some capsules and at that point we can kind of preserve some options."

And its all thanks to one volunteer.

"It's a great example of how we can collaborate with people who are already going out on their own time botanising and finding cool things," said Doyle. "And we need more people to get involved."

If you are interested check out their website: 

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CRANDON - Tens of thousands of fans come to the Crandon International Raceway track every year, where racers reach speeds of over one hundred miles an hour.

And unlike so many events in the Northwoods, the races are still on.

The raceway's president Cliff Flannery said the team is going the extra mile to make sure it's safe.

"Everythings a go, I mean there's no stopping us. But we're still going to be really cautious of what's going on here," said Flannery.

But the decision to continue the events was not spur-of-the-moment.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, event organizers discussed it with the county board, the sheriff, lawyers, and the health department.

"We talked to a lot of people before we did it," Flannery said.

Just like every other year, Cliff and his team are prepping the 400 acres for use.

Putting up lights, cutting the grass, and setting up the hundreds of campsites.

Except this year they have a few more tasks.

"It's a totally different deal," he said.

Building signs of all kinds, and buying new equipment.

"This covid has taken us a lot of time, and it's costing us a lot of money," said Flannery.

They had to buy new ticket machines for more convenience, adapting the food stands, and bought over 10 thousand face masks.

Flannery says the masks will be available everywhere.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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MINNEAPOLIS - President Donald Trump's campaign on Friday announced details of his visits on Monday to Minnesota and Wisconsin, two Midwestern states that he's counting on winning.

The campaign says Trump will highlight "Joe Biden's failures on jobs and the economy" during his two airport events.

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