RHINELANDER - One of Rhinelander's busiest and bumpiest roads will likely see crews work simultaneously at two spots when a major reconstruction project starts this spring.
About 30 people got detailed information on the city's upcoming Stevens Street project during a meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.
The city is replacing about 2.1 miles of road and underground infrastructure as part of the $14 million project. Leaders told the crowd the work will be "pretty aggressive" and have its fair share of "chaos", but the end result will be beneficial to all.
"All projects have that moment of clarity where you wonder why you started it," Public Works Director Tim Kingman told Newswatch 12 after the meeting. "This has no lack of that. The work that's involved will involve deep sewer, wet conditions, rock that's very formidable to remove."
The city hopes to start work at Frederick Street running up to Timber Drive when the weather allows starting in mid-March. At the same time, crews will also start work at County Highway W north toward the Highway 17 bypass.
The commercial stretch of Stevens Street starting at Dwight Street to the north should allow for two lanes of traffic during the work, but that is subject to change. The residential stretch from the downtown area north will likely be closed down to through traffic, save for local access to homes, during parts of the work.
Kingman says the city initially hoped to finish construction in two years, but that may stretch into three years depending on contractor availability and cost analysis.
"It's always about risk and reward when you're talking about construction and we're right in the throes of doing all of that," Kingman said.
Crews will need to shut off water to homes and businesses periodically throughout the project, but the city intends to give 48-hour notice as that work comes up. Kingman says open communication between residents, business owners, and the city will be key to a successful project.
"[I'm] excited about this project and, particularly, the people that came out tonight and their enthusiasm for addressing the concerns the city has," Kingman said.
The city plans to use about $5.4 million in grant funding to help pay for the cost of the work. Rhinelander will borrow the rest of the money.
A timeline offered to the audience on Tuesday noted bids for the work will go out Jan. 30, with a contract to be awarded by Feb. 11.
LINCOLN CO. - The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office is calling a death east of Merrill on Thursday a homicide.
In a press release on Friday morning, the sheriff's office said a 77-year-old woman was found shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. In the same home, a 78-year-old man was found critically injured from a gunshot wound.
It happened at a home on Range Line Road in the Town of Pine River.
The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting is isolated and the public is not in danger.
The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab worked to process the scene.
WOODRUFF - Shoveling snow can hurt your back. But some may not know that staring at all that snow can hurt your eyes.
The term albedo tells us the amount of light that's either absorbed into the ground or reflected back up. On days like Friday, the snow pack will really make it look brighter out and boost the albedo amount. That's hard on the eyes.
Dr. Kirby Redman is an Optometrist in Woodruff. He says there are simple ways to protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays.
RHINELANDER - A former contracted janitor accused of sexually assaulting a Rhinelander student appears headed for a trial.
Stavros Iliopoulos appeared in Oneida County Court on Friday afternoon. Attorneys told Judge Michael Bloom they had not reached a plea deal. Bloom decided to schedule one final pre-trial conference for late August before a two-day jury trial was set for Sept. 4 and 5.
In late November, police said Iliopoulos, 65, took a girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
Iliopoulos worked for a contracted company, Victory Janitorial, at the time.
SEYMOUR, IND. - A chain-reaction crash in southern Indiana killed a Minocqua couple on Wednesday morning.
Glenn Cardelli and his wife, Kathryn, both 57 years old, were traveling in south an RV near Seymour, Ind., on Interstate 65. The RV was behind a semi and an SUV, both of which slowed due to highway maintenance.
Another semi failed to slow down behind the stalled traffic and crashed into the Cardellis' RV. The crash killed the couple and John Mumma, 67, an Illinois man driving the SUV.
The vehicles caught fire. Interstate 65 was closed for about eleven hours for cleanup and crash investigation.
All sorts of animals are affected by icy conditions. Some Northern Wisconsin owls dive INTO the snow to hunt small rodents. But recent freezing rain has formed an ice crust that owls can't break through. That means owls are beginning to starve.
Amanda Schirmer has been working at the Northwoods Wilderness Center for the past four years. She says that owls may hang around birdfeeders to prey on smaller birds. They may also be seen near roads.
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