Hatchet Pride Project raising funds for Tomahawk football field, track upgradesSubmitted: 01/21/2020
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin

Hatchet Pride Project raising funds for Tomahawk football field, track upgrades
TOMAHAWK - A track and football field at one Lincoln County high school haven't seen many renovations in the past half-century. According to coach Andy Peissig, those facilities will change in a big way this summer. 

"Athletic field, the track and the bleachers - they're all going to be replaced," said Peissig

Peissig says the push to renovate those facilities started three years ago. In 2017, the Tomahawk School District approved a four-year referendum that increased the district's revenue limit by $3 million a year. Peissig said officials within the district realized there would not be enough funding through the referendum to renovate the track and football field.

"So a group of community members got together and started talking about how we can make this a privately funded process and give our kids something they can be proud of," said Peissig. 

According to plans on the Hatchet Pride Project website, site improvements will manifest in four areas: the field, the track, the bleachers and the facility entrance. Peissig said all the upgrades share an important objective. 

"Ultimately the number one goal is to make safety for our spectators and our athletes a much higher priority," said Peissig. 

Through renovations starting in May, the field's existing grass will be replaced with turf to even the surface. A community multi-use field will also be created to the northeast of the field.

The wrap-around track will be relaid while the triple jump/long jump and pole vault areas will be relocated. 

The renovated bleachers will be able to seat 1,000 people and have space underneath for a concessions stand and additional storage. The new bleacher structure will also be code compliant and handicap accessible.

The proposed upgrades are set to cost $2.25 million; more than $1.9 million has come from large private donations. The Hatchet Pride Project now hopes the community will invest the remaining funds needed to keep the project entirely privately funded. 

New varsity football coach Sam Hernandez hopes the public will be as exited for the upgrades as his students.

"Well the kids are excited, they like the idea of playing on synthetic turf, they like the idea of playing on something new," said Herenadez.

With a new field under their feet, Hernandez said the Hatchets will better suited for next season and students will gain a greater sense of pride in their school and community.

"To be able to rival that experience that other schools have is something that makes our kids proud of Tomahawk and Proud to be hatchets," said Hernandez.

Renovations at Hatchet Field are expected wrap up in early September.

If the Hatchet Pride Project exceeds its financial goal, the school's softball field may also get an upgrade.

To donate, or just learn more about the project, visit the Hatchet Pride Project website

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The Community Blood Center of Wisconsin initially lost more than 700 units of blood the last two weeks but donations are now on the rise. 

"There's always going to be a need for blood whether we are in a pandemic or not," said Community Blood Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Straus.

Blood donations immediately halted with the rise of Coronavirus cases. Turns out, donating is one of the best ways to help out.

"We were looking at a really big shortage. In response we had to put out a big plea to our donors in the community to try and get in blood donors and I am pleased to say the community response has been wonderful," Straus said.

The local Community Blood Center donation surge was so large the blood centers started scheduling blood donation appointments two weeks out so supply stays stable.

"People are good-hearted individuals, especially in our state. Everyone wants to help out. It's just usually we don't think about it at the time but once we put out the message everyone responded greatly," Straus said.

With the high number of donors during the COVID-19 Pandemic, safety standards rose too.

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What's also important right now is that donors who have scheduled an appointment, to keep it.

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The CBC hopes people remember that need for blood is year-round and there is no alternative way of getting this life-saving treatment. 

"I think people are looking for something to do to help. It's really hard to figure out what you can do to help when you have to stay in your home and this is something we are allowed to do. We are an essential community resource that we need to have. Blood donors have to come out and donate blood, we have no substitute for blood donors," Straus said.

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According to the data firm company, Wisconsin received the grade of "D" after studies show that residents of Wisconsin only cut down their travel by about 19%.

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About 1,400 absentee ballots were requested in Oneida County during the 2016 presidential primary. This year, that number has jumped to 4,000, as more people are looking to avoid voting in person.

Next Thursday, April 2, is the last day to request an absentee ballot from your municipal clerk. Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman encourages people to request it earlier than that. Under current laws, the ballot must return to the polling location by election day, on April 7.

"If you wait till April 2nd to request it," said Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman. "And if something happens with the mail and its delayed a day, your ballot may not get there. So we're encouraging everybody to get their requests in as quick as possible."

You can request an absentee ballot by going to MyVote.wi.gov. For now, there will still be in-person voting, despite the Safer at Home order.

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