LUHS Committee Upset With Rising Auditorium Costs

Aug 20, 2015

The auditorium renovation project at Lakeland Union High School is raising the eyebrows of school board members as they face rising – and unexpected – costs resulting from numerous change orders.


The school board’s building and grounds committee had wanted to meet Friday with representatives of the project’s architectural firm, Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) of Wausau for an explanation. That meeting however was cancelled Thursday because not enough information was available.

Kwik Trip Seeks to Build in Minocqua

Jul 14, 2015
Dean Acheson

Kwik Trip plans to enter the crowded field of service station/convenience stores in Minocqua with a proposed facility on U.S. Highway 51 just north of the Island.

Troy Mleziva, real estate development manager for the La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, says “One of the most common requests we get from customers is, to put a store in Minocqua. It’s a beautiful community with a lot going on in terms of year-round residents and vacationers. It’s really a neat community that appreciates the products that Kwik Trip offers.”

Road projects loom for Minocqua

Jul 8, 2015
Emily Bright

Minocqua supervisors Tuesday agreed to seek bids for four road projects that will cost about $430,000, but which will improve safety and relieve congestion at three intersections, as well as cover the cost of repaving one road hit hard by spring breakup.

It’s a small dam but it’s causing giant headaches for about two dozen Minocqua residents. They are worried about losing access to their homes when repairs are made to the 98-year-old structure, including replacing the deck of the one-lane bridge overhead. Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company—or W-V-I-C--owns the dam and bridge. The structure on Dam Road controls water from Kawaguesaga Lake that pours into Tomahawk River.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Many communities experienced flooded roads during Thursday's storms.


In the Minocqua-Woodruff area, traffic was shut down in both directions on Highway 51 north of Highway J for about five hours.


Construction in the area has been ongoing, and crews have been in the midst of replacing the storm drain system.


Dan Erva, Project Manager with the DOT, says one reason for the dramatic flooding was that the rain overwhelmed the temporary drain in place during the construction project.



Grant Hollingworth

Construction along Highway 51 is getting closer to completion.  But it will still be jamming up traffic and slowing business for a little while longer. 

“Here in Minocqua and there is lots of construction going on, lots of traffic and heavy equipment, whole lanes are torn up…” 


The Minocqua Plan Commission has given its blessing to a new shelter design plan for Torpy Park.  

The Minocqua Lions Club’s original plan drew public outcry when it proposed to remove 13 trees to make way for a large structure.  Many argued that the old white pines are essential to the aesthetics of the downtown park. 

Minocqua Town Chair Mark Hartzheim says the revised plan calls for a building about half the size of the original design.


The Minocqua town board took no action on a plan by the Minocqua Lions to build a pavilion at Torpy Park. But debate about whether to remove trees in the park brought out many opinions.

A special town hall meeting is taking place Tuesday evening in Minocqua, regarding the fate of a group of trees in Torpy Park. 

The Minocqua Lions Club wants to build a new shelter in Torpy Park, and in the process remove about a dozen white pines estimated to be over a hundred years old. 

Many locals are up in arms about the plan, and have been contacting town officials and spreading the word through social media.  They say they like the atmosphere the trees provide, and say the trees are a vestige of old growth forest in the Northwoods. 

Ronald Billings / Texas Forest Service

A lethal tree disease has been found for the first time in near Woodruff.  Oak wilt is prevalent in southern and central Wisconsin.  But tests have confirmed its presence in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest. 

DNR Forest insect and disease Specialist Brian Schwingle says the finding is significant.               

“It’s concerning that we found it on our largest state property, the Northern American Legion state forest, where oak is an extremely valuable tree.”


With little fanfare, the town board in Minocqua passed it's 2014 budget Thursday evening. 

WXPR's  Ken Krall talked with Minocqua town chair Mark Hartzheim about the budget which will remain frozen for another year. Oneida county helped November 12 by restoring funding for the Minocqua police dispatch.

The levy was set at $3.6 million dollars and the mill rate at $2.48 per thousand.


The police chief in Minocqua has resigned, after the town reached a settlement with his former administrative assistant. The town board accepted Andy Gee's resignation last night after six years as chief. The town reached a 100-thousand dollar settlement with his former aide Julie Mager. Media reports said Mager accused the chief of shouting so loudly at her, it could be heard throughout the police station. She claimed Gee discriminated against her, and intimidated her. Lieutenant Dave Jaeger will temporarily head up the Minocqua police department until permanent chief can be hired.

commons. wikimedia.org

The DOT has set a public hearing date for later this month to take comment on the proposed reconstruction of U.S. 51 in Hazelhurst and Cassian.

Minocqua's portion of the road work is being done this year. Hazelhurst to the south of Minocqua and Woodruff to the north have both challenged the DOT concerning plans in those towns, as has Arbor Vitae in Vilas county.

DOT Project Leader Forrest Van Asten says the meeting will give the state input... 

Robert Lachenman / Works Progress Administration, 1936

Local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on drunk driving.  It’s Wisconsin’s annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, running for two and a half weeks between August 16th and September 2nd.  

Lieutenant Dave Jaeger of the Minocqua Police Department says officers will be extra vigilant during this time.

“They’ll be doing more traffic enforcement.  You know, you keep a closer eye.  And you’re out there conducting more traffic contacts in an effort to eliminate or at least cut back on people making the wrong decision.”


Motorists and pedestrians in Minocqua Wednesday will be seeing a new pedestrian crossing device called a "HAWK".

The High-Intensity Activated Cross-Walk has been installed south of Rogers Drive-U.S. 51 intersection near Minocqua Furniture. D.O.T. engineer Joanna Bush says as a pedestrian or bicyclist touches an activation button, a different lighting system begins for motorists...