2020 Year in Review
Summaries of just some of the stories published in the Tomahawk Leader in 2020.
Jan. 1 –Tomahawk Area Interfaith Volunteers (TAIV) received a $22,100 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to be used for operating costs of the non-profit’s transportation service for elderly and disabled people in the community. … The trial for former Tomahawk resident Henry Robert Hughes, who was accused of killing his infant son in 2016, was moved from Nov. 2019 to Oct. 2020. … Three people were injured in a Town of Merrill house fire. … Sean Duffy endorsed Tom Tiffany for Congress. Tiffany was running to replace Duffy in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. … 2006 Tomahawk High School graduate Alyssa Lampe won the Senior Wrestling Nationals held in Fort Worth, Tex., becoming the #1 seed at the Olympic Finals slated for April 2020.
Jan. 8 – Support Tomahawk Area Resources (STAR)’s annual STAR Splash at the Happy Snapper saw costumed participants brave frigid Lake Mohawksin, taking pledges and jumping into the water to raise money for local charities and organizations. The event raised a total of $25,000. … Esther Pagel, 67, and Warren Short, 72, graduated from Nicolet College’s Academic Success Program, earning their GEDs. … David N. Erdman, 31, of Hubertis, Wis., and Kurtis W. Shernell, 27, of Hustisford, Wis., died after their snowmobiles went into the water on Lake Nokomis. Austin J. Zillmer, 26, of Sussex, Wis., was able to remove himself from the water and call 911. The riders were not on the designated snowmobile trail at the time of the incident, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office said. … 141 people lost their jobs after Semco Windows and Doors in Merrill closed.
Jan. 15 – The Wisconsin DNR and local emergency personnel urged caution on area lakes and flowages, citing poor and unsafe ice conditions. Tomahawk Fire Department Chief Brent “Beetle” Nyberg and Nokomis Fire Department Chief Don Richert discussed ice safety from the viewpoint of the first responders’ community. … Brenda S. Reiche, 49, of Wausau, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and homicide by use of a vehicle with PAC. On Aug. 4, 2018, the UTV Reiche was operating left the roadway on The Point Road East in the Town of Nokomis and struck a tree, killing the UTV’s passenger, Adam Reitz, 49, of Athens. It was determined at the time of the incident that Reiche was under the influence of intoxicants. … The Tomahawk Hatchet boys’ basketball team continued an impressive run with wins over Prentice and Ladysmith, winning five of their previous six games.
Jan. 22 – The Hatchet Pride Project Committee announced that it had raised $1.9 million in private funding for upgrades to Hatchet Field. The committee sought additional funding to reach its $2.25 million goal. … The Torch Run, involving 14 snowmobile clubs, made a stop at Erv’s Sales and Service in Tomahawk. The run started in Wausau, where the Wisconsin Badger Winter State Games were being held, and ended in Eagle River, where the World Championship Snowmobile Derby was set to take place. … Milestone Senior Living resident Jane Fritchie celebrated her 100th birthday. She was the third resident to move into the senior living facility. Fritchie passed away on Dec. 9, 2020.
Jan. 29 – A Merrill man, 25, was arrested on charges related to animal cruelty after a Lincoln County deputy rescued a kitten the suspect had abandoned in a ditch in the Town of Pine River. The kitten, named Hope, was not harmed. The man was later identified as Anthony Barker. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors voted 13 to 9 to send a resolution seeking to declare Lincoln County a second amendment sanctuary to the Administrative and Legislative Committee. The resolution, introduced by District 13 Supervisor Calvin Callahan, needed a majority vote to pass. … Former Tomahawk financial institution employee Tabitha Mayer, 20, of Wausau and formerly of Tomahawk, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of theft from a financial institution, theft in a business setting, and fraud against a financial institution. While working as a teller for a Tomahawk credit union, Mayer allegedly stole $34,000 between Aug. 2018 and June 2019 by retaining cash from her cash drawer and engaging in recording manipulations in order to avoid detection of the cash being stolen.
Feb. 5 – Tomahawk High School students Kaina Mehmeti, Brynnen Stefan, Lance Knight, Hannah Beranek, and Gretchen Francois earned Wisconsin Scholastic Art Awards. … City of Tomahawk Director of Public Works John Cole discussed the city’s snow removal efforts and praised city employees for their work to keep streets and roads clear of snow and ice. … A high-speed pursuit led to three felony charges for Joshua L. Thede, 35, of Merrill. … Tomahawk Elementary and Middle School students took part in National Geographic’s GeoBee.
Feb. 12 – U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced legislation that would rename the Tomahawk Post Office after Tomahawk area native and Medal of Honor recipient Einar “Sarge” H. Ingman Jr. … The Tomahawk Community Thrift Shop awarded nearly $9,000 to local nonprofits. … As part of Catholic Schools Week, students from St. Mary’s School in Tomahawk, Nativity of Our Lord School in Rhinelander, St. Francis School in Merrill, and Holy Rosary School in Medford participated in a Penny War to raise money to send veterans on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight. St. Mary’s raised $889, and the four schools raised over $4,000 total.
Feb. 19 – Former Tomahawk school bus driver James T. Schmit pleaded no contest to a felony charge of child enticement-sexual contact and was found guilty. Felony counts of abduction of a child-detaining and stalking were dismissed but read in. Schmit was charged with the three felony counts following an incident on June 7, 2017, when he didn’t drop off a then 15-year-old girl at home despite passing her house twice. According to a criminal complaint, Schmit hugged the girl and kissed her on the side of the forehead before dropping her off at her home. The girl was not physically harmed in the incident. Schmit was arrested on June 14, 2017. … The closure of Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake School was expected to be delayed after state GOP lawmakers rejected plans to build two state-run juvenile detention facilities. Lawmakers in 2018 voted to close the Irma facility and replace it with six regional- and state-run youth detention centers. … Tomahawk’s Howard Hetzel celebrated his 100th birthday.
Feb. 26 – Thomas Thompson, 67, of Tomahawk, was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital in Merrill after the pickup truck he was a passenger in struck a maintenance truck on Highway 51 south near Merrill. The driver of the pickup, Keaton Thompson, 26, of Tomahawk, was transported to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the maintenance truck, Jason Wichman, 48, of Gleason, sustained minor injuries. … Tom Tiffany and Tricia Zunker were set to face off for the state’s 7th Congressional District seat. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly was set to go up against challenger Jill Karofsky, Dane County Circuit Court Judge. … A RITALKA-SpecSys employee died after being struck by a snow plow vehicle driven by another employee at the Prentice facility. … Hatchet senior Travis Phillips became Tomahawk’s first-ever State Champion after winning the 50-yard free swim at the state competition in Madison.
March 4 – Three Hatchet wrestlers, Eric Decker, Tony Matti and Kade Wenninger, reached the WIAA D2 State Individual Wrestling Championship in Madison, where Decker took 4th place and Matti finished runner-up. … The Hatchet Pride Project continued to seek individual donors to reach its $2.25 million goal to complete upgrades to Hatchet Field. … A Merrill Police Department Facebook post about testing methamphetamine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) went viral and received national media attention. While some saw the faux public service announcement as a lighthearted joke, others felt it was in poor taste, accusing the department of trivializing substance abuse and the seriousness of COVID-19, which had infected 90,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 worldwide at the time. … 35th Assembly District Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) launched a bid for the state’s 12th Senate District.
March 11 – Strange lights that appeared in the night skies over Tomahawk were later identified as a satellite network launched by private company SpaceX. … The School District of Tomahawk issued a letter to parents regarding COVID-19 safety protocols. … Marvin W. Loka, 55, of Irma, was charged with sexual assault after allegedly having sexual contact with an unconscious person. … Lincoln County Supervisor and Tomahawk resident Calvin Callahan announced his candidacy for the state’s 35th Assembly District. Callahan ran as a Republican.
March 18 – After sharing a photo on his personal Facebook page that appeared to mock a woman pumping gas, Tomahawk Mayor Steven E. Taskay issued a response to the backlash received both online and at City Hall. In the later-deleted post, Taskay shared a photo of a woman pumping gas who was wearing what appeared to be leopard-spotted sweatpants and a pink, purple and blue tie-dye shirt over a long-sleeved maroon shirt. The caption on the photo appeared to read, “Not even in Walmart,” according to what appeared to be screenshots of the post sent to the Tomahawk Leader. “I apologize to those who may have been offended by or who misunderstood my original attempt at Facebook absurdity,” Taskay said in a statement. … Governor Tony Evers ordered all K-12 schools in Wisconsin to close as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain COVID-19. 34 people had tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin at the time. … The Tomahawk Area Regional Chamber of Commerce postponed its annual Taste of Tomahawk event following Governor Tony Evers’s March 12 declaration of a public health emergency due to COVID-19. The Chamber moved the event from March 21 to May 16. … The Town of Corning received a state grant to replace a nearly 100-year-old bridge.
March 25 – Restaurants and bars throughout Wisconsin were limited to only take-out and delivery services after Governor Tony Evers on March 17 directed the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue an agency order prohibiting mass gatherings of ten people or more to slow the spread of COVID-19. The DHS order made exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts. Numerous Tomahawk area restaurants and bars offered take-out and delivery options. … Mayor Steven E. Taskay on March 20 declared a state of emergency in the City of Tomahawk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. … DHS provided criteria for COVID-19 priority testing. … Area businesses and organizations announced closings and event cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 1 – Governor Tony Evers issued a statewide Safer at Home order on March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prohibited all nonessential travel, with some exceptions. The order was to remain in place until April 24 or until a superseding order was issued. … Great Lakes Foods Store Directors Gail and Mark Youngs described the previous few weeks at the Tomahawk grocery store as “unprecedented,” noting the sometimes hour-by-hour changes in prices and markets. The sizes of the store’s orders roughly quadrupled after the statewide emergency order declaration. Products like toilet paper, antibacterial wipes, various cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol were difficult to acquire because warehouses weren’t able to stock them. … Oneida County confirmed its first three positive COVID-19 cases. … The City of Tomahawk announced COVID-19 safety measures for the April 7 election. … Bear Renovations provided free delivery from grocery stores and restaurants. … Mayor Steven E. Taskay issued a statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have survived many things in Tomahawk in the over 100 years we have been around. We will survive this as well and I am confident we will bounce back better than ever,” he said. … Lincoln County District Attorney Galen Bayne-Allison explained Safer at Home order enforcement and violation punishments. … Lincoln County announced limited access to government buildings. … Local law enforcement agencies outlined their Safer at Home order procedures. “Pretty much business as usual, unless a more restrictive order is enacted,” said Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins when asked about the department’s protocol during the month-long order. “We really hope to see the cooperation of the people in and around Lincoln County to achieve voluntary compliance,” Lincoln County Sheriff Ken Schneider stated. … The Lincoln County Health Department encouraged all outpatient surgical and procedural centers, ambulatory surgery centers, dental providers, veterinarians, schools, construction companies, nail/hair salons, and others to donate unused personal protective equipment (PPE) that was not immediately needed to assist healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, and first responders in need. … Local jails explained safety measures put in place to protect inmates and correctional staff. Screening processes, temporary prisoner transfer freezes, a reduction in the number of Huber inmates or the cancellation of Huber altogether, and visitor limits were implemented.
April 8 – The School District of Tomahawk and St. Mary’s School were forced to think outside the box to make sure their students continued to learn during the statewide shutdown of K-12 schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From online lessons to work packets, both schools explained the steps they took to educate homebound students. … Ascension Medical Group began offering drive-through COVID-19 testing in Tomahawk. … Area churches outlined online Easter services. … Lincoln County issued a travel advisory to second and seasonal homeowners, asking them not to visit the area to help control the spread of COVID-19.
April 15 – Wisconsin held its spring primary election on April 7 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands went to the polls while over a million Wisconsinites requested absentee ballots. The Wisconsin Supreme Court had struck down an attempt by Governor Tony Evers to postpone the election. … Of the 7,377 ballots that were counted in Lincoln County, 3,387 (52%) were absentee ballots. 573 absentee ballots were requested in the City of Tomahawk, and 500 were returned. A total of 760 ballots were tallied in the city. … City of Tomahawk Clerk/Treasurer Amanda Bartz explained precautions taken by the city to protect poll workers and in-person voters, which included moving voting to SARA Park and installing a Plexiglas barrier on the table used for voting. … Tomahawk Elementary School teachers and students were reunited in a parade a month after schools were shut down due to COVID-19. Parade participants traveled through the community in personal vehicles while onlookers waved and cheered. Many of the vehicles were decorated with positive signs reminding students that they were missed.
April 22 – Governor Tony Evers directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to extend the state’s Safer at Home order from April 24 to May 26. … The Tomahawk Food Pantry continued helping those in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. … Tomahawk Mayor Steven E. Taskay and alderpersons Patricia E. Haskin and Dale Ernst ran unopposed in the April 7 election and were reelected to their respective posts. David Long defeated Mark Martello for a seat on the Tomahawk School Board. Jill Karofsky defeated incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly for a ten-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Joe Biden won Wisconsin in the Democratic Presidential primary. Senator Bernie Sanders had previously withdrawn from the race. … Andrew B. Griffin Jr., 23, and his brother, Elisha Benjamine Griffin, 18, both of Medford, were pronounced dead at the scene after their vehicle left the roadway on Highway 8 near County Road CC in Lincoln County. The crash was believed to have happened on April 11, but wasn’t discovered until April 18 due to snowfall that concealed the vehicle. Both men had been reported missing to the Medford Police Department.
April 29 – School District of Tomahawk Administrator Terry Reynolds addressed an incident in which Tomahawk High School students and “a few Tomahawk staff members” gathered on school property to take a senior class photo. Reynolds said the district did not authorize or have knowledge of the gathering. The school grounds had been closed to the public since March. … The community stepped up to help Kinship of Tomahawk supply boxes of food to 25 families with children in the youth mentoring program. … Boomba Bar and Sliverado were in the running for having the best fish fry in the state in Travel Wisconsin’s Fish Fry Faceoff. … Tomahawk Health Services Managers Kristin Stingle and Jesse Welch created a mural on the facility’s front window. “This was done for all the heroes who live and work at the facility,” Executive Director Jim Torgerson said.
May 6 – Yard signs from Stacie Petta Photography showed support for Tomahawk High School seniors and other students impacted by the school shutdowns. … Lincoln County confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on April 30. … National Nurses Week kicked off on May 6.
May 13 – The City of Tomahawk Common Council denied the Tomahawk Lions Club’s 4th of July permit request with an 8 to 1 vote. … Former Tomahawk City Council President Don Nelson announced his candidacy for the state’s 35th Assembly District, running as a Republican. … Ed Vocke of Minocqua launched a bid to represent Wisconsin’s 12th Senate District. Vocke ran as a Democrat. … The Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce offered resources to members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 20 – Construction began at Hatchet Field as the Hatchet Pride Project Committee continued to seek financial support for the renovation project. … The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’s Safer at Home order extension. The Lincoln County Health Department warned of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases after the court’s decision was announced. … The Lincoln County Health Department confirmed two more COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the county’s total to three. … Republican Tom Tiffany triumphed over Democrat Tricia Zunker in the May 12 special election to fill the 7th Congressional District seat vacated by Republican Rep. Sean Duffy. … The School District of Tomahawk announced that it would forego a traditional in-person graduation ceremony in favor of a virtual one.
May 27 – Lincoln County Health Department Director and Health Officer Shelley Hersil told the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors that large gatherings could be potentially “devastating” to the community, and that events could expose thousands to COVID-19. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors selected Kevin Koth as Chair. Robert Weaver was reelected as Vice-Chair. … Governor Tony Evers announced a $1 billion effort to support COVID-19 contact tracing, acquisition of supplies, emergency operations, and resources for local communities throughout the state. … The iconic Lake Ice Bear floating on an inner tube was placed in Sawdy Pond. … Six days after her defeat in the May 12 special election, Tricia Zunker announced that she would run against Rep. Tom Tiffany again in November for the 7th Congressional District seat. … Merrill Democrat Tyler Ruprecht announced his candidacy for the state’s 35th Assembly District. … Silverado took second place in Travel Wisconsin’s Fish Fry Faceoff, while Boomba Bar and Grill finished in sixth place.
June 3 – Lincoln County reported four total COVID-19 cases, while Oneida County reported nine. … Eric Lee Moen, 35, of Wausau, pleaded guilty to the murder of Tomahawk resident Charles “Chuck” K. Ramp. Moen shot Ramp in the driveway of Ramp’s home on W. Mohawk Ave. in Tomahawk in 2017. … Andrew J. Adams, 18, of Champaign, Ill., drowned in Lake Alice after the canoe he was in capsized. … The Lincoln County Health Department issued COVID-19 Recommendation #1, which provided guidance on large events, social gatherings and business practices. … Tomahawk Music on the River’s 2020 concert series was cancelled due to COVID-19.
June 10 – Tomahawk Main Street Inc. announced that it would plan downtown Fall Ride festivities despite the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) cancelling its SARA Park events. Hours after MDA announced its SARA Park cancellation, the City of Tomahawk Common Council approved Main Street’s Fall Ride Thunder Parade permit application. … The 2020 Lincoln County Fair was cancelled due to COVID-19. … Power Pac, Inc. acquired Erv’s Sales and Service in Tomahawk. … St. Mary’s School teachers organized a parade and went to each graduating 5th grade student’s home. Graduates were presented with yard signs, posters, balloons and their diplomas.
June 17 – On the same day the School District of Tomahawk released a nearly 40-minute graduation video, graduating Tomahawk High School seniors took part in a boat parade in Kwahamot Bay. … A decades-long tradition continued with Tomahawk North for the 4th shirts. … Brian Perrodin retired after two decades with the School District of Tomahawk. … The Tomahawk Leader published a special section honoring the Tomahawk High School Class of 2020.
June 24 – Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced a bill that sought to halt federal funding to schools, from elementary to university, that didn’t reopen classrooms by Sept. 8. The “Reopen Our Schools Act” was the first legislation Tiffany authored after being sworn into Congress in May. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county’s $20 “wheel tax” through 2021. … Lincoln County reported its eighth case of COVID-19. Oneida County reported a total of 17 cases. … The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office warned the public about financial scams after multiple scams had occurred in the area in previous weeks. … Hunting advocacy group Hunter Nation sued the Wisconsin DNR after the DNR announced the cancellation of an Oneida County hunter safety course due to COVID-19.
July 1 – Harley-Davidson announced that it would could roughly 50 jobs in Tomahawk. … Tomahawk’s Lee A. Steigerwaldt was the first woman named to the Association of Consulting Foresters’ Executive Committee. … Robert W. Williams, 34, of Panama City, Fla., was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor after stabbing Andrew W. Wickland, 28, of Tomahawk, numerous times during an altercation in the Town of Nokomis. … The School District of Tomahawk continued working towards reopening classrooms in the fall. … Lincoln County reported a total of nine COVID-19 cases, while Oneida County reported 18. … Milestone Senior Living resident Joan Bowman celebrated her 90th birthday in style with a parade and a gathering of Milestone residents and staff.
July 8 – St. Mary’s School eyed an August release of their back-to-school plan. … Work continued on Highway 51 southbound. … A federal appeals court reinstated multiple voting restrictions backed by Wisconsin Republicans. … A total of $1,956.45 was donated to American Legion Post 93, VFW Post 2687, the Tomahawk Food Pantry, the Nokomis Food Pantry, Our Sisters’ House Homeless Shelter, and Kinship of Tomahawk. The funds were raised by CIS Insurance’s Bucket Brigade.
July 15 – Tomahawk Main Street’s Fall Fest earned Honorable Mention in the Special Event Category of the 2019 Wisconsin Main Street Awards. … Three staff members at Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake Schools in Irma tested positive for COVID-19. No youth tested positive. … Six golf carts were stolen from Inshalla Country Club. … Jenna Cottrell and Danielle Riebe, both of Tomahawk, finished Nicolet College’s Associate Degree Nursing program and were among 26 students honored in the college’s Nurse Pinning Ceremony.
July 22 – The City of Tomahawk Common Council voted 4 to 3 to reapprove Tomahawk Main Street Inc.’s permits for downtown Fall Ride events and the Thunder Parade after VFW Post 2687 requested that the council rescind the permits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lincoln County Health Department Director and Health Officer Shelley Hersil told the council that LCHD was not recommending mass gatherings of more than 50 people and stated her belief that COVID-19 spread would occur at Fall Ride. … The School District of Tomahawk Board of Education approved the district’s reopening plan. … A School District of Tomahawk survey found that a majority of families and staff supported returning to classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year. … Milestone Senior Living held an Independence Day parade, led by two fire trucks and followed by decorated vehicles as well as a clown throwing candy.
July 29 – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigated numerous incidents of vandalism in the county and asked for the public’s help in finding those responsible. Swastikas, vulgar language and crude images had been spray painted on road signs and bridges. … The Lincoln County Health Department launched a COVID-19 Outbreaks and Investigations webpage, which included a list of public establishments in the county where a high risk exposure had occurred during the previous two weeks and people that had been exposed were unable to be identified. Locations confirmed to have COVID-19 exposures but were able to identify all contacts were not listed on the webpage. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved a 120-day extension of the county’s emergency order implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension allowed the board and county committees to continue to meet virtually. … Daniel E. Boldt, 46, of the Town of Corning, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for felony firearms charges. … The 5th annual Jiggin’ for Jayden fishing tournament raised $10,000 for Kinship of Tomahawk.
Aug. 5 – Tomahawk Main Street Inc.’s Board of Directors announced that it had cancelled its portion of events for the Downtown Tomahawk Veterans Fall Ride and the Thunder Parade, scheduled for Sept. 17 through Sept. 20, saying the “uncertainties of COVID-19 weighed heavy on the decision.” The Muscular Dystrophy Association backed out of the event in June, and Harley-Davidson in July announced that it would not take part in the annual motorcycle rally. … The Tomahawk Leader published Q&A’s with State Assembly candidates Calvin Callahan and Tyler Ruprecht, as well as Senate candidate Ed Vocke. State Assembly candidate Don Nelson and State Senate candidate Mary Felzkowski did not submit responses to the Leader’s questions. … The Sheriff’s Offices in Lincoln and Oneida County joined numerous other law enforcement agencies in the state that said they would not enforce Governor Tony Evers’s mask mandate, implemented on July 30 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. July had seen the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 drastically increase. … Lincoln County’s response rate for the 2020 Census was just over 60%.
Aug. 12 – Wendy Smith of Tomahawk biked 100 miles through the Northwoods to raise money for Kinship of Tomahawk. Smith raised over $5,000, more than doubling her $2,500 goal, via donations on Facebook. … The City of Tomahawk Common Council voted 6 to 3 to waive the city’s open intoxicants ordinance between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Sept. 18 and Sept. 19, the Friday and Saturday when the Thunder Parade and Downtown Tomahawk Veterans Fall Ride events were slated to take place. … The Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to cancel the Taste of Tomahawk event scheduled to take place at Inshalla Country Club in Tomahawk in October. The event, originally slated for March 21, was pushed back to May 16 after Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19. The event was again postponed to Oct. 24 before being cancelled. … School District of Tomahawk Administrator Terry Reynolds provided information on the district’s reopening procedures as the start of the school year approached. … The Lincoln County Health Department and the Wisconsin National Guard collaborated to provide free COVID-19 testing in Merrill.
Aug. 19 – The Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) reported the county’s first COVID-19 related death. The individual was in their 30s and had underlying health conditions. … Calvin Callahan defeated Don Nelson to earn the Republican nomination in the 35th Assembly District race. Tyler Ruprecht became the Democratic nominee after running unopposed. … Following its cancellation of Taste of Tomahawk, the Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce called off all other fall events, including the annual Venison Feed downtown on the Friday before the state’s nine-day gun deer season, and switched its focus to a fall auction event. … The School District of Tomahawk Board of Education unanimously voted to green-light a November referendum that would ask voters for $3.5 million per year for four years. … Tomahawk Main Street Inc. made donations to American Legion Post 93 and VFW Post 2687. … LCHD addressed frequently asked COVID-19 questions. … The Tomahawk High School Class of 2020 donated $1,077.19 to the Main Street Beautification Project. … Tomahawk native Dorothy Mae McCormick Holland Dettmering celebrated her 100th birthday in Arizona via a Zoom call with family and friends.
Aug. 26 – John Radcliffe, a Tomahawk native who passed away in Hawaii on Aug. 11, was the subject of a story first published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser before running in the Leader. In the story, Radcliffe was described as “an educator, lobbyist, former executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association and unrelenting advocate for death with dignity.” Radcliffe fought to legalize medical aid in dying and was instrumental in securing the passage of Hawaii’s Our Care, Our Choice Act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2019. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014 and died at age 78 after ending his life with prescribed medication in his home surrounded by his family. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved the use of ATVs and UTVs on Highway 86 south of Tomahawk. … St. Mary’s School finalized its back to school plan. … The School District of Tomahawk was set to hold virtual school reopening presentations on back-to-back evenings. The district also began offering drive-thru meal service. … Olivia, an eight-year-old girl who had just moved with her family from Kansas to Tomahawk, formed a unique friendship with Alice, a 94-year-old resident of a Tomahawk long-term care facility. Olivia was volunteering at the facility when the two became friends.
Sept. 2 – The Tomahawk Fire Department received a grant from Wisconsin Public Service to purchase two new automated external defibrillators (AEDs). … Aaron C. Dziura, 39, and Daniel J. Horwath, 34, both of Tomahawk, were charged with first degree reckless homicide after allegedly providing methamphetamine to a Tomahawk woman, 23, who overdosed and died two days later. … School District of Tomahawk Administrator Terry Reynolds provided information on the district’s November referendum. … The City of Tomahawk was gearing up for its 15th annual citywide Dumpster Day. … Conservative public interest law firm The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit that sought to overturn Governor Tony Evers’s mask mandate. … The Hatchet cross country team kicked off its season in Ashland after competing in the 19th annual Alumni Scrimmage. … Tomahawk High School’s Brynn Beaumier, Lane Beaumier, and Viana Johnson were among 60 students nationwide who received scholarships from LP. … The School District of Tomahawk welcomed new teachers Amanda Rosin, Jennifer Kern, Heather Geiss, Chelsea Bubolz, Aaron Wickman, Katie Mackin, and Taylor Hudzinski-Pike to its staff.
Sept. 9 – The City of Tomahawk Common Council voted 8 to 1 to reject a permit request by the Northern Wisconsin Riders Group that sought to hold the Thunder Parade on Friday, Sept. 18 during Fall Ride weekend. Alderpersons cited the COVID-19 pandemic and potential traffic issues downtown as reasons for their “no” votes. … Eric Lee Moen, who had pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Charles “Chuck” K. Ramp in Tomahawk in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 40 years. … A three-year prison sentence was handed down to former Tomahawk bus driver James T. Schmit, who had pleaded no contest to a charge of child enticement in February. … The School District of Tomahawk announced that it would provide free meals to students through the end of the year after the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended its flexible free meals program. … A watering station was constructed at the Tomahawk Dog Park as a memorial of longtime Tomahawk resident Kris Klessig. … Tomahawk’s Kaleb Kaminski was named a Pre-Season All-American for UW-Whitewater football. … Local veterans Scott Stevenson, Bill Burcalow, and Thomas Wenninger were given Quilts of Valor, made possible by a partnership between VFW Auxiliary Unit 2687 and the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Sept. 16 – After developing back-to-school plans throughout the summer, students and staff at St. Mary’s School and the School District of Tomahawk returned to classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year. … A bill introduced by Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) sought to permanently remove the gray wolf from the list of federal endangered species and “restore authority” to control the animal’s population to state lawmakers and state wildlife officials. … A banner sponsored by numerous local veterans organizations honoring first responders was on display in Tomahawk. … Former State Senator Kevin Shibilski, 59, of Merrill, was charged in federal court with storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of 5R Processors, Ltd., a Wisconsin company involved in the recycling of electronic waste from corporate and institutional clients and from manufacturers that participate in a manufacture-take-back program. An indictment alleged that Shibilski illegally stored and disposed of broken and crushed glass from cathode ray tubes that were hazardous due to lead-toxicity at facilities in Wisconsin and Tennessee. He also faced federal charges of wire fraud and tax evasion.
Sept. 23 – Lincoln County District 13 Supervisor and Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 35th Assembly District Calvin Callahan responded to reports that he “double-dipped” on mileage reimbursement for county meetings while serving on the county board, saying his claims of extra mileage were an “oversight.” The second-term Supervisor’s expense reports revealed inconsistencies in mileage claims, and meeting minutes contradicted his statements that an adjustment to meeting schedules lead to the inaccurate mileage reporting. Callahan was overpaid with taxpayer money by $311.23, but was owed $70 by the county for a per diem payment error, so he repaid $241.23. Lincoln County shortly thereafter implemented a new procedure regarding Supervisors’ expense reports. … Five staff members and seven students were quarantined after a COVID-19 exposure at Tomahawk High School. … Douglas R. Reimert, 47, of Tomahawk, was charged with six felony counts of exposing a child to harmful material after allegedly sending sexually explicit images of himself to a 17-year-old and two 15-year-old individuals via social media. Reimert also reportedly admitted to sending an explicit image to a fourth individual, also 15 years of age. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors discussed a potential referendum to replace the county’s $20 “wheel tax.” … A horse in Oneida County tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), caused by the EEE virus.
Sept. 30 – After over three years of fundraising, design, and construction, the Hatchet Pride Project was completed. The project, largely funded by private donors and sponsors, saw myriad upgrades and improvements made to Hatchet Field, including a new track, synthetic field, bleacher system, lighting, concession stand, ticket booth and entrance. The new athletic field also boasted an improved surface and infrastructure, as well as a Donor Wall. … Six School District of Tomahawk students tested positive for COVID-19. … Free COVID-19 testing was offered at SARA Park.
Oct. 7 – The Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) reported the county’s second COVID-19-related death. The individual was in their 60s and had underlying health conditions. LCHD also discussed a surge in local cases. 130 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the county since Labor Day. … Matthew D. Peterson, 18, of Merrill, was charged with 14 counts of misdemeanor criminal damage to property and ten counts of misdemeanor bail jumping related to a rash of vandalism incidents across Lincoln County dating as far back as January. Road signs, bridges and other property in Lincoln County had been defaced with spray paint, depicting swastikas, vulgar language and crude images. … Ascension, Aspirus, and Marshfield Clinic Health System issued a joint statement on the state’s climbing COVID-19 hospitalizations. … The colorful view from atop the Timm’s Hill Tower in Ogema more than made up for the chilly fall-like conditions.
Oct. 14 – The Lincoln County Health Department reported the county’s third COVID-19-related death. The individual was in their 60s and had underlying health conditions. … A Tomahawk Elementary School second grade classroom temporarily switched to remote learning after an individual in the elementary school tested positive for COVID-19. It was not specified whether the individual was a student, staff member or visitor. … Angel A. Gehrke, 18, and Elijah R. Hintz, 19, both of Merrill, were issued court summons, each facing three counts of criminal damage to property – party to a crime related to the vandalism incidents that had occurred in Lincoln County earlier in the year. … The Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) and the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office warned of fraudulent calls being made by “certain bad actors” claiming to be OCHD employees conducting COVID-19 contact tracing. … A horse in Oneida County tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), caused by the EEE virus. … Oneida County law enforcement agencies participated in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
Oct. 21 – The Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) reported the county’s fourth and fifth COVID-19-related deaths. Both individuals were in their 80s and had underlying health conditions. … After reporting 120 new cases of COVID-19 the week before, LCHD said response times for those who test positive “may be delayed” due to the surge. “Our public health system is beyond capacity to respond to each person newly diagnosed with COVID-19 within 24 hours,” LCHD stated. … The City of Tomahawk, the Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tomahawk Main Street Inc., and the Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation, with assistance from UW-Madison Lincoln County Extension, launched a housing survey “to help determine housing needs in the Tomahawk Community.” … The School District of Tomahawk outlined details of its November referendum. … The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office sought help from the public in solving a theft case involving county-owned road signs. … The City of Tomahawk announced that it would not set official trick-or-treating hours. Health agencies did not recommend participation in the activity or mass gatherings. … The Tomahawk Hatchet boys’ cross country team defended its GNC title at Edgewater Country Club.
Oct. 28 – The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the county’s emergency order through May 2021 to allow the board and committees to continue to meet virtually. The order was put in place in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. … Tomahawk Main Street’s Fall Fest was slated for Halloween, with various changes made to the annual downtown event. … The Tomahawk Ambassadors welcomed new owners of Sammy’s Subs Brenda and Jacob Holloway, new owners of What’s Brewin’ Grey and Kassia Lusty, and new owners of Kracker Barrel Jim and Audrey Charles to their respective businesses. … Trig’s Floral and Home’s Petal It Forward campaign brought smiles to Tomahawk as unsuspecting people received two bouquets of flowers: one for themselves, and another to give to someone else. … Free weekly COVID-19 testing was moved from the Merrill Area Public Schools building to the Merrill Festival Grounds. … Tomahawk Community Bank, through their partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago’s Targeted Impact Fund, presented Kinship of Tomahawk, Tomahawk Area Interfaith Volunteers (TAIV), and Our Sisters’ House Homeless Shelter each with a $5,000 donation.
Nov. 4 – The jury trial for former Tomahawk resident Henry Robert Hughes, who was charged with one felony count of first-degree reckless homicide and one felony count of child abuse in the 2016 death of his infant son, was rescheduled for Oct. 8 through Oct. 22, 2021. The trial was originally scheduled for Nov. 2019, but was delayed to Oct. 2020 after a key witness in the case was admitted for emergency surgery that required six weeks of recovery. … Tomahawk Main Street Inc. replaced its annual Win the Window contest with a new holiday program called “We Give Thanks.” … The Happy Kids Backpack Program was among four area nonprofits to receive a $100 donation from Park City Credit Union. … The Tomahawk Hatchet girls’ cross country team and Noah Buckwalter punched their tickets to the state competition.
Nov. 11 – Republicans Tom Tiffany (U.S. House of Representatives), Mary Felzkowski (State Senate), and Calvin Callahan (State Assembly) emerged victorious in their respective races in the Nov. 3 General Election. Although President Donald J. Trump received the majority of votes in Lincoln County, Joe Biden ultimately won Wisconsin on his way to winning the White House. … The School District of Tomahawk’s referendum was defeated by a razor-thin 51-vote margin. … Gerry Johnson was named the Honorary Chair for the Salvation Army of Tomahawk’s Red Kettle bell ringing campaign. … Tomahawk High School’s Sam Hernandez was named the Green Bay Packers’ High School Football Coach of the Week.
Nov. 18 – The Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) announced on Nov. 12 that Lincoln County had reached a “Critical High” number of COVID-19 cases. “Because of the surge of cases our hospitals are filling up and we are losing loved ones due to this virus,” said Shelley Hersil, Lincoln County Health Officer. “We as a community and as individuals need to do all we can to slow the spread, so health care can do their job in providing everyone with the care they need, as they need it.” … The Tomahawk Police Department sought assistance in funding for the department’s next K9 unit. K9 Vali had been serving for seven years and was scheduled to retire at the end of 2020. … Following the narrow defeat of its referendum on Nov. 3, the School District of Tomahawk Board of Education looked ahead to the April elections for a possible new referendum. … Prairie River Middle School joined Kate Goodrich, Washington, and Jefferson elementary schools in temporarily closing due to COVID-19. Merrill High School and Maple Grove Charter School remained open. … The Tomahawk Ambassadors welcomed Mandy and Josh Witt, new owners of Erv’s Sales and Service, to the community. … The Tomahawk High School football team was forced to forfeit its playoff game against Wittenberg-Birnamwood after 18 Hatchet players were quarantined due to COVID-19.
Nov. 25 – Isaac D. Tomek, 20, of Tomahawk, Brock A. Rhode, 29, of Merrill, and Rachel M. Hoeppner, 21, of Merrill, were arrested after breaking into Zingers and Flingers shooting range near Marathon in Marathon County. Tomek faced a felony charge of burglary, a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine, and two felony charges of bail jumping, along with a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. Rhode faced felony charges of burglary, theft of movable property (>$5,000-$10,000), vehicle operator fleeing/eluding an officer, and driving or operating a vehicle without consent, along with four felony charges of bail jumping. Hoeppner faced felony charges of burglary and possession of methamphetamine. … Tomahawk Elementary School Principal Guy Steckbauer announced that Fridays would be remote learning days for all elementary students. … Over 140 Tomahawk Middle School students took part in a Veterans Day VFW essay contest. … Matthew James Ryan, 25, of Gleason, was charged with first degree sexual assault of a child-intercourse with person under age of 16-use/threat of force/violence after an alleged incident that took place in the summer. … Tomahawk’s Karlie Woodall finished her impressive high school diving career at the State competition in Waukesha.
Dec. 2 – The Tomahawk Salvation Army’s Red Kettle bell ringing campaign kicked off at Kracker Barrel. … Wisconsin Hospital and Health System physician leaders issued a joint COVID-19 safety message, asking Wisconsinites to take steps to slow the spread of the deadly virus. … Courtney Schwartz of Lovely Lady C Day Spa and Kara Krueger of Lashes by Kara LLC were welcomed to their respective newly-opened businesses by the Tomahawk Ambassadors. … The Tomahawk High School drama department’s one-act play advanced to the state competition for the fifth-straight year. “Fidget” received a unanimous advance from three judges. … Meals on Wheels sought volunteer delivery drivers in Tomahawk.
Dec. 9 – The United States Senate on Nov. 18 passed a bill introduced by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to rename the Tomahawk Post Office, located at 311 W. Wisconsin Ave., after Tomahawk-area native and Medal of Honor recipient Einar “Sarge” H. Ingman Jr. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Baldwin and Johnson in February, was sent to the House of Representatives on Nov. 19 after its Senate passage. … Hometown Christmas was slated to be held once again in downtown Tomahawk. The event featured numerous changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. … Edwin R. Juedes, 47, of Tomahawk, was charged with felony counts of second degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim and burglary to a building or dwelling after he allegedly entered a residence in the Town of Tomahawk without permission on Nov. 1 and had sexual contact with the victim in the case while the victim was asleep. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors during a special meeting voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Catherine Wylie as the county’s Human Resources Director and Administrative Coordinator. Wylie replaced former Administrative Coordinator Jason Hake, who accepted a position in Marathon County in the fall of 2020 after holding his Lincoln County post since March of 2018. … License sales and harvest totals for the 2020 nine-day gun deer season were up from 2019.
Dec. 16 – The City of Tomahawk Common Council unanimously voted to approve an agreement to purchase the former Lincoln Industries building, 1775 Kaphaem Road, from Lincoln County. The 8,040-square-foot building on 19.25 acres near the southeastern city limits would house the Tomahawk Fire Department. … The School District of Tomahawk Board of Education was set for a Jan. 12, 2021 vote on an operational referendum seeking $3.5 million per year for four years. If approved, the referendum will appear on the April 6, 2021 spring election ballot. … The Lincoln County Health Department followed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control in updating its quarantine guidance for close contacts of someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Quarantine length was reduced from 14 days. The close contact could end their quarantine after completing ten days of quarantine without testing or after completing seven days of quarantine and receiving a negative test result that was collected within 48 hours of the end of quarantine. … The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas asking the court to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victories over President Donald J. Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. In rejecting the suit, the court said Texas did not have standing to sue and “(had) not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.” Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) the week prior joined 105 other Republican members of the House of Representatives in signing an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit. Numerous legal experts voiced doubts over the lawsuit’s viability. After his defeat, Trump and other Republicans had launched more than 40 unsuccessful legal attempts to overturn the election results based on evidence-free claims of voting irregularities and fraud. Judges criticized Republicans for providing no proof to support their sweeping allegations. … Trig’s announced that its pharmacies would be among the first to administer the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.
Dec. 23 – “The Candy Store,” handcrafted by Adolph Benedict for his son Adolph “Artie” Benedict Jr. roughly 90 years ago, delighted a new generation when Mayville resident Jane Kabinetter passed it on to her great-grandchildren. The miniature store was lovingly restored by “Grandma Jane” with help from her friend, Joyce Hechimovich, also of Mayville. Adolph Benedict was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1898 and became a World War I prisoner of war and was interned in a prisoner of war (POW) camp in Georgia in the United States. When the war ended, he was given the choice of returning to Germany or staying the U.S. to become an American citizen. He eventually settled in Tomahawk, where died in 1977. “Artie” Benedict Jr., was born in 1930 and died in 2009, also in Tomahawk. Artie was a friend of the Kabinetter family. … Kids were greeted by Santa and The Grinch during Kinship of Tomahawk’s Drive-Thru Christmas Party. … The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution selling the Lincoln Industries property to the City of Tomahawk for $1. … Nicolet College culinary arts students delivered meals to Kinship of Tomahawk and Fredrick Place in Rhinelander.
Dec. 30 – THS’s freshman class challenged the other classes to a “Food Raiser” to benefit the Tomahawk Food Pantry. The high schoolers collected 287 food items in $191.00 in total. … Weekly free COVID-19 testing was set to continue in Merrill beginning in January. … Life Link III, a Minnesota-based air-medical transport company, announced that it would begin 24/7 operations at an air-medical base at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport (RHI) in spring 2021. The announcement came about five months after Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport announced it would discontinue service in the Northwoods. … The Tomahawk High School wrestling team sponsored an honor banner for local Army veteran Kenley Cordts. The honor banner was displayed in downtown Tomahawk near Dunn Financial Services. … Employees of Harley-Davidson United Steelworkers Local 2-460 of Tomahawk donated $984.00 to American Legion Post 93 in Tomahawk.