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Northwoods public library benefits from secondhand treasure Submitted: 07/07/2015

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FLORENCE - The Florence County Library looks much more appealing nowadays. That's thanks to thousands of dollars worth of hand-me-downs from southeastern Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg wanted brand new furniture and shelves for its new state-of-the-art library. Florence was pleased to take Cedarburg's unwanted shelving - and Florence got it for free.

"They provided basically all of the shelving that you see in our library for anything that's stacks, which is where the books are, on both sides of the library, along with the oak desks that you'll see in the back of the library," said Florence County Library Director Stephanie Weber.


The Florence library just finished more upgrades. They have a new mural, a better theater system, and now loan iPads and Kindles to library users.

"The public has really loved seeing the renovations," Weber said. "We actually have room to grow the collection now. Before, we were always having to continually weed (out the collection), because we just didn't have space."

The library improvements will also benefit students in the area. The public library connects to the middle and high schools and is open for students during the school day.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS

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FLORENCE - People in some areas of Wisconsin may take easy access to groceries for granted. People in Florence don't.

Last year, the USDA considered the Florence area a "food desert". There was no grocery store in all of Florence County, and it had been that way for seven years.

That's all changed. Pat's Foods has now been open for a year in town.

A vacant space in Florence looked like a slab of concrete with a roof a year ago. Now, Pat's Foods stays busy every day at the location. The full service grocery store supplies food and fresh produce, meats, and dairy. That convenience means people are shopping steadily at Pat's, and business is good.

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RHINELANDER - Most of the time when you give blood it's in a clinic. But once a year in Rhinelander, organizers bring the process outside.

Tuesday, tents filled up with donors at Pioneer Park for the 6th annual "Hodag MASH Blood Drive."

More than a dozen nurses and workers with the Community Blood Center interviewed, tested and collected blood from donors.

Organizer Jerry Shidell chose the military theme as a unique way to reduce people's anxiety.  Shidell says it doesn't matter what reason you choose to give as long as you do.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.

But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.

Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.

Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.

"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."

Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.

"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.


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SUGAR CAMP - There could soon be new regulations for unarmed combat sports. The proposed changes would impact the number of competitors here in the Northwoods.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

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MADISON - The state Senate has approved a raise for state troopers and a new compensation plan for other state workers but has delayed debate on the state budget.

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MADISON - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Gov. Scott Walker's office had a hand in crafting a budget amendment scaling back the state's open records law.

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SUPERIOR - Fire officials have revised their damage estimate of a blaze at a wood manufacturing company in the Twin Ports.

The fire broke out early Tuesday at Stella-Jones in Superior. WDIO-TV (http://bit.ly/1fk5YrR ) reports an exterior conveyer belt, used to grind up railroad ties, caught fire around 2 a.m.

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MADISON - Senators are criticizing the release of an immigrant with a criminal record who allegedly went on to murder a woman in San Francisco last week. They said he should have been deported before the crime.

Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate's homeland security committee, says it makes no sense that the man was released despite having a long criminal record and no legal status.

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