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Sauna travels the country, stops in Merrill to celebrate Finland's 100th anniversarySubmitted: 06/22/2017

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MERRILL - One hundred years ago, Finland gained its independence from Russia. As part of Finland's birthday, a sauna will travel the United States.

On Thursday, the traveling sauna stopped in Merrill. Since January, the sauna has been traveling around the country.


"First we went down to Texas and then from Texas we headed west. We went through the west coast from Los Angeles all the way up to Seattle," said Traveling Sauna's Chief Sauna Ambassador Risto Sivula.

Not only does the traveling sauna celebrate Finland's centennial, but it also helps educate the public.

"Five and a half million people, two million cars, and three million saunas, so every home in Finland has a sauna like out here in the U.S., you wouldn't build a home without the garage, right," said Sivula.

Metsa Machines in Merrill hosted the traveling sauna. Their business started a little over a year ago and they're in the process of importing products from Finland.

"The lines are very simple, the products very simple, but it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to develop that degree of simplicity," said Metsa Machines President Patrick Taylor.

Taylor also says he's been using a Finnish-style sauna for about eight years and enjoys the benefits of it. He says hosting the traveling sauna is a great way to celebrate saunas and Finland's independence.

"Having met a number of number of Finnish people and having had the opportunity to spend time there, they are wonderful people and [are] a wonderful culture and [it's] wonderful for everyone to be able to experience this aspect of Finland," said Taylor.

As of right now, the sauna has about 9,000 miles on it. This summer will be spent traveling around the upper mid-west and this fall it will tour the east coast.

This weekend, the traveling sauna will be in Hancock at the Juhannus Mid-Summer Festival. For a full list of stops, click on the link below.


Related Weblinks:
Traveling Sauna Schedule

Story By: Allie Herrera

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 LOCAL NEWS

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RHINELANDER - After nearly 40 years as a pharmacist, Tom Welke has been robbed, threatened at gunpoint, and had his pharmacy burgled.

"It just kind of goes along with the job, in a way," Welke said in Rhinelander's Apothecary Pharmacy on Thursday afternoon.

One of the main reasons lately for those crimes tends to be people trying to get their hands illegally on pseudoephedrine pills, which they can use to make meth.

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CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.

People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.

Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.

"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."

Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.

It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.

"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."

Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.

That leaves some people frustrated

"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."

In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.

"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.

Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.


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The Marshall Wildlife Conservation Center in Lac du Flambeau hosted a volunteer work day to dismantle a deteriorating pier and platform on a new conservation land donation.

Northwoods Land Trust Executive Director Bryan Pierce says the land has a creek and pond with many swans and beavers.

"We're going to be installing a brand new pier, so it will be a real nice wildlife observation area for people to look at the water, the swans and cranes," said Pierce.

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Forest County Medical Examiner Larry Mathein was still at work in Fond du Lac as of 5 p.m. Thursday night, trying to determine a preliminary cause of death for 25-year-old Savanna Larson.

We had expected that autopsy to be complete by the afternoon.

Mathein's report will establish a preliminary cause of death for Larson. That report may guide any potential charges against the three people taken to jail in the case.

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Walker said in a statement Wednesday that there are "no excuses" for Republicans in Congress not to repeal the law and not allow the Medicaid expansion to grow.

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