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First Thursday spotlights live, local art in WausauSubmitted: 09/03/2015

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WAUSAU - The First Thursday means more than just a day in Wausau. It's a chance for stores to stay open later, and bring people downtown. The theme for the fourth, 2015 installment focused on live art in the Wausau River District and 400 Block.

For Wausau's Valerie Berkely, it gave her the chance to get others in touch with art.

Berkely greeted people passing by with a "Hi, I teach painting here" during the occasion outside the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau.

She spoke with people passing by as she using her sponge to teach, what she calls, her take on impressionism. Berkely added that she uses only prime colors.

"I can make all of the colors that I need," Berkely said. "I don't need to buy a green. I can make my own purple."

She can also make artists out of other people, and that's what she hopes she's always doing with a smile.

"If I'm not happy, why am I doing it? I do art to be happy and I like to sell art at affordable prices to make other people happy. It's a win-win," Berkely said.

Organizers like Elizabeth Field, of the Wausau River District, like that win word as well. They created First Thursday as a themed retail event for the first Thursday of every month this summer, and the idea behind it seems simple.

"The idea is basically is to give people something fun to do downtown," Field said.

Thursday's theme revolved around live-art. Organizers say they keep getting winning feedback.

"It's a win for everybody, like a three-way win for our organization, the businesses and the people that come downtown," Field said.

The event offered Berkely another chance this summer to bring people to the Center for the Visual Arts.

"So many times people just don't know we are here," Berkely said. "And that traffic, that door being open, means everything for us."

It also means Berkely will keep using her skills and passion to connect more people with art.

The last First Thursday retail event will be in October. Field says she hopes to eventually go year round with the monthly event. She also added that the program wouldn't be possible without support from business in town and from grants.


Story By: Adam Fox

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 LOCAL NEWS

RHINELANDER - This year the PotatoFest in Rhinelander will still have the favorites, like the French Fry Frenzy and Polka Sunday.

But there will also be a few new additions like a beanbag toss tournament, and potato pantyhose bowling.

"The pantyhose bowling that's where you wear a pantyhose on your head and it's filled with a potato, and then you have to swing your head to knock pins, or knock the ball down to knock the pins over," said DRI Executive Director Maggie Steffen.

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SUGAR CAMP - A one-car crash northwest of Sugar Camp sent a woman to the hospital Thursday.

A Chevy Silverado ran off Highway D not far from where it meets Highway H.  It happened just before noon.

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VILAS COUNTY - Whether you're in the Northwoods for Labor Day Weekend or you call it home, you will have to be more careful around mosquitoes.

A dead crow in Vilas County tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

According to a Vilas County Public Health Department press release, this is the first bird this summer to test positive for it.

Gina Egan of the Vilas County Health Department said over the years the county has found infected birds.

Egan suggests avoiding mosquitoes and wearing bug spray. She also suggests getting rid of standing water outside your home, such as bird baths or gutters.

Public health nurses stress that most people who do get West Nile do not get sick.

"Twenty percent of the people have it really mild," said Oneida County public health nurse Dawn Klink. "Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms. And less than one percent get really really deathly ill. And those are usually the ones that get tested for it and go in. Other people just think they've got a bug and don't go in."

Nurses want you to call the local health department if you do see a dead bird.

If you do feel you have severe symptoms of West Nile, nurses say to go to your doctor to get tested. 

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MINOCQUA - Heading back to school makes many students stress about what they are going to wear, especially when it comes to that first day look. And educators at one Northwoods school want their students to know that dressing for success, is more important than dressing to fit in.

At Lakeland Union High School, the dress code is designed to promote making wise fashion choices. Administrators say they want students to get in the routine of dressing, as if they're going to work.

"We're teaching them how to get ready for college and how to get ready for a career that they're going to be going into, 'career and college readiness', we want to make sure that they understand 'dressing for success', and a lot of times we spend a lot of time talking from that point of view," said Lakeland Union High School principal Jim Bouche.

Lakeland Union High School doesn't require uniforms, but they do have specific guidelines in place. They don't spell out what students can wear, but instead tell them what they can't. The overall goal is to keep kids focused in class.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

FOX LAKE, IL - Authorities believe they've recovered video that will help the investigation into who killed a police officer in northern Illinois.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko told reporters Thursday that a private resident came forward with the video from a home security system.

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TOMAH - The director of the Tomah VA Medical Center has been fired, becoming the second top official to depart amid reports of over-medication practices.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1NcpODu ) that acting director John Rohrer sent an email to employees Wednesday stating only that Mario Desanctis "is no longer employed" by the VA.

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ASHLAND, KY - A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky clerk to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis she would be jailed until she complied with his order to issue the licenses.

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MADISON - Wisconsin's bear hunting season is set to begin next week.

The season is slated to begin on Sept. 9 and run through Oct. 13. State Department of Natural Resources officials say they've issued a record 10,690 permits. The old record was 10,340 permits, set last year.

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