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Free golf experiment pays off at Minocqua course Submitted: 05/25/2015
MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.



"It was hard to say what to expect. As it turned out, we were busy every single day, doing 200 players or more pretty much the entire week," Collins said. "It really kind of turned out to be a neat deal for us."

Timber Ridge did not earn any revenue from greens fees or cart fees during that week. But it got plenty of new players on the course and spread its message through word-of-mouth. Timber Ridge hopes many of those players will come back throughout the summer.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS

MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MINNEAPOLIS - Documents are revealing new details about a Minnesota man authorities say tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

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MADISON - Real men could wear pink in the woods under a bill legislators are preparing to unveil next week that would legalize blaze pink for hunters.

Rep. Nick Milroy, a Democrat from South Range in northwestern Wisconsin, plans to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce the measure.

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GREENVILLE, WI - The owners of a northeastern Wisconsin zoo say they do not believe a 5-month-old kangaroo and four baby goats that were taken will be found alive.

The animals from Special Memories Zoo in Outagamie County were reported stolen May 7.

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MADISON - Lawmakers on the Legislature's budget-writing committee have killed Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate a small state agency that approves and regulates for-profit colleges.

The Joint Finance Committee nixed the idea without debate on Thursday.

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