- The Wisconsin State Senate has passed two measures raising state trooper wages and compensation for state workers. The chamber will address the budget this afternoon. We'll have the latest and tell you what the budget could mean for you tonight on Newswatch 12.
- Plus, well take a look at the impact of the early crowd at the Hodag Country Festival.
We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
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.
BOULDER JUNCTION - A 62-year-old fisherman may have drowned in a Vilas County lake late Tuesday afternoon.
As of early Tuesday evening, sheriff's deputies were searching White Sand Lake for that man. The lake is about a mile southeast of Boulder Junction in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.
The Vilas County Sheriff's Office says the fisherman, who has not yet been publicly named, is from Florida. He was in the Northwoods fishing with his brother.
The men were on White Sand Lake in a boat, but not wearing life jackets. The 62-year-old man went overboard. His brother circled the boat, tried to pull him in, but could not. The brother then lost track of the man when he went underwater.
The Oneida County Public Safety Dive Team was dispatched to the area to help search for the man.
We'll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
EAGLE RIVER - Most of northern Wisconsin's forest didn't survive the cut-over from a century ago. However, some pockets did make it, and experts call those areas old growth. Now, the Northwoods Land Trust in Eagle River wants to figure out how much old growth sits on private land in Vilas County.
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