Business owners hopeful snow melt won't hurt businessSubmitted: 12/16/2014

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ST. GERMAIN - Just a few weeks ago, the Northwoods seemed to have plenty of snow for snowmobiling. There was one problem: the trails weren't open. Just after trails in Vilas County opened last Friday, some of the snow melted.

"We could tell that we were losing a lot of snow. We decided to stay off the trails and just kind of see how it played out, and you know, here we are waiting for some new snow," said Hiller's Pine Haven Resort Owner Mark Hiller.

The heavy snowfall at the end of November seemed to help Hiller's business.

"The winter customers were really enthusiastic and it was definitely helping generate more phone calls and traffic," he said.

Hiller rents out 11 cabins during the winter at his St. Germain resort. He also manages 23 other rental properties. Seventy-five percent of his winter business comes from snowmobilers.

"They're going to start calling right now to see if they can rebook or what the trail conditions are like or if there's more snow coming. And what we'll do is we'll take those deposits and we'll reapply them to the future if they end up rebooking," he explained.

When there's not enough snow for snowmobiling, resorts like Hiller's Pine Haven rely on other outdoor sports like ice fishing and cross country skiing to keep drawing in customers. Hiller's also grateful the melt happened early in the season.

"We've got a little grace period coming here with the Christmas holidays. A lot of people that come up for the Christmas holiday aren't coming just to snowmobile," he said.

St. Germain Sport Marine sees its snowmobile rental business pick up after Christmas, too.

"That's pretty typical for the rental market. We don't get much business ahead of time," said St. Germain Sport Marine Owner Tom Christensen.

Even though there aren't many rentals right now, Christensen says he's still getting servicing business.

"Folks are still getting their sleds ready to go because they're really hoping and praying the snow's going to come and they're going to be able to ride," Christensen explained.

While both business owners say they do worry at this point every year, they have faith the lack of snow will be short-lived.

"In the snow business, things turn on a dime. You can lose a lot of snow right away, but you can gain a lot of snow right away," Hiller said.

"I think it will come back," Christensen added. "Maybe we had the warm up now in December and that one that traditionally comes at the end of January won't come so it'll be a great January and February."

That's something all snowmobilers are hoping for.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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Northwoods ice arena assures clean air at its facility Submitted: 12/16/2014

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RHINELANDER - Dozens of people got carbon monoxide poisoning at a Wisconsin ice rink last weekend. The ice rink in Lake Delton was filled with carbon monoxide because of an ice resurfacing machine.

That won't happen at one Northwoods ice rink. That's because Rhinelander Ice Arena has a battery powered ice resurfacer.

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Northwoods Community Secondary School working on improving attendance, reading, and math scoresSubmitted: 12/16/2014

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RHINELANDER - Every year school districts in Wisconsin get report cards.

They use them to see how well they're doing compared to others in the state.

The School District of Rhinelander met expectations last year, but the district's charter school didn't do as well.

The Northwoods Community Secondary School met few expectations on their report card.

Attendance, math, and reading scores are factors in the school's score.

Staff members say they're taking steps to improve students' attendance.

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Veterans thanked for services and donations to diabetic institute Submitted: 12/16/2014

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RHINELANDER - Veterans could get a good meal in Rhinelander Tuesday night. Volunteers thanked them for their service and for donating to a health institute.

"To have someone like Michelle and her volunteers to come forward and give us a dinner based on us being veterans is really special," said VFW Post 3143 Commander Jim Pederson.

37 veterans could thank a dozen volunteers for a nice home cooked meal Tuesday night, but Michelle Fenske couldn't have thanked VFW Post 3143 enough for donating to the Schulze Diabetes Institute in Minnesota.

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Study: Teens turning to e-cigs over traditional cigarettesSubmitted: 12/16/2014

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RHINELANDER - For the first time, a national study shows more teenagers use e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, according to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future study released Tuesday.

The study, in its 40th year, looks at substance trends of young Americans in 8th, 10th and 12th grade. More than 40,000 students across the U.S. participate in the survey.

E-cigarettes are relatively new to the study. The product itself is relatively new as well. It creates a vapor that you inhale. Typically, this vapor contains nicotine, although the specific contents of the vapor are proprietary and are not regulated, according to the release.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/16/2014

- We enjoyed plenty of snow up until a few days ago. It seems as soon as snowmobile trails opened in Vilas County, the snow started to melt. This effects resorts and snowmobile businesses that depend on snow. What can these businesses do?

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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High demand for diesel technicians leads to new NTC degreeSubmitted: 12/15/2014

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WAUSAU - Northcentral Technical College in Wausau keeps getting calls from companies about their need for diesel technicians.

In the area, there simply aren't enough people to work on diesel engines, like the engines on semi-trucks.

NTC responded.

For the first time this year, the tech college is offering one- and two-year degrees in diesel technology.

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Shawano County Sheriff's Office releases names in 2 car crash Submitted: 12/15/2014

SHAWANO COUNTY - The Shawano County Sheriff's Office released names of the victims from a two car accident Sunday afternoon. They believe thick fog caused the accident on Highway 29, near Highway 45. That's near the village of Wittenberg.

The sheriff's office received a call just before 4:30 in the afternoon.

42-year-old Matthew Olson, who was driving the truck westbound, crossed the median near the Grand Avenue over pass. That's when he collided head on with 41-year-old Rebecca Wescott. She was traveling eastbound in a minivan.

There were six people in the minivan. 42-year-old Jennifer Steffen, 41-year-old Eric Steffen, a 15-year-old girl, 10-year-old boy and 9-year-old boy were all in the minivan.

Everyone involved in the crash were treated for non-life threatening injuries. They were released from area hospitals.

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