Hodag M*A*S*H* Blood Drive returns to help fill local supplySubmitted: 07/07/2015
RHINELANDER - Most of the time when you give blood it's in a clinic. But once a year in Rhinelander, organizers bring the process outside.

Tuesday, tents filled up with donors at Pioneer Park for the 6th annual "Hodag MASH Blood Drive."

More than a dozen nurses and workers with the Community Blood Center interviewed, tested and collected blood from donors.

Organizer Jerry Shidell chose the military theme as a unique way to reduce people's anxiety.  Shidell says it doesn't matter what reason you choose to give as long as you do.

"Alright, I've done my duty," Shidell said of donating.  "I've done my military duty, if you want to call it that. Today, I have donated blood. I have made it so that somebody may actually save a life."

"I was always afraid of needles, but when I lost my father we were given the chance to say goodbye to him because of the gift of blood gave us the time we needed to keep him alive for a few more days," donor Bobbie Keso-Mode said.  "And so I started donating."

About 100 people donated by the early afternoon. The drive lasted until 5 p.m.

The blood goes to Appleton for more testing, then returns to the Northwoods.

The Community Blood Center supplies all the blood for Ministry St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander.

"This blood is probably going to somebody in Rhinelander that I know," Shidell said.  "It might even come to me if I need it, so I just feel good about giving local. We've all heard about 'Buy Local'. What about give local?"

If you missed giving today, you can donate at the Trig's Mall in Rhinelander Wednesdays throughout the year.  Donors can give once every eight weeks.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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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.

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SUGAR CAMP - There could soon be new regulations for unarmed combat sports. The proposed changes would impact the number of competitors here in the Northwoods.

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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.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Water Shows team could add some new tricks to its performances. The team is currently working on its barefoot skills with one of the world's best barefoot skiers.

"It's a little more high pace, a little more intense, but it's a lot of fun," says Ben Groen of the World Barefoot Center.

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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.

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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.

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STEVENS POINT - A Northwoods technology consultant will make a run at Republican Sean Duffy's seat in Congress next fall.

38-year-old Kirk Bangstad, a Democrat, launched his campaign today, saying that Washington is broken.

Bangstad is a Stevens Point native.

He and his wife Elizabeth own a fitness studio in Minocqua.  Bangstad is also an opera singer.

Bangstad has never run for elected office.

Duffy was first elected to Congress in 2010.

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