EAGLE RIVER - While Wisconsin farmers are hard at work harvesting the state's # 1 fruit crop, thousands of people enjoyed the fruits of their labor.
This weekend marked the 33rd annual Cranberry Festival in Eagle River. Every cranberry concoction you can think of-from vinegars to jams, soaps to lotion, it’s packed into the Cranberry Festival. Each year the event draws in over 40,000 visitors.
"Everybody keeps coming back because it's a lot of fun, and there's something for everyone,” said Kim Emerson, event coordinator with the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, “We've got the cranberry beer, cranberry soda, and of course the Craisin's and the cranberries themselves."
The fresh-from-the-bog berries are definitely the star of the show. Each year they sell nearly 10,000 pounds of them.
"They're all the hand-sorted, premium, select berries. So they have the real deep maroon color," said Emerson.
Besides berries over 300 venders come together to sell handmade and homegrown goods, and celebrate the season and beauty of the Northwoods.
Some vendors and their customers have been coming back for decades. Now they sell cranberry fare, you can't find anywhere else.
Paulette Anderson of “The Bogs Cranberry Specialties” has been a part of the festival for 33 years.
“Since the beginning,” she says, “We’ve got potpourri, and such that we've made with the cranberry leaves, that's what we started with. Then we went to cranberry air fresheners… We now have the cranberry wax melts and candles, or ‘crandles’ we call them."
Sunday afternoon marked the end of this year’s cranberry festival. Cranberry farmers will continue to harvest for the next several weeks.
MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.
The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain
RHINELANDER - There was no severe weather Thursday, but sirens across the Northwoods were blaring at about 1:45 pm on Thursday.
That's because the National Weather Service held a statewide tornado drill.
It was part of their severe weather awareness week, and Oneida County took part in the drill.
"The sirens are only set off for warnings, in the city of Rhinelander, it's only going to be a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that is affecting the city area," said Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof. "It's also going to be set off for a Tornado Warning affecting the area."
ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.
The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts don’t know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.
The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses don’t get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
UPDATE: Police believe they made right choice in Nerf gun tickets
WAUSAU - UPDATE: 5:52pm 4/24/2014
Police believe they made the right choice handling a report of gunmen near a high school in Wausau Tuesday night.
They found out the gunmen were actually six kids playing a game with toy Nerf guns.
Police eventually ended up giving the high school seniors disorderly conduct tickets.
Some people thought the tickets were excessive, but in a press release in released Thursday by the Wausau Police Department said they "believed there was a serious, potentially life threatening situation".
Someone called the Wausau police around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The person said there were people pointing guns at other people in a car.
Police say they handled the situation different than a traffic stop because of the seriousness of the call.
After police got all the seniors out of the car, they saw the nerf guns.
The teens got the disorderly conduct citations because police say they caused a disruption in the neighborhood.
Leaders at Wausau West High School said in a statement that there's "potential in a game like this for negative consequences."
Some of the students have also been placed on athletic probation.
Six kids got tickets after a battle using toy Nerf guns in Wausau.
Police issued disorderly conduct citations to the high school seniors.
Some residents of Wausau called police when they saw the young people pointing a gun at a car Tuesday night.
But, it was only a toy Nerf gun that shoots foam bullets.
Wausau West High School officials have also placed some students on athletic probation.
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