RHINELANDER - You’ve probably heard the saying “music is food for the soul.” At the Birchwood Lodge in Rhinelander, live music and open mic sessions will fill up your soul. And there’s also plenty on the menu to fill your stomach.
James and Billy Heath grew up in Chicago. They went to summer camp in the Northwoods….and decided to come back for good.
"We love this area," James said. "We're all outdoorsy people too, we like snowmobiling and playing in the snow and it just fits."
"We moved up here, and I met the love of my life after we got here, and then James and Mary Elise came up here and it's just been a blast," Billy said.
The brothers now call Birchwood Bar their home, along with their girlfriends Mickey Buell and Mary Elise Cher.
"James and I definitely do the majority of the cooking, and the girls do the majority of the bartending," Billy said. "That's sort of how it breaks down by… by choice and well, they're just better-looking than us."
The brothers mix it up in the kitchen.
"We live here and work here, so we eat here," James said. "We've gotta get creative and come up with new stuff. We make sure everything is good."
Good food, good drinks and a good place to hang out.
"We just tried to create an atmosphere up here that welcomes everybody," Billy said.
"It speaks to our pace of life," James said. "We're all very low-key and lovers of life and music (004-5)
"We try and make everybody feel at home, whether they're from town or out of town," Billy said.
No matter where they're from, people seem to stay awhile once the music starts.
"Besides running the bar, that's the passion," Billy said. "We just love to play and sing."
"We're musicians with a bad bar habit," James said. "We learned how to play with family and sitting around campfires."
Campfires, symphony orchestras….and now, Friday nights at the Birchwood.
"When it's the four of them together, it's such great energy," Mary Elise said.
"The later the evening gets, the more we're practicing," James said. "The smaller the crowd, the more adventurous we get."
They also get adventurous with local bands and monthly open mic sessions.
"There are some really talented people out there," Mary Elise said. "There's definitely an audience for it. Tons of people come out and it's just a lot of fun."
Indoor soccer tournament raises money for high school soccer teams
EAGLE RIVER - Soccer players may need to wait for the snow on their fields to melt. But they know cabin fever is starting to set in, and it's the perfect time to capitalize on it.
The 7th annual Cabin Fever Indoor Soccer Tournament kicked off today at Northland Pines High School. The event raises money for the school’s boy's and girl's soccer teams.
"This was an opportunity to have an indoor soccer program so the kids can do something in the winter," says tournament director Steve Gilbert. "There was a need for a fundraiser so we thought why not have a tournament. There are other tournaments in the region, why not have one here with this tremendous facility that we have here at Pines."
Nearly 100 5th through 8th graders played in the co-ed soccer matches. Their participation makes it possible for the team to buy new equipment.
"It allows us to buy things that maybe the school can't afford to buy for them, so different types of warm-ups, equipment out on the field," says Gilbert. "One time we bought a camera for them so we could film their games. So it's going to good causes."
VILAS COUNTY - More people today use maps on their phones when traveling, but some people still like those paper maps.
The Vilas County GIS just made 15 maps of the area. They give people the option to download and print them at home. A map of Boulder Junction even won an award at the 27th annual Wisconsin land Information Association conference in Middleton.
“There was a lot of interest in creating a portable, easy to use map atlas that responders, town crew, delivery entities, could take out in the field with them and find any address point any road name any water body,” says Rebecca Nordine, Vilas County GIS Specialist. “Something that they could bring out along out in the field with them.”
The atlases will give people an easier way of looking up addresses across Vilas County.
“We do offer up online mapping and that's great but if you get into an area where there's no cell phone or no internet service you'll need something a map or paper map to fall back on,” says Nordine.
Each atlas will be updated at the beginning of the year.
To download a copy of the atlases for FREE you can visit: http://vcgis.co.vilas.wi.us/vcom/.
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