RHINELANDER - It's the time of year when Santa makes his rounds to find out what everyone wants for Christmas. He stopped by the Pelican Fire Department today where local kids told him exactly what they most wanted to find under their Christmas tree.
For the third year the Pelican Fire Department welcomed area kids to spend the day at the station eating goodies and playing games.
"We are a volunteer fire department so we volunteer our time for that. This is just another way we give back to the community," says Nick Strupp, a Pelican Firefighter.
A big favorite was the combat challenge.
"It's mimicked off of an actual firefighter's combat challenge, just scaled down for the kids a little bit so they can have fun and see what we do," says Strupp.
But the showstopper was the man in red himself. The kids knew long before he got there what they'd be asking him for.
"I just want him to bring me anything he wants to bring me," says four-year-old Sophia Turner.
"Two furbies and a red fire truck and a race track," says four-year-old Garrett Hull.
"A big dinosaur," says four-year-old Caleb Luce.
The Fire Department collects donations at the event to take to the Northwoods Alliance on Temporary Housing. Last year they were able to deliver a box with more than 100 items to NATH after the Santa visit.
A day of giving back volunteers say is well worth it.
LAKE TOMAHAWK - All around you witness goodwill gestures. It could be as simple as a smile and wave or opening a door for someone. In Lake Tomahawk, it's making a pie.
"I made a pretzel crust with butter and sugar, " explains Sheila Punches. Sharon Hilgendorf adds, "Flour, for the thickening."
Snowshoe baseball's been entertaining crowds since the 1960's. But over at the concession stand, the pie takes center stage.
Strawberry rhubarb, banana butterscotch pie, blueberry pie, rocky road and coconut cream are just a few of the creations. "I like making ones that I think will appeal to the crowd," says Linda Penno.
Each week a different service club's in charge of the snack shack and in turn, takes home the proceeds. Locals bakers, a lot of local bakers make their best pies and donate them to support the cause.
"You get involved with it over the years and it just becomes your way of life on Mondays," says Punches.
On an average night they sell 80 pies. Each one is cut into six pieces and are only two dollars a slice. That means making almost a thousand dollars is easy as pie.
Ken Lochte of Rhinelander exclaims, "This is the only place you get your dessert first, before you get your food." "It's a great honor and pleasure and I've been doing it for quite a few years now," adds Rebecca Morien.
No matter how you slice it, everyone benefits from this unique fundraiser.
"It is unique and different which makes Lake Tomahawk special," says Morien. "It's a very good fundraiser for the community who in turn give it all back. So, it's kind of a domino effect you know," adds Hilgendorf.
If you think this is a lot of pies, the team is requesting the bakers provide double this Friday. They're hoping to have more than 200 pies for the Snowhawks game against the Wounded Warriors.
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
RHINELANDER - You can expect to see a major reconstruction in Downtown Rhinelander in 2016. The downtown area will improve its look and layout through a "streetscape" project. The new look could include wider sidewalks, outdoor restaurant seating and parking changes on Brown Street, but before any of that happens, city leaders need feedback from their community.
Downtown Rhinelander Incorporated already had surveys filled out b businesses in the area about parking on Brown Street.
The construction company came up with a compromised solution. The proposal keeps Brown Street as a two way street, but there will be parallel parking on the west side and angled parking on the east side.
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