MINOCQUA - A wake up call. That's what Northwoods snowmoblie clubs are asking for.
Several clubs from the Northwoods met in Minoqua tonight, discussing issues and concerns for the future of the trails.
The first of those issues?
Lack of snow this winter.
But that's just the beginning.
Others include lack of new and younger members in clubs.
Only 30 percent of snowmobilers in Wisconsin actually belong to a club.
Without members, trails can't be properly maintained.
Snowmobile clubs say something needs to change.
"If something does not happen, positively, there could be a chance in the near future that one or more clubs could go down and if there are no more snowmobile clubs to maintain the trials, the economic input would be just devastating for the northwoods," said Gus Jones, vice president of the Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club.
Leaders from tonight's meeting want to increase partnerships between local businesses and clubs.
Then they can prevent problems like this from happening next season.
"My hope in calling for this meeting was to address local businesses and have them understand the value of the clubs to their businesses. We have a lot of businesses out there," said Pat Harkins, president of the Minocqua Forest Riders Club.
Harkins hopes more businesses will step up to better business on the trails.
MILWAUKEE - A Wausau-based company that makes architectural metal finishing took home a big honor Thursday night. Linetec won the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's Manufacturer of the Year Award in the Large Company category.
The annual awards program celebrates Wisconsin companies that are well respected, serve their communities, and make Wisconsin "a better place to live, work, and play", according to a press release from the WMC.
HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.
Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area.
"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.
MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.
Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.
For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.
This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.
"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."
NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer. Those same attractions get some people to stay here. Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin. A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady.
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