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NEWS STORIES

Helium Shortage Affects Local Floral BusinessSubmitted: 02/12/2013
Story By Ryan Abney

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RHINELANDER - Helium-filled balloons will cost a little more this Valentine's Day.
There's a helium shortage. And some florists are worried about their store's biggest shopping day of the year.

Forth Floral Owner Ruth Hempel has seen helium prices rise over the past year. But her store is doing all they can to keep prices low.

"We've tried to do a better job on finding better deals on the actual balloons themselves to offset the increase. At this time of the year though, because it's Valentine's Day, the little bit extra they might have to pay usually isn't a big deal. For most, especially guys, if they want that balloon they're going to buy it."

Some parts of the country are out completely. Hempel said her business could deal without, but having balloons is an added perk.

"It's just that added exclamation point on the bouquet so as long as we can continue to do it we're going to hope we can. But if it gets to that point we're just going to have to find some other thing that gives that little punch."

Helium is also used for welding, medical devices, and some computer parts.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
Teal pumpkins to signal allergy-safe trick-or-treating in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Teal pumpkins will act as a beacon to some trick-or-treators in the Northwoods this Halloween.

For kids with food allergies, gathering candy might not be an option.

A new program by the Food Allergy Research & Education organization wants to help those kids. They've come up with the Teal Pumpkin Project.

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Wisconsin DNR encourages composting Submitted: 10/21/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants homeowners to compost or mulch fallen leaves. This will help keep the leaves out of landfills and lower the chances of burning piles.

DNR leaders say composting means more room and landfill and less chance of stray sparks from burning piles that can start wildfires.

Fewer burning piles will also helps maintain a high level of air quality.
potassium.

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Nicolet's College Visit Night gives people more information about schoolSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - People who want to learn more about going to school at Nicolet College can go to College Visit Night. College Visit Night will be held from 5-7pm on Tuesday.

The event will give people an idea of what programs the college offers. It's taking place at the University Transfer Center.

There will be admissions information, campus tours and financial aid information.

"We open this opportunity up for students to come in and make an informed choice about their educational path. We work with non-traditional students coming in, high school students, parents, support whoever wants to come and see what we're all about at Nicolet," says Nicolet College Career Coach Kelly Anunson.

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Free meals helps fight hunger in northcentral Wisconsin Submitted: 10/21/2014

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WAUSAU - Nearly a billion people in the world don't eat enough to stay healthy. People in Wisconsin do much better than that, but too many still struggle with hunger.

One church in northcentral Wisconsin wants to help more people understand the hunger issue.

St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Wausau serves hot meals every Tuesday. They've been doing this for about a decade. More than 30 people had a hot meal Tuesday. They don't ask for an ID or any type of income verification.

They started this because they saw more people ending up on the streets.

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Promoting feed beets in Wisconsin Submitted: 10/21/2014

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BRYANT - Only one farm in all of Wisconsin grows sugar beets.

Rine Ridge Farms is northeast of Antigo, in Bryant. The farm hopes more farmers will catch on to alternative dairy feed.

"They're 80% digestible where corn is usually only around 40% digestible. They're high in sugar they're 20% sugar," said Dan Rine of Rine Ridge Farms.

Beets are easy to grow in our neck of the woods.

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Merrill's old DNR Ranger Station will become brew pub Submitted: 10/21/2014

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MERRILL - The old DNR ranger station in Merrill will become a brew pub.

The city of Merrill sold the building to a company that plans on opening up the pub within the next year. The company plans on eventually becoming a microbrewery.

The building was built in 1940. The DNR opened up a new ranger station in a different spot in Merrill a few years ago.

"When the ranger station rebuilt this building was turned back to the city and we've used it for a couple of years now since we've had it for the park and recreations summer program," says Merrill City Administrator David Johnson. "We decided to sell the property when there was an interest shown in turning it into a business."

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Humane societies see influx of kittens Submitted: 10/21/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We know fall for pumpkins, football, and falling leaves but it's also known for kittens.

Shelters in northcentral Wisconsin refer to both fall and spring as "kitten season."

The Oneida County Humane Society has already found homes for 30 kittens just in the last month. Right now the adoption center has 25 kittens.

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