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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/28/2014

- People living in Tomahawk will need to find another library to go to for a while. The Tomahawk Public Library will be closed for the month of September. Find out why coming up tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Laona State Bank celebrated 100 years in business today. We'll tell you how the small community bank thrives.

- And PotatoFest comes to Rhinelander this weekend, and we've got a preview.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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White House: Obama to be in Milwaukee on Labor DaySubmitted: 08/28/2014

- The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Milwaukee on Monday to speak at a Labor Day event. It gave no specifics about the event.

A spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said she will attend Laborfest on Monday. Burke won't take the stage with President Obama.

Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki says it is not appropriate for Burke to speak at the rally Obama is attending because it is an official White House event and not a campaign rally. Zepecki says Burke has invited Obama to return for a campaign event before the election and is optimistic that will happen.

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Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.

After last year's success, the event will expand even more this weekend.

PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.

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Wisconsin mourning dove season to begin Sept. 1Submitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials are reminding hunters that the state's new extended mourning dove season will begin next week.

Hunters will be allowed to kill the state's official peace symbol from Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. That's 20 days longer than previous seasons.

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Students help incoming freshmen feel comfortable about starting high schoolSubmitted: 08/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Starting high school can be scary for incoming freshmen. One Northwoods high school wanted to help freshman before they start school.

Rhinelander High School held their freshman orientation Thursday. New students got the chance to do team building, get their Chromebooks and tour the school.

Juniors and seniors were there to help the freshmen.

"I think it helps them feel a little bit more comfortable with the high school surroundings," says Junior Emily Ditzler. "You know, walking in on the first day of high school you're not sure where to go. But orientation helps them know exactly where their classes are 'cause they get their schedules right now, and they can become familiar with the teachers and with their homerooms."

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Laona State Bank celebrates 100 yearsSubmitted: 08/28/2014

LAONA - Logging history in Laona goes back more than a century.

The community's bank has been serving customers nearly as long.

Laona State Bank celebrated 100 years in business on Thursday.

Community banks like theirs rely on close bonds with customers to stay in business.

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Free school meals for all Lac du Flambeau Public School students this yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - All students at the Lac du Flambeau Public School will get breakfast and lunch for free this year. A federal program will reimburse the school for all free meals given to students.

The program is called the Community Eligibility Provision. It's part of the 2010 Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act. Schools can participate in the Community Eligibility Provision if they have a high poverty rate.

90% of Lac du Flambeau Public School students already got free meals last year. 23 students needed to pay a reduced price and 25 needed to pay full price.

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