RHINELANDER - Businesses, kids, parents and partygoers. All of them find themselves hoping for great weather in just under two weeks.
Last year, about 30 floats paraded down Brown Street while thousands of people enjoyed the festivities in 77 degree weather.
David O'Melia and Jim Winkler will bring that parade back in two weekends.
They think last year's success can be a good starting point.
"We were very surprised," O'Melia said. In fact, the chief of police estimated up to 2000 people watching the parade in March for the first annual. I hope we can get near that."
About 35 floats are signed up for this year's parade so far. That compares to 30 last year. Organizers expect to get even more.
Winkler says that would be good news for businesses in town.
"They had way more business than they normally do on a Saturday afternoon simply because we got people downtown," Winkler.
"That's part of the whole thing here is to get people into town and then have them hang out for a couple hours and visit the shops and bars and eating establishments and become part of the St. Patrick's festivities."
The organizers will accept float applicants right up until St. Patrick's Day.
You can contact Jim by calling his shop at 715-369-3030.
The Pub Crawl will feature the same pubs as last year and will have extended hours. It will run Saturday from noon to bar close and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. There will be a drawing Sunday afternoon.
FLORENCE - In Florence County, more people work in forestry-related jobs than in any other industry.
"It's unbelievable, the way I put it," said logger Jaden Streu. "There are a lot, a lot of jobs and a lot of people that are retiring."
Streu graduated from Florence High School this spring and immediately went to work for his family's business, CTL Timber Harvesting.
Streu was among the presenters at Wednesday's Log-A-Load educational day at Florence.
"I think the big thing is, this industry is changing, from some of the equipment [the students] saw that was working here today. It's highly technical equipment," Florence District Administrator Ben Niehaus said.
"My favorite station was the sawmill," said Florence fourth grader Hannah Holdaway. "I didn't know that they cut it with a machine. I thought they just cut it with a saw."
"I think they leave here with a whole different perspective of, 'Wow, this isn't just a chainsaw and something that looks like a bulldozer that picks wood up and decks it on a log truck. There's a lot more to it,'" Niehaus said.
People like Streu would like to leave a positive impression of the forestry industry on students.
"We hope that they leave [saying], 'This ain't bad. This is a good thing,'" he said.
Hopefully, as Streu sees it, some of these learners will someday become his coworkers in the forest.
"We need the younger generation to come in, like me, to take it over and keep it going," Streu said. "It's a family business and I can have kids, hopefully, and be able to show them and bring them up in it and keep it going generations after generations."
Students from both Florence and Wabeno came to the Log-A-Load day.
EAGLE RIVER - Highway workers do a dangerous job, working alongside traffic with very little protection. A new state law could make those jobs a little safer.
A hand-held cellphone ban for work zones starts statewide Saturday. Drivers cannot make or answer phone calls while in work zones unless they use Bluetooth or some sort of earpiece.
Vilas County Highway Commissioner Nick Scholtes calls the law change a great thing for the state.
"The ones that are on their phones, they seem a little oblivious to what we are doing there at the time," Scholtes said. "They're going through the motions coming through the work zone but it's actually very scary at the same time because if they needed to stop quickly don't know if they could."
NORTHWOODS - The high-dosage flu shot for people 65 and older is stronger than the regular one, but holding off for a couple weeks could help keep you flu free for even longer.
The CDC says all ages should get the flu shot as soon as possible, and many pharmacy chains have started pushing shots in the late summer. But some health professionals think waiting a couple weeks might pay off.
"Why they advertise it so early doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It takes two weeks for it to kick in, and flu season lasts six months. So if you do get vaccinated too early you do run the risk of being prepared for the early part of flu season, but you may not be covered then through the end of flu season," said St. Germain Health Mart pharmacist Jennifer Hansen.
MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials have pushed back the release of updates to their chronic wasting disease plan to this spring.
The DNR has a 15-year plan that expires in 2025. It calls for reducing local herds in isolated areas of infection that appear far from known disease clusters but centers largely on monitoring. The DNR's board ordered a review of the plan by this December amid concerns the disease has been spreading.
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