MERRILL - Big name stores dominate many small towns. But in Merrill, one store owner thinks bigger isn't always better.
Forrest Young owns Hometown Pharmacy in Merrill.
At the end of last year, it moved from Main Street to East Second Street.
The new spot isn't far from the old one, but it has on-site parking and a drive-through.
That makes it convenient, just like big chains.
But Young says he offers something different.
"The main thing is customer service. We know that vast majority of our customers by name when they come in here," he says. "We've had instances in the past where people switch over, and they're just taken aback by how quickly we learn their names and treat them as if they've been coming to our pharmacy forever."
Hometown Pharmacy moved into Merrill about three years ago.
The store attracts a lot of seniors, but Young hopes the new spot will attract a new crowd.
"People that prefer a Walmart, Walgreens type of experience are younger, they prefer being able to get in and out quicker, do some shopping while they're in there," Young says. "So we're hoping that with the middle school and the grocery store, we'll attract some of the younger customers, that we can grow with them, as well as make it easier access for our older customers."
Young was renting the Main Street store, but bought this building.
He says he plans on being in Merrill for a long time.
RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.
WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.
But getting to the outages was a challenge.
A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.
"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."
Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.
Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.
"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."
The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.
If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.
"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.
RHINELANDER - A landfill near Rhinelander saw more recycling last year.
The Oneida County Solid Waste Department had an increase in recycled materials in 2013.
People might be buying more because of an improving economy, but that's not the only reason for the increase.
The contracts from disposal companies also play a major role.
"The contract for the city of Rhinelander had come up and it was re-bid," said Oneida County Solid Waste Superintendent Brian Dutcher. "Northern Waste at the time was awarded that bid or that contract. All of the materials that they picked up for the city came out here."
MINOCQUA - The Minocqua police department could have a new police chief in early May. David Jeager has been the acting chief of police since October.
He will undergo a background check, drug screening, and psychological exam before he is named the current chief of police. He would be replacing former Police Chief Andy Gee. Jeager is excited about what the future may bring.
"I'm extremely excited," says Minocqua acting Police Chief David Jeager. "I believe that this department has great potential and we have a great group of people working for this department, says Jeager.
We have great officers, we have great dispatchers, we have great administration.I feel that we can really provide a service to this community that's second to none, says Jeager.
Jeager has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years. He's worked at the Minocqua Police Department for 6 years.
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