IRONWOOD - You probably recognize the name "Stormy Kromer".
You probably also know what the recognizable hats look like from seeing them around the Northwoods.
But do you know where and how they're made?
George "Stormy" Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player and railroad worker in Kaukauna in the early 1900s.
But old Stormy had a problem.
"He worked on the Chicago-Northwestern line for a long time, and he kept losing his hats in the wind, riding the trains. He brought a baseball hat home and asked Ida to sew a band around the hat, and the Stormy Kromer was born," says Gina Thorsen, the Stormy Kromer Vice President.
Before long, they took off, and were being mass produced in Milwaukee.
But that business was about to die in the early 2000s.
To save it, an Upper Peninsula family bought the brand and moved the production to Ironwood.
"We find that people who have hats almost think of it as a special club. When you see someone else wearing a hat, you might walk by and say, 'nice hat'," Thorsen says.
Since the hats started being made in Ironwood, they've gained even more popularity.
That's allowed the company to branch out into womens' Stormy Kromers, as well as other cold weather apparel.
That success has made it a staple of the community's economy.
"Here in Ironwood, it's a small town. Industries have left. Businesses have closed. To us it's really important to be able to provide jobs here with benefits and to treat them well and to provide them a place where they can spend their career," Thorsen says.
About 150 people work for the company in Ironwood.
They make hats that have become a symbol for people in the Northwoods and U.P.
PHILLIPS - Kids see plenty of pressure these days and that pressure can cause kids to turn to drugs.
However, the AM Vets POST 50 teamed up with Phillips Elementary fourth grade students to give kids a different type of stress relief.
Chloe Borchert was one of nearly 70 students who skipped school to fish on Solberg Lake Wednesday to enjoy the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program.
"I hope to catch a lot of blue gills and croppies," said Chloe.
AM Vets Commander Douglas Rasmussen says this is the 10th year the AM Vets teamed up with the school. Every year the AM Vets purchase 100 fishing rods to give out to the Price County fourth grade students.
VILAS COUNTY - People in Vilas County will see a new member of the Sheriff's Department.
His name is Helo, and he's the new K9 unit.
He's a year-and-a-half-old Belgian Malinois from Hungary.
Helo replaces Draco, the Vilas County K9 who retired in 2016.
Helo and his handler, Deputy Zac Stern, recently got back from a six-week long training program in North Carolina.
"Give him a command, they're all in Dutch, that way I'm the only one who's familiar with the commands," Stern said.
Helo will be with Deputy Zac Stern on all of his shifts. He also lives at home with Stern.
Helo is trained in drug detection and apprehension.
"They're able to do things a lot more efficiently than we can and a lot faster," Stern said. "Kind of referring to the tracking, whether it's a missing person or a criminal we're trying to track down, obviously he can do that a lot faster."
Deputy Stern says Helo is a very friendly dog, and if you see them out and about, don't be afraid to say hello.
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