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NEWS STORIES

Million Dollar Challenge Boosts Local Food PantriesSubmitted: 03/25/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

RHINELANDER - Most food pantries struggle this time of year. Donations drop after the holidays, but many families around the Northwoods still need help. They're getting that help here, and from all the way to Rhode Island. That's where philanthropist Alan Feinstein lives.

"Mr. Feinstein created a foundation and from that he challenges communities to donate to their local food pantries and he puts up 1 million dollars to match... we keep track of all of the donations, all of the money donations and all of the food. And every pound is equal to $1," said Bill Vancos, a Rhinelander Food Pantry Volunteer.

This $1mil challenge is open to food pantries across the country. Over the past 12 years, The Feinstein Foundation has helped food pantries raise more than $1 BILLION in donations.

"It's an excellent way for people to get a little extra kick in their donation," says Vancos, "If they donate X number of dollars it's really, [their donation] plus a roll-up from the other qualifying amounts."

The food pantry is usually gearing up for 'Cantastic' this time of year as well, but that's been rescheduled for another special event later this fall.

"Our theme we decided was going to be ‘Hunger Games', and it just so happens that the second ‘Hunger Games' movie, is coming out in November, 'Catching Fire'. So we talked to George at Rouman Cinemas and we're going to move the event out to the cinema," said Vancos.

The million dollar challenge runs through April.


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LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.

28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Water Shows team could add some new tricks to its performances. The team is currently working on its barefoot skills with one of the world's best barefoot skiers.

"It's a little more high pace, a little more intense, but it's a lot of fun," says Ben Groen of the World Barefoot Center.

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MADISON - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Gov. Scott Walker's office had a hand in crafting a budget amendment scaling back the state's open records law.

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EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults. 

"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."

Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.

"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."

The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes.
"You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel. 

"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.

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MADISON - The state Senate has approved a raise for state troopers and a new compensation plan for other state workers but has delayed debate on the state budget.

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SUGAR CAMP - There could soon be new regulations for unarmed combat sports. The proposed changes would impact the number of competitors here in the Northwoods.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.

But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.

Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.

Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.

"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."

Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.

"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.


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