Northwoods dentist helps battle the winter blues with a 'trip' to HawaiiSubmitted: 03/26/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor

LAND O' LAKES - Staring at snow for months on end can start to wear on your psyche. Add a trip to the dentist and it can make even the heartiest Northwoodser shutter. But Painless Pete Schindelholz of Land O' Lakes wants to change that.

"It started from all of us wanting to get away this time of year that couldn't... instead we thought, 'Well, let's make believe,'" Schindelholz said.

Dr. Schindelholz came up with the idea for Cabin Fever week about 20 years ago. He cranks of the heat, throws on a pair of shorts and sandals and serves his patients tropical drinks.

"Some lady just told me, 'You know, you made my day,'" Schindelholz said. "And I think she just saw the waves out on the road and thought that was kind of nice."

Patient Barbara Nehring thinks so too. She looks forward to this week every year.

"The colors and shapes just really, really make me happy," Nehring said. "To come into this office in the middle of the winter, or end of the winter and to find all of this joy... it really is a joy."

After about three months of staring at white snow turn into dirty, filthy snow it certainly is refreshing seeing bright blue waves crash into Painless Pete's County B sign. That's the point he hopes you realize: you don't have to go to the tropics to get a taste of them.

"It's kind of fun," Schindelholz said. "I enjoy dressing scantily and just being a little more nuts than normal."

Barbara wouldn't have it any other way.

"For the people who haven't experienced this, it's a bit of a surprise," Nehring said. "But it brings a smile to their face. Those of us that do know [Pete], it helps us realize spring is on its way."

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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