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Rhinelander Chamber Wins Awards for Hodag MarketingSubmitted: 04/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - He greets you when you drive into town, and watches over you at nearly every pub, store, even from police cars. Now Rhinelander will get even more recognition thanks to the mythical green monster we all know and love.

The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce won two advertising awards for its use of the Hodag.

The "What is a Hodag" infographic won the awards from the American Advertising Federation.

The infographic explains the history and mythology of the iconic monster that helped put Rhinelander on the map.


Chamber Executive Director Lara Reed says having a mascot as unique as the Hodag to promote the city with is invaluable.

"It's fun. And I think that really encompasses what we're about. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we have a lot of fun at what we do. And we hopefully put Rhinelander on the tip of somebody's tongue when they're talking about the Northwoods. 'Oh, do you know what a Hodag is? Yep, and it goes with Rhinelander, Wisconsin'," says Reed.

Locals can even benefit from a trip to the Chamber. The legend of the Hodag is so long, someone who's known him their whole life could learn something new. For example, he eats fish out of the lake but prefers a traditional fish fry with potato pancakes, and his horns can pick up every Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcast.

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RHINELANDER - You can watch fake doctors perform fake surgeries on TV almost any night of the week.  It's not every day you get to watch an actually surgery performed.

Students from the Northwoods learned their experience Wednesday was not for the faint of heart.

High school and college students filled the Nicolet College Theater in Rhinelander to watch a live stream of an open heart surgery.  Doctors, nurses, and other surgical staff from a hospital in Illinois were on camera and answered questions as they put in a left ventricular assistive device in a 37-year-old man's heart.

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CRESCENT - Once Eurasian Water Milfoil invades a lake, it likely won't ever leave a lake.

The invasive species has slowly been making its way into lakes here in the Northwoods.

It first occurred in Squash Lake in Oneida County in 2009. The Lake Association had luck containing the plant by using divers.

"We decided to use divers to pull Eurasian Water Milfoil. Over the years we've worked with divers to do that. It cost roughly $25,000 a year to do that," said Squash Lake Association Board Member Craig Zarley.

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MINOCQUA - Minocqua's Northwoods Zip line Adventure Tours added new attractions for the upcoming season in hopes of bringing more people to the Northwoods.

The Northwoods Zip Line Adventure Tours has been a travel destination for thrill seekers around the country.

Owner Josh Russart wanted to bring an extreme outdoor activity to the Northwoods.

"We have something for everyone," said Russart.

But Russart wasn't content with just zip lining. He added more attractions every year since he opened the canopy tours in 2014. Last summer he added an aerial adventure tour.

General manager Andrew Warner says it's a mix of an obstacle course and zip lining.

"Our aerial adventure is going to offer a little bit more of a challenge for people that maybe are a little bit more of a thrill seeker," said Warner.

But Warner says not to worry if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground

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VILAS COUNTY - Last August, a Vilas County man threatened to shoot or drown himself, leading to a standoff with police.

Wednesday, 49-year-old Mark Mayo pled guilty to intentionally firing a firearm at a law enforcement officer and operating a firearm while intoxicated.

Last August, Mayo called the Vilas County Sheriff's Office saying he had been drinking, taking prescription pills, and had a gun.

According to police, Mayo said if he saw officers, he would shoot them.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Legislature's budget-writing committee is tackling roads funding, tax cuts and Medicaid on the second of three days of state agency briefings.

The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday was also to hear from Attorney General Brad Schimel and the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer says the state should be rewarded for rejecting federal money to expand Medicaid.

Seemeyer testified Wednesday before the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Gov. Scott Walker rejected the Medicaid expansion money and instead took a hybrid approach to make sure everyone at poverty level or below was covered.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/29/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you scenes from the funeral and police processional for fallen Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland who died in last Wednesday's shooting.

Last week the Oneida County Board approved a measure letting residents on Squash Lake form a lake district to fund the removal of Eurasian Water Milfoil. Tonight we tell you how the system works and how soon district members plan on forming a board.

And we'll show you what features will be added this summer to the Northwoods Zip Line Adventure Tours in Minocqua.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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