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.
RHINELANDER - Technology seems to change almost daily. That's why the City of Rhinelander Public Works Department is growing its use of radio water meter devices.
A little blue box takes in signals from radio water meters on certain homes installed with radio meters. Workers don't even need to get out of their cars to get a reading.
More than 200 homes in Rhinelander use the technology, but there are more then 3200 water customers in the area.
But Rhinelander Public Works Director Tim Kingman says the radio meters make the process much faster.
"An employee can go into a an area where these radio read instruments or meters are used and touch a button and it collects several if not dozens of meter readings at a time," Kingman said.
Tom Roeser reads meters, installs radio meters and does other kind of work for the Rhinelander Water Department. He has to walk through plenty of yards to get to readers.
"Oh yeah I get asked what I'm doing a lot," Roeser said.
For most of the properties in Rhinelander, Roeser uses a touch stick to automatically send readings to a wireless receiver he carries with him.
"You don't have to scroll to find out where you are in your route," Roeser said. "You can just read it and it moves into the hand held and you can continue on."
If the reader doesn't work, Roeser punches in the reading by hand. The department installs the radio meters on homes that are more spaced out, which helps speed up the process.
Rhinelander bills water quarterly, so every three months. A city wide radio meter system would speed up the process so much the city could have monthly billing. The upgrade would help customers find water waste issues sooner because they would see signs of it in their bill more often.
"We try to do that frequently as possibly can," Kingman said. "But with a quarterly system we're not able to do that as quickly as we would desire."
Kingman says right now it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade the entire system. The cost would outweigh the benefits to taxpayers and customers. So they'll take their time and upgrade little by little.
"We're trying to do two or three percent a year,"Kingman said.
That means Roeser will have plenty of walking ahead of him, but that's what he likes.
"The radar reads are fine, especially on the long runs," Roeser said. "But I like doing the walking."
RHINELANDER - You could find teachers working at Culver's tonight. They served students and their families for the Rhinelander Middle School.
It was all part of Teachers Night at Culver's. A percentage of the evening's sales went to James Williams Middle School. Teachers say they liked taking on the new job.
"We're excited about meeting people that I have never met before, parents of students I don't have. I'm also excited to see parents I do know and families," said Adair Sexton, the Middle School Band Director.
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