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 - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
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