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NEWS STORIES

2012 Record Year for Tourism in Eagle RiverSubmitted: 04/23/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


Photos By Kailey Burton

EAGLE RIVER - The City of Eagle River saw more revenue from tourists in 2012 than ever before.

According to the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, businesses can thank a number of year-round special events for the increase in customers.

"We strategically do events throughout the complete season... In other words there's events in the winter, spring, summer and fall, and just different things to bring different people to the area. We continue to try to make them grow, and continue to look for new ways and new things to do to bring people to the area," said Conrad Heeg, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce Director.

Some of those events include the US Pond Hockey Tournament, Klondike days, Cranberryfest, The World Championship Snowmobile Derby, and Journey's marathon.

The chamber also draws people in by advertising Eagle River and its events as far away as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.

"People come from those distances to come here to do things, well they're automatically going to stay overnight. And if they stay overnight they're spending money on lodging, to buy gas to go shopping to go to dinner," said Heeg.

Chamber Director Heeg, also credits their database of more than 400 volunteers for making the many large-scale events possible.


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WABENO - People went out to Wabeno this weekend for its first ever Art and Music Fest. Musicians performed in the band shell while local artists spread out to show their products.

There were food and drinks as well as workshops for people to learn more about art.

"This year we've had about 20 musicians performing on three stages," said Friends of Wabeno Chairperson Mary Beck. "And we've had maybe ten artists doing demonstrations, showing people what they can do and what they can buy."

The rain Sunday didn't stop people from having a good time. Volunteers hope to make this an annual event.

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SARATOGA - A crash in Wood County left two people injured early Sunday morning. They had to be flown by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department got a call around 6:00 in the morning of a one car crash. The crash was on Ranger Road in Saratoga.

Officers found a pickup truck in the ditch heavily damaged from rolling over and hitting trees. One person was ejected from the truck while the other was in the backseat. Their current condition is unknown.

Both speed and alcohol are thought to be factors in the crash.

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RHINELANDER - County workers aren't the only ones who like to find issues and fix them on the roads. So does Delmore Consulting owner, Jeff Delmore.

Delmore is hired by county boards to evaluate roads, signs and culverts. He find the signs, the ranks them, helping the county prioritize what work they need to do.

"I check each sign, I mark it, GPS location and then I check the reflectivity of the sign, just the overall condition of it," said Delmore.

It usually takes three to four weeks to gather all the information for each town. Delmore's currently in the Northwoods working for towns in Vilas County.

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ARBOR VITAE - The Arbor Vitae Fire Department hosted its 39th Fireman's Picnic and Summerfest this weekend.

Thousands of people came out to benefit the fire department while having a good time. The fire department held the crowd favorite lawnmower races again this year.

They also had a volleyball tournament and games for kids. The fire chief says all the proceeds help the department pay for equipment.

"When we purchased our new fire truck, the fire department funded a good portion of the money, the fundraiser money, to help keep the tax dollars down so the tax payers didn't have to foot the whole bill for the truck," said Arbor Vitae Fire Department Chief Mike Van Meter. "And we also use it to buy turnout gear throughout the year, new air packs. Anything we can do to keep it off the tax roll."

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BOULDER JUNCTION - It's no secret to anglers that the Northwoods makes for some great fishing.

That's why fishing club coach Jim Bondi brought a group of 30 kids and chaperones up to Boulder Junction for the week.

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ST. GERMAIN - The last day of Pig in the Pines wrapped up Saturday. People were able to watch the rib eating contest in the afternoon.

Newswatch 12 got to help judge ribs from this year's four rib vendors. One of the big events happened on the main stage Saturday evening.

"We have entertainment all day long," said St. Germain Chamber President Bruce Weber. "We have the Wise Guys on our main stage. We have Laura Ernst on the aerial platform here. She also does juggling. On our major stage, we have One Ping Only, and we also have Molly Hatchet, our lead act tonight."

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EAGLE RIVER - Trees for Tomorrow held their Forest Fest in Eagle River Saturday. The event welcomes many people and companies that make a living from trees.

The UW-Stevens Point Timbersports team came out to Forest Fest to show off their skills.

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