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

2012 Record Year for Tourism in Eagle River
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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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department wants you to stay safe, especially when it comes to fires.

There is a difference between campfires and bonfires.

Campfires are small fires used for cooking and heating, not the kind of fire you need to stand back from because it's so hot.

Always remember to fully put out fires before you leave.

And watch kids when they're near the fire.

"When you're making those fires, they're keeping an eye on how you're doing it. So once in a while they like to try to do it themselves," says firefighter Jon Leiskau.

Wildland fire season is about to wrap up, but you still need to pay attention to burning restrictions.

"Anything bigger than a campfire size: fire with a fire permit, and there is no open burning in the city limits," says firefighter Rick Sparks.

Fire danger signs are changed every day according to the weather conditions.

You can also visit the DNR website for updates.

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MEDFORD - The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Virginia Tech University, and Sandy Hook School in Connecticut all stir memories of deep fear and sorrow.

Mass shootings can happen anywhere, at any time.

In rural areas like northern Wisconsin, county courthouses could be prime targets. Taylor County trained for that possibility this week with an active-shooter simulation.

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RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

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VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods. Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

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RHINELANDER - One Rhinelander woman may see a 10-year-old bucket list wish come true.

On Monday the Rhinelander Parks Committee supported having a dog park at Shepard Park in Rhinelander. 

For 10 years Tina Werres has been advocating to get support for a dog park in Rhinelander.

The decision is now left to the Rhinelander City Council, which is scheduled to vote on June 12.

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EAGLE RIVER - A lot of things need to go right to build a 40,000 square foot addition in just one year.  Workers in Vilas County used a fairly mild winter to their advantage to work toward that goal.

Construction on the county courthouse's addition is both on budget and essentially on time.  Crews have the drywall up on the second floor and are working to do the same on the first floor soon.  Vilas County Clerk Dave Alleman says a rainy spring held some masonry work up, but it's nothing crews can't handle to stay on track.

"Very well disciplined," Alleman said of the workers.  "They're working every day, things are being done on time. I think overall that makes for a good project."

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MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday, courtesy of Invisible Fence of Northern Wisconsin.

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