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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RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

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EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit. But if you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

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RHINELANDER - We likely won't find out who Rhinelander's next police chief will be until early next year.  But the city is already working to replace Chief Mike Steffes.

Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

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WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the Elcho-White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

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

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.

People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

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