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Tourist Spending Increased in 2012 for Oneida CountySubmitted: 05/03/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

Tourist Spending Increased in 2012 for Oneida County
ONEIDA COUNTY - This year it seems like tourists may NEVER come if this weather keeps up, but last year in Oneida County tourism was up.

Visitors spent 5.56% more than they did the year before. That's an extra $10 million for a total of $186 million.

Popular events consistently bring in visitors, but THIS much of an increase could mean the economy is getting better, and teamwork in advertising is paying off.

"The prices are rising, maybe less flights, people aren't flying as much. Because we're a 'drive-to' destination in Wisconsin, that boosts our overall toursim. And when you think of visiting Wisconsin, a lot of people think of the Northwoods so we hope to capture some of that," said Lara Reed, with the Oneida County Tourism Council.

Tourist dollars helped support more than 1,500 jobs in Oneida County in 2012. One of the biggest events is Hodag Country Festival. That draws in an average of $3 million PER DAY.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL -
It might be hard to imagine running a business with your mother or daughter-in-law, but for one pair, a shared hobby helped create their DIY studio.

Mother and daughter-in-law duo Diane and Alicia Kucirek opened The Painted Door in Merrill just one month ago.

They take old, worn out furniture and make it new again using chalk paint.

The pair decided to open the studio when both of their houses started to get jam-packed with finished chalk paint projects.

Diane says anyone can learn how to give new life to old furniture with some lessons.

"You just learn as you go. It's so easy to repair anything you don't like, fix it, or change direction with it," says Diane.

Alicia says the first month of business was insane, mainly because of the community's support.

Support comes from outside of Merrill, too.

"We've had people come from all over Wisconsin saying, 'Tell me about this chalk paint!'"says Alicia.

The Painted Door has workshops every Thursday.

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MADISON - Jurors have convicted a man accused of stealing an arsenal of firearms from a southern Wisconsin gun shop and sending an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump.

The jury in Madison deliberated for about two hours Tuesday before finding Joseph Jakubowski guilty of two federal weapons charges.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Lake Tomahawk's Camp American Legion gives active military members, veterans, and their families a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. 

The new director of the camp, Don Grundy, saw some changes needed to be made, especially when it came to the speed limit near the entrance of the camp that sits off County Highway D. 

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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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RHINELANDER - Caramel apples seem to be a go-to treat this time of year, but a tough growing season almost made them hard to find this Fall.

Fun Factory Sweet Shoppe in Rhinelander only uses Granny Smith apples for its caramel apples.

Throughout the last few weeks, manager Judy Fritz says she had trouble finding enough green apples in the Northwoods.

Stores said bad crops and little rainfall made the Granny Smith apples scarce this season.

She eventually found some sold in bulk in Milwaukee to bring up north.

Fun Factory is very particular about their apples, so in the meantime, Judy hand-picked from the produce aisles in local stores.

"We always make sure that there are no bumps or bruises. We want a nice, perfect apple," says Fritz.


Judy says you shouldn't worry about getting your hands on one of her caramel apples.

Shipments of granny smith apples from Washington State have started to come in to a local store she works with.

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HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.

The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."

The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.

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RHINELANDER - With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.

"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.

Wednt hauls boats for Shoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.

"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said.  "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."

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