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NEWS STORIES

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


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

ANTIGO - Setting off illegal fireworks can put wildlife in the Northwoods at risk. The Raptor Education Group in Antigo took in many animals this past weekend, including a bald eagle hit by a firework.

"The symbol of America shouldn't look [this hurt] the day after the Fourth of July," says Marge Gibson, the executive director of Raptor Education Group.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - Imagine cleaning out an old garage and finding a hand grenade.

It happened in Lincoln County.

A call came in to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

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RHINELANDER - After all the Fourth of July events Saturday, hungry people were able to stop at the Oneida County Senior Center's fundraiser for a bite to eat.

The senior center sold walking tacos, drinks, and desserts for people to eat in or take out. It was the second year the center held the event.

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MERRILL - Some people think firefighters only battle flames in heavy gear and drive around bulky trucks.

The Merrill Fire Department wants to show people what else the job is about. Merrill will host its first Citizens Fire Academy this fall.

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PARK FALLS - A man carrying a loaded rifle startled people watching during the Park Falls fireworks display Saturday night.

Several people called police around 10 p.m. reporting a man carrying a gun around the baseball field where the show took place.  When police arrived the man wasn't there.

Officers found 38-year-old Jason L. Straetz sitting outside a nearby apartment building.

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WOODRUFF - Northwoods emergency rooms needed extra help over the Fourth of July holiday.

Patient numbers went up about 30 percent over an average summer weekend at area Ministry Medical Group hospitals.

Ministry's four area hospitals all saw more patients than normal.  Between Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff, St. Mary's in Rhinelander, Eagle River Memorial and Sacred Heart in Tomahawk, doctors treated 623 patients in the ER.  Howard Young Medical Center treated 222 patients alone.

That meant boosting staffing and keeping three doctors on duty at all times.

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MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge says a Minnesota man will stay in custody pending sentencing on a terror charge after a box cutter was found under his bed.

Abdullahi Yusuf pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group.

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