LITTLE RICE - Summer can be a busy time for first responders, especially in places with a great outdoors.
As the demand for emergency services grows, some local fire crews and EMTs are updating their facilities.
The Little Rice Fire Department upgraded their canteen unit.
It's carries water, gatorade and food to keep crews fueled out in the field.
Plum Lake gave the department a $6,000 grant.
Plum Lake Resource supervisor Bill O'Brion also works at the department.
The new unit will be an asset for all neighboring firefighters.
"We've done lots of funding for different fire departments, but this is a unique project where the emergency service unit will respond to any fire department that needs the assistance or surrounding areas if they ask for help." O'Brion said.
Fire Chief Bob Reimert says this is not only essential to the community, but it keeps his staff busy as well.
"It's just what the people needed. It keeps the elderly people on our department busy," said Reimert.
"It gives them something to do. It gives them a part in the department which they need."
The canteen unit is stocked full and ready to go.
And The Crandon Area Rescue Squad can now comfortably house all it's members.
They built a $1 million, 5,200 square foot addition. They also remodeled the existing 2,500 square foot building into sleeping rooms for the EMTs.
About five years ago the squad found itself outgrowing the old building.
"We had people that wanted to join that lived too far out and they either had to stay in town. But there was no place for them to stay because they didn't have relatives or anybody here. So they used to sleep either on the floor or on a couch that was there," says DeElda Okrasinski, Crandon Area Rescue Squad President.
The squad has 21 members who serve Crandon and surrounding areas.
They received a grant that covered about half the million-dollar cost. But they plan to hold some fundraising events in the future to help pay off the rest.
Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screen
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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