Wabeno Rebuilds Icons Destroyed in StormsSubmitted: 05/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

WABENO - People always remember the Town of Wabeno once they've been there, even if they were just passing through.

But the two larger-than-life icons that make the name Wabeno stick in people's memories were both destroyed by mother nature within the last year.

Now the town has nearly rebuilt both to all their former glory.

The details of how the gentle giant that watches over Wabeno got there, are foggy. But how he got destroyed is still fresh in everyone's mind. Larry the Logroller was felled by, well, a tree.

"Well it happened on a Thursday, I think. They called and says, 'Hey, I know you can fix anything. Larry got run over by a tree basically'," says Ron Piontek.

So off to Denmark, Wisconsin he went to undergo surgery.

"Larry had a broken neck and broken shoulder," says John Ehlinger, from Wabeno.

"I was kind of sad because I really liked Larry the Logroller," says seven-year-old Zachary Augustin.

Less than a year after the town lost it's even more historic band shell to heavy winds, the loss of Larry was a tough blow.

"It was kind of like after the band shell, what's next? It was like part of Wabeno was missing," says Park Board President Larry Rummel.

But auto body repair shop owner Ron Piontek logged hundreds of hours, and put Larry back together.

"I got 400 or 500 rivets in him to get him back into pieces. And then six gallons of fiberglass resin and three months of work," says Piontek.

The town unveiled Larry, good as new, Saturday.

"I thought he was really big and really cool," says six-year-old Audrey Bauagnet.

"I think it's awesome that they could redo him and everything," says nine-year-old Brianna Augustin.

"It's amazing. Kids love him. And evidently adults do too," says Rummel.

It's a new day in Wabeno. Larry stands sentinel once again and the band shell reconstruction should start back up within the week.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Fair needs funding from the county to pay for the things it needs. Fair organizers say they worry every year the county will cut that funding.

In the county budget for next year, the fair's funding was only cut by a $1,000. Fair organizers say they will still get a little more than $13,500. They'll also have the money the fair made this year.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - The Democratic Presidential candidates will meet Tuesday night for the Democrats' first debate.

You can hear from five candidates at the debate.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) spoke about what she hopes to hear from the candidates.

We spoke with Baldwin at a listening session she held in Wausau Tuesday.

+ Read More

LAND O' LAKES - Police need help finding a 71-year-old man last seen in Land O' Lakes on October 11th.

Andrew Niesman, aka. "Wolverine Jack" of Homer Glen, Illinois, comes up north every year to hike in the Bon Falls, Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains and Sylvania areas all of which are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man accused of sexually assaulting two girls faced a second day of testimony Tuesday afternoon.

27-year-old Joseph Kaiser was in Oneida County Court Tuesday for a jury trial.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - Police say a witness told investigators a man who died after falling from a bridge into the Wisconsin River appeared to be intoxicated.

Officers say they were called to the river about 1:30 a.m. Monday by a fisherman on the bridge.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Senate's health committee is expected to vote on a bill Tuesday that would require opiate dispensers to enter prescriptions in a statewide database within 24 hours; create methadone and pain clinic registries; and require treatment programs that use methadone to report the number of people receiving the medication, plans for tapering patients off it and relapse rates.

+ Read More

MADISON - Less than a year ago, Mandy Wright lost her state Assembly seat by fewer than 100 votes. The Wausau Democrat was beaten by Republican Dave Heaton.

Now, Wright wants her seat back. She confirmed to us she's again running for the state Legislature.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here