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The Hodag to be known worldwideSubmitted: 06/15/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - The Hodag will soon be more famous thanks to a Canadian production crew.

C-M-J Productions is creating a documentary called Boogymen that features small towns with monster mascots.

Rhinelander legend has it that Gene Shepard caught the Hodag and displayed it at the 1896 Oneida County Fair.

Today more than 20 people participated in the reenactment of Shepard and his Hodag.

"Every time you hear about Gene Shepard, one of the first thing that comes out of people's mouths is that he reenacted this thing, the showing of the Hodag way back at the first Oneida County Fairs," said Jerry Shidell.

"And I thought it had to be fun then, let's do it now."

About a dozen people came to watch the fun.

Even one of Shepard's relatives came to see his family legend come to life.

"It's just been fun within my family. Growing up it was more of a family big deal," Gene Shepard's relative, Paula Barbian said.

"It wasn't real big in the area for years, but then it's really grown and grown. I just take a lot of pride in it."

The documentary won't be shown in the U.S., only in Canada.

But if it's picked up by a network in the united states, Rhinelander's legacy could be known nation wide.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/26/2016

- Tonight on Friday Night Blitz we will bring you scores from high school football games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

River Falls vs. Merrill

Rhinelander vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood

Oconto vs. Antigo

Phillips vs. Tomahawk

That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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VILAS COUNTY - Police still need to arrest the person who killed a Phelps woman back in May.

Hikers found the body of 47-year-old Luann Beckman on a trail near Noseeum Lake.

Investigators then ruled it a homicide and sent all the evidence to the state crime lab in Madison.

The Vilas County Sheriff told Newswatch 12 they've interviewed dozens of people and have a list of suspects, but they need DNA evidence for an arrest.

"We're waiting for the science to point us in the right direction," said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath. "It would be wonderful to develop a DNA profile to lead us to somebody. Or be able to get a full profile to be able to compare to people in the area that we've gotten leads on."

Sheriff Fath told Newswatch investigators had to submit some evidence to the FBI crime lab. He said the state crime lab found a partial DNA profile and needs to send it to a place with more advanced technology.

"I mean we still get calls from the community, but it's not substantive," Fath said. "You know it's, I heard this, I heard that, I think this, I think you might want to talk to this guy, which we do. But we will continue to follow up on those leads."

He said investigators do think the suspect is local and someone Beckman knew.

If you have any information, you can call the anonymous tip line, 1-800-78-CRIME. 

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EAGLE RIVER - You might think a business incubator focuses on creating jobs.  But the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation lives by the mindset of creating opportunities, knowing when you do that the jobs tend to follow.

VCEDC started its first business incubator in Eagle River in 2012.  That building filled up, so they moved into two across Highway 70, including the Eye on Entrepreneurs building in 2015.  Project Manager Barry McLeane says creativity now pours out of all six of their current sites, from Phelps to Manitowish Waters.

"I've listened to some pretty bizarre ideas over the last three or four years and it's OK," McLeane said.  "It's OK, because bizarre ideas settle down into something really substantial."

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SAYNER - Bill Carper lost count of the number of rounds he's played at Plum Lake Golf Club in Sayner long ago.

"It's well over a thousand," he said.

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CRANDON - This upcoming school year, Crandon students will learn more about forgiveness and kindness as part of a new initiative.

The Crandon School District called on 2016 Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year Melissa Herek to help introduce some of these new practices earlier this week.

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MADISON - A new study suggests that Wisconsin's villages have struggled more with economic recovery than larger cities since the big recession of 2008-09.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the study also found the controversial Act 10 that was passed to limit collective bargaining by public workers saved local governments about $100 million, or 1.5 percent of total spending, in 2012.

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ST. GERMAIN - A brand new rental in St. Germain just opened for business last year. 

"I stumbled across the house and noticed it was vacant," said Roger Bauer.

Three years ago, with grass up to his knees, Roger knew he had a lot of work ahead of him. 

"[It was] a complete gut job, down to the bare studs," said Roger.

Starting work on a house that sat vacant for about 20 years didn't make for the most fun work.

"[It was] was miserable because it was 45 below the first night we started doing demo on the how," said Roger.

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