BOULDER JUNCTION - Usually when you watch the news, you hear about how bad the economy is.
Jobs are down, home sales are sluggish, and people aren't spending money.
But one Northwoods county stands out.
Tourism spending went up a full 10% in Vilas County in 2012.
Both small business owners and Vilas County's Tourism and Publicity Department say they're thriving because they're working together.
John and Sue Altschwager manage the White Birch Village Resort.
When the economy collapsed in 2008, most of their returning guests shortened their vacations.
The Altschwagers had to find new ways to bring in visitors.
"The first step obviously was become active in our local chambers of commerce. And participate in the activities and participate in town, which hadn't happened a lot in the past," John Altschwager said.
They also revamped their website, and joined Facebook.
Going to sporting shows and promoting their winter ice fishing packages also proved to be a success.
"We tend to find that once we get people here, get people to the area, and they see what's offered, we got them," Altschwager said.
They also get new customers by word of mouth.
One of their most loyal customers,Robert Kurzweil, says he's introduced over 30 people to the resort.
"My wife and I come in the spring and in the fall, and then the whole family in July. And there's roughly 38 of us, all family, friends, neighbors. It's wonderful. We have a lot of fun."
Altschwager says it's up to all business owners to bring the tourism industry back.
RHINELANDER - The new Oneida County Fair Coordinator wants to see the fair grow and get the community fully involved.
It's Tom Barnett's first year as fair coordinator and Saturday at Pat's Tavern in Rhinelander he hosted a fundraiser.
He said he didn't have a financial goal for Saturday's event, but says every dollar is more than they had before and makes a difference.
"We really want to bring the community into the fair. We want them to be involved a lot more. With the support from the community the sponsorship, it's only going to help the fair grow bigger and better. We need that sponsorship we need the support from the community to make the fair grown and make it more successful than it has been," said Barnett.
Pixy the Clown and Ms America were two of the many guests at the event. There was also food, drinks and raffles.
MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.
Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.
The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.
Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.
Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.
MINOCQUA - In just a couple months, the democratic primary will decide which party candidate will run against Governor Scott Walker.
On Saturday, five of those candidates spent time in Minocqua answering citizen's questions at a candidate forum.
Mike, McCabe, Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Kathleen Vinehout, and Dana Wachs were all in attendance. The forum had candidates answer audience questions on education, healthcare, the environment, and economy issues.
Organizer Jackie Cody said the event was a way to get people informed on each candidate before the democratic primary.
"At this particular point we need to have democrats, and independents, and those who are questioning what's going on with answers before the magic date of August 14th, and this provides people with information," said Cody.
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