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 - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
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