THREE LAKES - One Northwoods town just received a large check.
The Wisconsin Department of Tourism recently gave Three Lakes more than $27,000 for its Heritage Festival.
Last year, the Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce received $30,000 for the first Heritage Festival.
Skip Brunswick, Executive Director of the Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce, says, "It's quite an honor to be considered one. I think last year we were one out of sixteen that got it and there must have been thirty-some that applied so [we're] pretty proud of it."
The money comes from the Joint Effort Marketing or "JEM" Grant program.
JEM gives out $1.1 million a year to non-profits for promoting Wisconsin tourism.
Only three other Northwoods groups have received grants from the JEM program over the last year.
Brunswick says the grant money is not just beneficial to Three Lakes.
"We like to bring attention to the entire Northwoods, just not Three Lakes. So if I do my part to bring people up to the Northwoods, they're going to be able to see some of the other areas that we have up here," he says.
This year's festival celebrates Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, and of course, Wisconsin.
There will be food from those countries, live entertainment, lumberjack shows and games for kids.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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