MINOCQUA - People who live in the Northwoods know it's easy to find natural beauty and peace and quiet.
But living in a remote area sometimes means having to travel far for things like medical services.
That's especially tough for people with physical disabilities.
Bob Lotz CPO, FAAOP hopes to make things a little easier on his patients.
He opened the Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Minocqua about three years ago.
Patients come to him from all over the Northwoods and Upper Michigan.
"My experience includes working at children's hospitals and the Mayo Clinic, and this is all I've ever done. I just really enjoy what I do," Lotz said. "I enjoy having patients coming through the door. At this point, it becomes a question of whether they can pay for it or not because of the new insurance environment out there."
That was the case for Tom Peterson of Ironwood. He lost his leg in a motorcycle accident last July.
"The convenience of it being close is amazing, especially during the winter months," Peterson said. "I had problems with Medicaid, saying I would have to wait about six months to get into a prosthetic, and Bob said I should have been walking a month ago when I first came in in a wheelchair, then walker. It's benefited me amazingly."
Lotz hopes to eventually be able to open his Minocqua office full-time.
WOODRUFF - The amount of blood donations usually drops during the summer, but this summer has been particularly challenging in northern Wisconsin.
"Over the course of the summer, our blood supply has declined considerably. It has dropped 35 percent over the course of the summer, and it is approaching dangerously low levels," said Community Blood Center Donor Services Vice President Kristine Belanger.
WAUSAU - After struggling for a few years, Wausau's mayor hopes new management and building changes will revitalize the Wausau Center Mall.
On Tuesday, Mayor Robert Mielke announced in a press conference that Mid America Asset Management will take over management of the mall. Mielke says Mid America will focus on new marketing, maintenance, and leasing new tenants.
MERCER - This year, almost 40 northern Wisconsin communities formally expressed interest in becoming the new home of the DNR's state forestry headquarters. But there's a chance the headquarters stay right where they are--in Madison.
RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's Highway 8 is finally getting its long-awaited renovation.
Beginning this week, construction will begin along two busy intersections on Rhinelander's busy bypass.
Michael Wendt, the Department of Transportation project development supervisor said, "This is probably something we should have done a little while ago, but it takes some time to get these projects going.
Construction at Highway G and 17 South started this week, and crews will lay new surface and install new stoplight sensors.
MINOCQUA - Three local cyclists planned to bike in the Ride Across Wisconsin event just for fun this year, but a few days before the ride, a good friend of theirs became unexplainably sick. In that moment, the purpose of their ride changed.
"This is nothing. This is a day. This is an hour, a minute that I can keep going," said cyclist Connie Trapp.
For Trapp, riding 178 miles was a small hurdle compared to the struggle of a close friend.
"Just having somebody to ride it for and be encouraged that you're doing it for someone else besides yourself really helped," said Trapp.
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