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.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
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