NEWS STORIES

Hodag Country Festival campsites openSubmitted: 07/07/2013

RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Festival kicks off Thursday.

But some country music fans have already staked out their camping spots.

"Surprisingly for a 4th of July weekend, we've got a very large number of campers in here. We probably estimate about 40 percent of our 5,000 and some campsites are already set up," says Dawn Eckert, the festival's co-owner.

She co-owns the festival with her two sisters.

Eckert thinks the year-round work makes the event a success.

"Year-round we have 2.5 employees in the office. This isn't a business that once one's over we don't worry about it until the next year. It's year round planning, and with all the five of us organizers, it's definitely a part-time job year-round, and full-time for a few months out of the year," she says.

About 20,000 people attend each day of the four-day long festival.

They will have about 75 vendors at the grounds.

But local businesses also benefit from the tourists who come to the festival.

"Those people are all here enjoying the Northwoods, and enjoying this beautiful weather that we're having on the lakes, and boating, and golfing, and taking advantage of all the Northwoods has to offer," Eckert says.

Sixteen groups will perform over the four day event.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Police rescued 22 animals from home Submitted: 04/19/2014

OSHKOSH - A Winnebago County woman has been arrested after authorities found nearly two dozen animals living in deplorable conditions in the Town of Clayton.

WGBA-TV reports that since Thursday, authorities have rescued 17 horses and five dogs from the home. Winnebago sheriff's detective Chris Braman says they did not look healthy.

Another three horses were found dead.

Cattle Rescue Inc. will be caring for the surviving horses. Director Bill Blemke says they are malnourished.

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Police investigate threatening letter Submitted: 04/19/2014

STOUGHTON - Police in Stoughton are investigating a threatening letter that was sent to a black teenager, with a photo that depicted him as the victim of a lynching.

The letter had a Madison postmark but no return address. The family told the newspaper it contained a photo showing two men hanging from a tree, with a mob watching. A picture of the 18-year-old was superimposed onto one of the men.

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Merrill library stays ahead of technology, offers visitors 3D printerSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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MERRILL - Workers at the T.B. Scott Free Library in Merrill want people to use the library for more than just books.

They're offering the newest in technology and design to visitors.

The library just got a 3D printer for everyone to use.

3D printers are most often found at places like manufacturing plants and tech colleges.

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Community fundraises for boy with rare diseaseSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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THREE LAKES - Imagine not being able to move your body.

That was the reality for a 4th grader from Three Lakes

Hunter St. Louis has a rare nerve disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome makes your body attack nerve cells.

The messages from the brain can't get to the nerves.

So his body was unable to move.

Hunter had to go through seven plasma replacements.

And now he'll go through intense physical therapy.

Hunter is leaving the hospital Friday, but he still has a long road to full recovery.

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Marathon County garage fire leaves $2 million in damageSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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EDGAR - Some county highway workers now have an even more valid reason to want winter to end.

A fire at a Marathon County highway garage near Edgar made eight heavy machines, including snowplows, unusable.

A driver saw the fire just before 3 o'clock Friday morning.

There is more than $2 million in damage.

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Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk driversSubmitted: 04/18/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.

The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.

Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.

About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.

The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.

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Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screenSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.

Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.

His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”

Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.

“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”

Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.

“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.

“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”

His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.

“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”





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