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NEWS STORIES

Country Fest regulars talk about camping traditionSubmitted: 07/12/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - Every year, Hodag Country Fest takes over Rhinelander for a weekend in the middle of July. For many of the tens of thousands of country festers, it's a weeklong event.

"I had a good time so I came back," says Betty Garrow, from Rome, WI.

That was 23 years ago. Now Garrow has one of the most coveted camping spots on the Hodag Country Fest fairgrounds.

"He says, 'I married her for that'. I brought him up here and then we got married the next year," says Garrow.

"No, we would have gotten married anyway. But you gotta tell these guys up here that I married her for this spot," says Weston Garrow.

Campsite claiming can be a cutthroat business. It's how the group next to the Garrow's became their long-time Hodag neighbors.

"Oh yeah, since I moved here they've been across from us," says Betty Garrow.

"Apparently two women who had these sites before, they forgot to call in in the time allotted. We happened to trade in our old spots for these. We met them one time out on the road. They were staring at the sites and said, 'those used to be our sites'," says Al Sadowski, from Stevens Point.

These Happy Hodagers obviously come for more than the four day weekend of music. They start camping the Saturday before.

"I think it's the people. It isn't so much the entertainers because they're all good," says Betty Garrow.

"All the camaraderie, all the fun with people," says Weston Garrow.

"We probably enjoy the beginning of the week best because the concert isn't really on, and you get more time to visit and catch up on old times," says Sadowski.

This group bonded so well they've even been to each other's children's weddings. And they have advice for this year's first-timers.

"Just have fun, I guess. Do whatever you want to do," says Betty Garrow.

"You'll see something you're never going to believe. Just take it as is and run, before you lose your eyesight," says Weston Garrow.

"Don't get too smashed, maintain your soberism, and just have a good time," says Sadowski.

Advice it might be wise to follow. These seasoned vets would know better than anybody the recipe for a "Happy Hodag".



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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - A crash in Wausau left one man injured after his motorcycle collided with a van Friday night.

The Wausau Police Department got a call about a southbound crash around 9:00pm on Grand Avenue near Ruder Street.

A motorcycle was in the left lane and a van in the right. The 48-year-old Schofield woman driving the van said she didn't see the motorcycle in her blind spot. She hit the 43-year-old Schofield man on the motorcycle, who landed on the sidewalk. 

The man was not wearing a helmet. He was taken to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.

The woman got two citations, one for not having insurance on the van and another for unsafe lane deviation.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Around 15,000 people came out to support the Boulder Junction Volunteer Fire Department Saturday.

The volunteer fire department held their 25th annual chicken barbeque fundraiser.

All money raised during the barbeque goes to the fire department to help with equipment upgrades and training.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state's open records laws.

Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.

The statement says the records proposal "will be removed from the budget in its entirety." They say the plan "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin's open records law.

The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Parades and marching bands go hand in hand.

Boulder Junction has gone without one in their 4th of July parade for more than 20 years, but one marching band that is changing that tradition.

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MIAMI BEACH, FLA - Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless has been arrested for allegedly firing two shots into the air during an argument outside a Miami Beach parking garage.

A witness told Miami Beach police that Quarless and three others pulled up to a car full of women early Saturday. An arrest affidavit says the football player and another man approached the car. The conversation eventually escalated and the witness told authorities he heard the women yelling for Quarless and his friend to leave them alone.

That's when authorities say Quarless pulled out a handgun and fired two shots in the air.

He was charged with discharging a firearm in public.

A call and emails to the Packers were not immediately returned Saturday.

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Police prepare for 4th of JulySubmitted: 07/03/2015

MINOCQUA - You can find tourists all over the Northwoods already for the holiday weekend.

That means area police departments are busy making sure everyone stays safe.

The Minocqua Police Department has all of their officers working extended hours on July 4th, but the police chief says they worry more about safety than law enforcement.

"[The] 4th of July is more family-oriented," says Minocqua Chief of Police Dave Jaeger. "You have a lot of families down there with their children, so we're down there to make sure that it's a safe environment."

Places like Minocqua will be packed with people this weekend, so police just want to make sure holiday events go on safely.

"We mainly focus on, during the parade, we do the re-route, and we have officers on the parade route in case there's any type of issues or accidents that may occur, that we have to respond to," says Jaeger.

The Minocqua Police Department also works with the chamber of commerce and public works to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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