MINOCQUA - The Northwoods has a history rich with lumberjacks.
In Minocqua, a show featuring lumberjacks is performed 5 times a week.
It shows the history and skills used by these legendary outdoor workers.
They wear flannel shirts, chop wood, throw axes, and put on quite a show. These modern day lumberjacks perform 10 times a week in Woodruff and Hayward to hundreds of adoring fans.
"Timber sports actually started because the loggers wanted to see who was better," explains Sam Fenton who has been performing for six years.
"A lot of people don't realize the tradition of the sport," Charlie Fenton adds - another performer. "How far its come over the years and how much its grown."
So how does someone become interested in becoming a lumberjack?
Darby Hand is in his second year with the show.
"I've gone to several lumberjack competitions as a kid," Hand said. "After watching all that I thought I had to do this - this is so exciting."
"I watched a competition when I was in middle school," Sam Fenton exclaims. "I convinced my dad to get me a hatchet. I chopped down one of the trees in the back yard. That's when they knew I was kind of hooked."
Lori Ring is the announcer for the program.
"These guys are athletes first of all," Ring says. "But we also have a mix of comedy in between the events and they're really good actors."
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
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