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Oneida County hits fall color peak; southern counties right behindSubmitted: 10/07/2013
Oneida County hits fall color peak; southern counties right behind
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

WISCONSIN - The DNR believes we saw the best colors of the fall this weekend in Oneida County.

Peak fall color will hit within the next week or two in counties to the south.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Fall Color Report estimates 20 northern counties are at 100% peak.

Meanwhile, six counties in western and southern Wisconsin are at zero percent of peak.

Northern Wisconsin, especially, relies on fall color for an autumn tourism bump.

Related Weblinks:
Wisconsin Fall Color Report

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 IN OTHER NEWS

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.

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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.

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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.

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RHINELANDER - With the push of a button and the whining of a winch, John Wendt singlehandedly symbolizes the end of a season.

"You see the changing of the leaves, I just love being out here every day," Wendt said.

Wednt hauls boats for Shoeder's RV & Marine in Rhinelander. Starting in September, he loads up fishing boats, pontoons, and jet skis and puts them away for the season.

"The weather's been nice, everybody doesn't want to put their boats away yet," Wendt said.  "But as soon as the weather starts turning, that's when it'll hit the fan."

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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.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board approved spending nearly $8,000 on a study for the public fishing pier on Highway 51 in Minocqua.

The findings will help board members decide whether to replace the entire bridge or just repair parts of it.

Public Works Director Mark Pertile says the exact age of the pier is unknown but he guesses it's around 100 years old.

"When you look underneath you'll see some of the problem areas. Some of the things we check are the railings to make sure they are stable. But the wood [is starting to] rot," explained Pertile.

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MINOCQUA - Typically, most people avoid spending time in junk yards but one Minocqua couple finds beauty in turning old antiques into art.

Since 2012, the retirees opened up the Rusty Truck, a business that turns aged, rusted pieces into rustic furniture and art.

Owner Mike Gang says after he retired from being a firefighter, he wasn't going to let his hidden talent go to waste.

"I love seeing things and seeing what they could be. [Taking] old things and turning them into something that's useful and practical," said Mike.

Mike's wife Ruth Ann says she is more than happy to bring old memories to life with their creations.

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