MERRILL - You can expect plenty of screams at haunted houses this time of the year.
For organizers, that takes a lot of work.
Fear keeps the Merrill Boy Scout Troup 599 running.
"We were looking for a fundraiser to help out the boy scouts for the cost of scouting. So we set up a committee and we started throwing around some ideas of different ideas for a haunted house," said Haunted Sawmill Committee chairman, Jerry Hersil.
"Everybody’s done haunted houses, so we wanted to tie something in to the Merrill area that fit with the logging theme. That’s where we came up with the haunted sawmill."
This is third year they’ve scared people.
But this year they had to buy the sawmill because the city wanted to tear it down.
They keep the outside looking nice.
But the inside is a whole different story.
"Inside we’re always adding new rooms to the building making new areas for people to wonder through and new exciting places for them to look at." Hersil said.
A new room that they recently added that might get you turned around is probably something you’ve seen on TV.
"It’s just something you don’t normally see. You have a group go through and they think ok this is easy," said Troop 599 Eagle Scout, Bret Waller.
"They find a door and go through it. They just end up in the same spot. You have a lot of opportunities to scare people through there. It’s just a fun room to be in."
"You get the big guys that think oh I’m too tough for this. They come around the corner and the first guy might not scare them," Waller said.
"But the next guy that’s not expecting somebody to be there, you jump out at them. They hit the wall and there are people holding on to them are scared. The big guy is oh I’m scared too. That’s probably the best part. Getting the people to think this isn’t scary and scaring them into a corner."
This first timer has high expectations.
"For my father to push me into something and me peeing my pants." said Emily Edwards-Sonnenberg.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.
It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.
Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.
“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”
Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.
“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”
Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
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