Group starts new tradition to draw shoppers to community, give backSubmitted: 12/01/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

PHELPS - A group of small business owners decided to start a new tradition this weekend.

It included shopping and a special soup.

The Holiday Lodge in Phelps hosted its Christmas Booyah Bazaar Sunday.

19 local vendors selling everything from jewelry to gourmet foods drew shoppers to the small community.

Hunters also stopped by for some Booyah.

It's a hearty soup.

"Send the hunters off - this is the last day of hunting - with a nice bone-warming bowl of soup, maybe take it home to their families. And with the proceeds, [it] will help the community out," said Holiday Lodge Christmas Booyah Bazaar Sarah Wirtz.

But the event wasn't just about shopping and eating.

Shoppers and vendors donated money and goods for a local food pantry and the Vilas County Humane Society.

"If you ever went to one of the shelters or the food pantry and see the empty shelves, they are in need...there's a lot of people out there that don't ask," said Wirtz.

The Holiday Lodge will be collecting donations for the food pantry and Vilas County Humane Society through the end of the week.

Organizers expected a couple hundred people to come to the event.

They say the event will be an annual tradition.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

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RHINELANDER - We likely won't find out who Rhinelander's next police chief will be until early next year.  But the city is already working to replace Chief Mike Steffes.

Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit. But if you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

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WAUSAU - This fall Wausau's Woodson Art Museum will bring together artists from all over the world. 

The Birds in Art exhibit gives artists an opportunity to share a piece of themselves with their audience.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.

People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the Elcho-White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

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