EAGLE RIVER - Weather can make the difference between a good and bad winter tourism season.
Most spots in the Northwoods have seen more than doubled the snow total compared to this time last year.
That's great news for business.
That because snowmobilers could hit trails before Christmas.
For businesses like Bayside Motor Lodge in Eagle River, that means more people looking for rooms. Owner Holly Tomlanovich says that helps lay the foundation for a good season.
"You don't get as many riders because it's not like when the trails are announced open and you get hundreds of riders," Tomlanovich said. "But all of those riders are rooms that I would not have had if the trails weren't open."
Trails in Vilas County opened on Dec. 13, 2013. Tomlanovich says this year's snow is historically, traditional snowfall for December.
But she hasn't seen this much snow in December for more at least five to eight years.
When that happens businesses have to rely on the events in town.
And unlike snow, those aren't around every day of the week.
"You have to make enough to bridge each one of those events because those are automatic fills and they are not as predicated on weather," Tomlanovich said. "But this year it's going to be a little easier."
Now it's time for businesses to attract more seasonal travelers before racing fans come into town for the 51st World Championship Snowmobile Derby Week starting January 10th.
PARK FALLS - Many families began their Thanksgiving Day with a run this morning. Topping off the holiday with a "trot" around town may not appeal to everyone, but for these families it was a way to spend time with one another.
"Trot now so we can pie later," said Steph Schultz, a runner in the Park Falls Turkey Trot.
Families used the Turkey Trot 5K in Park Falls as a way to bond.
MERRILL - Most people enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with family. But the Merrill firefighters spend their Thanksgiving at the station with their second family, their coworkers. Community members stepped in to make sure the firefighters still had a special Thanksgiving while they were working.
It might be Thanksgiving, but for the Merrill Fire Department, it's just another day
But it is a day with more turkey, stuffing, and pies.
"We had a couple of community organizations that dropped off meals for us which we're definitely grateful for," said firefighter and paramedic Bryson Cruise.
The job doesn't stop for firefighters and Thanksgiving is no exception.
So Park City Credit Union and Hands of Hope wanted to thank the firefighters for their service with a home cooked Thanksgiving meal.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
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