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.
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.
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.
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.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
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