Possible reconstruction on highway 51 affects business owner
Story By Shardaa Gray
ARBOR VITAE/ WOODRUFF - People got to a better understanding this week about a possible reconstruction to Highway 51 in Arbor Vitae and Woodruff.
But not everyone likes some of the changes.
The Wisconsin DOT had a public meeting Tuesday for community members about construction on Highway 51.
They're planning on fixing the pavement, curb, gutter and sewer drainage system.
They're also thinking about adding a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 51 and 70 east in Arbor Vitae.
That's by The Store gas station.
It's also by Ella's Restaurant.
The owner says the DOT wants to cut off his current entrance and relocate it off of Highway 70.
He says that would put him out of business.
"Bettering out streets, great they need to be done. Sidewalks, great need to be done. Eliminating access to businesses, no. That does not need to be done," said Ella's Restaurant owner/head chef, Steven Wheeler.
"You need to work it into the plan. However it happens, we need to work it into the plan because we don't want us to go under. I'm sorry we're just a smooth small businesses from top to bottom. But we're building the middle class of America and that's all it comes down to."
The DOT will have another public involvement meeting this summer.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
FLORENCE - People in some areas of Wisconsin may take easy access to groceries for granted. People in Florence don't.
Last year, the USDA considered the Florence area a "food desert". There was no grocery store in all of Florence County, and it had been that way for seven years.
That's all changed. Pat's Foods has now been open for a year in town.
A vacant space in Florence looked like a slab of concrete with a roof a year ago. Now, Pat's Foods stays busy every day at the location. The full service grocery store supplies food and fresh produce, meats, and dairy. That convenience means people are shopping steadily at Pat's, and business is good.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find $25,000 in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
FLORENCE - The Florence County Library looks much more appealing nowadays. That's thanks to thousands of dollars worth of hand-me-downs from southeastern Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg wanted brand new furniture and shelves for its new state-of-the-art library. Florence was pleased to take Cedarburg's unwanted shelving - and Florence got it for free.
"They provided basically all of the shelving that you see in our library for anything that's stacks, which is where the books are, on both sides of the library, along with the oak desks that you'll see in the back of the library," said Florence County Library Director Stephanie Weber.
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