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NEWS STORIES

Early snow believed to draw more tourists to NorthwoodsSubmitted: 02/28/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

MINOCQUA - Many of us can't wait for the chilly temperatures to give way to spring.

But people in the tourism industry say the weather brought more visitors to the Northwoods at the end of 2013.

The Lakeland Area saw a $4,500 increase in room tax collected this past October, November and December.

That's compared to the same time last year.

Hotels and other places of lodging collect room tax on all accommodations.

People in the industry believe the increase was because of the early snowfall in early December.

"We think a large part of the reason that we experienced that increase was really due to our early snow-cover and heavy snow cover that allowed the snowmobile clubs to get the trails open. Most of the trails in Oneida County opened December 15th. That was very early considering it's usually about two weeks later at least that the trails open," Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Baltus.

The room tax rate in Arbor Vitae, Woodruff, Lake Tomahawk and Minocqua is 4%.

Three-quarters of that goes to the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce to promote the area.

The Chamber advertises heavily in the Chicago area and southern Wisconsin.

The cold weather isn't just drawing more people to the area now.

It also has many people thinking about the spring and summer.

"I've had many, many calls from people that are making those plans and they're anxious to start thinking about summer and coming up to the lake," added Baltus.

They hope the numbers will also be up for January, February and March.

January and February are the strongest winter months for tourism.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working onSubmitted: 07/30/2015

- Scientists go out at night on boats charged with electrical currents, which temporarily stun the fish. They then collect the fish to do population studies. See the video tonight on Newswatch 12 at Five.

- Plus, parents try to keep their kids safe in the sun. But what happens when parents aren't around to put sunblock on? Earlier this week, NBC shared a story about two boys getting terrible sunburns during a preschool trip to the park. The boys' mother says teachers didn't put any sunblock on her kids. Now, that has some people wondering what their child's preschool is doing to keep their kids safe. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek is live at a playground with more.

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

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MADISON - A convicted sex offender from Rhinelander can keep pictures of children he cut out of magazines.

A state appeals court dismissed new charges against Albert Chagnon Thursday.

Prosecutors charged the 33-year-old last year with 23 counts of intentionally photographing a minor without consent. Chagnon was about to be released from prison when a guard discovered a notebook in his pants containing photographs of fully-clothed young girls cut out of magazines or newspapers, including the Lakeland Times.

Chagnon argued that the charges should be dismissed because he didn't take the photographs. The 4th District Court of Appeals agreed with him Thursday, saying state law doesn't cover Chagnon's conduct.

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CINCINNATI - A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist after stopping him over a missing front license plate has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Twenty-five-year-old Ray Tensing wore a striped jail uniform at his arraignment Thursday. Bond was set at $1 million.

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MADISON - Newly released documents show Gov. Scott Walker's office was involved in drafting legislation to overhaul Wisconsin's open records law and keep some government materials secret.

Republicans on the Legislature's budget committee passed a measure earlier this month that would have shielded many documents created by state government officials from the open records law, including drafts of legislation and staff communications.

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MERRILL - We told you earlier in July about the Merrill Citizen's Fire Academy.

People who take the 10 week course this fall will learn more about what firefighters do.

12 people will take the class.

Spots for the course are filling up.

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MILWAUKEE - The victims of a plane crash in Milwaukee have been identified as the chief operating officer of a Boston capital investment firm and his daughter.

Summit Partners said in a statement Thursday that the victims of Wednesday's crash are Joseph Trustey and his daughter, Anna.

They were traveling to the Midwest for a college visit.

Federal investigators will try to determine why the single-engine plane crashed and erupted in flames at Timmerman Airport on Milwaukee's northwest side. Neighbors whose houses border the airport witnessed the crash at about 6 p.m. but say the flames and smoke made it impossible for them to help.

Witness Ken Gipp says the plane was flying very low when the right wing hit the ground and a wall of flames ignited.

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A small, single-engine passenger plane has crashed and caught on fire at Milwaukee's Timmerman Airport, killing at least one person.

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PLUM LAKE - Some ATV riders want to be able to drive as many places as possible--and often on roads, not just designated trails. 

But some communities may not want ATV drivers to have that freedom.

One Northwoods town is trying to determine what's best for its community—whether they welcome or shun ATVs on town roads.

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