"Ridiculous" demand for Badger apparel in Northwoods after Final Four berthSubmitted: 04/04/2014
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

MINOCQUA - A Northwoods sports fan shop usually sells far more Packers apparel than anything else.

But with the Badgers in the Final Four, Packerland Plus in Minocqua has been flooded with demand for Wisconsin gear.

The Badger basketball team beat Arizona on Saturday.

It will take on Kentucky Saturday night at the Final Four in the Dallas area.

"It has been really ridiculous. The Badger clothes have just been flying off the shelves. The phone has been ringing constantly. Everybody's looking for their gear for the game on Saturday," says Brittany Garfield of Packerland Plus.

Packerland Plus got shipments of official Final Four gear earlier this week.

But their stock didn't last long.

"They were telling me, people followed the UPS truck in and were literally buying it out of the box as the box was opened. People definitely wanted those shirts this year," she says.

Wisconsin made the Final Four for the first time since 2000.

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MADISON - A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit a record low in February.

The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low. The previous record was 3 percent unemployment in July 1999.

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RHINELANDER - Golfers can't wait to get back on the course after our long, tiring winter.  We'll need to melt a lot more snow to make that happen, but on a Rhinelander-area lake this weekend, ice will be needed for golfing.

Fisher's Resort on Lake George will host the 13th-annual Ice Golf tournament Saturday.  Golfers shoot real golf balls on nine holes on the frozen lake.  The four-person scramble format costs $40 per team.

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Hodag Sno-Trails snowmobile club.

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RHINELANDER - Just like many small community courthouses, Oneida County doesn't have any way of keeping guns out of the building.

In response, on Tuesday, the Oneida County Board approved a mandatory active shooter training session for all employees.

"You have to keep your eyes open," said Oneida County Human Resource Director Lisa Charbarneau.

Charbarneau has learned not everyone who walks into the Oneida County Courthouse has good intentions.

"We do deal with not so pleasant things, whether that be social services, removing children from homes, we have inmates in and out for issues in the court," said Charbarneau.

The courthouse has an open door policy with multiple entrances open to the public.

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WOODRUFF - A fire burned a house to the ground in Woodruff early Thursday morning.

Firefighters arrived around 1:30 a.m to the home on Mid Lake Road.  The house was already mostly gone by that time.

No one was in the home, and no one was hurt.  Crews stayed on scene and kept the road closed until about 4:30 a.m.

The Woodruff Fire Department ruled the cause of the fire undetermined.

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RHINELANDER - On Thursday night, two of three candidates made the case for why they should become Rhinelander's next mayor. A panel of media members, including Newswatch 12's own Ben Meyer, questioned the candidates for an hour, live on WXPR.

The two candidates at the forum argued between the power of a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience. 

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MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.

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EAGLE RIVER - Once a week you probably leave a recycling bin at the end of your driveway. But what actually happens to that paper, cardboard, and bottles after a truck picks it up? 

Eagle Waste and Recycling in Eagle River gets recyclables from all over the northern half of Wisconsin and even the U.P. 

"As far north as Marquette, Michigan, as far east as Menominee, Michigan, from Chippewa Falls Wisconsin to the west and Wausau to the south," said Eagle Waste and Recycling President Alan Albee.

The facility opened in 2012 and has been growing ever since. 

Albee showed us how recyclables are sorted and packed to be shipped off and made into new products.
Recyclables are unloaded from a truck.

Then they are loaded into basin called a metering drum and then unloaded onto a conveyor belt. 

Workers start pre-sorting.

"Our pre-sort allows us to clean the material up prior to going into our main sorting building," said Albee. 

Then the belt runs into another building where it is sorted further. 

"And then the first thing that we pull out is glass," said Albee. 

Big cardboard items are sorted out through a filter. Then paper is separated from plastic and metals. 

"Metal is sorted by use of a magnet; aluminum is sorted automatically by the use of an eddy current," said Albee. 

Workers separate the different kinds of plastic, then items drop into a baler and are made into bricks. 

"The finished products are sent all over the country depending on what the material is. Paper and cardboard are shipped locally to paper mills in Wisconsin Rapids or over by Green Bay," said Albee. 

It's the only facility of its kind in the Northwoods, and one of the only ones in Wisconsin. 

Right now Eagle Waste and Recycling has two balers. They will be getting a third one this summer to pack cardboard.

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