NORTHWOODS - You may notice more people on the roads, lakes, at restaurants, and in stores the next few weekends. Many overnight camps in the Northwoods host a visiting weekend for their campers' families, and that means big money for local businesses.
"We're talking thousands of parents invading Minocqua, and Rhinelander and Eagle River throughout the weekend," said Camp Kawaga Director Matt Abrams.
There are more than 20 overnight camps in Vilas and Oneida Counties, and at least half host a visiting weekend. That's when parents come up to visit their kids spending the summer at an overnight camp. Though they visit camp, parents and campers spend a lot of time in the community.
"Really, most of the time they're out," added Abrams. "They're going to dinner. They're going go-carting."
"Camp weekend really is a special weekend. We can count on the store being packed to the walls with people. And they're a very good crowd," said Michael Johnson, manager of Dan's Minocqua Fudge.
The store has been welcoming campers and their families for 47 years.
"Every year we have people that stop in here at the store and will tell us a nice story of how they came here when they were a camp kid or when they came here with their grandparents and now they're bringing their grandchildren here," Johnson added.
Like Dan's Minocqua Fudge, The White Stag Inn in Sugar Camp also sees a larger crowd on visiting weekend. The owners say they'll serve more than 500 people in just a five hour period. It's a popular restaurant among visiting families and camp alumni.
"We are seeing multi-generations. So my brothers and I are now the third generation here at the White Stag and we're seeing the third and fourth generation of campers. So it's really kind of a unique experience to have grown up not only with the parents, but now having their kids and grandkids here," said White Stag Inn co-owner Anissa Widule.
Restaurants and shops aren't the only businesses that get a boost from visiting weekend.
"These parents are booking the hotels a year ahead because they know they're coming the next year so this is a consistent boon for the Minocqua area," Abrams said.
But the business boom doesn't necessarily end on Sunday.
"We've had families that have ended up buying second homes up here," Abrams added. "The other thing that a lot of them do is they rent homes."
MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.
"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.
"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.
The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.
"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.
Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.
"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.
Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.
"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.
Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.
The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.
Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.
GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.
Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.
RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.
On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.
Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.
"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.
Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.
"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.
Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen. Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing
he knew his house was up in flames.
"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.
When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairs��"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.
"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said.
Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.
"We've talked about how the other outcome could have been worse," Schroeder said.
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