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NEWS STORIES

A Bite of the North: Birchwood LodgeSubmitted: 11/15/2012
Story By Lex Gray & Ryan Michaels

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RHINELANDER - You've probably heard the saying "music is food for the soul." At the Birchwood Lodge in Rhinelander, live music and open mic sessions will fill up your soul. And there's also plenty on the menu to fill your stomach.

James and Billy Heath grew up in Chicago. They went to summer camp in the Northwoods….and decided to come back for good.

"We love this area," James said. "We're all outdoorsy people too, we like snowmobiling and playing in the snow and it just fits."

"We moved up here, and I met the love of my life after we got here, and then James and Mary Elise came up here and it's just been a blast," Billy said.

The brothers now call Birchwood Bar their home, along with their girlfriends Mickey Buell and Mary Elise Cher.

"James and I definitely do the majority of the cooking, and the girls do the majority of the bartending," Billy said. "That's sort of how it breaks down by… by choice and well, they're just better-looking than us."

The brothers mix it up in the kitchen.

"We live here and work here, so we eat here," James said. "We've gotta get creative and come up with new stuff. We make sure everything is good."

Good food, good drinks and a good place to hang out.

"We just tried to create an atmosphere up here that welcomes everybody," Billy said.

"It speaks to our pace of life," James said. "We're all very low-key and lovers of life and music (004-5)

"We try and make everybody feel at home, whether they're from town or out of town," Billy said.

No matter where they're from, people seem to stay awhile once the music starts.

"Besides running the bar, that's the passion," Billy said. "We just love to play and sing."

"We're musicians with a bad bar habit," James said. "We learned how to play with family and sitting around campfires."

Campfires, symphony orchestras….and now, Friday nights at the Birchwood.

"When it's the four of them together, it's such great energy," Mary Elise said.

"The later the evening gets, the more we're practicing," James said. "The smaller the crowd, the more adventurous we get."

They also get adventurous with local bands and monthly open mic sessions.

"There are some really talented people out there," Mary Elise said. "There's definitely an audience for it. Tons of people come out and it's just a lot of fun."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/26/2014

- The Northwoods teaching assistant accused of having sex with an underage teen reached a plea deal. Find out more tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) wants a spot on the legislature's powerful budget committee. Find out which Northwoods lawmaker beat him to it.

- It's a double whammy for cranberry growers in the Northwoods â€" a smaller harvest, and lower cranberry prices. What the U.S. government is doing about it, tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Your organization can get some free help solving a challenge or working on a project. 16 members of the Leadership Oneida County program are spending 9 months getting to know the services and organizations in the county.

- And success keeps coming for a musician native to Eagle River. Autumn Skibinski and her band "Only on Tuesdays" started a Kickstarter campaign back in July to help fundraise for an Extended Play (EP) album. Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino in Watersmeet, Michigan donated the full amount to Autumn's band. The band completed work on the project, and released the EP Tuesday. We'll have reaction from Autumn on her group's success coming up tonight.

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

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Balanced plate could be best option for Thanksgiving mealSubmitted: 11/26/2014

- Americans will eat more than 40 million turkeys Thursday, and that won't be the only delicious food on the table.

Thanksgiving can start weight gain for many people across the country. Dieticians like Jennifer Mikulich with Aspirus say this is the time of year when some patients avoid their dieticians. She believes the key to a healthy day is a balanced plate.

"You know have a balance between those foods that have some carbohydrates and those foods that don't," Mikulich said. "If you're somebody that is a really big sweet eater and you know there is pecan pie and pumpkin pie, well maybe you won't have the dinner roll and the mashed potatoes."

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Bakeries in the Northwoods prepare for ThanksgivingSubmitted: 11/26/2014

ST. GERMAIN - Not many "made from scratch" bakeries exist in the Northwoods.

But, the ones that do are busy preparing treats for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

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Wetland restoration plan broadens options for DNR, permit seekersSubmitted: 11/26/2014

WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR puts an emphasis on keeping the state's wetland system healthy.

People and organizations now have a new option for addressing wetland damage because of construction.

When people or businesses fill in wetlands, they have to get a permit.

Before, they could restore other wetlands or buy credits from what are called wetland mitigation banks.

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Small Business Saturday: why stores want you to shop localSubmitted: 11/26/2014

RHINELANDER - Following Thanksgiving Day shopping and after Black Friday, Northwoods businesses hope you'll stick around for one more shopping day- Small Business Saturday.

The day encourages shoppers to stay local and help businesses in the community.
Small Business Saturday first began in 2010.

Last year consumers spent about $5.7 billion at independent stores.

Shops like Imaginuity in Rhinelander have jumped on board to bring in customers.

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Milwaukee students protest Ferguson shooting caseSubmitted: 11/26/2014

MILWAUKEE - The family of a black man fatally shot by a white police officer in Milwaukee is showing solidarity with the family of Michael Brown.

More than 100 protesters gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee and then marched through the streets Tuesday demanding justice for both Brown and for Dontre Hamilton, a Milwaukee man killed by Officer Christopher Manney earlier this year.

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Torgerson pleads not guilty for murder & disappearance of Stephanie Low; more information about informants Submitted: 11/26/2014

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WAUSAU - The case against a Wausau man facing murder charges will move forward. Thirty-five-year-old Kristopher Torgerson pled not guilty in court during his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Torgerson didn't admit to the murder in September, but he led police to Stephanie Low's burial site in the woods of Forest County. She had been missing for nearly four years.

Torgerson faces charges of intentional homicide, armed robbery, and hiding a body related to Low's disappearance and death.

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