RHINELANDER - When you look around a gas station in Rhinelander, you might notice something is missing – beer.
Beer can be sold in most gas stations and convenience stores around the state, but the city of Rhinelander doesn't allow it.
Tonight, Rhinelander City Council could take a step toward changing that.
"This is the gateway. This is where every single vehicle passes through for country fest," said Aries Tatrow, who manages Hodag Pump and Pantry and the corner of Stevens Street and County Road W.
Between 8,000 and 9,000 people come into his store every day during Country Fest, many of them looking for beer.
For the second time in three years, Rhinelander city council is considering allowing gas stations to sell beer.
"I think that there's a legitimate beef on behalf of some of the convenience store owners," said alderman Alex Young. "They are locked out of that area of business now, where in all of the surrounding communities in the state, they have been able to do that."
Young said Kwik Trip would locate two or three stores within city limits if beer sales were allowed.
"It was mentioned at the [city council] meeting that should the city not get rid of that rule, that Kwik Trip could locate just outside the city limits," he said.
That would mean the city will lose out on tax revenue, but Lincoln Street Liquor store owner John Stein said he'll lose his entire business.
"There isn't a city out there with our comparable population that has alcohol in gas stations that has a stand-alone liquor store," Stein said. "The odds are virtually zero that I will be able to survive if this ordinance goes through."
The Oneida County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Coalition reports that compared to the rest of the state, Oneida County has a higher number of liquor licenses per capita.
Stein said even more licenses could lead to problems like alcohol being sold to minors.
"The city council, their job is to regulate that number," he said. "I don't think there is a need for more, there's definitely not a constituency out there asking for more beer outlets."
"I have two daughters at home, I don't want them coming into a gas station and being able to buy alcohol," said Tatro. "That's not even an option. We're regulated and we follow rules to a tee."
City council will vote on the ordinance tomorrow night.
If it goes forward, a public hearing will be held January 14th.
LAKE TOMAHAWK - All around you witness goodwill gestures. It could be as simple as a smile and wave or opening a door for someone. In Lake Tomahawk, it's making a pie.
"I made a pretzel crust with butter and sugar, " explains Sheila Punches. Sharon Hilgendorf adds, "Flour, for the thickening."
Snowshoe baseball's been entertaining crowds since the 1960's. But over at the concession stand, the pie takes center stage.
Strawberry rhubarb, banana butterscotch pie, blueberry pie, rocky road and coconut cream are just a few of the creations. "I like making ones that I think will appeal to the crowd," says Linda Penno.
Each week a different service club's in charge of the snack shack and in turn, takes home the proceeds. Locals bakers, a lot of local bakers make their best pies and donate them to support the cause.
"You get involved with it over the years and it just becomes your way of life on Mondays," says Punches.
On an average night they sell 80 pies. Each one is cut into six pieces and are only two dollars a slice. That means making almost a thousand dollars is easy as pie.
Ken Lochte of Rhinelander exclaims, "This is the only place you get your dessert first, before you get your food." "It's a great honor and pleasure and I've been doing it for quite a few years now," adds Rebecca Morien.
No matter how you slice it, everyone benefits from this unique fundraiser.
"It is unique and different which makes Lake Tomahawk special," says Morien. "It's a very good fundraiser for the community who in turn give it all back. So, it's kind of a domino effect you know," adds Hilgendorf.
If you think this is a lot of pies, the team is requesting the bakers provide double this Friday. They're hoping to have more than 200 pies for the Snowhawks game against the Wounded Warriors.
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
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