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Snow events mean big business for the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 02/08/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas

Snow events mean big business for the Northwoods
EAGLE RIVER - Traffic around the Northwoods might be a little busy this weekend.

But that's making plenty of business owners happy, thanks to a little "white gold."

Up in the Northwoods it does more than add to the beauty of the landscape.

It's bringing in business that is much needed.

After a winter with weather ups and downs, the snow is finally here.

"It's a blessing from the sky," said Matt Rankin, owner of Eagle River Inn and Resort.

That blessing couldn't be timed better.

Eagle River is hosting thousands at the USA Hockey "Pond Hockey Championship"

"The energy level at the pond hockey is, I've never been to anything that's higher. It is amazing," said Conrad Heeg from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League State Championships returns to Rhinelander.

And all this white stuff is bringing in the green.

"It's just been phenomenal, it packs the lodging. Of course people need to go out to eat and buy gas and hopefully do some shopping while they're here, so it trickles down to our whole economy," said Heeg.

Over at the Eagle River Inn and Resort- all rooms are full.

"Business has been great, thanks to the pond hockey and snow, it's excellent and snowmobilers, with everybody," said Rankin.

The Rhinelander Café and Pub is already gearing up for skier traffic this weekend.

"That's a lot of families coming into the area, and my whole goal is to make sure they have a good time here in Rhinelander, and they want to come back maybe in the summer time because they've enjoyed the community," said Rhinelander Café and Pub owner Mark Gutteter.

In the meantime, the economy is enjoying its new company.

The Pond Hockey Championship and Nordic Ski State Championships continue throughout the rest of the weekend.

Pond Hockey will bring 2 thousand players from about 30 different states to Eagle River.

The Nordic Ski Championships will host almost 400 skiers and their families.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERCER -
People knew "Bike the Heart" as Vilas County's bike trail system.

Now that's changing as Mercer is now a part of "Bike the Heart."

That means the entire trail is more than 50 miles long!

But you'll have to wait until next month for Mercer's piece to be totally paved.

"It's been going for a long time. To be the last sort of Northern point of the trail for now, we are honored and excited about it," says Mercer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Wetzler.

There is a passcard you can use to visit the different chambers and businesses along the route.

Once you get a stamp in each area, you can win a prize!

"In September we will do a drawing and will draw five names. Each person that is drawn will win a 100 dollar prize package from one of the communities along Bike the Heart," says Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.

You have until September 3rd to get all of your stamps.

Theresa also says they hope to extend Boulder Junction's trail from Hwy. H to Hwy. K to keep people off the road and onto a trail.

She says call the Boulder Junction for more info on how you can help donate to the cause.

For more info, click below.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court rules against Wisconsin Democrats in the fight over the drawing of legislative boundaries.

Democrats believe current maps give Republicans an unfair advantage in elections.

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MADISON - Only white men have served as governor in Wisconsin. It's a track record that three Democrats are looking to shatter this year.

Two women, Kelda Roys and Kathleen Vinehout, and one black man, Mahlon Mitchell, could make history if they win the primary and defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The other seven Democratic candidates are white men, just like every other governor in Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin is one of 28 states where at least one woman is expected to run for governor. Mitchell is one of at least eight black candidates running for governor nationwide.

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MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.

Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.

The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.

Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.

Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.

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GRAND RAPIDS - Saturday afternoon a boat crash in Wood County caused multiple injuries according to DNR Conservation Warden Korey Trowbridge.

The single boat crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on Lake Wazeecha in Grand Rapids. Five people were on board when the boat collided with the shore line.

Multiple people were transported to a hospital for their injuries. The extent of those injuries is unknown.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department and the DNR are all investigating the crash. 

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EAGLE RIVER - A week long workshop in Eagle River shows students they're not alone in their passion for nature. Kids from all over the Midwest arrived at the Trees for Tomorrow campsite for the first day of The Natural Resources Career Workshop.

Out of towners visit the Northwoods to escape noise, and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

"I just like being out in nature instead of one of those people playing video games constantly," said 16-year-old Austin Shimeck.

The Natural Resources Career Workshop turned the benefits of visiting the Northwoods into a classroom. 

"Giving them the experience that some of these students may not have had," said Trees for Tomorrow Coordinator Vernon Gentele. 
 
High school students from all over the mid-west came to the camp to explore the unique environment. 

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WOODRUFF - A Northwoods coffee shop known for its food truck operation recently found a permanent location. The Milky Way Coffee Company had the grand opening of its new shop in Woodruff Sunday.

The new coffee house is inside the Lakeland Plaza which sits on the corner of Highway 51 and Townline Road. The two sisters who own the company converted what was once a bank into a coffee shop.

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