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NEWS STORIES

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


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

PHILLIPS - An 82 year old man from the Phillips area died after his kayak overturned in Price County.

An emergency call came into the Price County Sheriff's Department just before 4:00 Wednesday afternoon.

A kayaker reported that another kayak had overturned on the Elk River about 4 miles east of Phillips.

The report was that the man was out of the kayak, but still in the water.

The victim was found unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's kayak had collided with another kayak while trying to get past fallen trees which blocked the river.

Strong currents from recent rains swamped the victim's kayak.

The other kayaker was able to call for help from a nearby residence.

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RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with family and friends can be a great time. But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few injuries every year from fireworks. That's far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries. But the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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"The generosity, the park, we go to the library, so it's all in a convenient area," Barker said. "And, it's all healthy food."

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The department also released video from one of the department's first traffic stops using the body camera on its Facebook page.

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