RHINELANDER - Losing internet and cell phone service can be frustrating. It happens to some people every day, especially those who live in rural areas.
Oneida County is working to turn that trend around.
The board's Technology Committee started polling people about their internet service all across the county.
Crescent is the latest town to get its results in and the numbers aren't good. One in three people had no service at all. Fifteen percent of people with service weren't satisfied.
County Board Supervisor Bob Martini lives in Crescent. He knows limited access is a problem all across the Northwoods.
"I think most of the county would have similar numbers," Martini said. "The point is, we want to make sure people have the option to have better service so that we can increase entrepreneurship, increase jobs, improve students ability to interact with their schools at the K-12 level, improve the general life of people."
The Tech Committee plans to present its survey results to the full county board next month.
They'll then work with the board to see how the county can help to improve internet access. Martini wants to make it clear: the internet is important to everyone, whether you use it or not.
"This is the 21st century equivalent of the railroad back in the 1880s," Martini said. "It's absolutely essential, it's not an option, it's not a frill, it's important for everybody. And it'll be more important in the future."
The county can only help so much. There are state statutes that prevent counties and towns from serving as providers.
But Martini knows there are changes the board can make that will help. He suggests the county work on building towers and include laying fiber optic cables when new roads get paved.
NORTHWOODS - Next Monday's solar eclipse will look fascinating, but it can damage your eyes for a lifetime.
It's never safe to look directly at the sun's rays, even though there will be a partial eclipse here in the Northwoods.
Regular sunglasses won't protect you, so if you plan to view the solar eclipse you need special solar eclipse sunglasses.
Those glasses are one size fits all, so it's important to check they are snug on your child's head, too.
Kids are curious, and may want to fixate on the crescent beam of light.
"We know children are going to want to peek over the top and in just 20 to 30 seconds they could be doing damage to their eye, " says Dr. Jill Redman.
The solar eclipse light is not as intense as regular sunlight.
You won't actually feel the damage being done until the next day because the reflex to turn away won't be there.
"Missing blurry vision and central vision. Afterwards you could have light sensitivity. You could also have watering eyes. But some of the damage with maculopathy can be permanent," says Dr. Ben Redman.
Dr. Ben says if you don't have those special solar glasses, the safest option is to avoid it entirely and watch online.
RHINELANDER - You probably wouldn't consider a dark, smelly alley an ideal place to sit and relax. Maggie Steffen agrees, which is why she's planning to transform an alley on Brown Street in Rhinelander.
Steffen plans to tackle the project in three phases. Phase one is lighting the alley, which sits between The Brick restaurant and Bath and Body Creations. Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. agreed to pay about $2,800 for five LED lights if the city would pay for the electricity.
EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's annual Paul Bunyan Fest brings out thousands of people. This year was no exception. Organizers say about 3,000 people filled the streets of downtown Eagle River on Wednesday.
The 37th annual Paul Bunyan Fest featured chainsaw carving demonstrations, more than 80 arts and craft booths, and music.
RHINELANDER - DNR Furbearer Research Scientist Dr. Nathan Roberts calls bobcats "a conservation success story." Their population numbers are up across the United States.
The DNR doubled the harvest quota this year at 750 bobcats because of that healthy population size.
"While the population's grown, we've also increased our understanding of bobcats considerably. Working together with hunters and trappers across the state we've increased our understanding of bobcats and our ability to monitor bobcats," said Roberts.
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