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Fair Promotes Northwoods SustainabilitySubmitted: 04/22/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Natural beauty surrounds us here in the Northwoods.

But living in a way that supports that natural beauty might seem tricky.

People who live in cities may have more access to sustainable, earth-friendly resources.

But there's plenty of that here in Rhinelander.

Monday was the third Sustainability Fair in Rhinelander, first in the new ArtStart building, and it was by far the biggest yet.

27 vendors, food, and music help show that people can live an earth-friendly life here in the Northwoods.

"There are sustainable services. You don't have to go to Madison, you don't have to go to California. There really are people up here that are providing services. We wanted to bring people together, both the providers and the possible consumers," a coordinator of the fair.

One of those providers is Rich Urban.

He evaluates houses to help with more efficient energy use.

"One of the things I try to bring into the discussion is the environmental aspects of their energy bill, their energy usage, and how that impacts the larger world," he says.

The event this year was the highest attended of the three years.

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RHINELANDER - It all started with an idea.

 After visiting a church in Whitewater, Rhinelander's Barbra Thompson came back with an idea for her own community.

Thompson realized her community was missing something. 

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RHINELANDER - Trig's Smokehouse in Rhinelander hired 15 new employees to start a second shift. Supervisor Geremiah Young remembers the early days of Trig's Smokehouse. He's worked there since 2009 which was before the plant on Stevens Street was even built.

"We had one little stuffer and now we've got two lines going and looking to possibly get more," said Young.

That demand for more was enough to add a second shift and 15 new jobs at the Smokehouse.

"We're fairly excited about for this second shift. It means a lot more of our product is getting out to the world and we're very excited for that," said Young.

Getting out tons of new product may be more accurate.

"We're doing about 4,000 pounds of just bratwurst and with the first shift, they were doing about 3,000 pounds of sticks. Throughout both shifts I know we can do a maximum of that and right now we're going through quite a bit," said Young.

The day shift goes from 6am-2:30pm when the second shift comes in and takes over right away, making the shift change relatively smooth.

"We've got one person coming in and one person steps out. We exchange what we were doing for the day, what products were ran during the day and we continue on from there," said Young.

With the 15 new night time employees, training can be a challenge. 

"Training… it's going… it's like anybody else, you come off the street and this is a whole different ballgame from what they're used to," said Young.

In addition to the 15 hired employees, the Smokehouse is still looking for about six more.

"It's a fun, fast-paced environment. If you think you've got it, come on in. But be prepared for the cold."

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People die from heroin overdoses every day throughout the U.S., and it's a problem we see here in the Northwoods as well. 

That's why Lac Du Flambeau hosted it's first Overdose Awareness Day to help people learn more about drug addiction.

"Having lost my sister last year, and other families that lost loved ones like that, an awareness and education needs to be done in Indian Communities," said organizer Jeanne Wolfe. 
 
A special agent gave a presentation about heroin.

Afterwards the people at the event could talk about ways to prevent drug use in the community.

The event was also a way to deal with grief.

"Nothing has really been done to recognize or talk about our sorrow and the loss a person goes through when somebody dies unexpectedly like that," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe hopes to host the event again next year.


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