ONEIDA COUNTY - This year it seems like tourists may NEVER come if this weather keeps up, but last year in Oneida County tourism was up.
Visitors spent 5.56% more than they did the year before. That's an extra $10 million for a total of $186 million.
Popular events consistently bring in visitors, but THIS much of an increase could mean the economy is getting better, and teamwork in advertising is paying off.
"The prices are rising, maybe less flights, people aren't flying as much. Because we're a 'drive-to' destination in Wisconsin, that boosts our overall toursim. And when you think of visiting Wisconsin, a lot of people think of the Northwoods so we hope to capture some of that," said Lara Reed, with the Oneida County Tourism Council.
Tourist dollars helped support more than 1,500 jobs in Oneida County in 2012. One of the biggest events is Hodag Country Festival. That draws in an average of $3 million PER DAY.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
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