Bird Enthusiasts Enjoy Northwoods Birding Festival
Story By Shardaa Gray
Photos By Shardaa Gray
MANITOWISH WATERS - Temperatures dropped this weekend, but that didn't stop bird enthusiast from experiencing mother natures winged creatures.
The 9th Annual Northwoods Birding Festival was at the North Lakeland Discovery Center.
It was a two day event.
Bird enthusiast had the chance to build bird houses and see live raptors.
"Beginners, advanced, it's all just kind of a good way to get out. First part of the season, listen for the birds," said North Lakeland Discovery Center Assisant Director, Katie Simonsen.
"So the more advanced birders can help the people who are just learning how to hear them and identify them. Really just even how to use binoculars."
One of the workshops at the festival was Loon watching.
Loons were literally falling out of the sky due to a ice storm recently.
One of the coordinators wants people to know how they can help when they find a loon in trouble.
"There may be a Wisconsin DNR warden or someone who can come out and help it, but the important thing is to stay with the loon until someone gets there because the loon is incredibly vulnerable," Loon Watch Coordinator, Erica LaMoine said.
"They cannot take off from land. They need a quarter mile water runway to be able to achieve flight."
The birding festival happens once a year, but there will be bird identification workshops at the discovery center in the near future.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.
But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.
Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.
Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.
"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."
Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.
"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.
FLORENCE - People in some areas of Wisconsin may take easy access to groceries for granted. People in Florence don't.
Last year, the USDA considered the Florence area a "food desert". There was no grocery store in all of Florence County, and it had been that way for seven years.
That's all changed. Pat's Foods has now been open for a year in town.
A vacant space in Florence looked like a slab of concrete with a roof a year ago. Now, Pat's Foods stays busy every day at the location. The full service grocery store supplies food and fresh produce, meats, and dairy. That convenience means people are shopping steadily at Pat's, and business is good.
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