RHINELANDER - It often feels like there are two seasons in Wisconsin: Winter and Construction.
Drivers in Rhinelander will head into summer with a brand new construction-related headache to deal with on a major roadway.
"We're hopeful, and we'll work our best to get it to where we want it to be," city engineer Tim Kingman said.
Rhinelander city leaders think that's the mindset to take when it comes to a major construction project on busy Kemp Street. Smaller portions of the project will start in early June. That's on Bruner St. and Boyce Drive.
But drivers, get ready. When sewer work starts in the first few weeks of June on Kemp Street, you won't be going anywhere on it.
"When Kemp Street shuts down their work efforts will be focused on that street so it will be shut down for the shortest period of time possible," Kingman said. "Provided good weather and favorable conditions, we'd like to see the street open in three to four months."
Only home and business owners will have access to properties on Kemp Street once the project starts in mid-June. Other drivers will have to go around before the bridge on Sutliff Avenue or Oneida Avenue. The city says it will be well-marked.
Geremiah Young lives on Bruner Street - one of the several roads that will shut down during construction. He understands the 50-year-old sewer needs to be replaced, but he wishes the city had done a better job of notifying people.
"Give everybody letters that just inform them, 'Hey, we've got guys coming, we're going to tear up the street, just to let you know.,'" Young said.
They're walking across my lawn, marking up my yard, which I don't have a problem with, as long as they would have notified me."
City Engineer Tim Kingman thinks the city's done its part.
"We've gone out and had informational meetings and people have attended these things," Kingman said. "We're hopeful we've provided a good understanding to the general public about why and how we're doing this."
The how and why are set, now we'll only have to wait less than two weeks for work to start. Young thinks, despite the lack of communication, the city will handle the $6.3 million project just fine.
"If they learn from their mistakes and if they take care of everything they should, I don't have a problem with it," Young said.
The city plans to update progress on a regular basis. Info will be available online and via an email mailing list. To add your name to that list, please call the Public Works Department at 715-362-2728.
MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.
Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.
Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.
"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."
On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.
Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.
The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.
"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."
Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer.
NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.
They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.
But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.
And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.
That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.
"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate.
Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday.
You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.
All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.
That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.
"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."
If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.
MINOCQUA - Lakeland and Antigo generally square off as rivals in Great Northern Conference competition. But on Friday, nearly a week removed from the prom shootings in Antigo, Lakeland wanted to show that it was on Antigo's side.
"It's hard to react to something like this, because you want to be concerned, and you want to help, but it's hard to know how to help," said Maggie Laurence, a Lakeland sophomore and Student Council member.
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