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NEWS STORIES

Wabeno Rebuilds Icons Destroyed in StormsSubmitted: 05/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WABENO - People always remember the Town of Wabeno once they've been there, even if they were just passing through.

But the two larger-than-life icons that make the name Wabeno stick in people's memories were both destroyed by mother nature within the last year.

Now the town has nearly rebuilt both to all their former glory.

The details of how the gentle giant that watches over Wabeno got there, are foggy. But how he got destroyed is still fresh in everyone's mind. Larry the Logroller was felled by, well, a tree.

"Well it happened on a Thursday, I think. They called and says, 'Hey, I know you can fix anything. Larry got run over by a tree basically'," says Ron Piontek.

So off to Denmark, Wisconsin he went to undergo surgery.

"Larry had a broken neck and broken shoulder," says John Ehlinger, from Wabeno.

"I was kind of sad because I really liked Larry the Logroller," says seven-year-old Zachary Augustin.

Less than a year after the town lost it's even more historic band shell to heavy winds, the loss of Larry was a tough blow.

"It was kind of like after the band shell, what's next? It was like part of Wabeno was missing," says Park Board President Larry Rummel.

But auto body repair shop owner Ron Piontek logged hundreds of hours, and put Larry back together.

"I got 400 or 500 rivets in him to get him back into pieces. And then six gallons of fiberglass resin and three months of work," says Piontek.

The town unveiled Larry, good as new, Saturday.

"I thought he was really big and really cool," says six-year-old Audrey Bauagnet.

"I think it's awesome that they could redo him and everything," says nine-year-old Brianna Augustin.

"It's amazing. Kids love him. And evidently adults do too," says Rummel.

It's a new day in Wabeno. Larry stands sentinel once again and the band shell reconstruction should start back up within the week.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/04/2015

- This year, the Lakeland area will pack its millionth food packet to send to hungry kids around the world. Volunteers work with Food For Kidz to measure and package dry food. This year the group has increased its goal, but it needs 600 volunteers to help.

- We'll speak with with Crandon's new school superintendent about the challenges he faces.


- And take a visit to Langlade County to learn how one group is protecting its lake.


We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - The potato will be king in Rhinelander this weekend, but Friday, the focus is on fish.

The Rhinelander Café and Pub will be serving its fish fry to start PotatoFest's activities. 

It starts at 5 p.m. 

This is the second year The Rhinelander Café and Pub has served fish fry at PotatoFest.

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MINOCQUA - This year, the Lakeland area will pack its millionth food packet to send to hungry kids around the world.

Volunteers work with Food For Kidz to measure and package dry food.

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PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.

One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.

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TOMAHAWK - Some school board members in the Northwoods run unopposed, but that could change in Tomahawk.

Ken Schulz is one of the more than 100 community members who want change.

The change could mean there's only seven people on the Tomahawk School Board instead of nine. 
 
Schulz is the former school board president.

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CRANDON - Many people may go out of town for Labor Day Weekend, but not in Crandon.

In fact, people from all over the country are coming in town for the 46th annual World Championship Off-Road Races.

The races started Friday night and continue throughout the weekend, with championship races occuring on Saturday and Sunday.

The event's parade attracted hundreds of people in downtown Crandon on Friday afternoon.

Event organizers say there are about 145 racers. They are hoping for thousands of spectators.

"Labor Day Weekend is a happening in Crandon," said Crandon International Off-Road Raceway Cliff Flannery said. "

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Lake property owners in the Northwoods often care deeply about the health and well-being of their lakes. The people who live around Rolling Stone Lake in northern Langlade County are just one example.

The lake has a weed cutter machine, a large storage and maintenance building, and public land. Members around the lake pay a little extra tax for those things. But the lake district will also raise thousands of dollars this weekend. They're hosting a picnic, rummage sale, raffles, and bake sale for their lake.

"It's really the best-kept secret in the Northwoods, I think," said Char Waite, a member of the Rolling Stone Lake Protecting and Rehabilitation District. "It's quiet. It's a great lake to fish. It's a great lake to boat. We just love it here."

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