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NEWS STORIES

The Hodag Featured in a Canadian Documentary SeriesSubmitted: 06/14/2013
Story By Ryan Michaels


RHINELANDER - The mythical beast of the Northwoods attracts the attention of a Canadian documentary group and they want you to be a part of their film!

The documentary is called 'Boogeymen'. Cameraman Sebatstien Iannuzzi says it's about small towns who adopt monsters like the Hodag for their mascot.

"We've been to Point Pleasant, WV, where there was this Mothman and Adams, TN, there's this Bell-witch, and in Rhinelander, WI, there's this Hodag. So everytime we go in to those small cities, those creatures, well they are kind of a boogeyman for the small locals."

The film crew will see an actual unveiling of the Hodag like Gene Shepard did during the first Oneida County Fair, and they want you there to be a part of it according to Jerry Shidell!

"Well during the re-enactment we are going to show people the Hodag. So if you want to see a real, live, Hodag, the great Black Hodag, the original Hodag, this is your chance to come and see the real Hodag."

Shidell says everyone is invited to the unveiling that will happen tomorrow morning at 11 in Rhinelander at Pioneer Park.


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"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.

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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 $25,000 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.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Water Shows team could add some new tricks to its performances. The team is currently working on its barefoot skills with one of the world's best barefoot skiers.

"It's a little more high pace, a little more intense, but it's a lot of fun," says Ben Groen of the World Barefoot Center.

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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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RHINELANDER - Most of the time when you give blood it's in a clinic. But once a year in Rhinelander, organizers bring the process outside.

Tuesday, tents filled up with donors at Pioneer Park for the 6th annual "Hodag MASH Blood Drive."

More than a dozen nurses and workers with the Community Blood Center interviewed, tested and collected blood from donors.

Organizer Jerry Shidell chose the military theme as a unique way to reduce people's anxiety.  Shidell says it doesn't matter what reason you choose to give as long as you do.

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The Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg wanted brand new furniture and shelves for its new state-of-the-art library. Florence was pleased to take Cedarburg's unwanted shelving - and Florence got it for free.

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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.


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