Pinewood in its third generation of the family golf businessSubmitted: 06/14/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

HARSHAW - The success of big box stores and corporations means family businesses are more difficult to come by.

One place in the Northwoods is not only family owned, but has been for generations.

"It's home, sure," say Al and Judy Bromann.

Pinewood Country Club in Harshaw feels like home for the Bromann family.

It's been in their family since it opened in 1962 - when they carved the course out of potato fields.

"They looked at it one day, and my mother got a little tired of looking at my dad, and she said, 'do something.' That's what he did," says Al.

"They were cutting fairways with a Jeep, towing three gang mowers behind it," remembers Chip Bromann.

Al Bromann Jr. and his wife Marie got the course started, followed by Al III and Judy.

Now it's Al IV - or as everyone knows him, Chip.

"I can remember walking 45 holes a day with my bag on my back, and the golf course was a lot different back then, but, yeah, we spent a lot of time out here," says Chip.

Some of Al Jr.'s more quirky ideas the early 60s wouldn't have flown on a new course today.

"His first idea was to put all of the greens in holes so he wouldn't have to water them," says Al III.

These days, it's tricky enough to find any business that's family owned anymore

But a golf course that's been in the same family for three generations is truly unique

"We're very proud of being a third generation. When I tell people that, they just kind of look at me and ask me again, 'what was that?' And I say, yeah, third generation," Chip says.

But to be family at Pinewood, you don't have to be blood.

"With our business today, I've known everybody that's gone off," Chip says on this Friday. "I've known everybody that's been on the first tee so far."

"A lot of them that are still playing today can remember the years before water, when big hills were brown and the ground was dry," Judy says.

"Meeting old friends, making new friends, that's really what it's all about. I really enjoy doing that," says Chip.

That's something the Bromanns have been doing for 51 years.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Lakes bring a lot of visitors here to the Northwoods, but they also bring scientists.

The UW Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction just wrapped up its summer research season.

The UW Trout Lake Station is a research station for limnology students at UW Madison. It's mostly graduate students and faculty from Madison's Center for limnology.

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