BOULDER JUNCTION - Usually when you watch the news, you hear about how bad the economy is.
Jobs are down, home sales are sluggish, and people aren't spending money.
But one Northwoods county stands out.
Tourism spending went up a full 10% in Vilas County in 2012.
Both small business owners and Vilas County's Tourism and Publicity Department say they're thriving because they're working together.
John and Sue Altschwager manage the White Birch Village Resort.
When the economy collapsed in 2008, most of their returning guests shortened their vacations.
The Altschwagers had to find new ways to bring in visitors.
"The first step obviously was become active in our local chambers of commerce. And participate in the activities and participate in town, which hadn't happened a lot in the past," John Altschwager said.
They also revamped their website, and joined Facebook.
Going to sporting shows and promoting their winter ice fishing packages also proved to be a success.
"We tend to find that once we get people here, get people to the area, and they see what's offered, we got them," Altschwager said.
They also get new customers by word of mouth.
One of their most loyal customers,Robert Kurzweil, says he's introduced over 30 people to the resort.
"My wife and I come in the spring and in the fall, and then the whole family in July. And there's roughly 38 of us, all family, friends, neighbors. It's wonderful. We have a lot of fun."
Altschwager says it's up to all business owners to bring the tourism industry back.
TOMAHAWK - A dance group in Tomahawk gets a second opportunity to show thousands of people what small town dancers can do. The Tomahawk Dance Team will perform at the Liberty Bowl half time show in Memphis In two weeks. "We get to go out with a bang," said 17- year- old dancer Emma Gane. At the end of the year seniors Emma Gane and Morgan Dischen will walk away from the dance team that brought them together four years ago.
"It's emotional to think about how fast things have gone," said Dischen. However, first they'll step on stage in front of more than 60 thousand people. "It's taking girls from this small town and putting them on this national platform," said Tomahawk Dance Team Coach Marina Olson.
On December 30 the 11 girls on the Tomahawk Dance team will perform during the Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis Tennessee. "It's just going to be different from our everyday small town life," said first year dance team member Semra Marquardt.
RHINELANDER - Eighth-grader Alexx Huff doesn't practice half-court shots much.
At the end of basketball practice, he's usually too tired to try and make 40-footers. But Huff had plenty of energy two weeks ago, when he stepped onto the court during halftime of a varsity basketball game in Rhinelander.
"I'm really nervous, I'm really shaky," Huff said, remembering the night. "There's a lot of people watching."
Huff was randomly selected to take part a shooting contest held during every game. The contest ends with a half-court shot.
RHINELANDER - The first batch of showed up at Rhinelander Brewery Thursday. This moves Rhinelander a step closer to brewing beer here for the first time since the 1960s. Thursday the brewery got its brew kettle, six fermenters and a storage tank.
The brewery will have a ten tap system and wants five of the beers to be made in Rhinelander. The rest will come from a brewery in Monroe that currently brews its beer. "Really excited that it's coming to fruition and the people have been waiting a long time for us to be making beer here. We're going to make some small batch craft beer," said Rhinelander Brewery gift shop manager Brenda O' Rourke.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.