NEWS STORIES

Local band to perform at Hodag Country FestSubmitted: 07/09/2013

RHINELANDER - Big-name country bands travel to Rhinelander from far away for Hodag Country Fest.

But one local band doesn't have to travel far at all for their Hodag debut.

Take a little punk, some bluegrass, and a whole lot of country and you get the Ditchrunners.

"We like to call it 'Honkey-tonk Guttergrass.' But people say it's kind of punk-countryish, whatever it is. It's our own original thing. We're not trying to be like anybody else we're just doing what we do," says Douglas Bredlau, The Ditchrunners' lead singer.

The Stevens Point band came in first place at one of several Hodag Pick-Off competitions in Wisconsin.

Now they get to play on the main stage of Hodag Country Fest.

"It's a real trip because I know what a big deal it is. I know what a huge event it is in Rhinelander. And I'm going to have a bunch of friends that are going to be there that have been going to Hodag for years, and I'm just really excited to get the chance to play for the hometown crowd," adds Bob Weigandt, The Ditchrunners' mandolin player.

Weigandt grew up in Rhinelander.

Ditchrunner's founder Douglas "Buckshot" Bredlau grew up in Park Falls.

Their debut at Hodag Country Fest will also be a competition.

Bands that won regional Hodag Pick-Offs will compete for the title of Wisconsin State Country Band Champion.

"We are rooted in the tradition of country music and we're kind of trying to bring that back a little bit in the world of pop country I guess," says Bredlau.

When The Ditchrunners perform at Hodag Fest on Friday they'll also pre-release their new full-length album.

"Squirrel Lake up by Minocqua, we spent three days out on an island just recording all day, every day for three straight days," says Alex Dalnodar, The Ditchrunners' guitarist.

It's the band's first album with a record label.

You'll be able to buy it July 16th, the same day they perform at the Rhinelander Ice Arena with Buckcherry.

"It's actually a great family and I love these guys more than anybody. It's been a real good time and it's going to get a lot better. I know that," Bredlau says.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Big bucks to expand nutrition, physical education in Wisconsin schools Submitted: 04/16/2014

WISCONSIN - Seven Wisconsin school districts have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal grants to help them expand their nutrition and physical-education programs.

To qualify, the districts have to implement programs that teach students healthy eating habits and good nutrition. They also have to make sure kids have access to certain physical fitness activities, which could include fitness assessments or developing certain team skills.

The largest grant is going to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, which will receive about $850,000. The Mukwonago Area School District and Pittsville School District will each get about $445,000.

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DNR prepares for trout stocking Submitted: 04/16/2014

MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working to stock 316,000 trout across the state ahead of inland fishing season opener next month.

More than 100,000 trout will be stocked in urban fishing waters, small lakes and ponds. The rest will go into waters where the habitat is marginal and there's no natural reproduction.

DNR officials say lingering ice cover on lakes is delaying some of the stocking, but they still expect to get all the fish in the water by the May 3 season opener.

A complete list of water bodies in line for fish is available on the DNR's website.

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Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014

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WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.


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Another snowstorm headed our way hear what people thinkSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - We may want spring, but Mother Nature has other plans. Whether you like it or not more snow is on the way. We got people's reaction to the upcoming snowstorm. Click on the video link to watch.

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Jaeger will become Minocqua's new police chiefSubmitted: 04/15/2014

MINOCQUA - Lt. David Jaeger will be Minocqua's new police chief.

Minocqua has been operating without an official police chief since last October.

That's when former chief Andy Gee resigned.

Earlier in the fall, the Town of Minocqua had reached a $100,000 settlement with Gee's former administrative assistant, Julie Mager.

That was after Gee accused Mager of yelling at him so loud it could be heard throughout the department.

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New Vilas County Board sworn in, already making changesSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Two weeks ago, Vilas County elected its new board.

That included 12 new board members.

The new board was sworn in Tuesday, and right away, they made some big changes.

Members voted to bring back the 21 committee structure.

The Vilas County Board voted in October to cut the number of committees from 21 to 9.

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Police dispatchers honored for workSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - Police dispatchers don't know what the day will look like when they get to work.

Oneida County dispatchers respond to everything from downed power lines, fires and domestic disputes.

Dispatchers from around the country are being honored this week. National Public Safety Telecommunicators week is being held April 13-19.

“It just depends on what comes in. You know some days can start out pretty mellow. And just like that, it can be all chaos,” says Oneida County dispatcher Mary Goeldner.

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