TOMAHAWK - Forty-eight years ago, hunters started getting together in Tomahawk for a pre-hunt venison feed. Today, they’re still doing the same thing, but these days, the whole community gets involved.
“Just a bunch of local guys getting together and they wanted to say thank you to the community and to the hunters that come to the area,” said Tamra Anderson, the executive director of the Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce. “They roasted a deer behind the old chamber office downtown.”
That was decades years ago. Today, the line for venison stretches a block each way. Community members grill up 1,600 burgers.
Donald Halverson moved to Tomahawk in 1970. He’s been coming every year since, and even though he doesn’t hunt anymore, he still shows up with his antler hat.
“It adds a lot to the tradition,” Halverson says. “You can see that by looking at the people.”
Bringing so many people together can be a big help to community organizations. St. Mary’s school hopes to make $300 with their bake sale this year.
“The event is great for our school. It brings in grandparents, aunts and uncles, they all come down and they help support the school,” said Shauna Bishop. “ It brings in $100 to $500, and it’s great for all of the community to touch base with our school with that.”
Getting hunters into town also means more customers for businesses.
“If we can draw them into town, and bring them into town for this event, hopefully they’ll stop at stores and buy their last-minute stuff before they head out to the deer shack,” Anderson said.
This year, burgers sold out in an hour and a half.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
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