Decorated ice shanties promote shopping small in paradeSubmitted: 11/30/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Decorated ice shanties promote shopping small in parade
EAGLE RIVER - When Thanksgiving ends, the Christmas season begins.

But people in the Northwoods town weren't just in the holiday spirit.

They were gearing up for ice fishing.

Santa made a lot of stops in the Northwoods Saturday.

One was in Eagle River.

"This is my favorite time of the year because I get to sit in Santa's lap," said eight year old, Helena Sluzenski.

"Santa actually had a desk incorporated this year and more visual stuff," twelve year old, Dean Kazantzis said.

Before Santa made his way down Wall Street, a parade of seven decorated Ice Shanties rolled past the crowd.

They hoped to win the title of best ice shanty.

"We decided it would be fun since we own a bar and restaurant," Tijan's Twelve Pines co-owner, Barb Tijan said.

"We thought we'd like to decorate it with beer signs and make it cute."

Not everyone knew what an ice shanty is.

"Do you know what an ice Shanty is? No." said eleven year old, Chris Kazantzis.

That's why they started the Ice Shanty parade six years ago.

"Our idea was just to get a bunch of people in town. Kind of get the men involved," Christmas Kick Off Parade organizer, Katie Hayes said.

"A lot of people don't know what ice fishing is about. We're trying to encourage people to come up in the winter and spend time in our town, our great town. We just thought it was a good idea."

All shanties promoted local businesses.

"That's why we put it on. To get more people downtown. It's Small Business Saturday today. We're encouraging a lot of people to shop small, shop downtown. That's why we do it." Hayes said.

Getting in the Christmas and ice fishing spirit while supporting local businesses.

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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

For people with food intolerance, eating a fish fry platter can be nearly impossible.

So, Outboards offers alternatives like gluten-free beer-battered fish.

"We kind of put a twist on things and do it our own way. You can get fries, but you can get quinoa or a fresh vegetable," says McMahon.

When summertime comes, Outboards' patio overlooks the ski show and music on the river.

Outboards serves fish starting at 11 a.m.

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RHINELANDER - Golfers can't wait to get back on the course after our long, tiring winter.  We'll need to melt a lot more snow to make that happen, but on a Rhinelander-area lake this weekend, ice will be needed for golfing.

Fisher's Resort on Lake George will host the 13th-annual Ice Golf tournament Saturday.  Golfers shoot real golf balls on nine holes on the frozen lake.  The four-person scramble format costs $40 per team.

The event is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Hodag Sno-Trails snowmobile club.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Every second counts when it comes to saving a life. But in rural parts of Wisconsin, it can take paramedics up to 30 minutes to respond to an emergency.

A new bill in Wisconsin would require dispatchers to know how to explain verbally CPR over the phone.

When Sherri Congleton answers a 911, call she is often thrown into a life or death situation.

"You kind of form a bond with the person on the other side of the phone when you answer a call like that," said Congleton.

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MADISON - A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit a record low in February.

The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low. The previous record was 3 percent unemployment in July 1999.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.

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WOODRUFF - A fire burned a house to the ground in Woodruff early Thursday morning.

Firefighters arrived around 1:30 a.m to the home on Mid Lake Road.  The house was already mostly gone by that time.

No one was in the home, and no one was hurt.  Crews stayed on scene and kept the road closed until about 4:30 a.m.

The Woodruff Fire Department ruled the cause of the fire undetermined.

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RHINELANDER - On Thursday night, two of three candidates made the case for why they should become Rhinelander's next mayor. A panel of media members, including Newswatch 12's own Ben Meyer, questioned the candidates for an hour, live on WXPR.

The two candidates at the forum argued between the power of a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience. 

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