RIB MOUNTAIN - Rib Mountain State Park will get more than $740,000 in upgrades in 2014.
It is part of a project approved by the Wisconsin Building Commission Tuesday.
This project will improve the existing day-use area, including the amphitheater area, and will continue to convert existing campground areas into day-use facilities, according to the Building commission press release.
Steve Krallis, DNR budget analyst, says the park used to focus heavily on camping, but the park is using the upgrades to target more day activities like picnics and hiking.
"The campsites are being converted to day use facilities," Krallis said. "So improved toilet facilities, ultimately there will be some improvements to a shelter area and flush toilets will hopefully be added in the next phase."
This portion of the project will also continue improvements to Park Road at the state park.
The project will also remove the existing Rib Mountain State Park entrance sign and install a new one.
The existing shower building and two outdated and non-accessible vault toilet buildings will be demolished. These structures will be replaced with a new centralized vault toilet facility, according to the press release.
Organizers have not started planning the third phase of the project.
"The parks (department) is going to start working on that in the upcoming biennium (budget)," Krallis said. "I know that they're going to continue to move the park to try to make it a more premiere day use facility."
Project leaders say the second phase of the project will be done by the end of the year.
Park modernization started in 2009 with phase one costing $6,116,900.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
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