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The existing shower building and two outdated and non-accessible vault toilet buildings will be demolished.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.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
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